LOS ANGELES — By the time you flick on the TV at 8 p.m. tomorrow for the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, the massive main stage will be a brain short-circuiting marvel of towering digital screens and lighted, pulsating steel and glass sculptures.
What you won't see is what it took to get to that point. In addition to hundreds of dedicated carpenters, lighting experts, stagehands, riggers and laser techs who worked for weeks to build the set, another army of workers toil out of the camera's view all during the show to keep everything moving in the right direction.
Here's a breakdown of the VMA stage, by the numbers:
Over 1000 That's the number of fans who will crowd onto the floor of Staples Center to watch performances from One Direction, Taylor Swift, Pink and Frank Ocean, as well as newly announced collabos featuring Rihanna with A$AP Rocky and another with the night's house DJ, Calvin Harris, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj with a secret guest and 2 Chainz making his VMA debut.
18: The number of cameras that will be on hand to capture all the action.
12: The amount of VMA performers who will spend at least some time floating above the stage during their sets according to staging producer Gary Landey. "That's definitely the most people we've had in the air during a show and it's more than will actually be performing on the stage," he said.
4.5 minutes: The shortest amount of time the stage crew will have to change over from one performance to the next.
67: The amount of bodies needed to make all that happen.
150: That's how many fans will crowd onto the main stage during one of the show's performances. We can't tell you who, but trust us, it'll be insane.
75: That's how many feet into the audience the gigantic (15,000 pound) Hydroscope Techno Crane camera will swing.
6,000: When Calvin Harris makes his DJing VMA debut , he'll do it from a 6,000-pound twisted geometric satellite stage that weights around 3 tons.
90: It takes an army to keep the show running smoothly, and they'll be communicating during the broadcast with nearly 100 wireless headsets. According to John Arenas, president of TV-Cams, in all the years he's spent providing headsets to major awards shows, this is the most he's ever employed at one time.
13,000: The square footage of hi-res and lo-res video screens that will be employed behind, above and around the performers and presenters during the course of the show. That ranges from the three enormous screens that make up the backdrop of the stage to the thousands of feet of video real estate on the scoreboard hanging over the floor of Staples Center.