With an address in the heart of the New Brunswick, New Jersey's bustling downtown, the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) was always envisioned as a cultural hub -- a premiere arts destination for the tri-state area. That vision became a reality on September 4, 2019 at the NBPAC Grand Opening celebration.
The building of NBPAC was spearheaded by the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO). The project was a collaboration between numerous public and private organizations and was supported by many prominent New Jersey figures, including New Brunswick's own Mayor James M. Cahill.
For nearly two years, New Brunswick eagerly awaited the completion of one of "the most significant urban development initiatives in New Jersey." As the brand-new performing arts center began to take shape, DEVCO called on our sister company, MediaCutlet, to bring the NBPAC Grand Opening gala to life.
NBPAC Grand Opening: Our event production services
To produce an event of this scale, we needed the help of the wider Hurricane Productions/MediaCutlet team. In total, we mobilized 17 of our staff members and contractors to provide a variety of services leading up to and during the Grand Opening gala.
Prior to the event, David Costantini took professional headshots and property photos for NBPAC's Playbill and press packet. These materials highlighted the NBPAC staff, its member companies, and its two state-of-the-art theaters, named for notable patrons of the New Jersey arts community.
Guest experience and client support
Chelsea Rutkowski handled staffing needs and client communications for the Grand opening, and supported NBPAC staff during the event to ensure an incredible experience for their guests.
Living wall and 'Purple Carpet' photo activation
When your guest list includes the city Mayor, the county Freeholder Director, the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, and the State Senate President, you roll out the red carpet -- or the Purple Carpet, in NBPAC's case. Several of our team members, including Nick Nittoli and Vincent Velasquez, designed and assembled a living hedge wall with a custom NBPAC logo and floral decor. This activation served as a celebrity-style photo op for guests as they arrived at the gala.
Official event photography and videography
To truly capture the details of a live event, you need to be everywhere at once. That's why we had multiple team members shooting photos and video footage throughout the building during the NBPAC Grand Opening.
The media team included John O'Boyle, Jocelyn Prescod, and Raymond Clinkscale for photography, Michael Struening for video interviews, Corynn Egreczky and David Costantini for event videography, and Tyler Ajamian for aerial drone video.
Strato Doumanis worked closely with the MediaCutlet, DEVCO, and NBPAC teams to provide audio support for the event speakers and videographers.
Real-time social media coverage
Nicole Fallon and Sean Peek took over NBPAC's Instagram and Twitter accounts for the evening to provide live social media coverage of the Grand Opening.
Same-day video editing
After directing our video team throughout the night, Markus Robinson produced an impressive three-minute edit of the footage, delivered mere hours after the end of the event.
Have a corporate event coming up? We can help.
While Hurricane Productions specializes in private events, our team offers all of the above services and more for grand openings, awards shows, trade shows, workshops, conferences, and other corporate events under the MediaCutlet brand. To learn more about our private and corporate event production services, fill out the form below or request a custom quote to get started.
If you would like to receive booking information or would like to make an appointment please contact us using the form below.
Hurricane Productions was tasked with creating a "wow" factor that would draw customers in for the Audi Q5 Launch event, held at Audi of Freehold.
On top of a dazzling display of custom animations and video projections, our team illuminated the columns in the dealership with a colorful lighting system, highlighted in our blog post about the event. Audi of Greenwich Connecticut liked what they saw, and asked Hurricane to install permanent uplighting in their recently-opened facility.
Co-founder Vincent Velasquez and Nick Nittoli, director of operations, thoroughly discussed lighting needs with the Connecticut-based dealership, and recommended various lighting fixtures to achieve the desired look. From there, Nick drove out to Connecticut early one morning to install the entire system for them before the sales floor opened for the day.
"Audi of Greenwich had a slightly smaller showroom [than Freehold], so they were able to take advantage of a wireless system to control the lights," Nick explained. "The lights were programmed to various color scenes so the dealership could change the colors at the click of a button."
After completing the installation, which took approximately four hours, the Hurricane team educated Audi staff members on how to operate the system properly. However, Nick is able to access the dealership's lighting all the way from Hurricane's New Jersey headquarters in case there's ever an issue.
"The benefit of going with a computer-based system is that it allows us to connect remotely to troubleshoot any potential problems, perform maintenance or to provide any additional programming," Nick added.
