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WHOA! Timor Steffens Video Mapping for AMSTEL LIVE!

HOLY MOLY! Watch THIS:

That’s an Amstel Live 2012 video mapping dance interactive visual orgasm act featuring Timor Stephens.  HOLY SH*T!  Did you see how wonderfully the LED suits were programmed along with the other automated lighting and projections?!  I was mesmerized by those suits.  I had to find out more – they’re from a company called iLuminate.  They’ve been doing light-up suits all over the place!  Check out iLuminate’s video reel:

The production company is Tribe Company BV, and the rental company was a subsidiary of PRG, EML Productions Holland.  Beautiful work, EML!  The dancers are Timor Steffens, Alexandria Kaye, Catalina Paz Rendic Vasquez, Jonathan William Rabon, and Brandon Barton.  GREAT work!

I grabbed this image from Tribe Company‘s website of the Amstel Live setup, it’s such a great picture:

GAH!  This is AWESOMENESS!  Happy Monday, everyone!  What an awesome way to start it up!

Houston, We Have A No-Go on that JimOnLight.com New Jersey Trip

Well, uh, I’m not going to make it to Secaucus to hang with Chris Conti and the PRG team tomorrow, as well as not getting to see U2.  Do you know who we have to thank for this?

Oh, he’s cute alright.  But I think that I adopted a ninja serial killer special forces kung fu master kitten.

I was moving from the bedroom with my suitcase, and Lumen ran right between my feet, causing me to lose balance as not to trample the little guy.  As I turned, I think my foot came loose from my sandal, because it caused me to kick the dining table as hard as I could with my left foot.  I have three broken toes, a badly sprained ankle, and a kitten who just wants to snuggle while I sit here all goofy from pain meds.  It has to be a conspiracy.

Sorry about the tease there folks, I will certainly be rescheduling this trip soon, so we’ll have a beer together soon if you’re in the NYC area.

JimOnLight.com in New Jersey Wednesday and Thursday!

I’m heading to Secaucus, New Jersey to hang with Chris Conti from PRG for the day on Wednesday, and then I’m leaving kinda late on Thursday.  Anyone in the area wanna grab a beer, shoot the breeze?  Drop me an email or get me through the contact form, let’s hook up while I’m around the northeast!  Check my Twitter feed, I’m sure I’ll be tweeting my &%$# off all day.

The Technical Evolution of Automated Lighting – High End Systems’ Intellaspot XT-1 and PRG’s Bad Boy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about technical evolution – perhaps it’s just a desire to slimline my life and conglomerate all of the technology I use into some kind of a tight suite of autonomous gadgets that all speak some common language.  Or not.  Who knows.

Something I find interesting is the progression of automated lighting technology over the last decade.  If you look at the progression of fixtures and systems over that period, you might notice that comparatively there is not a lot of major evolution that has taken place in the last ten years.  A lot of people will probably disagree with that statement, and that’s fine (as I welcome it), but the general functioning of the moving light hasn’t really changed.  There has been a very significant amount of improvements and enhancements over the last bunch of years – motors have improved, speed has increased, output has grown in strength, and zoom optics have improved, and we’ve also had some technological advances in power supplies.  We haven’t really revolutionized the way that moving lights work.  Am I forgetting some things, or omitting them?  Probably.  It’s not the point, though.

I’ve talked a lot with my buddy Rick from InLight Gobos about the evolution of automated lighting (being that he was one of the original engineers of moving lights) and I’ve had a few conversations with Jim Bornhorst from PRG (and recipient of the 2010 Parnelli Lighting Visionary Award) about the history of automated fixtures.  It is excellent to hear from the sources of the history you’re writing about regarding the very thing in question.  My conclusion is that the renaissance of moving lights was with them, in their day, when developing the fixtures was important.  Nowadays it seems like most companies drive themselves to develop and research just to increase the bottom line.

I think there are two very large exceptions to this statement:  High End Systems’ Intellaspot XT-1, and PRG’s Bad Boy luminaire.  I think that these two fixtures are my two favorites that came out of the last handful of years.  More than anything, I feel that these two fixtures are on the top of the research and development ladder – something that I am a HUGE proponent of, especially when it comes to advancing the way that our industry revolves and breathes.

