IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, DGA, and WGA East/West Issue Joint Statement on Arts Cuts

Arts cuts.  Organizations in our purview are commenting on President Trump’s proposed cuts to National Arts funding.  Just having returned from USITT this week, I was surprised to hear conversations for and against his cuts to the artistic health of the United States.  If we’ve got no arts, what is any of this worth?

From the DGA website:

DGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGA West and East, and IATSE Statement on the Administration’s Proposed Cuts to Arts Funding

March 16, 2017

Los Angeles – The DGA, SAG-AFTRA and WGA West and East, and IATSE—as the Guilds representing creators, performers, technicians and artists in American film, television, radio, sound recordings and digital media—urge our nation’s leaders to preserve funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As a source of inspiration, action and economic growth, our country’s creative arts are integral to our culture, our American identity and our democracy. Access to the arts has fueled generations of great Americans, uplifted communities and helped heal our nation’s greatest divides. Cutting federal support of these programs will not only hurt artists and those who benefit from their work, it will also send a damaging message to future generations about the power of art and its place in our culture.

BARCO’s Talking to ETC About Buying High End Systems

Well, we’ve all been wondering who was sniffing, now we know — BARCO is in talks with Electronic Theatre Controls (yes, THAT ETC) about putting High End Systems somewhere within the ETC line.  It’s not a secret that the Revolution didn’t quite hit the rental market like they liked (although it is a fine moving head for its application), and this is a brilliant move for a manufacturer already in a good place with the conventional market, high quality LED markets, and theatrical lighting control market.

We here at JimOnLight.com always have a place in our heart for the High End brand, and I personally am always glad for people to get to continue to reap the creations that come from Richard Belliveau’s big ol’ brain.  Awesome, ETC and High End!

From an email from High End’s marketing department:

Barco and ETC announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems, Barco’s lighting activities, part of the Entertainment division. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the envisioned divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential, while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks as it becomes available.

From the ETC Press Ninjas, Rachel Frederick in particular:

Middleton, WI (01, March, 2017) – ETC and Barco announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, once the acquisition reaches final stages.

BARCO’s stock is kinda kicking some booty — here’s the last year to date:

BARCO’s one year stock performance

 

Keep kicking the photons, High End Systems!!  Nothing but love for you!!

Pick Five Things Fixture Manufacturers Could Do Better

I’ve worked on both sides of the equation with respect to the manufacturer/user balance, and the question of which five things a fixture could improve upon ALWAYS comes up — I always love the discussion because everyone wants something different.

 

It’s honestly sometimes a special little hell from a product development standpoint, because usually, at least 75% of the good suggestions could improve the product you’re developing, but the time/talent/money triangle ALWAYS dictates how much of everything you can put into your fixture.  Then, you have to avoid “feature creep,” which is just adding too much crap into the fixture’s abilities, just because you can.  All of this is also regardless of whether it’s a moving head or a conventional non-mover.  “You can fill a development cycle with however long you give the engineers to fill it.”  That’s a Berenice Chauvet quote, ladies and gentlemen, she is one brilliant individual ninja.

PICK TWO off the triangle above and design your show.

So here, I have a poll for you — if you could pick five things on a moving head to improve, what would they be?

Pick FIVE THINGS You Would Improve about Moving Lights.

View Results

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Help Our Angels of Mercy, BEHIND THE SCENES – We’re Giving 25%

Hiya, world.  Considering the amount of times I’ve been in ATL this year, I can see it’s gonna be a busy one for all of us.

It’s been a crazy fall and an even more insane beginning of 2017.  If I’ve seen you at a show or a training or a tour stop or something like those places, I’m glad I had that minute to spend with you, I’ve learned to cherish each little minute I get to stop moving forward in this industry.

There’s something I want to write about and I always find myself being “too busy” to stop and do so.  Screw that.  Now’s the time for my brothers and sisters of lighting and entertainment, right now.  I’m sorry, friends, that I’ve not done this before and with more fervor.  Our people are hurting, as are so many other industry’s people.  No one is coming to help, we have to help our own. Right now, with the world in one of the craziest places politically that at least I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, our industry’s people need to have someone with their back.

no-one-is-coming

There’s one organization that has our back when something happens to us.  Let’s say you get cancer or some kind of illness where you’re just unable to work — I hate even thinking that for you, cancer SUCKS and IT MUST DIE, but if that were to happen, Behind the Scenes comes in, and they help you figure out how to live while you can’t work.  Behind the Scenes brings help and hope to individuals in our industry in times of great need. Individuals, organizations, and businesses in the industry continue to help us help our own by donating funds to the charity, but in addition to those generous contributions we’re looking for something else.

