On August 24, 1995 Microsoft and a production team of well over 250 people took over the 12 acre sports field at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters to celebrate the Launch of Windows95
Led by Executive Producer Glenn Abrams, Creative Directors Jim Ritter and Nic Pearce from the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of The Caribiner Group, and Technical Directors John Halloran and Microsoft's Jon Bromberg, the Launch Event was held for a private audience of over 500 press representatives, and 2,000 computer industry heavyweights while more than 70,000 watched live world-wide via satellite television feeds.

Executive Producer Glenn Abrams and host of NBC's Tonight Show Jay Leno during rehearsal for the seven camera 90 minute live TV broadcast with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

The production crew worked from five on-site office trailers, two satellite transmission trucks and a 66' broadcast control truck, setting-up a giant ferris wheel and forty-eight white pavilions housing food, games and exhibits.
The pavilion tents were located on a 12 acre site made up of two soccer fields and a baseball diamond at Microsoft's Redmond, WA headquarters. The tents ranged in size from 10' x 10' to 131' x 214' - one of the largest free-span tents in the U.S. with no vertical interior support poles.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Creative Director Nic Pearce, and Executive Producer Glenn Abrams stand outside the Main Tent discussing activities to take place during the Windows95 Launch / Expo.

Inside the 30' high Main Tent there was a production crew of more than 20 technicians backed by a stage crew of over 40 who installed a custom broadcast stage with raked traveler curtains, five video projection screens, a giant moving "Start" button and a custom designed 60' wide scenic Kabuki drop.

A broadcast production crew of over 40 executed a 90 minute, seven-camera live satellite broadcast with Bill Gates, Jay Leno - host of NBC's Tonight Show, and over 500 members of the Windows '95 development team.

The event included a live satellite remote originating from Paramount's Great America Amusement Park near San Francisco where they demonstrated the new Microsoft Network, as well as two additional broadcast remotes from vignette stages located within two of the product expo pavilions on the event site.
In addition, within the 2500 seat air conditioned main tent, live computer demonstrations of Windows95 originated from over sixteen backstage PC and laptop computers and sixteen film segments were presented. These segments had been produced by five different film productions teams shooting simultaneously in New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle with post-production in Minneapolis, LA, San Francisco and Seattle.
Outside, each of the 48 white pavilion tents were topped with 24 flags and filled with 74 custom designed multi-colored banners, over 54,000 sq. ft. of black Astro Turf and more than 350 multi-colored computer pedestals. The pedestals were used by more than 188 independent hardware and software providers who demonstrated Windows95 inside the pavilions for the attendees following the broadcast in the Main Tent.

Additional Factoids

  1. Certainly the biggest at the time, the Microsoft START button, at 16.5' x 6.5', was suspended from a computer operated motion control servo system guiding the speed and travel of the backlit scenic piece.

  2. There were over 150 Phone Lines installed for the event.

  3. Potable Water and Restrooms were installed accommodating over 8,500 attendees.

  4. There were 600 linear feet of 20" truss used for Pavilion Entrances.

  5. There were 24 Truss Identification Banners.

  6. 74 Interior Pavilion Theme Banners were hung with 2350 feet of aircraft cable.

  7. There were 69 Hands-On / On-line Computer Workstations.

  8. There were 188 Third Party Corporate Participant Identifiers Graphic Kiosks

  9. There were 316 Pavilion Tent Anchor Points, each with 14 feet of guy-wire.

  10. There were 4,424 feet of Window Pennant Flags on the Tents.

  11. There was over 2,300 linear feet of Site Perimeter Safety Fencing.


Microsoft Windows95

Launch Event / Expo and Broadcast