Hurricane was honored to work with such a prestigious brand in multiple locations, and the team hopes to help other businesses attract customers with beautiful custom lighting displays.
"It's always rewarding to improve the overall appearance of a something," said Nick. "To beable to do it with the premium brand – that's just icing on the cake."
From brand activations, tradeshows, and corporate functions of all sizes - Hurricane Productions is comprised of solution-oriented team leaders.
One of our most recent clients asked us to develop a 'show-opener' for an award show. A basketball arena hosted the show - so the effect not only had to 'wow' an audience of over 1,000 people, but it needed to be safe.
After meeting with the client and communicating with fire safety professionals, Nick Nittoli (Director of Operations) presented a special effect that checked all the boxes.
Sparkular - a safe, environmentally-friendly indoor fireworks system - was used under the control of Hurricane to light up the stage as the show's emcee welcomed the guests to the event. Hurricane programmed, synchronized, and safely controlled through Sparkular's fireworks simulator machines.
Unlike typical indoor fireworks, this non-pyrotechnic system is neither hazardous nor explosive. When the Sparkular machine is activated - a specialized powder safely combusts - providing a dazzling firework display.
As an added precaution, Sparkular machines come with an emergency stop tilt function. It automatically stops the fireworks program if the machine is tipped over or tilted more than 45 degrees.
Learn more about how we can develop creative solutions for your event by contacting us here.
The Club Alex concept began as a joke amongst students spending late hours at Alexander Library preparing for finals.
Rutgers partners with Hurricane annually to bing this clever anecdote to life as part of 'Senior Week' at the university.
On most college campuses, Senior Week is simultaneously the most exciting and the most stressful time of the year. Between completing final projects, studying for exams, and preparing to enter the "real world," graduating seniors have a lot on their plates. For many of them, balancing academic and career pursuits with a little bit of fun in their last weeks of school is the key to avoiding burnout.
Since 2014, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, has given its graduating class a proper send-off.
With an exciting night of dancing, refreshments, and activities in a familiar setting, the university library is transformed into Club Alex.
According to a Rutgers blog post, students have had a longstanding tongue-in-cheek joke about Alexander Library being a nightclub, especially during finals.
"Sorry, I can't go out tonight," they'd say, "I'm spending the night at Club Alex."
Three years ago, the university brought Club Alex to life by turning the library's reference room into a fully-functional nightclub – and they've been doing it ever since.
Vincent Velasquez and Strato Doumanis, co-founders of Hurricane and MediaCutlet, produced Audi Casino Night, and brought together the unique talents and assets of each company to make the event one to remember for staff and patrons of the dealership. The team built what they called the "Hurricane Canopy," a large structure that allowed Hurricane's lighting director Nick Nittoli to hook up purple full ballroom uplighting, strobe lights and CO2 jets for a club-style haze effect. On one wall of the dealership, Strato coordinated projection mapping to create a lit-up, electric environment like one might find in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
"We projected the Audi logo, the Q5 launch commercial, and just some other animations and effects to make this place really come alive and look like a casino," said Strato in a behind-the-scenes MediaCutlet video.
There was no shortage of entertainment during the event. In keeping with the casino theme, attendees could choose from casino-style games like blackjack, roulette and craps. Hurricane DJ Alvin kept the music going in between sets of the live band that played throughout the evening, while an aerial silk performance artist wowed the crowd.
The media team at MediaCutlet made sure the event was well-documented. In addition to capturing on-the-ground video, MediaCutlet flew a DJI Mavic Pro drone for great footage inside and outside the dealership.
Every event you're about to see in this post is a staple of the Hurricane Event Production portfolio.
Although we produce private events like Sweet 16s and Weddings, these larger-scale corporate events are important to the company and part of the fabric of New Jersey.
All of this content, event production as well as the videos themselves, were created by our in-house staff.
1. Audi Grand Opening – Corporate Event Production
From soup to nuts, everything you see in this video is provided in coordination with Hurricane Productions: Lighting, Audio, Projection, Production. We transformed this dealership to what you see in this video.
2. AARA Trade Show – Audiovisual and Video Support
Since 2012, Hurricane is an integral part of AARA's annual trade show hosted in Somerset, NJ and Edison, NJ on rotating years. We provide sound, lighting and coordinate the company's branding and social media efforts. Hurricane Productions has a secondary brand which acts as its Corporate AV Production arm called CANE AV. (caneav.com/)
Hurricane started within the DM organization a decade ago when the event was barely raising over $100,000 for Embrace Kids Foundation. In the last decade, the teams at Hurricane and Dance Marathon work in concert, year-round, to create the largest student-run philanthropic event in the state.
