Lightwright 5

Well, just as a guy gets working with Lightwright 4 (yeah, I’m a bit behind the times, as I was on LW3 for years and years), John McKernon is going to be showing Lightwright 5 at LDI in Vegas this year.

Some new features from McKernon’s website:

There is no release date yet for Lightwright 5, but it is likely to be December 2008 or very early 2009.

Anyone who registers a new or upgrade Individual or Institutional license for Lightwright 4 after September 14, 2008 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Lightwright 5 when it is released.

All other users of Lightwright 4 (except students) will be able to purchase upgrades to version 5 at low upgrade-only rates. The status of student licenses is still undetermined.

Easy to use Vectorworksâ„¢ Spotlight 2009 Data Exchange – No more import/export/merge hassles!

Any number of show files can be open at the same time!

Completely rethought and reconceived worknote capabilities, including printing, emailing, and transmitting via network connections!

Multiple-user file history and reconciliation!

Edge Chandeliers

Yanko Design has a post about Hye-Lim Yang’s design for what is being called an “Edge Chandelier.”  Imagine having a fourth of a chandelier with a mirror backing that mounts into a corner.  The mirror creates the illusion of a four-sided chandelier.  Hang one of these in each corner of a room, and you’ve got some output on half of the sources!

RECALLED: Gotham Lighting’s CFLs

Gotham Lighting Recalls Compact Fluorescent Recessed Ceiling Lights; Can Fail to Work in an Emergency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Products: Gotham Compact Fluorescent Downlights (Recessed Ceiling Lights)

Units: About 30,000

Manufacturer: Gotham Lighting, of Conyers, Ga.

Hazard: The relay on the backup battery of the lights could be programmed incorrectly and prevent the lights from functioning in an emergency.

Incidents/Injuries: No injuries have been reported.

Description: Only Gotham Compact Fluorescent Downlights sold with the optional backup battery pack are included in the recall. The lights are recessed ceiling lights that were manufactured between November 1, 2007 and July 31, 2008.

Sold by: Electrical distributors and sales representatives nationwide from November 2007 through July 2008 for between $250 and $350.

Manufactured in: United States and China

Remedy: Consumers should inspect the fixtures immediately and contact Gotham Lighting to receive a repair for the light fixture.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Gotham Lighting at (800) 315-4982 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

LEDs – What?

Most of us only know LED light sources as little bright things that are in electronic components – or, if you’re in the industry, another low-energy consuming source that is getting brighter and brighter.  I found a post at that lists the manufacturing process of “growing” LED lamps.  I highly recommend reading it!

There is also a solid post at that goes into a little more basic detail.  Check that one out too.

Samsung to Manufacture 6-inch LED Wafers

In an article at, Rubicon Technology is listed as delivering news that they are having some shortfalls in selling the 2-inch LED wafers that they spent some time developing – and that they are now going to soon enter production on a 6-inch LED wafer. All of this news comes as Samsung is suspected of starting the manufacturing process on a 6-inch LED wafer.

Rubicon Technology, which is driving a shift to move to a 6-inch substrate wafer on the industry. 2-inch wafer technology has been a long-standing tradition in the LED industry, and breakthroughs are expected from a 6-inch substrate. Shortfalls in the sale of all of this technology have been affected by – yep, you guessed it, the crappy American economy right now. From the article:

The drop comes because the substrate maker has postponed nearly $7 million of orders back into 2009, $2.5 million relating to 2-inch LED substrates and $4.3 million for silicon-on-sapphire RF applications.

Parvez blames producers of LEDs for handheld devices and small displays – who he says are struggling in the current economic climate – for the shortfall. He says these companies exclusively use 2-inch substrates, whereas it seems the users of larger diameter substrates are aiming for market sectors with greater growth potential.

What the heck is LED wafer technology, you might ask? Well, there’s a PDF of some manufacturing processes here, and a page here, and one here. Read up – I did, as I was wondering what the article was talking about. It’s actually interesting stuff.

Dolly Parton Saves the 9-to-5 Musical

I have to link this, because it’s fantastic.

A post over at The Light Network listed a blog post from KTLA’s Morning News about Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” musical, slated to open on Broadway in April of 2009.  Apparently the opening night of Dolly Parton’s musical had some technical difficulties, and Dolly saved the day from her seat.  From the article:

Audience members could hear construction equipment like power drills and saws at work while Dolly continued to charm the audience with a talk about the origins of the musical show; as well as introducing her ‘9 to 5’ film co-stars. As the delay continued, Parton offered to take questions from the audience; and then asked if the audience would like for her to sing another song; ‘I Will Always Love You.’ Before beginning the second number Dolly told the crowd, “Maybe I’ll wait, in case things get screwed up again and I have to fill more time.”

