This is the 1700th post I have made on

I want to use it to say CONGRATULATIONS, Graduates!  This is a congratulations to everybody who successfully graduated from their undergraduate or graduate degree programs this semester – but specifically to those going into one of the many lighting industries we call careers here on Earth.  Take a moment, watch this video – and remember that we’re all very proud of you!

Now go out there, respect your industry, and make us proud!

Congratulations Graduates of 2011! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Ladies and Gentlemen, LIGHT DAY is ON.

I don’t have a lot of details to share about this quite yet, but after a lot of trying and failing and trying and succeeding, the first ever Light Day Conference looks like it’s going to be a GO! I could not help myself but tease you all a little, as this is going to be a monumentous occasion full of industry leaders across several areas of light and lighting.

Consider yourself teased, and consider yourself warned – the Light Day Conference is more than likely going to take place some time in Spring of 2012.  If you’re a lighting manufacturer and would like to participate in what is proving to be an absolutely awesome event, please contact me via the contact form, and just put Light Day Conference in the subject.  You can also reach me via email at jim [at]

More details as they come available.  Holy moly.

The House of Atreus – Lighting Design by Jim Hutchison

Now that my semester is over and I have a chance to comb through hundreds of photos from the unbelievable season of shows that we do here where I teach, I can blow some smoke up the rear of my design career and show some pics of the last 6 months of my life as a lighting designer!  I got my butt kicked over this last semester, but I did a lot of design work, including a break in the apparent hiatus I had over the last decade in writing music for shows.  I love being able to write music and record it for a show I’m lighting – for some reason the two design areas just meld so well in my head.

The show that I’m starting with here is called The House of Atreus, written by one of our newly tenured professors, Lance Marsh, and produced at Oklahoma City University’s School of Theatre, where I am the Head of Lighting Design and Technology.  “Atreus,” as we affectionately call it, is based on Aeschylus’ Oresteia.  Lance wrote four plays, and we ended up producing plays #2 and #3 as a two “act” performance.  Plays #1 and #4 were done as live readings done late night after the produced works.

This show was dark, as you can imagine – the stories, the performances, the music, as as much as I could possibly work it in, the lighting design.  I worked a lot within shadows, playing lines of text with light, and using the scenic design as the basis for the crazy ideas I had for the actual house of the House of Atreus.  At the time that I was in the design phase for Atreus, I had also just finished my shoulder surgery, and I had this ridiculously gnarly bruise from the nerve block performed on my arm for surgery.  Consequently, if you have never had an upper-extremty nerve block, it leaves your upper extremity, in this case my right arm, dangling like a warm roll of salami (pardon the description, but it’s totally accurate) from your shoulder.  So, just to give you an idea about what the bruise looked like, here’s the bruise.  Sorry, it’s freaking graphic:

So one day I’m standing by the mirror getting ready for work, and as I’m putting the sling on my arm I noticed the bruise, and it hit me – that is the PERFECT image to make into a gobo to project onto the door of the actual house of Atreus!  There is so much that happens inside that house – a wife murders her husband, children murder their mother and her lover, and all kinds of gore and misery comes from inside this house.  I took a pic of the bruise and toned it a little towards the monochromatic magenta side to match what was going on the door in terms of paint treatment.  The gobo image looked like this:

I called Rick Hutton from InLight Gobos to make me a full color glass gobo of the bruise image, and Rick made me an awesome B-sized gobo.  Because of the way that InLight Gobos does their process, the very fine detailed points of the gobo were able to be focused and sharpened in the fixture, which to me as a designer was essential!  Check out the gobo from Rick:

This was kind of a bittersweet production for me, just simply because in the middle of the dress rehearsal week, some ass hat stole my DSLR and lenses out of the theatre while I was either in the scene shop or walking to the bathroom – so I got one good shot of the gobo completely focused perfectly, and a bunch of shots before we got the focus correct.  We switched to a larger throw barrel after the production shots I actually DID get before my camera was stolen, so please forgive the mis-cut projection in the images below.  Hopefully you’ll still enjoy the shots!  Here’s the perfectly focused gobo on the door to the house of Atreus – throughout the play I would fade this image in and out to accentuate the action.  My team and I felt like we really succeeded in using the image to its full potential.  Thank you for making such an awesome gobo, Rick and Adri!!!

Here’s some production shots – I included a few of my favorite in full size, then I put the entire set into a gallery for your convenience – just click on a thumbnail to open a gallery view!

Agamemnon’s dead, and it’s about to be game on:

Elektra praying at the altar:

Cassandra proselytizing the Furies:

The death of Agamemnon at the hands of Clytemnestra:

Thanks to Jeremy Fisher (my ALD) and Jason Foreman (scenic designer) for their photos!

A Quick History of ACT Lighting with Bob Gordon

Have you all seen this? ACT Lighting posted this great quick video on the history of ACT Lighting with the pres, Bob Gordon.  If you’ve ever met Bob, you’d know that he’s a pretty cool dude!

Check out this quick video history of ACT Lighting:

Also, you should subscribe to ACT Lighting’s Youtube channel, because there are tons of videos on GrandMA stuff! That is quickly becoming one of my favorite consoles, especially after hearing Cat West and Joe Cabrera talk so highly of it. Seeing Jeff Waful rock that thing several times also doesn’t hurt! If you’ve never even looked at their channel, you are missing out – the Console Cocktails series is on there too!

Nieuwe Heren’s Deconstructed Floodlight, and an Extra Thang!

Wait, what’s a “thang?”  I think it’s a thang.  I thought, or thunk, anyway that the thing was a thang, but really, who knows what the difference is between things and thangs?  Not this guy.

Uh, hi everybody!

