Posts

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!

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-1

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-2

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-3

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-6

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-11

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-12

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-16

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-20

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-22

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-24

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-27

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-30

CHAUVET-professional-infocomm-2014-33

 

WICKED Talks About Their Lighting Design and Light Plot

wicked-logo-wallpaper

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.

 

Christopher Moulder’s Schproket Lighting System, Sans Dieter

Christopher Moulder is a Composer of Light.

from http://ohmygodot.blogspot.ca/2010/08/deadwood-not-dead-yet.html

That’s a pretty big introduction, I’m really not sure where to go from here; ooh, maybe also, his bowel movements smell like freshly baked cinnamon rolls?

From the Christopher Moulder website:

Christopher Moulder is a composer of light. His works possess a flow and visual rhythm that leave indelible signatures on the spaces they inhabit. His chandeliers, pendants, and ceiling and wall mounted fixtures span a broad range of styles: from sea and sky inspired rhapsodies that swim and soar, to architectural, sculptural designs that assert their quiet presence with elegantly refined gestures.

Fabricated using only the finest, texturally sophisticated materials, and meticulously engineered to the highest standards, these works of lighting art transform commercial and residential spaces.

Christopher’s studio is based in Atlanta, Georgia but his work travels the world. He creates and builds both one-of-a-kind sculptural lighting artworks designed for specific sites, and an original line of lighting fixtures made to order.

He welcomes inquiries from designers, architects and private collectors alike.

He’s not lyin’ folks, his work is muy excelente.  Here’s the latest thing called the Schproket Lighting System, and it’s pretty beautiful.  Check it out – in a desire to use low-voltage lighting to create socketless, wire-less lamps, this amazing series came out of Christopher Moulder’s brain:

img_2_1360196316_d2ebc11db52c4aca4bf915484bc9ba9d

These pieces are absolutely outstanding — it’s almost as if Christopher has designed little plasma rings of light that emanate these crisp, hot little points of fire to warm up whatever room it finds itself radiating inside:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wall-mounted Schprokets:

img_8_1360196316_882bb820fa0a3b4f2291957c64d56afb

and perhaps Dieter’s favorite, Hanging Schprokets:

img_4_1360196316_0effdfaeb975ebdaa9233fda56d50765

Beautiful.  You also have to go sit on Christopher’s website and just let the rotating background gallery do its thing, he really has some lovely, lovely work!  Here’s a few shots from it, which makes me wonder WHY YOU’RE NOT THERE CHECKING IT OUT!!!

 

christopher-moulder-screenshot-3

christopher-moulder-screenshot-2

christopher-moulder-screenshot-1

Amazing.  Now check out a gallery of Schprokets, this is some beautiful work!

Thanks to DesignBoom!

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!

Worship Lighting Should Be Correct… Right?

I have done a fair amount of consulting for houses of worship in my time, mostly new church openings, worship volunteer lighting tech training, and helping houses of worship to “tune up” their existing system, lighting console, and dimming.  There is an amazing amount of entertainment lighting and structure in most modern houses of worship; the art of lighting services for worship is something that has come a very, very long way since…  well, since the Quem Quaeritis, right?

Editor’s Note:  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Quem Quaeritis is basically the first piece of theatre that we have record for, and it’s a simple one.  The gist of it is that it’s an Easter liturgy thing — and paraphrasing, it’s basically like this:

Person 1:  Hey, who are you looking for?
Person 2:  Ah, we’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth!
Person 1:  Oh.  Well, he has risen.  Go tell somebody!

Yeah, I’ve paraphrased, but the gist is there:

Question [by the Angels]: Whom do ye seek in the sepulcher, O followers of Christ?
Answer [by the Marys]: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified, O heavenly ones.
The Angels: He is not here; he is risen, just as he foretold. Go, announce that he is risen from the sepulchre.

—John Gassner, editor, Medieval and Tudor Drama.

Yeah. Something like that.  Quem Quaeritis?  Check!

Ok, that little bit of history lesson from the way distant past is over.

So — the entire point of this whole post was to address something I found in a magazine called Technologies for Worship Magazine (or TFWM) about lighting for worship video.  Kevin Rogers Cobus wrote an article about lighting for video or lighting for the audience that was pretty intriguing, quoting Tony Hansen from Techni-Lux, Inc. about some basic fundamentals of lighting for video.  There are some really notable quotes in there, but there is one quote that sticks by me:

“I can’t tell you how many churches I go into that tell me, ‘We’re putting in a half-million dollar video system and we have twelve par cans,’” says Hansen. The intention is there, but you are setting yourself up for failure. You’ll be capturing superior quality video of a lackluster stage.

