Black Friday. I Wish It Was Called LIGHT Friday!

Happy POST-TURKEY-DAY, folks!  They call this “Black Friday.”  What a drag!

I hope that you are all having post-tryptophan hangovers like me today – I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year, but I did get to hang out with three of the greatest people I have ever had the chance to know.  All in all, a great day (I did pretty much nothing most of the day) that ended with food, laughter, and good company.

If you’re on the road on a show this Thanksgiving weekend, I am especially hopeful that you were able to have some good times, laughter, and good company!

In honor of the “Black Friday” deals out there, I wanted to post some Amazon-specific deals on light-related and me-related stuffs for your enjoyment.  This is the kind of stuff I look at when having some retail therapy!


Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote with Color Touch Screen

I have the Logitech DiNovo Mini remote, but I’ve been eyeing this one for a few months.  I have my desktop tower at home powering my 32″ LED TV, and I use it for everything from wysiwyg to watching Netflix and movies.  The Harmony 1100 is supposed to be pretty freaking awesome.

Coast LED Lenser HP8437 Focusing LED Flashlight X21

1300 lumens.  Almost 250 hours of battery life.  1500 feet on the beam.  This thing is definitely bad ass, which is also why I want one.

Amprobe ACD-16 PRO 1000A Red and Yellow Data-Logging Clamp-on Multimeter

A simple ammeter?  Not quite.  This clamp ammeter also has data logging capabilities, and you can hook it to a PC.  That, sir, is BA.

WBM 7-Inch Tall Himalayan Natural Crystal Salt Lamp

I like stuff that lights up – this Himalayan Salt Crystal lamp is pretty, it lights up (a bonus), and people claim that when lit, it’s a natural air cleaner.  I don’t know all about that, but I certainly know that they make pretty light inside your room!

Sekonic L-398A Light Meter (Black)

Everybody needs a goo incident/exposure meter.  I have a digital one, and I have a nice analogue one as well, with measurement needles and a dial.  I love to watch the needles quantify light and I love doing the conversions in my head – but you all knew I was a nerd, so it’s all good!

Sinometer Digital 4-Range 200,000 Lux Luxmeter, LX1330B

This inexpensive digital Luxmeter is a good stocking stuffer for any light lover in your life.  I have one, I’ve used it on a variety of projects with success.  It reads lux/footcandles, it operates on a silicon diode, and you can use it easily to read incident light or reflected light.  As students grow and learn about quantifying light, this is a great gift for them to learn the ropes of lighting measurement before going to get a nice Sekonic meter or another brand of your choice.  I highly recommend this item!

Philips 818655 Imageo CandleLight

This cool little light gadget from Philips is a cross between a low-output battery light and a votive candle with no fire.  Each “candle” charges in a base station that is build to house all parts of the system.  It’s kitchy, it’s neat, and they give off a nice, romantic glow.

OXO Candela DemiGlow Rechargeable LED Lights, set of 4

Another LED-powered candle replacement device, the OXO DemiGlow tealights set.  Same principle – chargeable base which doubles as a holder, nice, soft light, and a small form factor.  Kitchy?  Perhaps.  Interesting and different?  Of course!

Lumian Design LED Desk Light (built-in night light)

I find the form of this LED desklamp from Lumian Design pretty slimlined and unique – I’ve always been a fan of the shape of certain LED desklamps, especially after getting all gaga over Pablo Pardo’s “Brazzo” desklamp being on the show “Fringe.”

40 Watt – 1910 Edison Style – Nostalgic Antique Light Bulb – FerroWatt 1910N

I love, love, love these remakes of the original “squirrel cage” lamps – the filaments glow bright amber, and they make an excellent addition to ANY room, office, study, restaurant, or what-have-you.  These lamps are one of my favorite decorative light sources!

Sekonic L-758DR Light Meter (Black)

This is one of the nicer Sekonic exposure meters – and well worth the price.  Are there nicer ones?  Of course there are, and at a wide range of prices.  I’ve always kinda been partial to this model because it was my first light meter.  The L-758DR does incident readings, reflected readings, and it has a 1° spot meter.  All in all a good package!

Leica DISTO D3 Multi-function Laser Distance Meter

At some point in your life as a lighting professional, you need a good distance meter.  Those of us working in the business know that Leica distometers are among some of the best.  That’s really all that needs to be said about Leica distometers.  If you’re using a Fat Max laser meter or some other equivalent, give the series of Leica distometers a try.  I highly recommend them!