Let’s look at the Intellaspot XT-1:

The unit has some interesting features – two wheels of rotating dichroic gobos is a big plus, as is the prism effect that splits the beam into two functioning beams.  Oh, and let’s not forget the 850W lamp that puts out 20,000 lumens on 120V.  I mean, it is an impressive fixture, both functionally and aesthetically.  What blows my mind about the unit is the increase in usability that Richard Belliveau and his team of awesome geeks have put into the Intellaspot XT-1.  USABILITY.  Say it with me, everybody:

USABILITY!

What the hell am I talking about here with the Intellaspot XT-1 and usability?  Well, for starters, the fixture is BALANCED.  When you go grab it off of a lighting position and get ready to stick it in the case, it is amazingly easy to manipulate.  Richard Belliveau and I had a great session before the fixture was released where we just took the unit out of the case and put it back in several times.  It was exhilarating.    There are a LOT of major market fixtures that are a NIGHTMARE to get in and out of their cases.  Not the Intellaspot XT-1.

IT’S MODULAR!  Power supply go bad?  You pull it out and replace it.  Color wheel stop working?  You take the bulkhead out and replace it.  MODULAR.  Screws in the fixture lids are captive, so that when you’re dangling by your bunk sock on a piece of truss trying to repair a fixture, and inevitably every unit goes down, you can do so without bouncing screws and hardware off of the stage floor.  There are bumpers on the front of the head so that when a stagehand or electrician drags the fixture across the floor, the lens and optics don’t get all screwed up.  The handles on the sides are comfortable and not shaped like hand breakers that just smash your phalanges when you put the weight of the unit on your hand.

Doesn’t it seem like all of this stuff should be a great idea?  High End thinks so.

Let’s look at PRG’s Bad Boy:

PRG’s Bad Boy is my other favorite fixture right now – besides the 48,000 lumens coming from its 1200W lamp, it’s a massive bright beast that is fast, steady, has some amazing – no, stunning – features (like split beamgobo morphing and tri-split colors).  If you’ve seen it, you know how beautiful its photons really are.

What tickles me about the fixture is again in the realm of usability.  Bad Boy’s lenses (all eleventeen of them) have a subroutine in the brain of the unit that opens up the lens train, lens at a time, so that they can be cleaned.  GO FIGURE.  The fixture has a big ol’ bright LED that tells you whether the unit has communication (green LED) or no data (red LED).  Have you seen the interface for the unit?  It’s like HAL from 2001 – I’m sorry Dave, but YES THE FIXTURE CAN REMEMBER WHAT WENT WRONG.  Reports, error logs, test sequences, and all kinds of other user-driven tidbits come from PRG’s excellent user experience.  I know the kinds of folks working over at PRG – one of the guys I know and am fond of, Adam DeWitt, is a smart freaking cookie – when you have people like that working on a fixture, then it gets done right.

Research and Development time and money is worth it, lighting companies across the world.  Please believe me.  Stop putting out crap when you could put out something respectable like the two units above.

I think this is a general message for the future of moving light technology in general.  Lighting companies – when you make something, make it so that it is usable.  Not just usable to designers, but usable to the people who keep the show looking as amazing as you envisioned it when you first developed the cool visual features that the fixture can make.  Follow Richard Belliveau and Jim Bornhorst’s leads when you’re in the research room – the people who work on your gear want it to be an awesome experience.

PRG at LDI 2010

I had a chance to get up-close and personal with the Bad Boy CMY at LDI 2010 this year, having the demo from Chris Conti with PRG.  I’m a big fan of the Bad Boy fixture, and I have been for quite some time – I posted about it from the last LDI, in Orlando in 2009.  They’ve added the element of CMY mixing to the Bad Boy – I’m a fan of the quantum color mixing, but CMY is also very important to have available for a moving head for the obvious reasons.

Check out some images, I’ve got video coming soon!

The actual PRG booth – a replica of the 438 grid panels they installed into the National Convention Center in Qatar.

Big beautiful beams from the Bad Boy luminaire.

One of my favorite gobos, InLight Gobos‘ “Rubber Band Ball,” that comes standard with the Bad Boy!

Check out a gallery of PRG/Bad Boy images – click on one image and a viewer will open up for your convenience!

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…

Super Bowl Halftime Show – Starring The Who, and THE LIGHTING!

I just heard on NPR last night that 106.5 million plus people watched the Super Bowl on Sunday – more people than any other event on TV in the history of the world.  The last thing that had that kind of viewers was the final episode of M*A*S*H*, back in 1983 – 105.97 million.

