A Larson Scanner Project – I Almost Forgot Halloween Was Here!

Would you believe I got to sleep in today?  Also, WHY was I not told that HALLOWEEN is already here?!  I have to come up with yet another tasteless costume commentary on life, news, and celebrity deaths!

Oh, the tasteless fun…

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But nonetheless JUST as exciting, HALLOWEEN LIGHTING PROJECT TIME!  How many times of year do geeks and nerds like us get to add the element of light to the inside of a pumpkin?  Not enough, says this observer.  I got news of a cool post at one of my favorite DIY blogs, Evil Mad Scientist Labs, who has created the Larson Scanner Kit for your pumpkins and everything else you need a series of scanning red LEDs to make better.  Glen A. Larson was the guy who invented the red scanning LED idea for the Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica series – properties master indeed!

Evil Mad Scientist Labs makes use of the ATtiny2313 microcontroller chip for power efficiency, and has improved upon their original design for a Larson Scanner kit.  Nice work, fellas!

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All photos from oskay’s photostream on Flickr.

More LDI Tweetup News: JimOnLight and iSquint #ldi2009 #ldi09tweetup

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Remember when JimOnLight.com and iSquint.net asked you to save the date for an LDI TWEETUP?

AWWW YEAH – MORE INFORMATION!

When: Friday, November 20th
Time:
8pm
Where:
The Peabody Hotel Lobby Bar
Who:
Anyone and Everyone
Why
:       Do we really need to ask this?

JimOnLight.com and iSquint.net have teamed up to bring you a massive tweetup at LDI this year.  Not only will it give everyone a chance to meet and put a face to the twitter name, but also a chance to network and get to know your fellow professionals and other lovers of the lumens.

JimOnLight.com and iSquint also have some other things in store for everyone that attends the tweetup – while the tweetup begins at 8pm, the real fun and announcements start at 9pm. If you are going to LDI this year, be sure to stop by the tweetup, you’ll be happy you did!

Look for an invite to show up on @jimonlight and @isquint before the week is out.

High End Systems – The Blackstone Audio Days

Have you ever heard of Blackstone Audio?  JimOnLight reader Joey van der  Berg just sent me a link to a really retro-excellent video from the early days of High End Systems and their rental stock of lighting – when it was Lowell Fowler’s first company, Blackstone Audio.  The video is below.

Lowell’s bio (founder of High End) on the High End website gives a little history:

along with wife Sue, he founded Blackstone Audio Visual, a production company marketing to touring groups and special events. In 1986, along with partner [Richard] Belliveau, High End Systems began wholesaling lighting products to the entertainment industry on a global basis. Shortly thereafter, the company moved into the design and manufacturing of microprocessor-based lighting fixtures and control systems. In addition to serving as CEO and/or President of the company for over 25 years Fowler has held various capacities primarily in the sales and marketing organizations. He is currently a member of the senior management group and serves on the Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Texas.

I was looking a little further into the background of High End Systems, and it started out as Blackstone, then became LightWave Research (the people with the original Intellabeams) and then High End Systems.  Most of the progress seems as though it was technology driven.  An engineer named Steve Tulk who started with Blackstone Audio tells a little of his story:

In 1984 I began working at Blackstone Audio Visual as a repair and installation tech. During the 3 years of working in Clubs and Disco’s, I was privledged to have been involved with some of the most elaborate systems built in the US in the 1980’s. Lighting was just beginning to “evolve” in the US market. Much of this was driven by the lights that Blackstone imported from Europe for it’s own installations. Eventually Blackstone opened a small distribution company and called it Highend Systems.

In 1986 the FDA loosened the restrictions on class 3A lasers. This allowed a very contraversial product known as “Laser Chorus” to be built and sold into clubs. Laser Chorus was a low power laser that came in 4 different colors and was able to be safely used directly on the audience. Since this was such a new and novel product, it became very popular.

Following the popularity of Laser Chorus, another revolutionary product was born called Color Pro. The Patented Color Pro system used 3 light bulbs with dichroic filters to seperate the light into Red, Green and Blue then re-combine them into 1 light beam again to allow for almost any color to be produced from it. Since dichroic color filters were fairly new to the entertainment lighting industry, there were no inexpensive sources of these filters, only very expensive scientific grade filters which really weren’t very precise either. With that need for filters in the lighting industry, Blackstone opened another division called Lightwave Research. Four men (including myself) made lighting history by building the first optical thinfilm coating laboratory for production of dichroic filters for the entertainment lighting industry. Color Pro was a HUGE success and launched Highend Systems/Lightwave Research up to the next level.

Interesting. I am so looking forward to LDI.  Check out the video:

Peter Miller’s Fireflies – Exposing Fireflies to Photographic Paper

Artist Peter Miller performed an interesting experiment, and as we say – “fortune favors the bold.”  Peter took some fireflies (you know, lightning bugs) and put them in a room with some unexposed polaroids, and then once again with unexposed color photographic paper.