Fenix PD30R2 6 Level 235 Lumen LED Flashlight

The Fenix PD30 is a bright little flashlight!  235 field lumens, and several different modes make this a pretty cool addition to the road case.

Multi-Color E27 LED Light bulb w/ Remote

I get a fair amount of grief for posting this little E27 RGB LED spot with remote, but I don’t care – I have five of these little lamps, and they do just fine for the application they were designed for – residential pizazz lighting!  I have a few of them in uplight cans in my office lighting up my wall, I have a few at home in downlight cans to light up my apartment wall, and they’re a lot of fun.  The remote that comes with the lamp has several modes, colors, and intensity controls.  It’s a cheap little RGB LED spot, and I like it a lot.

Philips 69143/60/48 LivingColors Generation 2 Translucent Changing LED Lamp with Remote

I bought one of these Philips LivingColors generation 2 LED fixtures a few months ago, and I have it sitting atop of the bookshelf in my office.  It’s bright (really bright for its size), the remote includes a color picker and several hundred built-in color change settings, and as of today (November 26, 2010) it’s down 30 bucks on the Amazon site.  Check it out!

Philips 818564 LivingColors Mini Color-changing LED Ambiance Light, White

The Philips LivingColors Mini is the step-down from the larger, more expensive model above.  The remote is built-in to the side of the fixture as you see above, and it’s not clear like the original LivingColors series fixtures.  Still, a pretty cool and bright addition to whatever room you decide to color up!

Logitech diNovo Mini

This is the remote I currently have for interfacing my home desktop, which is the main computer I use for WYG, watching movies and TV shows, and rocking iTunes in my apartment.  This little thing is so freaking cool – if you use your home desktop like I use mine, it is a pretty efficient keyboard/mouse replacement.  Don’t get me wrong, you’re not gonna want to use this for word processing or anything like that, but it is certainly pretty great.

This is a short list, but I hope it was helpful! Check back for more lists as we get closer to Christmas!  Happy Black Friday, everybody!  I hope you find some sick deals!


Leonids Star Trails

Hey sky watchers, telescope nerds, and general light lovers everywhere – the Leonid Meteor Shower is tonight!

For those of you who remember last year’s shower, the Leonid shower for 2010 is going to extend from tonight (17th) into tomorrow (18th), and reports are estimating 20-30 visible tracks per hour.  However, we’ll have a brightly shining Gibbous moon tonight and tomorrow night, so you might not see much if you’re not country-bound and out of the way of the light pollution of the cities.

Check out the video podcast (I’m sorry, Vodcast) for Sky at Night Magazine, Volume 18 (I kid, I love you guys, SaN!):

Good star hunting!  Get out there and see something no one has ever seen before but you!

An Eye on San Francisco

I got some pretty interesting photos from photographer Amanda Lynne Ballard recently, and it’s impossible not to show these off.  Amanda apparently took a trip to San Francisco a while ago, and the below images of light and texture are the result.

Check them out, pretty cool work!  I’ve always admired her ability to capture light.

Beautiful.  Make sure to check out the rest of Amanda’s photography in her Flickr account.  Prepare to be stunned.

World Creativity Forum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Exciting times we live in, huh folks?

I just finished a light art installation for the World Creative Forum that is taking place here in Oklahoma City this week – pictures and video to follow soon.  The installation, entitled “Synapse,” is a 250-foot dynamic art piece – the idea behind it was to create a lighting installation reminiscent of being woken from a dream.  I cannot wait to get these videos and images processed so I can post them!

Sorry for the few days of no posts, I’ve been climbing out of a mound of work the size of a theatre.  But now, as they say, I am back in the saddle again!

A side note – one of the speakers at the World Creativity Forum is Pranav Mistry, the guy who invented the SixthSense computer interface.  You have GOT to check this out!

Jim’s a busy fella

Hi everyone, Jax here.  Jim asked me to let y’all know that he’s on a load-in for a big event at the convention center and is busy going crazy, so it’s going to be quiet here in the meantime.  He’ll be back soon!

For My Jamband Nerd Friends and Readers


Ben Slayter of SGASi sent me this yesterday.  Wanna buy one?  Go here and pick one up – ten bucks!

