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ProLight+Sound 2012 – Eine Kleine Schweineschnitzel

Hiya, everybody!

I’m back in the land of the horse-riding 5-0, at the hotel for one more week.  I have an apartment that is available April 1, and I’ll be moving in April 2.  I never thought I would be so happy to see a king-sized bed and my little fan blowing air on me so I can sleep.  I’ll also be flying back to Oklahoma pretty soon to load-out of my apartment there and drive that stuff up to Toronto.  I’ll also be able to pick up my sweetheart!

I just spent the last nine days in Frankfurt, Germany working the CAST Software booth for ProLight+Sound 2012.  What an awesome show!  The Messe Frankfurt is huge;  there are about eleven buildings full of lighting, audio, lasers, pyro, musiccal instruments, thumping bass, people from all over the world, atmospheric haze, video screens, LEDs, and currywurst.  Holy moly, do I love currywurst.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the little chopping machine they stick the wurst in to chop it into bite-sized pieces — it would make every man who reads this blog cringe with pain and every woman laugh their asses off at the sympathetic pain response.  Yeah.

I took a few handfuls of pics from my iPhone, and I have some awesome video from the show, which I’ll be putting together soon.  I hope you enjoy the show!

Gallery – click on a thumbnail, and a window opens up to show you the glory!

Early As F*** Phish Fix – TAB at Bear Creek

Well, I am up early today.  Oh, am I up early.

I needed a pick me up to get out of bed this morning – and since I am SO AWAKE RIGHT NOW and want YOU to share in on the earliness of this early hour, here’s a bit of Trey Anastasio Band doing Push On Till the Day at the Bear Creek Festival in Wisconsin.  Did you see the sick lineup?!  Oh my goodness:

Check out this video – if it doesn’t wake you up, then try some strong coffee:

I love festival lighting.  I have had my face rocked SO many times at festivals just like Bear Creek.

Thanks, YEMBlog!

The Importance of Light Sources in Architectural Lighting Design Choices

I have a very interesting view from my apartment.  As you can imagine, since I’m typically only home after the sun goes down to appreciate it, I spend a lot of time gazing at the city, Oklahoma City.  I have a great view of most of downtown from my 13th floor city view condo, and I have large windows that open to air, allowing me to get great unimpeded shots of the entire area.

I take a lot of pictures of downtown Oklahoma City – it is so interesting to me to watch the city go from sunset to artificial light, almost as if it has a beating heart that only comes alive at night.  To watch the buildings flicker alive with their exterior illumination is like watching a giant living, breathing, feeling being come into its own each day as the sun goes to bed.

There is one thing that of course I would notice over all other beauty in my downtown view – poorly maintained architectural lighting.  As such a fan of great design in lighting and architecture, when I see a building that generally has aesthetically pleasing features, and then I see those features slaughtered by poorly maintained exterior lighting.  It’s kinda like falling in love with someone and getting dumped on your tukus for no reason – a major disappointment.  That example might be a wee bit extreme, but I think I get the point across – bad architectural lighting makes a city look ugly.

I think this really comes down to light source choice when planning the exterior illumination design.  As designers, we are responsible (at least in MY head) for choosing lighting that is going to not only support the architecture, but to accentuate it as well.  This comes down to many things overall – and I think one of them is being well versed in the lamp life and longevity of both lamps and fixtures that we choose to add to buildings.  If you choose poorly in your exterior lighting fixture and lamp choices, then your design is going to become the victim of maintenance.

Case in point:  Oklahoma City’s Museum of Art – I have a clear view of the building from my apartment.  What really sucks is that I don’t have a picture of the building with all of the architectural lighting working.  I’ve lived in my apartment since mid-July 2010.  Check out the building illuminated at night:

I’ve been on top of that building – changing the lamps in the architectural lighting atop the museum is not difficult because you can literally walk around and access most of the bases.  However, there have to be several thousand lamps in that design (the lamps are a bit bigger than C-9’s), and changing them what seems to be at least bi-weekly seems to be the only way to have them all work.

Would you say that this lighting design is efficiently using maintenance’s time?