On the other hand, if your goal is to have an adequate look for your lighting on stage as well as a decent capture of that stage look on video (notice how the word “pristine” is not used) then that is an attainable goal. It requires balance, and compromise.

You have to start with your vision and work the technology in, as opposed to purchasing technology because you think it will solve problems for you. It won’t. It’s great to dream big and have a lot of vision, but you have to be realistic about the limitations.

This is a really, really unfortunate course of events in our industry that takes on form after form in front of my eyes — the absence of a trained lighting designer in houses of worship.  Now this is not the whole, as there are many outstanding LDs out there working in worship, like lighting designer Jon Griffin at Saddleback Church in California.  But there are many houses of worship out there with volunteer people “designing” the lighting for their internationally televised and recorded worship  broadcast, which means that a lot of times they get to record and broadcast some pretty repugnant lighting.  Now why, if a church is going to spend a half-million on a new video system, would said church never hire a professional quality lighting designer to give that half-million dollar video system the food it needs to make good video?  Would you hire someone unqualified to repair the HVAC in the building?

A professional quality lighting designer with some solid background and reputable shows under their belt is not hard to come by these days, especially one who will work Sunday and Wednesday services plus all of the programming and installation that goes along with those shows.  Now why wouldn’t a house of worship that has a half-million dollar video system (or more, more than likely) spring for a pro lighting designer to make an interesting and evenly focused stage for the broadcasts?  It escapes my mind, too.  This is not to say that a person with no training and no lighting design education can never design a production, quite the opposite, actually.  But when you’re pouring money by the hundreds of thousands of your congregation’s donations into a new video system, shouldn’t you have a professional come in and give you their best hypothesis on what your house of worship needs with respect to lighting your broadcast videos?

Kevin writes in his article, Myth:  Your Video Will Look Just Like Your Live Stage:

Hansen uses audio as a comparison—something lighting people seem to do a lot when they need to simplify an explanation. “You can have the best sound system in the world with the best microphones, but if the singer is garbage, the output is garbage. There is no such thing as auto-tune for video.”

This is an outstanding comparison, because it’s right on with lighting.  If you don’t have an evenly lit stage, video won’t fill in the dark gaps.  Quite the opposite — the camera sees the darkness and expands upon it.  Darkness will be found by the camera’s eye, even if the audience can be fooled by it.  If you have a hole in your front light, the camera will find it.  If you have a ill-focused backlight, the camera will find it.  If you have a fixture that is about to pop its lamp (meaning that it’s super bright onstage…  THE CAMERA.  WILL  FIND.  THAT  SPOT.  Is this really news to anyone?

Kevin raises some ideas of note in his article that I’d love to address.  Kevin calls them Rules.  Kevin’s Rules from the article:

  • Use Top Light
  • Don’t Use Too Much Light
  • Don’t Light the Audience

This is where I have to ask the JimOnLight readership for your opinion.  Don’t these “rules” seem a bit — well, off?  Let’s look at these Rules.  Keep in mind, I am not slamming Kevin Cobus’ article, but there was something that just did not sit well with me when I read the magazine.  Also to be fair, Kevin subtitled his article, “A Lighting Designer Offers His Opinion.”  That’s pretty much what I do.   For example:

Rule #1:  Use Top Light.
Jim’s Rule #1:  Use Back light. 

Does this make any sense to you?  I have been wracking my brain trying to make this one make sense, but all I can come up with is what my mentor Mary Tarantino told me once while lighting one of my first grad school productions – and I have to paraphrase because I’ve slept since then:

“Watch a dancer under top light.  The top pushes them into the floor, but if you pop their form with backlight, you literally push them away from the background.”

I have been lighting like this for years, and I had to find some examples of worship lighting that help support my theory.  My dad likes that Joel Osteen guy, even though he’s one of those multi-kabrillionaire pastors that definitely doesn’t need my help for people to flock to his website.  Here’s Joel Osteen with some backlight:

Backlight.  Pushing Joel Osteen away from the background.

More backlight.  Do you see how it allows for a really nice sculptural look?