(for those of you kids who have no idea what M*A*S*H* is, it was a show about surgeons in a war zone)

One of the things that is still getting some major press is the big spectacle half time show, starring The Who:

For those of you who are like me, I paid more attention to the lighting design for the Super Bowl half time show than I did The Who – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think they rock.  They did at least when they were younger.  Who did rock this time was the lighting design team and suppliers for one of the biggest shows of the year – and the rumor is that the entire rig had a total of six minutes to get on the field and working.

Oh – and pre-viz/lighting design for the Super Bowl Half Time Show?  It was done in Cast Software’s wysiwyg Suite!  OH YEAH!  (That’s right, I love it, you love it, and it is the epic awesome.)

The Super Bowl XLIV Lighting Team – definitely not an exhaustive list, and my apologies for the hundreds of people who got left off the list:

Lighting Designers:  Al Gurdon
Designer:  Bruce Rodgers of Tribe
Lighting Directors:  Bob Barnhart and David Grill of Full Flood
Programmers:  Mike “Oz” Owen, rocking the Vari*Lite Virtuoso, and Pete Radice
Rental Company:  PRG USA and PRG Europe
Lighting Crew Chief/Gaffer:  Richie Gorrod
Media Programmer:  Jason Rudolph

An update from Jason Rudolph himself – thanks a lot, Jason!

Lee Lodge was the creative producer handling content, which was made by Loyal Kaspar out of NYC.
XL video was the video vendor. The stage was made of 3000+ MiStrips, driven by 2 HD hippos provided by VER, Matt Waters was the server tech.

From XL Video, Ken Gay and Bob McGee were the project managers. Mike Spencer was the system engineer. Luke Pilato was the head system tech. Led techs were Rodrigo Azuriz, Trace Deroy, Douglas Eldredge, David Imlau, Fernando Gutierrez Llama, Curtis Luxton, Stephen Otten, Eric Petty, Rod Silhanek and Don Stevens.

An update from Margaret, who sends the URL of Loyal Kaspar, the company who did the video content – http://www.loyalkaspar.com

Update - Jason Rudolph writes back (Feb 11, 2010) [Thanks, Jason!]

I can tell you this, the LED fixtures in the rig were Color Blocks, most of the fixtures were VL3500 wash units with the clear lens installed, on the stage were Color Blasts, and Iwhite color blasts.  Atomic strobes all over, and a few lightning strikes for good measure.  There were also a few Alpha Beam 1500s in the rig, but I’m not sure where they were.

Oz programmed on a Virtuoso VX, I was on a DX2.

We had 2 HD hippos, and one HippoCritter for pixelmapping the Color blocks, which we only used for one song, its output was merged with the console output so that we had both as an option.

If you know any people who worked the crew, give them a shout out in the comments – what a terrific job they did!

I am expecting an equipment list soon – I will update this post as soon as I get it from my source.  But for those of you who didn’t get to see this amazing lighting feat, below are two videos, part one and part two, of the half time show.  Enjoy!

(Thanks, Times Online, for the image of The Who!)

Bad Boy, Chris Conti, and PRG at LDI 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting and getting a Bad Boy demo from Chris Conti, product manager at PRG this year at LDI 2009.  Chris gave us the rundown on all of the features of Bad Boy – from optics and color to servos and touchscreens.  I am working on another interview with Chris for some more in-depth information on the fixture.

Have I mentioned I really like this hoss of a moving light?  That thing is designed all the way down to the smell!

I broke the demo video up into three parts, and I have embedded them below.  You can also check out the JimOnLight.com Youtube Channel, where all three are listed.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thanks to Justin from iSquint for the second camera view!  I added this earlier, but it needed adding again.

bad-boy-jimonlight-5

bad-boy-jimonlight-2

bad-boy-jimonlight-3

bad-boy-jimonlight-1

bad-boy-jimonlight-4

PRG’s Having A Sale on High End Systems Gear!

Hey kids – Production Resource Group is having a sale on some used High End Systems Studio Color 575’s, CMY Studio Spot 575s, and my favorite, the Studio Beam!  The Beams are going for $1,100, the CMY Spots are going for $2,000, and the Studio Color 575’s are going for $1,300.  It’s like a lighting garage sale!  Except I’ve never seen moving lighting at a garage sale, usually things like Narraganset Beer light-up signs and lava lamps.

They’re also selling some truss – varieties of box truss, various lengths and sizes.

Here’s some video of the fixtures:

For information on this lighting garage sale, get a hold of Gabriel Rodrigues – grodrigues@prg.com or 702-942-4803.