4. The Yard – Activation, Talent, and Event Calendar
When it comes to community events at The Yard, DEVCO hires MediaCutlet to consult on the who, what, when. But when it comes the how: Hurricane executes the events from the nuts and bolts end of things: Production, music, etc. It's the perfect marriage of how both brands exist under one roof. Hurricane helps fill the event calendar and produce events at The Yard.
5. Weddings and Private Events
Weddings and Sweet 16s give Hurricane the ability to connect with families and showcase their full scope of abilities. Private events also provide a safe training ground for interns and young photo, video, and DJ talent. Weddings and private events give Hurricane access to families and young influencers in the state, turning them into clients and onto our other services. Even Hurricane's path to producing the AARA Trade Show came by way of a Sweet 16 for the director's daughter.
Corporations seeking a motivational and hi-tech space for an upcoming event should look no further than High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. The home of the Scarlet Knights features a number of event spaces - including the Brown Recruiting Pavilion - that can accommodate a variety of corporate functions of all shapes and sizes.
The pavilion is accentuated by tall glass windows and an outdoor deck that overlooks the football field.
Hurricane Productions provides audio and visual solutions for the unique space as well as other locations around Rutgers University.
At a recent event hosted by Allstate, Hurricane helped the insurance leader integrate its own technology with existing technology operated by the University.
This list usually stands as our annual “Top 25 Live Events.” Although that feature is wildly popular amongst our private event clients, we felt like it was time to move away from that format.
Hurricane continues to evolve and the question always arises: What else does your company do?
This list is a true snapshot of who we are, what we do and where we are heading in 2015:
8. Vincent and Strato launched Hurricane Innovation LLC, offer social media consulting to small and mid-sized businesses.
Starting another business isn't just about creating a website or coming up with a name. We needed clients. We needed a vision. So with the help of some of our existing web clients, Rutgers University and the addition of Journal Multimedia, Caesars Entertainment, and The Olde Mill Inn, we evolved into a social media and video consulting firm.
And we have our former General Manager, Julia Crimi, to thank for making sure that Hurricane Productions operated at full strength while we jumped into our new endeavor.
7. We got more social (and accessible) to our clients with #HurricaneSocial
Every company should do this: Let your employees be themselves ... and share it on all forms of social media.
With the help of a company-wide hashtag, we implemented a way to aggregate all of this content from each popular social media platform and display it in real-time.
If you want a true snapshot of what we're doing, where we're going (as a company and individuals) please visit HurricaneProductions.com/social or just type #hurricanesocial into your favorite social media platform.
When RFootball fans enter High Point Solutions Stadium for Saturday's opener versus Howard, they'll be treated to new visual experiences throughout the game.
One of those enhancements is a same-day video edit produced by Hurricane Productions.
The 60-second RFootball videos will document the fanfare and pageantry of each Rutgers Football home game. From tailgates to pre-game traditions, each video will vary as the Big Ten atmosphere arrives 'on the Banks.'
"Our video product is cutting edge and engaging," said Hurricane Productions CEO Vincent Velasquez who is also a Rutgers College alumnus. "We're excited to partner with Rutgers Athletics in this capacity."
The Rutgers football video will be filmed during pre-game festivities and the first half of the game. It will be edited by half-time and displayed on the LED scoreboard in the second-half of each home game.
Hurricane is also slated to produce a "Legendary Moments" video segment sponsored by the Rutgers University Alumni Association. Those videos will be shown in the stadium and shared via social media. The "Legendary Moments" videos will compile archived video footage and graphics from landmark achievements in RFootball history.
Hurricane and Rutgers University have a longstanding relationship.
The company provides media support, entertainment, production and event consultation services throughout the year to various University departments.
For more information about Hurricane's work around campus, click here.
In an industry where aesthetics are everything, new, high-tech wireless speakers stand out.
Introducing the new Sennheiser LSP 500 Pro series; totally wireless speakers for the cleanest set up ever. With a name like Sennheiser, you can expect the highest quality sound reproduction coupled with extreme ease-of-use. Hurricane Productions is proud to offer the use of this amazing technology to our clients.
