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JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Opens Tonight at Oklahoma City University!

So.

I have been chasing this script down to design for about fifteen years.  It’s my favorite non-traditional opera.  Now I can no longer say I’ve never designed it.  I had a hell of a lot of fun designing it – and the performers are tearing my face off nightly.  During final dress, the end of act one sequence went so well, I let out an audible “YEAH!” when the parts of that last cue of the act fired, totally involuntary.  So, all of that being said, if you’re near OKC and want to see a damned great show, come see Jesus Christ Superstar tonight!  The show runs through the weekend.

Wendy Mutz was the production photographer for our preview last night.  I have never had my work look so beautiful as when Wendy shoots it.  Ever.  Thank you for always capturing such amazing moments in time.  If you’re a lighting designer, you need Wendy Mutz.  Have Wendy, will travel.  Wendy’s on Facebook, too!

All photos copyright Wendy Mutz, 2011:

The Culmination of Hundreds of Hours of Awesome (Which I Think Means Sleep Deprivation)

So, The Wedding Singer opens tonight.  We had final dress last night, and tonight is the culmination of our collaboration.  This is what has kept me from the blog, which I apologize for, but you all know how it is when you’re designing a show:

I love photos captured in the middle of fast bright chases!  The photographer is one of my two favorite Oklahoma City photogs, Wendy Mutz.  Wendy is about 600% of the AWESOME, and is one hell of a photographer.  Go check out Wendy Mutz Photography and see what I mean.  If you’re in need of a photographer for shooting a show, concert, any kind of event period, you need a bad ass like Wendy.

If you’re on Facebook (maybe it should be ‘if you’re not on Facebook’ anymore, huh), then check out Wendy’s Facebook page!

Tickets are here.  I’m going to sit down here and work on my laptop for a few hours in peace and quiet.

JimOnLight.com in San Francisco – the Non-Work Photos – at Photonics West 2011

I did have a hell of a time in San Francisco, that much has to be said.  Between working our butts off to make the booth look great, not getting some of the gear we needed shipped for our booth, and stumbling around looking for a Starbucks, I had a BLAST!

(Come on.  I kid – there’s a fu%$ing Starbucks every five feet in San Francisco, don’tcha know?)

Check out some photos I took on my trip – fun was had by all!

The lovely ladies of marketing from DiCon Fiber-Optics and DiCon Lighting – get ready, I’m posting something about a new DiCon product VERY, very soon.  Absolutely exciting!

Two industry veterans talking about touring – Rick Hutton from InLight Gobos on the left, Mark Hetrick from a billion road miles on the right.  Mark, Rick, and I walked the Photonics West tradeshow floor for a while, then Rick and I did some geeking out on the South floor.  What a great conference!

Here’s the image gallery of my trip – if you click on a thumbnail, a magic image gallery opens up!

The Ocean Thin Films Booth at Photonics West 2011

Last week, I was in San Francisco exercising my lighting design muscle for Ocean Thin Films’s booth at Photonics West 2011.  Fun was had by all – I got to see Jax from JimOnLight.com, I got to see Phil Buchsbaum from Ocean Thin Films, Rick and Adri Hutton from InLight Gobos, and a ton of other folks who all had great times walking around, enjoying the awesome weather, and generally having a great time!

The rig was simple but effective – three handfuls of tungsten SeaChanger profiles, a handful and a half of Nemo Wash units (SeaChanger’s LUXIM lamp fixtures), and a couple of VL-1000 Tungsten for frosting.

Check out the rest of the images – click on a thumbnail and a magic gallery of images opens up!

See this dude here below?  The guy in the lift?
That guy is Mark Hetrick.  He is one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met.

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!

I Just Finished Lighting A Show in Phoenix.

I do a decent amount of corporate work as a lighting designer.  I very much enjoy being able to bring art and design to a corporate function, and I also enjoy being able to play with moving lights and make pretty stuff.  I mean, who doesn’t?

This last show I finished here in Phoenix is different though – I have to say that they were the most amazing, kind, and passionate group of people I’ve had the pleasure of lighting in quite some time.  You see, this conference was about nurses and doctors who deal with patient wounds, and making sure people heal.  Let me tell you, they were passionate about their jobs.  I got to listen to a nurse from the US Air Force talk about treating battlefield wounds in Afghanistan, a nurse who volunteered in Hurricane Katrina treating wounds, a nurse who treated patients in China after the monster earthquake they had last year, and many others.  This show touched my heart.

I also got to work with a ridiculously talented group of people – a production manager who kept his stuff together and took no crap, a great video director who made the dissolves look amazing, absolutely delightful camera ops, graphics folks who knew their gig well, and an audio lead (and his amazing A2) who made the show sound crystal clear.  Sometimes I wonder how I get so lucky working with good people!  It’s so fulfilling to work on a great team.

I do have a very post-event hilarious story…

The story goes that in my plot I designed ten Vari*Lite VL3000’s on top of varying heights of 20.5″ truss, as you see in the pictures.  What I actually got were Mac 2000 Profile II electronic ballast heads, which was fine with me, as I like using them.  I was setting up FOH and getting the console patched (which was another story that involved a Hog II operating firmware that hadn’t been updated since 2006) while my electricians were placing the Profiles atop of the truss towers.  Of the ten units on top of towers, there were three Profiles that were just being mean to me – they were all doing the exact same thing, being unresponsive to pan and tilt.  A call to 4Wall later and three new units come to the Convention Center along with a 4Wall tech.  Before he got there, my guys had checked data cables, DMX addresses, and myriad other things that I was wracking my brain to try to solve.  I checked the patch, I checked the console output, everything.  I’m stressing because we have rehearsal in an hour, I have a megaton of heads and LED units on this show, and I want to make sure the client is happy.

