Staging and rigging company sets new stage during pandemic


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Courtesy of Mountain Productions

With festivals, concerts, and large-scale events canceled, Mountain Productions pivots entire business with AutoCAD

In the face of COVID-19, a staging and rigging company finds new opportunities to keep its business open and, most importantly, help to save lives. With all previous designs in AutoCAD, they were able to modify structures within 48 hours for delivery to the medical field.

Transforming entertainment structures into medical structures

Imagine the rapt audience at the NFL Draft as new draft picks are announced and welcomed on stage. Or fans flocking the stages at the world’s largest hip-hop festival, Rolling Loud, for a glimpse at their favorite hip-hop star. With custom structures and rigging, these are the type of experiences Mountain Productions has delivered for more than 18,000 entertainment, corporate, and government events over the past 40 years.

Stage and performance at Rolling Loud. Courtesy of Mountain Productions.

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But now that has all changed. When the true impact of COVID-19 became apparent and large-scale events were canceled, Mountain Productions decided to pivot completely and take on the battle to combat the pandemic. Now, the goal of the newly created MTN Emergency Services division is to save lives with the redesigns of modular medical structures and production of PPE. And their pivot happened within a matter of days in March.

“Once the pandemic began to grip the world, we knew it was time to act,” says Ricky Rose, CEO, Mountain Productions. “We’ve done extensive research and interviews with large healthcare institutions, doctors, and government officials to ensure we address the needs of all who would utilize our more than 25 unique modular emergency facilities. It took approximately 48 hours to redeploy our teams and modify our structures in AutoCAD to meet the needs of the medical field.”

Quick redesign, modifications, and deployment with AutoCAD

Using their existing equipment and existing designs in AutoCAD, MTN Emergency Services group is producing large-scale mobile hospitals, mobile testing centers, temporary living quarters, and emergency response structures that accommodate up to 30,000 square feet.

3D model of a medical support structure. Courtesy of Mountain Productions.

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The design team found it easy to make the changes in AutoCAD and add the medical-grade components required to transform their structures. According to the team, the ability to create 2D drawings freely and with expedience is an immense advantage. And the great flexibility in cross-collaboration due to the ability to import and export files of different types makes the workflow easier.

“Most of the designs were retrofits of existing structures so very little was needed to change these robust structures into a deployable system,” says Matthew Griffith, Director of Operations, EIT-Mountain Productions “Entertainment structures need to be able to hold enormous amounts of weight to support lighting, audio, and video production, but also have a clear span and a lot of head height. The medical industry didn’t need 70' tall structures, so we adjusted the designs in AutoCAD to be optimized for faster build times and have head heights in the 15-20' range instead.”

“The speed and accuracy at which we were able to launch MTN Emergency Services is a true testament to AutoCAD and the amazing team that we have working across continents to create solutions for real-time problems that can help those in grave need.”

Ron Rose, Marketing Director, Mountain Productions

International collaboration with AutoCAD and Dropbox integration

Mountain Productions also relies on Dropbox and its integration with AutoCAD for file-sharing between all four offices. When creating MTN Emergency Services, the teams were working between Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Dublin, Ireland; and Sicily, Italy. AutoCAD 3D models were sent from the U.S. office to Sicily to be built out into full hi-res renderings for both video and stills.

“One of our Dublin-based design members was quarantined in Italy, which resulted in the entire team collaborating between the time zones,” says Rose. “Due to the time zones, we were essentially able to work around the clock between design edits and updates, and then publish onto our new website. You would not believe the efficiencies that were created during this period. Our total work output greatly expanded during this project.”

Manufacturing protective gowns

In addition to the redesign of structures and temporary hospitals, the company also reassigned more than 25 of its staff to produce PPE—primarily anti-microbial vinyl protective gowns—in its Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania headquarters.

The staff continues to work around the clock to ensure these gowns get to those on the front lines. Since they first started manufacturing, tens of thousands of gowns are now in the hands of first responders and frontline workers who are fighting this virus head-on.

“We are so pleased with the work of our internal team of sewing professionals. They have been amazing throughout this project. It is a proud undertaking for all involved,” says Rose.

Manufacturing of protective gowns at Mountain Productions’ Wilkes-Barre facility. Courtesy of Mountain Productions.

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