With the wireless capabilities of the system, it's possible to seamlessly link up to 20 speakers together with one embedded master transmitter.
For us, it's an easy and lightning-fast setup; for you, it's a beautiful and truly aesthetic feel for your event.
The advantages don't stop there. These wireless speakers are battery-powered for up to six hours - making them the perfect choice for corporate and hotel conferences, Sweet 16s and weddings.
With a built-in wireless receiver the user can adjust equalizer settings and volume, play music from a USB drive, and integrate multiple wireless microphones into the mix; all with a single app on iPad or iPhone.
To match an elegant space like the Audi Club in the Hale Center at Rutgers University, it's essential to use equally aesthetically pleasing equipment. No wires means an extraordinarily clean look in the venue with virtually no footprint!
If you're interested in using this new state of the art system for your next event, contact us or call 888.393.7066.
When people look at back at Hurricane's 2013, it'll be highlighted by expanding its reach across the northeast. Hurricane used the powerful tool of social media content and marketing to move into other markets.
A strategy that kicked off 2013 with a press conference that announced the company's expansion to Boston, Hurricane saw a boost in regional exposure.
Aside from the live events documented in this post, Hurricane owners/founders Strato Doumanis and Vincent Velasquez created consultation sessions with mid-sized businesses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The seminars used Hurricane Productions' marketing model in the private events platform to demonstrate how to grow brands online.
A majority of 2013's events featured unique hashtags that helped clients share moments via photos and videos on Instagram but also stream and print pics in real-time at each unique event.
The Story: Christina and Shanna celebrated a wedding during a summer that rewrote a history in NJ that previously did not recognize same-sex marriages.
The couple chose the hashtag #cswed2013 which helped Hurricane collect over 200 photos from family and friends on Instagram. The pics streamed to a screen setup by the bar and printed as photo favors for guests.
The beautiful, lakeside restaurant, located in the heart of New York City, is also host to private and corporate events. Gorgeous dining rooms, shaded patios and delicious catering menus make the Loeb Boathouse Central Park an ideal destination for your next corporate event.
Phi Sigma Sigma celebrated their Centennial Anniversary with dinner and dancing at the Boathouse. The dinner was one event during a week full of activities to celebrate and commemorate the organization. The Loeb Boathouse served as a central location that allowed women of all ages to connect and celebrate.
Hurricane's photography team captured the event. Hurricane's photographers were not just present at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. They also spent the entire week with Phi Sigma Sigma documenting the Centennial Celebration.
Hurricane Productions offers photography and video services for corporate events like Phi Sigma Sigma's. Coverage can be determined on a day by day basis or event by event basis. Phi Sigma Sigma chose to use Hurricane for the entire Centennial week. The week culminated with a photo montage recapping the events.
To learn more about Hurricane Productions' corporate entertainment, production and photography, visit the website or call - 888.393.7066.
From moving into a new office right in the heart of downtown Red Bank to helping celebrate the wedding of one of the company's first Sweet 16 clients, 2011 can be defined as a year when the Hurricane Productions brand started to 'grow up' with its clients.
It has given me the ability to enjoy college life and work a second job that I love just as much as DJ entertainment. But most of all, its given the the opportunity to reach out to so many different people in so many different places.
We've been all over New Jersey. We've entertained in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York, and Brooklyn. Our videos and music have been seen and heard all over this great country and even in the Netherlands. I've gotten phone calls from companies in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Phoenix and emails from people overseas. And all of this is from a company that worked its first party in a backyard in Morganville, NJ five years ago today.
I'll never forget that party - an eighth grade graduation for a friend's sister. Strato and I worked three days straight beforehand building a small music library and making sure my dad's speakers and amplifier set from the 1980s still had some juice in them. My dad drove us to the party (we were 16 years old) and we played music for four hours. Strato liked changing the CDs in our two five-disc changers and I fell in love with talking on the microphone. Strato became a DJ, I became an MC.
We didn't charge that family any money, but afterwards the mom came to us and handed me an envelope with a tip. I took half and Strato took half. Boom. A 50-50 partnership was born.
Last night Strato and I looked back on our entire collections of emails and reminisced about all the gigs and jobs we worked and all the different people in our lives.
On the entertainment side, we just keep growing. Everyday we make improvements to our product. Strato and I brainstorm and make things happen. Our talents are so diverse but at the same time, it is the secret ingredient that many have tried to copy and/or discover on their own.
