Trio of Companies Turn Cincinnati Titanium

The Cincinnati live / special event market came back strong in 2023, and in a bold, calculated move for their future, three production companies in the area – MAC Productions, Cincy Entertainment Services, and Prestige AV - simultaneously decided to invest in Halcyon, the latest High End Systems framing luminaires from ETC.

Braden Hasselbeck, President of Cincy Entertainment Services, says his business evolved into a full-scale AV production entity from its roots as a specialty events lighting company. Cincy Entertainment Services specializes in fundraising, holiday, corporate, concerts, and sporting events, with a large portion of their business formed by competitive Cheer competitions through the winter.

Shawn Bernstein is Director of Lighting & Rigging at Prestige AV & Creative Services, also located in Cincinnati. In business for over 35 years, the company began as a small Hotel AV provider, and has grown into a full-service production and AV company with offices in multiple states. Via successful in-house partnerships with hotels and convention centers, they provide production as well as content design and creation services.

Across the state line in Kentucky, Dan Kaufman is the Lighting Department Manager for MAC Productions, Inc. Formed in 1971 as an exposition decorating company before transitioning into A/V, today MAC Productions serves primarily as a live event AV production partner for corporations, associations, and special events that require customized productions for arena, ballrooms, and outdoor events.

REMAX BOC - MAC Productions

Dan comments, “For a city of our size, Cincinnati has quite a few companies in the AV and entertainment sector. Everyone in town tends to get along with each other, as differing business models mean that we’re not in direct competition with each other.”

Bernstein adds, “We work very well together, and try to support each other as best as possible. Prestige, Cincy Entertainment Services, and MAC Productions regularly talk and cross rent gear.”

Hassebeck agrees, saying, “The relationship between our companies is special. We work with a common goal of supporting each other’s needs, and bounce ideas and purchases off one another to better support our greater needs and the market. It allows us to scale up quickly for big jobs and work with familiar gear that we can trust.”

With all three companies being strong HES rental houses (numerous fixtures and Hog 4 control), the introduction of the Halcyon range of framing fixtures spurred a discussion of their next investments.

Shawn says all three had an opportunity to see Halcyon earlier this year: “MAC was the first to pull the trigger on the Halcyon Titanium fixtures. It was the front runner for all of us, due to its compact size with impressive output and flexibility. We have 20 Titanium, and are looking to expand that inventory, possibly adding some Platinum fixtures as well. Fortunately, we are all working in similar size venues with similar needs, so we were quickly able to agree that the size and output of the Titanium would be the best fit for us individually and collectively.”

Kaufman confirms, “We chose the Halcyon Titanium, as it was the sweet spot in the lineup for our purposes. The increased light output of the Titanium without a noticeable increase in size or weight compared to the SolaFrame made it a great choice for us. When Paul Hancock from ETC came to show off the Halcyons, we invited Braden and Shawn to our warehouse for the demo. We all liked them a lot and there was the consensus that the Titanium was the right fixture to purchase.”

Hasselbeck comments, “At the demo we were so collectively impressed, we knew this was the next light for all of us. We discussed what quantity we needed in house to support our own needs, while thinking about the quantity we could offer together.”

Each of the trio mentioned the features of the Titanium that they found most impressive, with Dan saying, “It’s a very versatile fixture; 40,000 lumens makes it very punchy for gobo work and colors, the zoom range is very impressive, and due to the limitations of ballroom hang points, offers a lot of flexibility. Framing shutters are also very important.”

Shawn says, “The price point was right where we were looking, and it gave us a feature packed fixture from a company that has a proven track record of customer service and quality. Having a fixture right about the same size as our SolaFrame 1000s with a higher output was one of the top things we looked at. We do 90% corporate events, so we’re looking for framing shutters, a good stock gobo set, good zoom and focus ratios, and a good clean even beam/field - all of which the Halcyon Titanium provided. My designers like them because they have good output, and have a number of really good breakup gobos which play well for corporate scenic lighting.”

Braden concludes, “I like the versatility the Halcyon range offers. I see the Halcyon as the Swiss Army knife of lights, and hope to increase our inventory since one light can replace several other models we currently own.”



Kaufman says MAC Productions have used Halcyon on shows for many of their clients, including RE/MAX and Gensler. “For RE/MAX, I needed to have enough light output to compete with an LED Wall while using points that were only rated for 500 lbs., so the Halcyons were great for working within our limitations.”

Shawn commented, “Prestige took delivery of 20 units, and as fast as our shop could receive them we were loading them into our Tyler GT truss to head out on their first show in the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. That was the first show out where we used all 20 of ours and all of MAC Productions’ fixtures. They had the punch to really shoot the longer distances across the arena as specials, and worked really well side by side with our other fixtures. Since then, we have used them on numerous shows, including events for ST. Jude Hospital, Cincinnati Insurance, Self Storage Association, and Milton Hershey Schools.”

Asked what Cincy Entertainment gigs their new fleet have been used on, Braden laughs, saying, “LOL, I haven’t! Our partners have kept them rented and my team hasn’t had the chance to use them yet! But I have a very young but talented crew that continues to push each other and better our shows. They have embraced my vision and creativity as a team, and continue to better understand our inventory and continue to expand their creativity in the lighting world with HES fixtures.”

“This was a vision among friends years ago. The Cincinnati market is small but strong. Guys in our industry are friends and our paths cross frequently. I’ve always seen my competitors as friends, and we know there’s a place for each of us; we each have our own special niche. We rarely bid on the same jobs, which allows us to better support each other. Even better, when you get stuck you know you can call on your partners for support to assist with additional gear, and occasionally team up on projects when we get very busy.”

Dan points out, “When working on the MLB All-Star game a few years back, an outside producer remarked on how amazing it was that crews from different companies genuinely got along. I think coming out of Covid took that to a whole new level. Everyone was willing to help each other out, whether with gear, or crew, or contacts. There’s not a large national AV presence in the market, but the resources are here to let us punch above our weight and provide top class service to our clients. Zach Durban is our designer and is always looking for creative ways to use our lighting inventory. I’m excited to see what he comes up with for the Halcyons!”

In closing, Shawn says, “First off, I must give a huge shout to Braden Hasselbeck with Cincy Entertainment Services, along with Dan Kaufman and Zach Durban at MAC Productions. It really has been amazing to see how the relationships we and many others formed over the years have grown into some incredibly strong partnerships. Internally, I’d like to recognize Nate Helton and Jack Sexton, my lead designers / techs who have done great work for our clients, and have both guys spent plenty of time behind Hog consoles, using High End/ETC gear to help bring our clients’ visions to light.”





Stage Lighting Design, Part 6: Color

Previous article

An Array of Choices Part 3: Mint and White

Next article
Bruce Jordahl
Bruce joined the ETC family in 2017. A former magazine editor and journalist, Bruce also worked in marketing at High End Systems throughout the 1990’s, returning as a consultant in 2012. At ETC he covers marketing for the High End Systems product range, and pinch hits on projects for other company departments. Based in Austin, Bruce is a musician and budding record producer, and was nicknamed ‘the ETC musical director’ at Workshop 2018, a moniker he is now comfortable with. He has enjoyed a long side career performing at lighting industry events, loves to talk about his amazing grandchildren, and gets occasional points for sending banana nut bread to his co-workers.