I’m announcing today that JimOnLight.com is going to be donating 25% of all future advertising proceeds to the Behind the Scenes Charity until further notice.  Our people need help.  I challenge my fellow lighting bloggers and journalists/publishers who make income from advertising to also make a commitment.  

Contact me if you’re interested in advertising with us here on JimOnLight.com, we will make all donations in our name and yours.

Check this out:

BTS is always looking for photos to help them spread the word.  From the office:

We want to better tell the story of who Behind the Scenes helps, so we are looking for engaging imagery, taken either backstage, on set, or in our shops showing everyday entertainment technology tasks. Think over the shoulder shots or close-ups of hands doing work. These images will be incorporated into ads and posters for Behind the Scenes reminding people that help is available if they, or someone they know, are seriously ill or injured. Please make sure you have written permission to let us use the photo, from the production and from anyone in the picture. The higher the resolution the better.

You can email photos or address any questions you have to: lrubinstein@behindthescenescharity.org or tneis@barbizon.com

Also, check out the Behind the Scenes website, http://behindthescenescharity.org/bts.htm, and the BTS Facebook page, at https://www.facebook.com/BTSCharity/ — this is a good thing for our industry, friends.  Please help if you can, I know I do.

If we love what we do, we must help those who make these shows so incredible.  We need to be able to pick our people up if they fall down.  The more and more I watch the news, the more evident this becomes to me.  I never expected to make money from JimOnLight; I’ve never made operating costs for anything and even then I still owe for the money I’ve put into it and advertising it, but I have spoken across the world because of it and I have been able to help people advance in this industry that we all love so freaking much.

If you want to help Behind the Scenes, and consequently our professionals and industry players, go here:

http://behindthescenescharity.org/bts/give.htm

Everything helps.  Consider spending some of your donation money here at home, I can assure you it is needed.

Thanks for reading, brothers and sisters.  Your support is greatly appreciated, and without it, I’d be worthless.

Namaste,
Jim Hutchison

Shooting in Playa Del Carmen at BPM Mexico 2017, 5 Dead

Five people killed in a shooting at Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Mexico, fifteen hospitalized with various injuries.  This is the 2017 BPM Music Festival.

Authorities are not calling this a terrorist attack.  What that means to Americans is that this doesn’t seem to be racially or politically motivated.

Isn’t any attack on people who weren’t planning on being attacked kind of terroristic?

Two Canadians, an Italian, a Colombian, and two yet unidentified people were killed in this attack — four from gunshot wounds, one woman was trampled to death when people rushed to get out of the venue.  Updated counts are calling 15 people wounded in the shootings, mostly minor injuries to Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians, who have since been treated and released from area hospitals.  This is initially looking like some kind of disagreement between people in the club or people around the club, but this is Mexico, and that information isn’t out there yet, at least not as of the posting of this article.

There has been a comment placed on the BPM website:
It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today, which resulted in four fatalities and twelve injured. The violence began on 12th street in front of the club and three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue.

The BPM Festival has been working closely with the local authorities (Seguridad Publica / Policia Turistica) throughout the festival to ensure public safety and security for all visitors. We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families and all those affected by these tragic events.

The BPM Festival Familia

Some video:

This one has some gnarly photos first before a little video clip, just heads up:

Something that is important — 2-3 of these people were staff — BPM security staff.  These folks were in the line of fire based on their job and location, but it goes to show that no one is immune.  Playa Del Carmen has apparently been lucky in not getting hit with a lot of the Cartel violence, perhaps that time is coming to an end.