We work long hours, but it is expected because we own and operate the company. But on top of that, we have to make it to your event energetic and fun. I've never complained about any event we've worked. Even one I showed up to with pink eye and a dent on my front bumper after a car accident!
In 2004 and 2005, we worked at a day camp in Manalapan and taught kids how to DJ on our amateur system. Every Friday the entire camp would gather in a large pavilion and listen to Strato play the Cha Cha Slide and watch me teach them new instructional dances. It was taxing work. Especially since another DJ company, a more experienced one, worked larger events for the camp. We were constantly criticized and put under a microscope.
Peers of ours would talk behind our backs and laugh every time we mentioned DJing. Even our own families doubted the company would survive once we entered college.
But here we are, five years later. And still working hard, still making a difference in people's lives. I don't know if many people are able to fathom how much of a responsibility it is on us to be accountable for family memories. Ten years from now, a Sweet 16 girls is going to look back on her video and remember how much fun she had. A bride and groom will always remember their first dance. All of that is captured in photos and video and Hurricane Productions is a huge part of making all of those memories happen in time.
Every party is unique to me and my passion for entertainment keeps each party fresh and new. I could work 52 weeks straight and entertain the same type of event, but it will always be different. Each week I'm greeted into a new family and make new personal connections.
It has not always been easy. We've gone through some hard times in our personal lives and in our family lives. Still, DJing and entertainment is always a release for me. I'll never forget having to wake up on a Friday morning to bury my grandmother in Brooklyn and then rush back to New Jersey to work a wedding. I was just 17-years old. I'll never forget going through a rough breakup with an ex-girlfriend and the next day having to work an engagement party for a young, happy couple. Sometimes we forget, myself included, that we are people too and we need the entertainment just as much as our clients.
One thing that really stuck out to me was the amount of charity and volunteer work we've done over the past five years. In year one and two, 2003 and 2004, we volunteered our small PA system to the Keansburg Library so that they could cut the red tape in front of their new building in style. And how did they celebrate? We played music and danced into the night.
We also entertained our high school's fundraisers for little or no money. We introduced varsity sports teams into the gymnasium for pep rallies, and provided music for two Walk-a-Thons.
Working for the Knights of Columbus in Sayreville in 2004-2006 always sticks out in my mind. We helped a man named Tom, a guy in his mid-forties in the National Guard, put together dances for his "Squires," or in layman's terms -- teenagers interested in the KOC. In early 2006 we found out Tom was deployed to Arizona and then to Iraq. We haven't heard from him since, but we hope the work we did for him touched the individuals he aimed to please.
This past year we donated our entire staff's weekend in the first week of April (and DJ companies know how valuable a Spring weekend can be) to Rutgers Dance Marathon. DM is a 32-hour event that raises money for the Embrace Kids Foundation in New Brunswick, NJ. Embrace Kids serves families with children that have blood and cancer disorders. This year, DM raised over $320,000. And thanks to contributions from our clients, we were able to make a $630.00 donation. Better yet, we're already signed on for next year.
Helping Dance Marathon and the Embrace Kids Foundation is a true sign of our company's maturity. We've gone from using a PA system for opening a public library to touching the lives of so many families in need in a critical time in their lives. Both are so important in their respective ways, but I get emotional thinking that we've grown so quickly to be able to staff a 32-hour, non-stop event.
Like my recently deceased grandfather said "Show me who your friends are, and I'll show you who you are."
The reason I mention that is because Hurricane Productions is not just Strato and myself. It is Ashley Best, Jon Brooks, Samantha Cella, DJ LaLima, Kyle Gries, Ed Romani, and Alex Rosenkranz. These are the people, no matter how big or small their roles are, that make this company work and work very well.
And even some of the people who came before them, like the Doctor of Style, Mike Mendez, have contributed to this company.
But most importantly, we have been able to grow these last five years because of the dedication our clients show us. We have so many repeat customers and return business. So many of our clients have become friends that constantly keep in contact with us. Their continued business is much appreciated. They trust us, and in return, we trust them tenfold.
We've labeled our company as "The business of building great entertainment." But I would argue, we're in the business of building great and everlasting relationships.
Thank you for the past five years and cheers to many more, Vincent Velasquez Co-Founder, Co-Owner, Master of Ceremonies