“Those Who Can’t Do, Teach.” A Commentary on Lighting Design Education

I’ve been having a discussion with some friends of mine about the future of lighting education in the world, but preferably in the United States.  One of those friends asked what education programs for lighting design in the world are doing to improve the industry, and then said “well hey – you know what they say, ‘those who can’t do, teach!’

I just kinda sat there, still dazed from such a comment from such an intelligent individual.  I’m still kinda in that realm of belief that this kind of thought is still pervading the thought processes of people who are out there working in the world.  Something I have been holding onto for quite some time now is the fact that I have recently taken a lead faculty job in the Midwest at a private college, leading the Lighting Design program and developing curriculum that will give back to our beloved industries.  I’m not going to say which school quite yet, but that’ll come soon.

I’m a working individual – I have a company that is known for design work, I have a company that is known for light art, and Light Associated Media, LLC – which includes and  I feel that it is my responsibility as a person who wants to educate the world on lighting to be as connected to that industry as humanly possible, and then some.  This is not a view expressed by the majority of people in the world of education across the thousands of degree programs that exist today.  I feel that this is a shame, mostly because it is our responsibility as lighting designers, production specialists, electricians, and general light lovers to make sure that the next generation of lighting professionals holds the industry up in as high of a standard as I do.  I mean, what other alternatives are there?  If you’re going to do something, do it to the full range of your abilities.  Otherwise, pick something else, because the industries of light are not for people who don’t want to do the work.

Another comment was made during this conversation that I feel needs addressing:
“The world of academia and education, even in the college level, is different from the ‘real world’ in most instances.”

I have to call BS on this comment.  It’s true about the world being different in academia, but it’s mostly because of the way that professors and other faculty-level positions are governed.  It’s true that a large percentage of tenured faculty take advantage of their status as a tenured professor in many fields of study, and I feel it’s fair to say that once a person reaches a tenure-level position, they have reached a pinnacle of their career.  I feel that the opposite is true; I want to become tenured at some point in my career because the bennies of such a title are nice, including a small bump up in salary.  But if you’ve ever been a teacher, you know that you don’t do it for the cash.  A tenured faculty member has a responsibility to continue to provide the highest level of education that is possible by a human being because you’ve reached that special rank.  The lighting industries are changing, and drastically.  It takes a lot of work to be a professor in this field, because you not only have to push your students hard to learn new, updated materials, but you as an educator have to push yourself hard to know the new material and to keep yourself abreast of the sweeping changes that the lighting industry is constantly undergoing.  LEDs are changing.  Light sources are changing.  Optics are changing – I mean, look at the trend right now with the big moving heads out there, and the 8″ aperture.  Things change.  Educators in lighting have no choice but to keep up, it is your educational responsibility.

What is different, however, about academia is on the professor side, with having several different people to which you must report.  In the real world, if you’re slacking off or you just suck, you get fired.  We should implement this on the educator side of the world.  Academia can be no different than the real world for students, with the slight variance that, if you’re screwing off or not getting the material, you get counseled on what you’re doing wrong, and what you need to do to fix it.  The same rules should apply to students in the University setting as do in the professional world – things like “on time is late, early is on time.”  We must educate our lighting students to be the professionals of tomorrow that the industry depends on having in order to make that industry better.  Having a half-assed lighting program with a professor who hasn’t done anything since the days of Century base-ups is over.  Times are changing.  Professors must change with the times.  This goes pretty much for all aspects of the entertainment business side of education, from Costume Design to Sound Design, Scenic Design to Technical Direction.

What professors in the lighting world need to realize is that if you’re not up-to-date on the industry, you’re doing your students a disservice because they will be at a disadvantage when they go out and try to get a job in the world.  That reflects poorly upon you, the student, and your institution.

It is true that there are a lot of programs out there today handing out degrees, even some graduate degrees, that are far below sub-par.  As a student, it is partially your responsibility to make sure that you’re choosing a program with some reputability, and looking for your professor/mentor to be active in the lighting industries.  One thing must be said though regarding the student side of lighting education:

We cannot do it for you.  You have to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life.

Pipixar, by Artem Zigert of Mechanical Piano Design in Kazakhstan

Check out this little cutie – meet the Pipixar:

Pipixar comes from the studios of Mechanical Piano, designer Artem Zigert’s home studio.  Zigert was quoted on Dezeen Mag, talking about the Pipixar lamp, as saying “my goal was to make a lamp based on the proportions of a small person. At the same time, I was trying to bring up the same sweet emotions as that when you watch kids. The lamp is made of glazed ceramics with energy-saving bulb.”