Read the whole article at KTLA Morning News’ blog.

GelCalc from Mike Zinman and The Zinman Co.

We were first inundated with Mike Zinman’s code-creating antics with AutoBlock for AutoCAD.  Then Mike teased our palate with iSwitch DMX, which I just used this weekend to address a bunch of old Lightwave Research gear.  Now Mike Zinman is up to it again with his new lighting-related iPhone app, GelCalc. This application is geared towards us folk in the lighting industry, and takes away the reason to ask the age-old question, “what the hell size color frame does that old beam projector take?”

Behold:  GelCalc from The Zinman Co!  $5.99 was never better spent.  Thanks Mike!

A bit of info from Mike’s website:

For about the price of a sheet of gel, Gel Calc can save you hundreds of dollars each year from wasteful cuts.

Gel Calc is a calculation app for stage lighting designers, electricians, and stage hands.

With Gel Calc, quickly calculate number of sheets, best cutting direction to yield the most frames per/sheet and pricing.

Gel Calc includes a frame picker with over 60 common frame sizes for easy and quick entry, or you can manually enter any frame size using the text fields.

A lookup list, sorted by manufacturer, features over 100 popular frame sizes AND sheet/roll sizes for reference.

No more “What is the frame size for a Selecon Pacific Zoomspot” or “What roll sizes are available for Roscolux color?” This information is ready at your finger tips, just press the LOOKUP button underneath the frame picker.

-Determine total sheets needed for any frame size and qty.
-Determine total yield per sheet.
-Determine the best cutting direction for rectangular frames.
-Use Gel Calc to determine pricing information, including sales tax.
-Use as a reference tool to lookup popular frame, sheet and roll sizes, sorted by manufacturer.
-Imperial and metric units supported.

Mauritian Sunset

An article over from the good folks at Make Magazine detailed a little of UK artist Sandy Smith’s “Mauritian Sunset” installation.  From Sandy’s website:

“Mauritian Sunset” was made for the ‘Great Artspectations’ exhibition at The Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh. A relatively small gallery, and another 2 artists to share the space with, meant that the work had to be as self contained as possible. As the gallery also had large windows, letting in light which could ruin the soft lighting effects of the work, the wall had to be as ‘perfect’ and light-proof as possible.

The resulting wall stretched accross the centre of the main room of the gallery, wall to wall and floor to ceiling, the rear of the computers facing the windows onto the street. A small doorway was built into the wall, only five and a half foot tall, and two foot wide. The monitors facing forwards showed flat colour, working over the wall to create a rough gradient representation of a classic sunset.

I don’t know which I like better – the geek in me loves the picture of the rear of the installation, where the lighting designer in me likes the installation itself.

Weekly WYSIWYG 1: R22 and the Amazing Enhanced Beamage

Editor’s note:  I’m going to be writing a weekly post on some attribute of WYSIWYG or news related to WYSIWYG in the coming year, maybe longer – but I haven’t set a specific day yet for the posts, so stay tuned.

I just bought a copy of WYSIWYG R22, and I discovered something very amazing when working on some pre-viz programming that blew me away:  atmospheric haze rendered in real time.  It’s the most awesome sight when you’re working in live mode and you’re able to have beams rendering with haze acting molecularly while you’re programming!  It’s called “enhanced mode,” and it’s available with release 22.

Seriously, check this out.  Here’s an image of WYSIWYG with the enhanced mode turned off:
(Click the image for higher res)

Now here’s the same image, with the enhanced beam mode turned on:
(Click the image for higher res)

That is fantastic.  There is also a setting in the “view options” menu choice (right click on the shaded view) to have the haze or atmospheric undulating around the visualization – actually moving like haze moves with the airflow.  It’s the box labeled “Animated” under the “Smoke” category.

You can also now control the brightness of the beam, the footprint that falls on the surface, and the lens flare of the beam, which is an excellent attribute to be able to control!

LiteBrite On Crack: Luminodot!

Bandai’s Luminodot from Long Tran on Vimeo.

Anyone remember LiteBrite?  I certainly hope you remember LiteBrite!  It was the analog pixel toy of my youth, and the youth of several millions of others, I would hope.  I can certainly remember playing with that thing in the dark for hours.  My only issue was the black paper – and grateful when my father helped me realize that you could use black construction paper just as well.  Now we have a new-fangled LiteBrite-style toy for the Internet generation – the Luminodot.


Luminodot is like a pixel-creating bit of amazingness.  Using the software included you can animate your LiteBrite-style creation into videos and moving images like there’s no tomorrow.

Check out the original article on Yanko Design.