InfoComm 2014 – Creative Booth Design for CHAUVET Professional

I am unbelievably lucky to be here where I am right now:

  • I work for a lighting company that is doing awesome stuff
  • I have a supportive boss and team
  • I have an incredible production crew that makes the design happen
  • I have a crew who values the programming time needed to rock and roll

Could I be any luckier?!  Mike Graham, Danilo Oliveira, Lucciano Cabrera, Anthony ChiapponeCarmen Diaz — you guys are my absolute heroes.  Thank you for making this one happen while I was ralfing my guts out.  You truly made this one great for me, it was like a gift showing up and being able to start mashing buttons.  Thank you, team.

Check out the “creative” design video we made for InfoComm 2014!

Check out some photos of the booth — we had a blast!

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LDI 2013 in Photos

A fun show happened this year in Las Vegas — lots of beams, lots of friends, and I met my goal to share hug karma with 20 new people!

I’ve heard a few people now call LDI something like “LED-I.”  After making me giggle like a dumbass like I’m known to do, it’s not like it’s far off the mark — the industry is dominated with LED wash fixtures, LED pixel mappers, LED moving head spot AND wash fixtures, and all kinds of other diode-powered light makers.  Strobes, too — LED strobes are intensely appropriate, but they deliver a different kind of stab than a Xenon strobe.  They’re not better or worse, just different!  The industry still has the gamut of discharge, incandescent, and other non-LED sources as well, but there is less push generally on these types of fixtures.

I find that such an interesting paradigm at the LDI show – lots of companies have non-LED stuff and they show it, but there is  definitely a large LED offering in our industry (as is the case in most industries of light right now).  Sometimes I wonder if there are less non-LED beams bouncing around because that’s what the industry wants or if it’s because of the cost savings of NOT having those non-LED sources en masse.  Power is expensive stuff at these shows, and so is drayage on all of the heavy gack that goes along with larger draw 208 gear and dimming.  Most LEDs anymore allow you greater flexibility with 208V power too, making the power linking possibilities even better.  I only had one 48-way PD for the CHAUVET Professional booth, and that powered everything I had designed into the rig, video panels and all.

I programmed the booth I designed on the Avolites Sapphire Touch, which has become my new favorite desk.  I finally found an interface that was designed the way that my brain wants to program.  This has been a joyous time in my programmer life!  It’s nothing like the old Avolites way, they’ve made the flow so unbelievably amazing that it is literally a joy to program.  I just had it again on the Concert Lighting Master Classes this last week, but I’ll be writing a separate post about that this week.

Check out some photos from the show, and I was glad to see you if I saw you at this year’s show!  If I didn’t see you, I’m sorry — we’ll see each other next go round or soon, you know how this business goes!  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see the Fox family.  This show kept me busy, I barely made it out of the booth except for about an hour to walk the floor.

Click on any photo below for the larger images in an *awesome* light box!

 

WICKED Talks About Their Lighting Design and Light Plot

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I randomly ran across this really awesome video of the WICKED team talking about their light plot, lighting design, and lighting design team.  Pretty cool!  Check it out below:

From the video page:

It takes 650 lighting fixtures and a talented team of theatre artists and technicians to light up the WICKED stage. Meet the crew that illuminates Elphaba and makes Glinda glow to tell Oz’s most bewitching story.

 

Vintage Power and Light: The Coolest Thing to Happen to Tungsten Since Edison!

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If you’ve been to an architectural lighting, entertainment lighting, or decorative lighting trade show lately, you should notice an interesting trend:  the lack of attention to incandescent light sources.  The light emitting diode has overtaken the world, and like myself, I miss the days of the warm tungsten filament in a room, bathing everything in its reach with a wider spectrum of color than its LED counterparts.  Tungsten filaments, at least decoratively, have become the fine wine of our lighting generation – only those with the intelligence and artistic knowledge in using tungsten and other incandescent sources have continued to do so.  The rest of the world is convinced, at the behest of excellent marketing and often regardless of price, that LED illumination is not only the way of the future but also today’s only way to appropriately design lighting.

It’s a fact that in many applications, including modern high bay methodologies and architectural applications, LED light sources are winning hearts and minds over their higher-energy-consuming incandescent cousins.  Sooner than later we’re going to see higher output automated fixtures giving their HID counterparts a run for their money, too.  ETC’s LED Source Four ellipsoidal, Chauvet’s Ovation LED ellipsoidal, Altman Lighting’s ME3 ellipsoidal, and Robert Juliat’s Tibo and Zep LED profiles have taken the market by storm – and have begun pushing back on the use of tungsten-halogen sources, arc sources, and even halogen sources!