Here’s another look at the structure, this time less of them are burned out:

And another with more lamps out:

Another building in town that has interesting potential (and has a pretty good record for upkeeping the architectural lighting) is the OG&E building in downtown Oklahoma City.  The OG&E building has a large swath of red fixtures lining the top of the building itself – I don’t know if they’re neon or just fluorescent with a red diffuser, but it’s generally an interesting look:

Now here’s the OG&E building when some of its fixtures are out:

Just doesn’t quite look the same, huh.

When you make design choices, always try to take into consideration what your work will look like when it’s not maintained.  I think that the aspect of a poorly maintained lighting design isn’t always taken into consideration – which leads to bigger problems in the end.

Chew on THAT!

A Note about the 2010 Midterm Elections

Well, as you all probably know by now, the Republican Party has taken control of the United States House of Representatives.  Headlines across America are displaying titles like “GRIDLOCK IN AMERICA” and “THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN” and all kinds of other stuff like that.  Here’s the situation America finds herself in as of today:

Republican leaders like John Boehner are making statements like “This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles.”  Republican Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the #3 House Republican, is making statements like “Look – the time to go along and get along is over.”

Yeah.  Great effing attitude, especially when one in ten of our fellow men and women are out of work.

Democrats are not off the hook here, either – I am an equal opportunity caller of the bull, and Democrats are doing their fair share of stupid crap.  There is a reason that Harry Reid of Nevada SQUEAKED by Tea Party favorite Sharon Angle.  I mean, come on, America – did you see NONE of Angle’s back-and-forth gaffs in this ridiculance we called a midterm race?!  Why was this even an issue?  Democrats are doing nothing that can be considered groundbreaking either.  No one is doing anything.  This is why we are in this situation.

I have a message for the Congress, and specifically the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives.  I want you to listen closely, because the people who read JimOnLight.com are a strong majority of people who love light, lighting, light engineering, power distribution, and technology, to name a few issues we care about here.

This is a short list of things you need to accomplish in my world, you newly found controlling Republicans.  Let’s see if you can “get along” enough to fix these things:

  • Our ever-aging and ridiculously Keystone Cops-esque national power grid
  • Stop being patsies to the money from big lighting monopolies.  Just stop that now.
  • Stop legislating things like INCANDESCENT LAMPS and do something productive to SOLVE the problem, or get someone in who CAN solve the problem.  Legislation is a lazy fix to a technological issue.
  • Get out of the pocket of Big Oil and Big Coal and start getting solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power running in our country on more than the pathetically small scale it’s in now.  If the military were to say “well, we need this new weapon to protect ourselves from whatever it is we’re protecting ourselves from,” you’d hop on that like flies on poo.  WE NEED SUSTAINABLE POWER GENERATION TO PROTECT OURSELVES.  GET ON IT.
  • Stop encouraging America’s ridiculously intelligent people to go work on Wall Street and in Big Government and start giving incentive to get the next generation of Optical Engineers, Laser Scientists, Lighting Designers, and Electrical Engineers, as well as Researchers, Teachers, and general technology leaders working and fixing our problems.  Perhaps then we won’t be ranked so embarrassingly low in the world’s rankings of education and technology.

I’m sure my readership and I can come up with about another thousand list items.  Just give me a call, you know my number.  America is a place full of opportunity and really smart people.  Give us some credit, we’re not all stupid like you think we are in the political campaign ads you pay millions of dollars to run.

LDI 2010 – A Weekend That Kicked A Lot of Rear

I’m back from LDI 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I have to say that this year was one of my favorite LDI shows of perhaps my entire experience with going to LDI shows across the country.  Good people, good products, good experiences, and a lot of memorable moments.

This is kind of a teaser post -I wanted to say hi to the world, to tell you that I have eleventy katrillion pictures, videos, and other awesome LDI related stuffs to post this week for those of you who were out there rock-and-rolling and couldn’t make LDI.

I’ll elaborate more soon, but a short few of my highlights from this year’s show:

More to come, folks.  Get ready!

It’s Friday. Get Coffee, Then Check Out These Fixtures!

Happy Friday, everybody!

It’s been a crizizzaay week, has it not?  A lot has happened this week – all good stuff, no doubt, except for the fact that I have an ulcer, but I’m sucking it up and getting over that pronto.  When I pass, I’m half-tempted to donate my body to science so that they can all wear their hazmat suits as they dig through hundreds of productions and years of abuse living in and loving my industry.  Love it.