I have to say that I likes.  Make sure to check out other works by Mechanical Piano Studios by checking out their website!

Chinese Lighting Manufacturers at LDI 2010

For the last few years, we’ve seen a rise of the Chinese lighting manufacturers at the lighting conferences in the United States – not just LDI, but LightFair International, the National Association of Broadcasters show, and others.  You can always tell where they are and who they are because of the giant cluster of little mini-booths with a red “CHINA” sign above each one, like in the image above here.

I do not want this post to be misconstrued for what it is not – it’s mostly commentary on the blatant re-engineering of products made in other countries of the world and their display at LDI.  I am seriously trying to understand the way that the Chinese lighting manufacturer booths are interacting with the rest of the LDI lighting community as a whole.  Not all lighting manufacturing that comes out of China is a bad thing – as a matter of fact, there are certain aspects of it that revolutionize manufacturing and engineering on a worldwide level.

It is no secret that the Chinese lighting manufacturers are a large (nay, HUGE) player in the world.  They make products that are cheaper than many, many of their international competitors – and many people purchase these cheaper products because, well, they’re cheaper than any other product in many instances.  Unfortunately as well, the ability of the Chinese lighting manufacturers to undercut the market is severe.  Also, and again, unfortunately, some of the products aren’t as high in quality, either.

What really gets me is the blatant copying and re-engineering of products that the Chinese lighting manufacturers exhibit at LDI and other tradeshows.  Two good examples would be the copies of ETC’s Source Four fixtures and the blatant copies of the Martin Mac 2000 units.  Like these:

Doesn’t that look just like a Martin Mac 2000?

How about this ridiculously blatant product, the “Mario 3000?”  I mean, WTF:

I’m sorry, but that’s just offensive.  There are stories that float around the lighting world about tradeshows where people from the Chinese lighting manufacturer realm will “borrow” a product, take it back to their booths, measure and reverse engineer the product before returning it.  Now how on earth does that happen, and how is this acceptable to the lighting industries?

Another thing on my mind with the presence of the Chinese lighting manufacturers is the blatant lack of care in both their booths and attitudes towards people who want to come and talk to them about their products.  I posted this image a while ago, of LightFair International 2010, and one of the booths with people simply sitting and ignoring all of the passersby:

On one hand, as a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to even get photographs of the products at the tradeshows from the Chinese manufacturers because they generally chase photographers away from their booths – I have had this experience seven times now, the last being at LDI 2010 in Las Vegas.  Nothing persuades these manufacturers to let you photograph their wares, the least of all being showing them your press pass.  Why do you think this takes place?  At LDI 2010, one manufacturer in the row of Chinese manufacturers told me that there “was no reason to take pictures of my product.”

I don’t understand!

I snuck this photo of a 10kW moving yoke fixture, after which I was essentially chased away:

Here’s another I snapped of a green laser, placed on a box in the aisle, shooting right directly into the eyes of passersby walking past that specific Chinese manufacturer’s booth.  How on earth was this an acceptable placement of a laser?!  Notice the junk piled at the back of the booth, not to mention the laser itself.  I would assume that if a company wanted their products to appear to be worthy of purchase that they would at least outwardly portray a level of organization and success, right?

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Please post below in the comments!  I desperately want to get a hold of the industry’s opinion of this very widely discussed topic.

Uppsala, Sweden – Projection Mapping

My good friend Gustavo Vasquez from Mexico City (and currently, Stockholm, Sweden – finishing his Master’s at KTH) sent me this unbelievably cool video of some architectural projection mapping in Uppsala, during the Lighting Festival that occurs in Uppsala, Sweden.

On the video:

“Uppsala castle courtyard is the place where past and future meet. With the help of today’s technology transforms the facade for something completely different. We asked the graphic artist Andrew Cutting Berg trying to get a part of the palace facade to release its centuries of history and for a moment transformed during the long, dark month of November .
The technology used is liquid-cooled encapsulated projectors on either 10 000 ansilumen mounted in heated sheds from Ramirent.

Stage Technologies AVL AB – idea, project management and project supplier
Grafala – animations
Ramirent – delivered the sheds

Happy Monday, folks!