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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!

 

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.

LDI 2009 – Chauvet Lighting’s Booth

LET THE PICTURES BEGIN!

I loved posting last year’s LDI pics of the booths I photographed.  It was like giving the people who couldn’t go a chance to see what it was all about!

Every LDI, I am always amazed by the sheer magnitude of Chauvet Lighting‘s booth.  It’s always massive, it’s always a sunburst of color, and you can usually see it from just about anywhere in the convention center.  I also got to meet Navah, the girl behind @chauvetlighting on Twitter.  Great to meet you finally!

Check out this booth!

chauvet-8-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-1-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-6-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-4-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-2-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-5-ldi2009-jimonlight

chauvet-3-ldi2009-jimonlight

The Hula Skirt: Low Tech Solution for A High-Tech Pain in the Rear

Here’s the scenario:

You’re loading in the XYZ Company’s big corporate show into Anytown, USA’s huge convention center.  Let’s just say for gitz and shiggles that the room is a few hundred feet long and a few hundred feet wide, and the only real cost effective way to light the general area when not using the show’s production lighting is to use the high-bay fixtures (the big metal halide scoops) for room lighting.  You could add a bunch of lighting specifically for the house to the rig, but that’s usually never in the budget, so you’re forced to use the venue’s general illumination lighting.  Inevitably, this usually:

  • leads to the general room lighting looking like a huge pile of crap
  • completely ruins the mood you were trying to achieve
  • washes out your video screens because the room lighting is never in the right place for video
  • or a combination of all of the above

Now in the past, I’ve always tried to use a combination or turning certain zones off in the venue which has the tendency to leave important parts of the room dark and swearing at all of the universe as a whole, which usually solves nothing.  A company called Shadow Management has come up with a very low-tech solution to the problem of annoying convention center lighting getting in the way of all your great design ideas – why not cover it up, block off what is annoying you, or even color the entire system of houselights to meet the design requirements of your production?

Meet the Hula Skirt:

The folks at Shadow Management have really solved this problem at the “well, duh” level, which I like very much.  Either cover the darned lights up or use them as colored toplight!  Makes pretty good sense to me!

Check out some images, all taken from the Shadow Management website:

hula skirt

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hula skirt

hula skirt

Why Did You Do That, General Electric and Jeff Immelt?

Prepare yourselves, JimOnLight.com readers, I’m about to ramble.

jeff immelt GE

I just read a very disappointing article by Mike Elk at the Huffington Post.  I guess at this point in the scope of American manufacturing, money handling, crooked business practices, and corporations rear-ending the population out of everything we’ve saved in past years that I shouldn’t be surprised.

Oh, but I am.  I am surprised, and I’m starting to get a little more than frustrated with all of the lies and corporate BS.

Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, a major player in lighting and sustainable electricity generation, has been leading the charge over the last bit of time on bringing jobs to the United States and doing all kinds of butt-kicking exporting.  He even made a nice little speech a few weeks ago in Detroit.  I’ve gone ahead and highlighted some portions for you to emphasize my point:

Throughout my career, America has seen so much economic growth that it was easy to take it as a given. We prospered from the productivity of the information age. But, we started to forget the fundamentals and lost sight of the core competencies of a successful modern economy. Many bought into the idea that America could go from a technology-based, export-oriented powerhouse to a services-led, consumption-based economy – and somehow still expect to prosper.
That idea was flat wrong. And what did we get in the bargain? We’ve seen a great vanishing of wealth. Our competitive edge has slipped away, and this has hit the middle class hard.

As a nation, we’ve been consuming more than we earn, saved too little and taken on far too much debt. Growth in research and development has slowed. Our country has made too little progress on some of the defining challenges of our time – like clean energy and affordable health care. Our budget and trade deficits have reached levels that are clearly not sustainable.

While some of America’s competitors were throttling up on manufacturing and R&D, we deemphasized technology. Our economy tilted instead toward the quicker profits of financial services. While our financial services business has performed well, I can’t tell you that we were entirely free of these errors. We weren’t.

Leaders missed many opportunities to add to the capabilities of America. In 2000, the U.S. had a positive trade balance of high-tech products. By 2007, our trade deficit of the same products reached $50 billion. We have already lost our leadership in many growth industries, and other new opportunities are at risk. Trust in business is badly shaken, and it is going to take awhile to get it back.

Third: We must make a serious commitment to manufacturing and exports. This is a national imperative. We all know that the American consumer cannot lead our recovery. This economy must be driven by business investment and exports.

We should set a national goal to create high value added jobs and have manufacturing jobs be no less than 20 percent of total employment, about twice what it is today. And we should commit ourselves to compete and win with American exports.

Wow, this is really uplifting, right?  GO AMERICA!  Unfortunately, at the same time Immelt was barking at the American exporting tree, he was also canceling a large order for wind turbine parts from a company called ATI Casting Service in LaPorte, Indiana, and ordering the parts from a Chinese company for import.  Way to go, Jeff.  That doesn’t seem to me to be a good way to keep your stock price up, you know what I’m sayin’, Jeffy?

The one thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand (probably because I’ll never be obscenely rich) is how much money you have to have to be happy.  I can’t see myself being all Scrooge McDuck with a big pool of cash, but I feel like I’m the kind of person that would feed back into the growth of things like, well, my industry, for one.  I certainly wouldn’t lie about it, especially if I was the CEO of General Electric.

Just recently, this company ATI Casting made a large investment in operations to meet the demands of GE’s need.  From Mike Elk’s article:

Recently, ATI made $30 million worth of investments to buy, convert, and modernize a shuttered factory in economically ravaged Michigan so the company could provide more parts to GE as the green economy expands with federal stimulus funding. But a Chinese firm underbid ATI, and the factory faced having to lay off 302 union workers and shutter the plant.

In an aggressive bid to keep the factory open, ATI offered to match the price of the Chinese producers. GE once again said they would prefer to buy from China. The ATI plant is now closed, the jobs gone.

Oh yeah – did I mention that Jeff Immelt is on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board?  Did I also mention that GE is bagging millions in economic stimulus money?

An article at the Detroit Bureau comments more on Immelt’s “all-go-no-quit-big-nuts” commentary on exporting:

Immelt said the only way out of the current predicament is for the U.S. to invest more in research and development. Second, the U.S. needs to address the challenge of clean energy and affordable health care and third, make a serious commitment to manufacturing and exports. Manufacturing jobs should represent 20% of the U.S. employment base not the current 10% which is shrinking.

China is pushing manufacturing, he said. “America has got to get back in the game,” said Immelt.

Immelt also said U.S. business should welcome government intervention as a catalyst for change.  “Over the last generation, America’s ‘Service strategy’ was too weak and our goals were too low,” he said.

Really.  I mean, I totally agree – but how, Jeffy My Boy, are we supposed to be exporting jobs and sinking money into American technology when you’re dumping money into China’s economy and NOT dumping it into the economy you keep preaching needs saving?  Pick one, already!

Jeffy boy, if I could offer a little advice – if you lie, you have to remember all of the parts and pieces of your story.  If you tell the truth, that’s all you have to remember.  You and Tim Geithner need to have some classes in etiquette.

Thanks to Mike Elk, Senator Sherrod Brown, Businessweek, and NPR.