I found this really cool deconstructed floodlight design from Netherlands-based studio Nieuwe Heren.  The project was for an expo, but it’s now on sale at the Nieuwe Heren website.  It’s a conglomeration of wood and concrete, artfully constructed, and with lots of weird symbolic irony, don’t you think?  I kinda love it.

Check out these shots from a few places about the deconstructed floodlight – some from the Design Milk blog, and some from the Nieuwe Heren website itself.  Pretty cool stuff, especially the process shots and the sketch!

Isn’t that thing (thang) awesome?!

Cutting the interior ribs – don’t tell OSHA!  Oh wait, this is in the Netherlands.

De-burring of the internal support tube.

Making of the concrete base.  CONCRETE BASE!

I love this – the process sketch!  This is probably one of my favorite parts of design – seeing the thoughts on paper.

I put together a gallery of the images below – images of the extra “thang” is in the gallery – a cable reel design that studio Nieuwe Heren designed, again I think for an expo.  Whatever it’s for, it’s awesome.  Check it out!

By clicking on any image, a gallery view pops up for your convenience!

Cool work, Nieuwe Heren!

Andika Pradana’s Interview with James Turrell, Master of Light and Space

I was so thrilled to get an email from Andika Pradana about his coverage of a presstalk and presentation with the famous James Turrell.  I’m so proud of you, Andika!
(I went to KTH in Sweden with Andika, he’s quite an amazing photographer and lighting artist!)

The talk was produced by See! Color! in Järna.

Do you know of James Turrell’s work?  Well, James Turrell is a MASTER of light and space – he’s an American artist, and his works are quite stunning:

“The Light Inside”

“The Space that Sees”

"Space that sees"/ James Turrell .(afternoon)

“Heavy Water”

You really need to do a little bit more looking into these pieces, they are STUNNING.  The one above, entitled “Heavy Water,” is a large swimming pool installation with a tower buried in the pool.  Swimmers can dive under the tower that resides in the water to look up and see the sky, surrounded by all of the blue water.  Awesome.

Check out Andika’s coverage of the press event with this American Master of light.  AWESOME coverage, Andika!  I am so proud of you!

Part one:

James Turrell (Interview) from Andika Pradana on Vimeo.

Part two:

James Turrell (Interview part 2) from Andika Pradana on Vimeo.

Part three:

James Turrell (Interview part 3) from Andika Pradana on Vimeo.

Thanks to Slipping Outside Yourself for the images of Heavy Water, and Oregon Live for the image of James Turrell!

The Inventor of the Digital Camera – Steven Sasson

Do you know who that guys above is? That’s Steven Sasson. You might know him as the guy who invented the digital camera. I found this pretty neat video on Jason Kottke’s blog – I’ve been reading him for years. He has great stuff pretty much daily.

From the Vimeo site there’s a few paragraphs on Steven Sasson that kinda shock me:

When he initially mentioned that the first digital camera held 30 pictures, I assumed that was due to the storage capacity of the digital tape. It was really interesting to hear that he picked 30 as an artificial limitation, and his explanation why.

Update: A lot of people have asked what the subject of that first photo was. It’s an interesting story, but the short answer is that the first digital photo was a picture of a lab technician named Joy. And he didn’t save the image.

WHAT?! Steven, WHY didn’t you save the first ever digital image? DUDE!

Check out the video, it’s only 3 minutes:

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson from David Friedman on Vimeo.

Nighttime Transformer Explosions in Fort Worth, Texas

Have you seen this video? If not, stop what you’re doing right now and watch. Amazing. Tragic, but amazing. From the Youtube site of user Brian Luenser, who recorded and posted the video:

This is the aftermath of a pretty brutal thunderstorm in Fort Worth Texas on May 10, 2011. It was taken from my balcony on the 34th floor of a building in Fort Worth. Though I thought we were at war or was terrorism, it was a massive series of downed 7,200 volt power lines. As I took it with my 70-200 2.8L IS lens, it is farther away than it looks. (it is 5 miles away) That is why there are not explosion sounds. This was a very well documented event. I was on my balcony to take lightning pictures (Yes, not smart) and this started happening in front of me. I turned my camera (Canon 5d MkII) to video mode and let it roll.

Crazy. There’s a bit more about the video there and the way it was recorded, too. The colors are absolutely beautiful. Almost unbelievable.  Explosions in the distance look like the explosions of war.

Watch, totally worth it:

Steffi Min’s PEG – This is AWESOME and Simple and AWESOME.

Holy crap.  Have you seen Steffi Min‘s PEG lamp?  Well, to be fair it’s more of a socket than it is a lamp – it’s like taking the idea of a light socket, revolutionizing it, and then taking that simple idea and combining it with something we all can recognize.  Steffi’s PEG fixture is the idea of a clamped socket around a light source – using the clothes pin design as the base.  The video is super quick, 30 seconds, but you have to see this.

Peg from Steffi Min on Vimeo.

Steffi, I want to buy you a beer.  Or maybe a bourbon.  Perhaps I can buy you a scotch as well?

Also, people – go check out Steffi Min’s design website – she’s an industrial designer, and she has talent.  Way cool.

Jeff Waful +1 is Now on

This is a pretty awesome day for a good friend of mine – Jeff Waful, lighting designer for Umphrey’s McGee, just published the first episode part of his series, Jeff Waful +1, on Relix Magazine‘s website.  FINALLY we have a show about being on the road while ON the road!  Part one is live now on the Relix site, Part two is coming later today.

Check out the Jeff Waful +1 trailer:

I am so happy for you, Jeff!  Everybody, this is a pretty awesome series.  You MUST check it out if you have ever worked on the road!  Head on over to Relix Magazine right now to check out the series!  Great job, brother!