On the whole, energy costs when dealing with a large facility or venue are where LED and non-incandescent sources make a monster difference in energy costs.  But what about where energy costs are negligible, like in your home?  If saving comparatively a few dollars here and there in your home is less important than the feeling and artistic appreciation that something like an incandescent lamp brings to you, can you put a price on your happiness?  I’ve owned many a compact fluorescent lamp-based fixture in my home, and frankly I replace every single CFL with its halogen or incandescent counterpart.  It’s my decision, and I do what makes my eyes and my brain happy.

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On that thought, I introduce to you the work of Vintage Power and Light out of Austin, Texas – creator Lowell Fowler (of High End Systems fame) has started a new hobby art venture based on utilizing the beauty and intrigue of vintage lighting and electrical equipment tied with the warm glow of incandescent sources.  Even better than just the sexiness of a glowing filament structure, Vintage Power and Light takes the beauty of an Edison filament wrap source and melds it to gorgeous finished old-world wood components, then adds stunning copper and brass connections and controls.  My favorite parts of Vintage Power and Light’s work are their use of Consolidated Design glass insulators – there is nothing quite like a multi-petticoat glass insulator on a fixture with an artistic incandescent filament turning that glass into a mystical piece of glowing jewelry.  GAH!  This stuff is amazing!!!

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Lowell and York Fowler have put an interesting new spin on the idea of Steampunk-esque design by bringing old-world components and combining them with early 20th century incandescence.  The result is a stunning and refreshing take on using incandescence as not only an artistic statement, but a comfortable, familiar, and heartwarming addition to your house, office, or anywhere else that LEDs just don’t cut it.

Check out a series of gallery images below, click on any image for a light box of that gallery for your perusal!
Just make sure that you give credit where credit is due, and all of these photos are courtesy of Vintage Power and Light with photography by Tim Grivas.

First things first, Vintage Power and Light’s Table Lamps:

Vintage Power and Light’s Chandelier and Pendant series:

Got a Steampunk jones?  Vintage Power and Light does that too!

Last but not least, a gorgeous offering of sconces for your collection:

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JimOnLight says HELL YES to Vintage Power and LightAwesome offerings, guys!  We hope that the whole world sees your work and loves it as much as we do!

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HOG 4 TRAINING VIDEOS!

High End Systems has released a series of training videos for the new Hog 4!

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From a press release at High End Systems:

Following the extremely successful HOG4 launch and due to incredibly high demand, High End Systems is today releasing a series of Hog4 training videos.

In tandem with the large number of worldwide training classes undertaken both by High End Systems and it’s extensive distributor network, the initial 12 videos will allow everyone to learn how to use a Hog.

The videos have been split into easy to watch segments meaning that beginners as well as experienced users will benefit from them. They are also in a logical order allowing for the user to move from one element of the Hog software to another with ease. The 12 videos means that users who only need to look at a specific area of the console may do this with ease.

“The addition of these videos to our already extensive training program is testament to our commitment to offer education at multiple levels” says Jeff Pelzl, VP, Technical and Marketing Services “and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to Hog training.”

“We realized that not everyone is able to attend training classes and also that users want the ability to brush up on certain areas of the platform’ says Chris Ferrante, Director of Product Management “so we partnered with Colin Wood of Pre Production Services and now have a brilliant suite of training videos”

These videos can be seen at the following location:  http://www.highend.com/support/training/Hog4Training/index.asp

As well as launching this suite of videos, High End Systems has recently launched version 1.2 for the Hog4 platform adding a host of new features including Command Keys, which continues the aggressive release schedule embarked upon on the platform’s launch.

AWESOME!!!!!

The videos:

Lesson 1:  Starting a New Show

Lesson 2: Default Layout of a New Show

Lesson 3: An Introduction to Patching

Lesson 4: Basic Programming

Lesson 5: Cue Playback

Lesson 6: Using Palettes

Lesson 7: Basic Cue Timing and Editing

Lesson 8: Tracking

Lesson 9: User Kinds

Lesson 10: Command Keys

Lesson 11: Multi-Console Setup

Lesson 12: Configuring Art-Net

I hope to see more of these from MORE console manufacturers in the near future!!!

PHISH! New Video Clips of the Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from March 2009

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I started digging my way through the 2 terabytes or so of uncut, backlogged video I have to process.  Behind every folder is something I have forgotten that I filmed, and I am uncovering some really fun stuff!