A simple experiment.  An interesting experiment.  I certainly didn’t think of it.

About Peter Miller:

Peter Miller is an artist living and making work in Cologne. He took his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is originally from Vermont and apprenticed to be a silversmith. His films are distributed by Lightcone and are in the collection of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

His film and photographic work is preoccupied with magic and generally investigates the phenomena of the cinema and its constituent, irreducible elements: lens, light, flicker, audience, projection, etc.

Check out the resulting images – the first is the fireflies on polaroid papers:

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The second image is the opposite, on a background scale at least.  Having the lightning bugs on color photograph paper gave the effect of a white background:

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Alan Jaras’ “Caustics” – Bending, Twisting, Broken Light

My wonderful wife sent me a link to a new blog I can read called My Modern Met – the link was to light artist Alan Jaras’ work with what he calls “caustics” – patterns of light that are cast by sending a beam of light through a plastic form that has texture and shape.  The light cast through the plastic material is then captured directly onto 35mm film by taking away the lens and putting the transparent plastic in its place.  Pretty cool, huh?

Check out these images from Alan Jaras – and check out his Flickr page.  He’s “Reciprocity” on Flickr.  Great work, Alan!

Just an FYI – none of these images are digitally altered.  All naturale, baby.

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Thanks a lot, Alice!

Torch Chandelier – or Flashlight Chandelier, to the Americans Among Us

We had some funny conversations in Sweden about the word “flashlight.”  You see, when you live in the US, a “flashlight” is the thing that you grab when you need a portable illumination device that can be powered with batteries.  When you live everywhere else in the world, that flashlight is called a torch.

“Hey, where is the flashlight?”
“What the hell is a flashlight?”
“It’s a – it’s a flashlight, dude.  You know, a flashlight.”
“Oh.  You mean a torch.”
“Okay, cool.  So where is that flashlight?”

Nice.

Check out this version of a hanging luminaire from Anarc of Germany – the Torch Chandelier:

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Anarc’s Torch Chandelier is literally a bunch of flashlights (I mean torches) that are wired together, fitted with LED lamps, and – well, no and, that’s pretty much it.  It’s simple, it’s awesome, and best of all, it’s simple.  It’s almost a mockery of the flashlight, isn’t it?

I like mockery.

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I highly recommend checking out Anarc’s site – there is a lot of material to see!

Lighting at the Frankfurt Airport in Germany

I had a two hour layover at Frankfurt Airport in Germany on my way to the USA from Sweden.  After I had found my gate (after consequently going from one end of the airport to the other, lost), I noticed that the airport had some amazing lighting!

Of course I noticed that.  Of course I did.  I am a nerd.

I have been looking for the one fixture that I saw the most of when I was walking around – the application of this fixture was genius in my opinion.  Frankfurt Airport has a large area of its walkways with very low ceilings made from what appear to be aluminum beams spaced about two inches apart.  Instead of sticking some linear fluorescent fixtures or otherwise half-hearted design idea in this space, they have mounted clusters of these Siteco brand washers that give the ceiling a really great look.  The color temperature is rather warm, and contrasts nicely with the daylighting coming in from the windows.  Take a look:

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The fixtures are mounted on a hanging trapeze of sorts, and I think I only saw them in groups of six at a time.  The Siteco logo is very small on some of the luminaires, and I have been looking for about an hour for the model information for them.  I have an email into Siteco asking about the fixture – I’ll update the post when I hear back.

They were really beautiful – simple, directional, and effective.  They created wonderful hot spots on the ceiling that washed across large areas on the metal ceiling structure.  Very cool.

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Household Flash Reflectors and Diffusers – David E. Jackson’s Experiment

I just read an excellent blog post from photographer David E. Jackson about altering the flash in photographs using household items like a cheese grater, a collander, a white plastic trash can, a metal mixing bowl, and some other stuff.  David’s experiment netted some outstanding results – two of my favorites were the collander and the plastic trash can – great stuff!

Please check out David’s blog post, and I used a few of his photos below:

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The Ingravid Festival and Telenoika’s Excellent Video Mapping

The Ingravid Festival in Spain saw a ridiculously interesting video mapping project this year – a group of artists called the Telenoika Cultural Association created this amazing composition using openFrameworks, a C++ toolkit that pretty much rules.

Just an FYI – the video is pretty long (about 20 minutes), but I promise it will be one of the better 20 minute sessions of your day.

Thanks Make, and thanks to Ryan Wilkinson for the heads up on this!

Telenoika Audiovisual Mapping @ Ingravid Festival, Figueres 9/2009 [FULL] from Telenoika on Vimeo.