A good friend of mine – my favorite Mexico City resident, actually – Orquidea Vara sent me a link to these excellent lighting fixture images – all printed in 3D.  VERY cool.  I hope this gives you some inspiration on this very busy Friday!

Check out the whole set of drawings at the photostream of i.materialise.  Enjoy!

Armillary Sphere

Armillary Sphere

Brain Games

The Creation lamp

Exploding cappuccino lamp

Clone lamp

Parametric design

Medical meets Design!

Muchas gracias, Orqui!

A Total Moment of Randomness – My Fourth Phase T-Shirt

I was throwing out some old t-shirts this weekend, and I came across one of my favorite t-shirts ever – my old Fourth Phase UK shirt!  For most of you this will probably be one of those “what the hell is Jim talking about?” moments, but for the people who know Fourth Phase from the days before they became part of PRG, I hope you enjoy the memories!  Fourth Phase doesn’t exist anymore, but I spent some time putting together some cool rigs in their warehouse!

This t-shirt has been all over the place.  Unfortunately, white deodorant stains t-shirts, at least hundreds of thousands of miles of it does…

Happy Birthday, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!

Who’s that dude with Tommy Edison there?  Wait, is that Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison?  Hey, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!

Miller Hutchison (born late August 6, 1876, died February 16, 1944) was an inventor for Edison at the Menlo Park lab, one of dozens of people that Edison called his “muckers.”  What a crappy name for associates, right?  So, as you would think from the name, the “muckers” were the people that cleaned the horse stalls, toilets, and other things that have to do with muck, right?

No. Edison’s muckers were the geniuses he hired to realize his ideas.  He paid them next to nothing, and took all the credit for their work.  We’re talking about people like William Kennedy Dickson, Francis Robbins Upton, Arthur E. Kennelly, and Nikola Tesla – real major players, kings of science and industrial processes.  Edison treated these people like Wal-Mart workers, but they were the ones who made our technology what it evolved into today.  But Edison played on the desire of these genius inventors to get them to work so cheap – they could invent in the Menlo Park lab, with nearly any supply imaginable and next to no limitations.  They made pitiful wages for their work, but they loved their jobs.  Kinda like us lighting folk!

Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison was quite the inventor and “mucker,” and quite the Edison company man, too.  Hutchison was responsible for several aspects of Edison’s business, including marketing Edison batteries to the Secretary of the Navy at that time.  In essence, were it not for Dr. Hutchison’s advertising prowess, submarine development might not be where it is today!  The story of Hutchison’s pre-Edison days is also kind of awesome:  Miller Hutchison was a member of the United States Light House Brigade (which is totally new to me but WHAT A COOL NAME), and helped lay submarine cables in the Gulf of Mexico during the Spanish-American War.

Regardless of where I put the rest of Miller Reese Hutchison’s accomplishments and inventions, one of the cooler ones (and not light-related) is the Klaxon horn – you know, the aaWOOOOOga sound, often found on ships and submarines, and typically in movies when the poo is about to intersect with the fan?  Yeah, Hutchison invented that.  Also, maybe in a tinge of irony, Hutchison also invented the hearing aid (which he called the Acousticon).  The St. Louis Dispatch published a memorial article many years after his death that semi-accused him of creating the Klaxon horn to increase the number of candidates that would need his hearing aid.

Cool.  Happy Birthday, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!  If you weren’t dead, I’d totally buy you a Shiner Bock and ask you about batteries.

Thanks Wikipedia, About (twice!), Wapedia, FloraBerlin, and BPI!

PROTESTERS: Leave The Location Crews Alone

Have you seen this video?

The video above is of some protesters assaulting a location crew outside of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.  To be completely honest, I don’t want to give these douchebags the press, but this is ridiculous.  This bunch of idiots claims that the location crew was shining their “hot lights” on the protesters.  Are these people really that stupid?  Why do I have a hard time accepting that there are people THIS STUPID out there?

Frankly, I think they are fortunate that these guys’ crew brothers didn’t level their rude protesting asses for screwing with gear and people trying to do their jobs.  Maybe instead of a t-shirt that says “Intolerance is a Beautiful Thing,” Fatty Mc-Hasn’t-Seen-His-Penis-In-Years should practice some intelligence.

Wow, that made me really angry.  Have you been in a situation like this ever?

I think Ghandi said it best:

“I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.  Your Christians are very unlike your Christ.”