Here’s a handful of clips from when Greggity and I flew the famous mockingbird from Columbus, OH to Hampton, VA for the Phish reunion shows on March 6-8, 2009.  The clips I had sitting in a folder were, in order:

Army of One
Wilson
Down with Disease JAM
Contact
Tweezer Reprise

Enjoy! Also check out Greg and I chatting with Chris Kuroda, Phish’s lighting designer, during the Hampton 2009 run, all four parts:

Part 1:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/23/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-one/

Part 2:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/24/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-two/

Part 3:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/25/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-three/

Part 4:
http://www.jimonlight.com/2009/03/26/interview-with-chris-kuroda-lighting-designer-for-phish-part-4/

Ready?  Get your coffee, have a seat, and rock out!

PHISH! 2009 Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from JimOnLight.com! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Getting to Know the LED Ellipsoidal Generation – A JimOnLight Series Introduction

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I’ve done a lot of shows in my career so far. I’m lucky as hell, don’t get me wrong – but because of it, I feel like I have a real “bond” with incandescent and high-intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) that we use in this industry. It’s almost creepy sometimes – in my head, I know how a good ol’ no-color Source Four looks in a dark theatre. I know how an Altman 360Q looks in a theatre sitting next to it, too – and how it looks sitting with a Shakespeare, also uncorrected, next to a Source Four. As I close my eyes to write this, I can see how an old Strand 30-degree feels inside of a theatre or outside during an outdoor performance, and how a tried-and-true PAR64 can burns so beautifully bright and amber when it’s going through red shift during a nice slow fade-up during a song in an arena. Even awesome old Kliegl 6×8’s have a good beam still, as long as the optics are changed from those miserable step lenses!

As a side note, I listened to Vesa Honkonen tell a story when I was attending graduate study in Sweden about “trusting” the light from a certain type of reflector, and how that trust cost him time and money on a project.  So as a bit of an aside, with every statement is an equal anti-statement!

I have gotten to know the fixtures in our industry very well because I’ve been fortunate to use them in a real variety of performance situations and installations. When you get to know something like an ellipsoidal fixture with an incandescent lamp in it and you use it over and over and over again, you get to trust the fixture.  I can say with ease that I trust the light that comes from the business end of a Source Four; at the same time, I trust the light that comes out of an Altman 360Q as well, whether it has an HX601 lamp in it or an old FEL lamp.  As a designer, as an artist — I know what that light from an incandescent lamp in one of the “typical” variety of ellipsoidals is going to do for me in a scene on actors of any skin tone, or on a presenter during, or on film and video, and whether it has a chunk of R26 or L181HT in it.  I know that kind of light.  I trust that light.

In the world we live in now, incandescent lamps are slowly becoming forcefully shunned by a growing portion of the lighting industries as a whole (and politicians, sadly), with LED replacements becoming the forced norm by pretty much all of the companies that at one time were pushing an incandescent based fixture.  These companies are all now driving quickly on the road of a really good trend: to produce a fixture that provides the same kind of light or better than that of an incandescent lamp based fixture with a lot less power consumption and without losing any light quality.  Sounds easy enough, right?

There is a strange, edgy, “new car smell” feeling towards the new strains of LED fixtures making their births into the industry.  We are inundated with them at the trade shows in our business, just like we were with the incandescent conventionals.  Manufacturers, this is perfectly acceptable, and I think that it’s one of your biggest assets in this industry.  It’s your job to make us trust your fixtures, through hands-on videos and “shoot-outs” between incandescent and LED fixtures out there.  My informal surveying of conference attendees over the last three years has seen many responses like “TOO MANY LEDS” and “If I see another crappy wannabe LED fixture at another trade show, I’m going to die.”  Believe it or not, this is a really good thing — it provides an opportunity for the exceptional equipment to rise to the top of the Diode Ocean, as I like to call it.  Lately, these exceptions are overcoming their inferior rivals, much to my happiness.

Users, we have a job to do, too — we have to give the manufacturers the chance to trust LED light.  We have to learn how it is different than its incandescent counterparts.  We’ve had all of these decades to learn how to work with incandescent light (and HID light too, for what it’s worth), and we know it.  We trust it, and we love it.  But why is that?  It’s because it’s what we know, and it really is that simple.  Once we give the LED ellipsoidal generation a chance, you know we’re going to trust that too.  This isn’t to say that LEDs are done developing, this obviously isn’t true.  But I am noticing some unbelievably incredible advances in LED engines and output technology lately, especially after LDI in October 2012, and I have to say that I am finally ready to learn to trust LED conventional ellipsoidals.  It’s hard not to at this point to see that LED ellipsoidals are becoming the obvious choice, with the color temperature tuning we see now and the low power requirement that they provide — and to argue against energy consumption and power conservation is just not in my DNA.

Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to be comparing the LED conventional ellipsoidals we see in Entertainment to their incandescent counterparts over the next month, starting with ETC’s new Source Four LED line first, followed by Robert Juliat’s Zep and Tibo ranges, then moving on to the RevEAL Profile from Prism Projection, and so on.  In the mean time, let’s take a look at the characteristics I’ll be examining that I find important to applying trust, at least on paper – you can argue that there are more to see, but for the sake of argument, let’s start with:

  • Cost Comparison:
    What kinds of costs are we looking at over the course of an LED Ellipsoidal lifetime?  How different is it, really?
  • Light Output, or Perceived Brightness:
    How does it compare to a comparable incandescent conventional?
  • Spectral Analysis:
    What is the white light in the beam comprised of with respect to wavelength?
  • Power Consumption:
    When you put an LED ellipsoidal up against an incandescent lamp at 575W, how does it perform?
  • Weight:
    I have to stick these in a truck and on a truss at some point, so what is the difference I need to know?
  • Controllable Properties:
    Obviously I have only a few with an incandescent fixture, so what comes stock in an LED ellipsoidal that makes a difference?

Let’s go on this journey together.  When we work on something together as an industry, we get to make it how we want it to be, and manufacturers listen.  Once we started to get involved with the ways that incandescent lamps were developed and lighting designers started demanding better control over design and engineering of incandescent lamps, they improved.  All we have to do now is learn what the LED Ellipsoidal generation can do for us, and we can really make a difference.

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Illustrations for An Asteroid Novel

I saw these on 50 Watts, and I was just taken aback at how accurately the light in each scene was sketched. I mean seriously – check these out and tell me if you don’t have an exact idea as to how to light every one of these plates!

These are from a book called Lesabéndio: An Asteroid Novel (1913) by Austrian illustrator Alfred Kubin  (1877- 1959):

First published in German in 1913 and widely considered to be Paul Scheerbart’s masterpiece, Lesabéndio is an intergalactic utopian novel that describes life on the planetoid Pallas, where rubbery suction-footed life forms with telescopic eyes smoke bubble-weed in mushroom meadows under violet skies and green stars. Amid the conveyor-belt highways and lighthouses weaving together the mountains and valleys, a visionary named Lesabéndio hatches a plan to build a 44-mile-high tower and employ architecture to connect the two halves of their double star. A cosmic ecological fable, Scheerbart’s novel was admired by such architects as Bruno Taut and Walter Gropius, and such thinkers as Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem (whose wedding present to Benjamin was a copy of Lesabéndio). Benjamin had intended to devote the concluding section of his lost manuscript The True Politician to a discussion of the positive political possibilities embedded in Scheerbart’s “Asteroid Novel.” As translator Christina Svendsen writes in her introduction, “Lesabéndio helps us imagine an ecological politics more daring than the conservative politics of preservation, even as it reminds us that we are part of a larger galactic set of interrelationships.”

So it’s not light Musical Theatre reading is the general gist…

Lesabendio-Scheerbart

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Being able to sketch out light is so essential for Lighting Designers; I think that rendering digitally and pre-viz have perhaps caused a lack of teaching of this skill.  It’s also not a skill that I never really mastered, which was why I learned how to do it on a computer.  Ah, the circle of life…

El Molino Burlesque’s Beautiful Video Facade — Barcelona, Spain

I was in Barcelona back in November of 2012; I posted some photos of that very busy trip, but I didn’t really have time to go out and do some sightseeing because of the show schedule.

There is one thing I did get though, I filmed it on the last night I was there.  We were staying at a hotel called Hotel Barcelona Universal, and from my room, I had a great view across the Paral Lel, the street out in front.  Across the street was this beautiful building facade, all made of video, that had a big windmill attached to the front of it.  The name?  El Molino, or “the Mill.”   Check it out:

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Not really much to look at from the outside, right?  I mean, it’s fun and all, and obviously there is something happening of fun inside of the building.  However, El Molino has an enormous video wall outside that is pretty beautiful, and there is some very fun content that is displayed on the video wall.  It’s huge in comparison of the other parts of the facade!