It bothers me that people become so complacent anymore at shows, almost so much so that the experience is becoming harsh for those interfacing with the general public.  Obviously a huge thank you to those who aren’t like that, but to those who are, it makes the job twice as hard.  For those who are surprised when things like this take place, when a group of people is attacked at a live event, why are you surprised?  In the event of something like this, if it’s politically or racially motivated, our events are exactly the kind of place an extremist individual or just a generally sick f**k who wants to amass casualties for some crazy internal ideal would attack.  Don’t be surprised if, over the next year, you see security at events in our business increase, change, and adapt to fit and limit these situations.  If you’ve ever lit an event for a president, you know what I mean.  Our events will be attacked in the future, there is nothing we can really do about it beyond trying to limit an attacker from getting anywhere near people, or taking weapons from someone planning to kill people before they use them, via security at venues.

Interesting festivalgoer experience from The Sun:

“We’d carried on dancing until a wave of fear went through the place and everyone hit the deck.

“I was one of the last to get out and saw one man who was clearly dead covered in a lot of blood.

“Two women were crouched over him crying and one had taken her top off to try to stem the flow of blood but he look beyond hope.

“Outside in the road I saw another man screaming as he was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg – the scene was chaotic and no one knew where to run at first.

“Lots of music fans from Britain and all over Europe were in town and it was a brilliant festival.

“This is the last thing we expected – they were shocking sights.”

From Reuters:

At least five people, including four foreigners, were killed and 15 were wounded early on Monday when a shooter opened fire at a nightclub in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen resort during the BPM electronic music festival, state officials said.

Quintana Roo State Attorney General Miguel Angel Pech told a press conference that two Canadians, an Italian and a Colombian were killed. A woman died in the stampede to exit the club.

The Canadian government confirmed that one of its citizens had died and said it was investigating the reports of a second Canadian death.

Pech said the incident began when a person entered the Blue Parrot nightclub armed around 3.00 a.m. on Monday morning, during the closing of the festival. Another person tried to stop the person, sparking a gunfight that drew in security staff.

The shooting represents a major blow to Mexico’s tourism industry, which has been one of the few bright spots in the economy thanks to a weak peso exchange rate.

Pech added that 15 people were injured, of whom 10 are still in hospital. The state government said in a statement that one person was in grave condition. Four people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the incident.

Pech said two of the dead were BPM security workers but the festival said in a statement that three members of their security team were killed. BPM said the shooting was carried out by a lone shooter.

Quintana Roo and the surrounding Yucatan peninsula have traditionally been less violent than other parts of Mexico, with relatively low murder rates. However, with many foreign tourists and a vibrant night life scene, there has long been an important local drug market in and around Playa Del Carmen.

The organizer of an electronic music event near Playa Del Carmen told Reuters that armed men who claimed to be part of a drug cartel turned up recently at one of his parties, demanding access to sell drugs.

The event’s security team decided to let them enter so as to avoid conflict with the men, the organizer said, adding that there were now cells from all the major Mexican cartels operating in Quintana Roo, a wealthy region full of tourists.

The organizer said the situation in Quintana Roo deteriorated after the political party controlling the state government was forced out in local elections last year, a shift that can spark violence as criminal groups struggle to realign their allegiances with the incoming political class.

“They’re all fighting for control of the region,” said the organizer, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals. “This is an aggression toward any promoter of electronic music in Mexico. It’s a wound for the entire community.”

He added that he thought BPM would have to end, and feared for his own events in the region.

Videos purportedly shot at the scene shown on television and social media appear to show dancers ducking for cover and running out on the streets to safety.

“This is a very, very sad situation. Tryna get my head around it still. Thoughts and condolences to all affected,” Scottish DJ Jackmaster, who was performing at BPM, said on Twitter.

The BPM festival, which was entering its 10th year, has grown to be one of the biggest electronic music events in the world, with top DJs flying in every January to play the clubs of Playa del Carmen along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

In recent years, Mexico’s Caribbean coast has drawn a growing number of DJs and fans of electronic music to the beautiful, balmy region, looking to escape the frigid European and North American winters.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick Zieminski)

Heads up out there, lighting, sound, video, and deck hands.

Hat tips:
http://thebpmfestival.com/

https://apnews.com/a7d403c2c64846e689c6b49360cb4b6f

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/88477487/Several-dead-after-gunfire-at-BPM-music-festival-in-Mexico-Australian-DJ-says

http://abc7.com/news/5-killed-15-hurt-in-shooting-at-nightclub-in-mexico/1704698/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-violence-bpm-idUSKBN1501LE