Check out the backlight.  Consequently, check out the poorly colored Joel Osteen on the Stage Right screen, too.  The backlight in the image above is also focused in pairs of backlight; a downstage focus and an upstage focus.  Keep in mind, this is MY opinion.  I think backlight is a superior angle to toplight for film.  Again, my opinion.

Rule #2:  Don’t Use Too Much Light.
Jim’s Rule #2:  Use Enough Light. 

What IS too much light, exactly?  Does it mean to balance out the fronts from the backs from the sides?  Does it mean to watch the program feed to make sure that you’re not washing out your faces and blooming the colors on screen?  To me, it means to balance to four and a third for the camera, and make sure not to wash out everything on the camera.  My guess is that in a lot of occasions the guy shading the cameras is also a volunteer, too – why make his or her job more difficult?

Here’s some examples of “enough” light being used instead of “too much.”  What do you think?

Here’s another:

Now who is to say this is “right” lighting?  There is one thing that I have learned in my career that will always live with me — the client AND the audience will never think your dark, moody lighting is as good as seeing smiles and teeth.  Learn this, young LDs, it is something you’re going to get pissed off about for many years unless you learn it right up front.  It’s not to say that you can’t add in a nice color-rich look or a great looking aerial, but make sure that you can see those teeth.  It’s always better to dial back the intensity rather than to tell the producer or worship director that you don’t have any more intensity to give.

Rule #3:  Don’t Light the Audience.
Jim’s Rule #3:  LIGHT THE AUDIENCE if you’re going to be broadcasting.  LIGHT THE AUDIENCE if you want to see them.

This was a hard one for me to swallow, mostly because the audience shots are often the things that tie the message together.  if your Pastor or worship leader says “It is wrong to lie to your spouse, God doesn’t want you to do that,” and you reinforce it with some worshippers agreeing with nodding heads, you have just allowed the people at home to relate to the people listening to the Pastor.  If you have the same message followed by just more of the Pastor’s face, do you think you’ve effectively reached your audience?

Here’s some image research to support this hypothesis:

and from Richard Cadena’s book of the same idea:

Keep in mind that these are just my opinions.  Light is not an easy thing, it gives most of us who study it a lifetime of excitement and wonder.  Bad lighting on video is as bad as bad video.

Please check out Kevin Rogers Cobus’ article — it’s a great read and a great article, even if I disagree with it — probably especially because I disagree with it!  Please check it out and support a fellow professional.

Thank to the following sites for photo links:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 

Burgundy – A New .PSLAB Beiruit Lighting Design Project

My favorite Lebanese lighting design firm, .PSLAB out of Beirut, has just finished another interesting project – a wine bar/restaurant called Burgundy.  I just heard from my pal Ramsi at the firm this morning, and I am excited to share the project images!

From the .PSLAB press release:

A lighting project for a wine bar/restaurant having a substructure of wooden arched beams cutting through a wire mesh covering the ceiling. The setting of the space underneath the substructure is functionally divided into two sections: a bar area and a dining area.

Highlighting the dual function, the lighting objects are set on two parallel axes over these two sections.

Suspended from the arcs, each light object is a set of conical tubes conceived to fill a circular-shaped area. Clustering in the circle, the tubes start at the center; moving radially, they begin to deviate at an angle of 25 degrees to reach an angle of 45 degrees. This deviation renders a chandelier-like object, with a bottom curved outline opposite to that of the ceiling. The cluster of the tubes housing the bulbs creates an effect of a singular light source being filtered.

The entrance is lit by a set of black projectors also using the arched beams for fixation; the groove in the beams encloses the technical parts box, while the head of the projector is left loose to rotate shedding light in different directions.

A lighting project for a wine bar/restaurant having a substructure of wooden arched beams cutting through a wire mesh covering the ceiling.The setting of the space underneath the substructure is functionally divided into two sections: a bar area and a dining area.Highlighting the dual function, the lighting objects are set on two parallel axes over these two sections.Suspended from the arcs, each light object is a set of conical tubes conceived to fill a circular-shaped area. Clustering in the circle, the tubes start at the center; moving radially, they begin to deviate at an angle of 25 degrees to reach an angle of 45 degrees. This deviation renders a chandelier-like object, with a bottom curved outline opposite to that of the ceiling.

The cluster of the tubes housing the bulbs creates an effect of a singular light source being filtered.The entrance is lit by a set of black projectors also using the arched beams for fixation; the groove in the beams encloses the technical parts box, while the head of the projector is left loose to rotate shedding light in different directions.

