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High Output Staffers Witness Niagara Falls Tightrope Walk

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Many daredevils have gravitated to Niagara Falls with the hope of gaining fame and fortune. Although few have ever achieved those goals, Nik Wallenda, of the famous Flying Wallendas, became the first person to walk on a high wire directly above Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012.

As thousands watched nearby the falls, millions more were viewing the feat on television. While Wallenda slowly crossed on a two inch in diameter wire stretched above the roaring waters of the Horseshoe Falls at an average height of 200 feet, High Output was there providing lighting and personnel – some of whom felt the cold soaking mist from the falls much the same as the daring high wire act high above.

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While working with the crew on the American side High Output veteran, Geoff Dann had a birds-eye view of Wallenda as he prepares himself for the now famous walk across Niagara Falls.

High Output veteran, Zack Lazar was beneath the falls for the entire event. “I have to say, this was the coolest job in my 17 years working in the biz,” said Lazar, who worked as the Best Boy on the Canadian crew, said he jumped at the chance to be included in such an historical event.

“Working with lighting designer Steven Brill and gaffer John Reynolds was a great experience. They designed a lighting package that enabled numerous vendors to participate simultaneously making a show that huge a total success,” continued Lazar.

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Nik Wallenda takes his first steps onto the high wire to begin his 25 minute journey across the falls.

The use of 18k LRX remote heads combined with several Musco lighting trucks illuminated the falls brilliantly, while additional lighting from High Output covered all other aspects of the ground, platform and stage lighting.

“Reynolds and I were aided by a highly experienced Canadian crew that helped take care of lighting the talent, interviews and all the remote shots with great ease. We utilized lights as small as the 1×1 Litepanels all the way up to the use of 12k ARRI HMI Pars to achieve successful results that made our client very happy!” said Lazar.

“During the event I was perched on a platform in front of the falls with an emergency crew hovering nearby. We were getting totally soaked by the mist as we watch Nik Wallenda as he walked across the wire high above us. As he neared the halfway point I noted the rescue crew bracing up in anticipation of a potential accident,” explained Lazar.

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Nik Wallenda as he nears the halfway point just above where Zack Lazar is stationed far below (left).
A High Output grip truck on the Canadian side can be seen through the mist of the falls (right).

“A few minutes later, as Wallenda reached the platform to cheers from the thousands gathered for the event, I realized I had not only witnessed history in the making, the experience had also left me with a great story to tell the kids as they grow up. That was a really great moment for me!” Lazar continued.

Like Zack Lazar, everyone who witnessed this event firsthand came away with their own story to tell. For High Output, that story would not only be about a daredevil crossing a tightrope high above the Horseshoe Falls, or the amount of equipment and the logistics that go into working on an event of that magnitude. The story would also have to include a note of gratitude for being once again invited to work alongside lighting designer Steven Brill and gaffer John Reynolds of the Lighting Design Group.

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