Lo and behold, when the 4Wall tech arrived onsite to bring me new gear, I scurried up the truss tower to check out a few things (I’ve been at FOH this whole time), and on my way up the truss tower I realized that the three units that weren’t working because they weren’t Mac 2000 Profile II units.  It turns out that some of the gear I got from the production company (NOT 4Wall – we did some 4Wall rentals and some existing gear) were mislabeled when the stagehands installed them – three of the heads were Mac 2000 Performance units stuck in Profile II cases.  Boy, don’t I feel like an ass.

Another day, another city, another show.  Now I have another story to put in my book.

Check out some pictures of the show – it really turned out beautifully (in my humble opinion of course), and better yet, the people who needed to be happy were happy.

An Alternative to Production Photo Display

I have taught students how to format photos and put together portfolios of their work for several years, and one thing that has always gotten me about the way the industry views the work is the weird lack of creativity that comes with production photo exhibition.  You have your portfolio with your name, and all that stuff, your resume, some photos, and maybe some references.  Right?

I think that the advent of things like the iPad and web-based apps is changing the way that students will be able to display their portfolios.  You also have to understand that there will always be those sticklers who will literally just toss out portfolios that come on DVDs, CDs, or other media just because they don’t follow “the standard.”  I’m here right now to call BS on “the standard.”

I got bored this weekend (which is amazing with the amount of work on my plate right now) and I wanted to write about this very subject, so I put together this quick little minute-plus video of some Alive Lighting production shots in a little video.  I just tried to show an alternative method of displaying the work.  Quite frankly, I want to see someone show some creativity when displaying their work – remember, the production photos don’t talk.  If you can do anything to help enhance the display of the work, you’re doing yourself a favor.

Just remember – and this is important – do not alter your work in Photoshop!  Don’t change colors, adjust intensities, or generally alter the capture of the work.  None of these photos were altered beyond size adjustments.  That’s just not cool!  If you didn’t light it right the first time, don’t lie!  All you have to do is get caught doing that once, and you’re done.

Check out this quick little video – I did block out the logo of the client in this video to meet non-disclosure:

Production Photos Don’t Have To Be Just Photos! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

What JimOnLight Has Been Doing Lately – Moonlighting as Alive Lighting

I’m finally getting to a week break of a long few months of production work and being on the road.  We’ve all seen each other at USITT, I’ve been working on a few shows, and coming up in a week and a half I’ll be in Las Vegas for LightFair 2010 and in NYC for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes.  After that I’m lighting a convention in Phoenix for a week – “living the dream,” as we say!  No wait – we say that at 4am after a double long day of shows and a load out with a matinee load-in in three hours.

I had plans to get out and see the Toms, and Phil from Ocean Optics/SeaChanger, but we had a brutal schedule and I didn’t get over there.  I am sad about that – I’ll take a raincheck, yeah?

Check out a few shots of the show that I just got back from in Tampa.  I met some cool people down there – Orlando techs are a lot of fun!  Rooms with no rigging (minus the ten fixtures in the airwall) are always a challenge!

Bye, Sweden!

shadow_skansen_jimonlight

Well, I’ve made a huge decision over the last few weeks.  I’ve decided to leave the KTH program and head back home to the United States to continue working on my design firm, Alive Lighting, and to keep writing JimOnLight.com full time.  It has been a great two months, and I have made so many great new friends that I will have forever – the relationships I made here in Sweden have enriched my life so much, and I will miss these people very much.

I’ve decided to leave the program at KTH because I don’t believe I’m being challenged.  Unfortunately, I don’t feel the education is advancing my academic and professional goals.  I’m not happy with that and, since this was a huge expense and commitment, I had to decide if staying for another eight months would pay off for me.  I’m very glad that I checked it out and am grateful for the opportunity to have done so.

I am so grateful for meeting the professors, seeing the beautiful Haninge KTH campus (which I’ll be posting some pictures of in coming weeks), and Stockholm is stunning.  I have new friends.  It’s been a great journey.  I can’t thank my lovely wife enough for her support, and all of the JimOnLight readers and Tweeters for their daily interaction.  It’s made me feel like home!

As of Thursday, I will be available for lighting design and consulting, and continuing to write JimOnLight every day.

Peter Pan at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, IL

I just lit Peter Pan at the reknowned Circa 21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island, IL with the owner/producer Denny Hitchcock, director/choreographer Jim Hesselman, costumer designer Greg Hiatt, scenic designer/paint charge Susie Holgersson, and sound designer Ray Malone.  Joel Gelpe is the music director, and Matt Carney worked his hind end off tenfold as my chief electrician.  Starla Williams corralled us all for the project (she’s head of operations) and bought lunch and dinner way too many times.

This was an experience I will not soon forget – all good moments, a lot of work (a lot of work), and a collective amount of about 22 hours sleep in over a week.  The theatre is unbelievably amazing and proud in all of its restored beauty – and along with a team of professionals that wanted to be there, I experienced an epiphany of art and collaboration that just happened one night during a rehearsal.  Everything came together in one of those magic moments we all hope for in our art, and it was exactly what I needed before my year-long journey in Sweden.  I wouldn’t trade out one older Altman 360Q, 65Q fresnel, R40 striplight, or Mole-Richardson 2.4K ERF for anything in this production.

Circa 21’s food is good, the wait staff performs before the show, and the theatre is mind-blowingly beautiful.  If you’re within travel distance of Rock Island, IL, go support these folks.  We’ve been getting great press – check out a review of the show from Mike Schulz at the River Cities’ Reader.

The theatre is amazing – have I mentioned that yet?  My first order of business when I arrived onsite was to figure out how to dedicate several of my limited supply of dimmers to lighting the inside of the venue.  Check out a few pics and a video:

circa 21

circa 21