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This building underwent a major renovation after a 1997 closing of the theatre, which from what I found was the first time it was ever actually closed.  The venue has a pretty interesting history; from the El Molino website, translated from Catalan:

The story of the Mill began in 1898, when the owner of the task The Aviary, a modest cabin located in Vila Vila Rosal corner, sold his business to 100 pesetas. The new owner will change its name to The Aviary Catalan and mount a small empostissat. After three years with a musical program stable, the local had already found its place in the world of entertainment Parallel.

After a brief flirtation with the movies under the name Grand Salon Siglo XX, in 1908 there was another change of owner and renamed Petit Moulin Rouge, in imitation of the famous Moulin Rouge in the Montmartre district of Paris.The new business is designed to bring the nightly entertainment cabarets of Paris “in Spanish”. It is the time of the Music Hall, which appropriates the same time, he sees as his fame avenue that the highest number of shows in Europe grows.

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So the entire point of this post was to show the video I recorded of the video content of the video wall outside of El Molino.  Check it out, this is some fun architainment!

EIBTM 2012 – Lighting Designers, JUMP ON THIS

I just got back last week from Barcelona, Spain – I was over at EIBTM 2012 for CAST; we’re exhibiting the Vivien suite and showed some wysiwyg to some folks.  In this respect, that’s unimportant.  What is important is the fact that I have never been to a show where there was such a potential for lighting design greatness than I have when I saw the show floor at EIBTM.

First – this show is absolutely jam packed and crazy.  Good crazy, mind you — this is a large show completely filling the Fira Gran Via Barcelona, which is a big, beautiful hall:

There are stand after stand of countries marketing to Event and Meeting Professionals and hoteliers and all kinds of really corporate stuff — 5-star hotel chains showing their best properties, city and country travel and tourism bureaus hocking their destinations as the “in” place to come for a particular event/meeting/what-have-you, and there is a lot of really tremendous design there — glass and wood, real plants, just and amazing display of crafstmanship.  Even our stand, a 10X20 over in the Technology Pavilion, had puttied and painted corners and generally looked sleek and nice.  There was one thing missing from most of these displays, and there were some magnificently enormous displays…

…the touch of a Lighting Designer.

There is amazing opportunity here, people — perhaps it’s time to start putting together some proposals and sending out some resumes, yeah?  Even though this is not (I repeat not) a lighting trade show by any stretch of the imagination, some of these countries’ displays could really benefit from the touch of a lighting designer.  Countries like Estonia, my favorite stand even though not the largest, could really benefit from some nice programming and sequencing to best fit their country’s appearance.  There is something so elegant about having the calculated eye of an LD to put some real pizzazz into something so important as hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue, if not exponentials of that figure.

This is not to say that they didn’t have the services of a lighting designer, but to me it did not appear as though an LD had given a lot of input other than GI (general illumination) in many of these cases.  Also keep in mind I’m a critical bastard who looks intensely at these things, and from a different perspective than any one of the attendees of this show — it’s just not what the show is about at all, it’s about destinations, events, meetings, and all of the revenue that goes along with that industry.  BUT, to the right LD, one of these stands could be a playground of immense proportions!

A few random teasers — there is a gallery at the bottom of the post with everything and anything from this trip!

Entering into the Fira Gran Via Barcelona for the show:

Spain’s EIBTM booth:

Denmark’s EIBTM booth:

Holland’s EIBTM booth:

Oh yeah, and Barcelona!  It was my first time in Spain, but I have to report that I only got to enjoy one really great meal and a bunch of hotel and convention floor food, I had the show on top of a beta program going on and writing documentation for said release.  I got a lot of cell phone shots of various locations around Barcelona, but I was busy from sun-up to sundown and didn’t really get much of a chance to enjoy Barcelona.  Sorry, Barcelona!  Maybe next time!  My Dad says you’re pretty cool, though.  La Barca del Salamanca is one awesome awesome awesome restaurant in Olympic Village along the water in Barcelona, there are some shots in the gallery of the amazing meal we had there with Corbin Ball!  Thanks Corbin, I had a blast!

Awesome.

Every street a different set of panels, but every street had them about every ten meters for miles.

The Maitre d’ un-crusting the salt from our sea bass at La Barca del Salamanca!

This image below was so awesome – this was a stone statue of a woman and child that was sitting by the Fira Gran Via loading dock entrance.  It’s obviously very old, but it was just so excellent to see this stone woman standing guard with her child over the loading dock.  I love stuff like that.

Click on any image thumb below and open up the Gallery view!