Cool!  My other favorite type of lighting design is architectural and interior – so these kinds of projects always thrill me to write about whenever they come across the desk!

Check out some images – and make SURE to check out .PSLAB’s website!

Thanks, Ramsi!

How Do You Feel When You Drive A Lighting Rig?

I have been driving a fair amount of rigs lately, which has made me incredibly happy.  I mean, compared to some of you, I work very few shows!  It’s been pretty amazing to take shows I want to work on – and I’ve made some amazing new friends across the country.  There is nothing better than that.

So, I’ve been wondering…  How do you feel when you’re driving a rig?  Whether it’s right before that first general session meeting when you’ve stayed up until 4am making looks and transitions that will drive the client’s show to amazing status, or if it’s right as the band steps onstage and the blues are up.  How do you feel?  Do you feel like a racecar driver?  Do you feel lighting a lighting designer?  I always see the rig as my spaceship – and I love my spaceship!

Hey, send me an email through the contact form and tell me about your feelings on this topic, wouldja?  I am compiling for a post on the topic, and I’d like to include as many of you as possible!

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.

The Rise of LX Injected, The Centre for Social Innovation, and the Party to End All Parties

I am kinda loving life.  A lot.  This last week, a new venture that I started with Amanda Lynne Ballard got its wings and took off – LX Injected.

What does LX Injected do?  We create large scale light art.  We also aim to change the world through light.

Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation just bought a new building in which to create and innovate, and they threw a monster party in said building.  The Party to End All Parties was on Friday of this last week, and people did much rejoicing.  LX Injected was asked to come and turn the space into a work of art in which people could come together and have a blast.

Enjoyment was what we aimed for, and that’s what happened.  We also got to work with some amazing people (Tonya and Colleen, you both rock) and we were fortunate enough to be able to light up a massive, open, and beautiful space.

Check out some images from the evening, courtesy of Amanda Lynne – and also check out the Centre for Social Innovation’s website.  They’re doing really freaking cool stuff.  Life changing stuff.  You might be asking yourself what exactly – so here’s a blurb from the Centre’s website:

The Centre for Social Innovation is a dynamic space in downtown Toronto, Canada. Our mission is to spark and support new ideas that are tackling the social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges we face today. We’re creating the spaces that social innovation needs to thrive and we’re contributing a few of our own ideas along the way!

Cool.  What an amazingly guerrilla and fun design.  I really enjoyed this project!  Support the life changers, use your brains like you’re a ninja!

The first set of images here are of the initial site visit walkthrough with the lovely miss Colleen Diamond.  We chatted about the feel and purpose of the space, and how we could pull some good ol’ urban planning magic to turn our space into a “place.”  Colleen was also quoted during that meeting as saying “nerd is the new passion.”  We love you, Colleen!

After building some very simple fixtures, shopping some fixtures, and purchasing the right lamps (we went mostly 50W PAR20 halogen narrow floods and some 500W wash units for color and splash), we had the evening the night before to get into the space at dusk for hang and focus.

The space before the install:

Natural and fluorescent light

Windows

The Install Night

After the evening before spent building fixtures and wiring them up, the next evening before the actual event we had the space to play, experiment on the various surfaces with light, and get everything rigged and working.  It was an amazing evening, and that warehouse came alive!

Essentially, the design went for motion.  We accented the things we felt were important, created two separate saturated blue areas on contrasting sides of the space for people to be able to “cool off,” if you will from the white light shining on the walls.  With the brick walls themselves we chose to angle the spots grazing the walls to also create an implied motion around the space.  The space around the “bar” created in the venue was a great feeling for us – we lit the glasses and bar surface at a low angle, and through the windows of the space we were able to illuminate the faded but yet still amazing Coca-Cola logo on the side of the adjacent building.

The Bar and the Coke Logo

The Party

The evening was outstanding.  Great people, everyone having fun, people playing in the shadows we created, and people making their own shadows.  Amazing, fun, and I would do it again in a second.  Check out some pics from the party evening, and then below everything is a gallery of all of the shots.  Enjoy!

The gallery of images from the process:

All photos on this page are protected under an Attribution-NonCommercial-No-Derivitives license.  You can repost the photos and content as long as you give attribution to JimOnLight.com and LX Injected.  Photographer credit, unless otherwise noted, is Amanda Lynne Ballard.