It’s Official, High End Systems is an ETC Company Now

Just heard the news — ETC has officially acquired High End Systems, so now High End Systems is an ETC company.  I’ve heard lots of rumors and speculation about the future, but none of it is bad, all of it is good for High End Systems.  Richard Belliveau and his team have innovated our industry very far, and I would argue that we have him to thank, among others of course, for what we have to call an industry today.

From the news room at ETC:

High End Systems, an ETC Company

ETC acquires High End Systems

Middleton, WI (31 March 2017) – ETC and High End Systems announce today they are joining forces as ETC completes the acquisition of the Austin, TX based company from Barco Inc. “We welcome the High End team to the ETC family. ETC will provide a strong support structure for High End to continue to innovate and make great products for the industry,” says ETC CEO Fred Foster.

High End is known for dynamic products such as the Sola family of all-LED automated fixtures, and Wholehog consoles. David Lincecum, VP of Marketing at ETC says, “We value the High End products and plan to expand work on their portfolio. We want customers to know that ETC will protect your investment in High End products through strengthened service, support, and development.”

The addition of High End enables ETC, a current market leader in the theatrical, broadcast and architectural markets, to broaden its strategic focus and pursue additional desired areas of technology growth. High End gains the oversight of an experienced lighting industry management team to help the company better realize its full potential as a market leader in event lighting.

ETC will operate High End as a separate company located in its current Austin, TX facility. High End customers will continue to contact the Austin office for sales and service, and sales distribution channels worldwide remain the same for the foreseeable future.

And there we have it!

Merges and Acquisitions – Lighting Industry Business Happening Now

2017 has already been stupid busy for the lighting industries.  There are more than a handfuls of deals going on right now that I know about, and I’m sure another two handfuls after that I don’t know.  Business is moving upwards in this Trumpian economy for some reason.  Seriously, look at the gentle climb under Obama, then look at the rise in business stocks since Trump:

Look under November 2016…  See the huge dip and then ENORMOUS rise, right around the middle of November?  Business stocks picked up MAJOR steam right about then!  I wonder why that was…  hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmTrump.  When businesses are in control of their financial growth for the next however many years this is going to go on, you will see more of a rise and steady growth in the dow and NASDAQ numbers.  Businesses will make more money.  The real test, especially in our industries, is if that growth will translate down into the foot soldiers of lighting, its men and women infantry of photon superiority out there stringing cable and programming fixtures to make the shows great for people.  This is and always will be the test; watch which companies put back in when they get something out, as arbitrage business opportunities can really show a company’s strength, or lack.

In 2017 so far, and forgive me if I’ve missed any, there has been news of three major business decisions that have been or are close to being finalized:

  • Samsung acquired Harman, who recently bought Martin Lighting
  • Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) is working out acquiring High End Systems, who has been a BARCO company
  • Chauvet and Sons just acquired Chamsys, the lighting control manufacturer

That’s a whole heck of a lot of movement!  It’s like the early 2000’s when Vari*Lite was sold to Genlyte Thomas and all of those VLPS offices closed across the country, and then Genlyte Thomas was purchased by Philips, which then made Vari*Lite a Philips Entertainment company.  Maybe this stuff is only interesting to me, but I love watching how companies behave when they don’t have to behave a specific way, if you know what I mean.  Companies get to operate as people, legally, and if we act like crappy people, we get labeled as a crappy person.  I think the same goes for companies — watch how companies behave, it is literally your responsibility, like it is mine, to police our industry.  The same goes for policing your own reputation, but there are a series of posts dedicated to that particular subject coming out very soon, and they are going to be epic.

Starting with Samsung acquiring Harman/Martin, from the Samsung Newsroom:

Samsung Electronics and Harman International Industries, Incorporated today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire HARMAN for $112.00 per share in cash, or total equity value of approximately $8.0 billion.  Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung, and is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2025¹ . HARMAN is the market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security. Approximately 65% of HARMAN’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.

HARMAN’s experience designing and integrating sophisticated in-vehicle technologies, as well as its long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, will create significant growth opportunities for the combined business by enabling it to leverage Samsung’s expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays and its global distribution channels. In addition, the combination of HARMAN’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics will deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.

“HARMAN perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics.  “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, HARMAN immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform. Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and HARMAN’s talented employees.  HARMAN’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”

“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” added Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics. “We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialized electronic components and solutions continues to grow.  Working together, we are confident that HARMAN can become a new kind of Tier 1 provider to the OEMs by delivering end-to-end solutions across the connected ecosystem.”

Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company.  Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders.  Samsung is an ideal partner for HARMAN and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world.  Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with HARMAN’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers.  Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.  This transaction will bring HARMAN and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of HARMAN’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets.  We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”

Customer Benefits and Significant Growth Opportunities

Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and HARMAN’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.

• Automotive:  Combining HARMAN’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance HARMAN’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.

• Audio:  HARMAN’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL®, Harman Kardon®, Mark Levinson®, AKG®, Lexicon®, Infinity®, and Revel®.  The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins® and Bang & Olufsen® brands for automotive.  All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.

• Professional:  The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards®.

• Connected Services:  Samsung will gain access to HARMAN’s 8,000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market.  This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices.

Operating Structure and Leadership

Upon closing, HARMAN will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and continue to be led by Dinesh Paliwal and HARMAN’s current management team.  Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain HARMAN’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands.  Samsung believes the combination will increase career development and advancement opportunities for the employees of both companies.

Samsung’s Automotive Electronics Business Team, which was established in December of 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the HARMAN management team to realize the full growth potential of the combination.

Terms of the Transaction

The purchase price represents a premium of 28% based on HARMAN’s closing stock price on November 11, 2016 and a 37% premium to HARMAN’s 30-calendar day volume weighted average price ending November 11, 2016.  Samsung expects to use cash on hand to fund the transaction.  The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The transaction, which is subject to approval by HARMAN shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.

Advisors

Evercore is serving as financial advisor to Samsung and Paul Hastings LLP is acting as legal counsel.  J.P. Morgan and Lazard are serving as financial advisors to HARMAN and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal counsel.

Next up is the acquisition of High End Systems by ETC from BARCO — so many letters!!  From a post here at JimOnLight:

Middleton, WI (01, March, 2017) – ETC and Barco announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, once the acquisition reaches final stages.

Then Chauvet comes out and BOOM!  They acquired Chamsys.  From the Chauvet newsroom:

SUNRISE, FL, USA – Chauvet & Sons LLC has announced that it completed the acquisition of ChamSys Ltd., the Southampton, UK-based designer and manufacturer of lighting controllers. ChamSys provides Chauvet a strong presence in the controller market that complements its CHAUVET Professional lighting fixtures and LED video panels.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to join forces with ChamSys,” said Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet & Sons LLC. “ChamSys has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, quality and value, the same principles that are at the heart of our own Chauvet brands. Together ChamSys and Chauvet are now in a position to better cover and serve worldwide markets.”

ChamSys will continue to operate as an independent business unit from its facility in Southampton, UK. ChamSys founders Chris Kennedy and George McDuff will remain as Managing Directors of the company and, together with Sales Director Tony Cameron, will continue to lead its current staff of software and hardware engineers, operations, sales and support teams.

The ChamSys industry standard MagicQ series of lighting control products will continue to be sold by the company’s current network of distributors, except in the USA, where Chauvet will sell and support ChamSys products from its Sunrise, Florida headquarters. The CHAUVET Professional sales team will assume responsibility for ChamSys sales in the USA. They will have the full-time support of Phil Watson, former CEO of ChamSys, Inc. who has been named ChamSys USA Director.

“We’re committed to maintaining the ChamSys brand and its reputation for excellence by supporting the vision and culture of its management team,” added Albert Chauvet. “At the same time, we’re also looking forward to building ChamSys in the USA and making this outstanding line of controllers available to an even larger market.”

ChamSys Managing Director Chris Kennedy echoed this enthusiasm. “Chauvet and ChamSys share similar cultures, a strong sense of respect for our customers, an appreciation of our staffs and a powerful drive to be the best in our markets,” he said. “This partnership is clearly a logical step for both companies. We deeply appreciate that Chauvet is committed to building on our 14-year heritage so that ChamSys becomes even stronger in the future.”

 

A major congratulations to all of the people and companies involved here, I look forward to seeing what happens next this year in our beloved industry!

Company links:

Samsung // HARMAN / MARTIN

ETC // High End Systems

Chauvet and Sons // Chamsys

BARCO’s Talking to ETC About Buying High End Systems

Well, we’ve all been wondering who was sniffing, now we know — BARCO is in talks with Electronic Theatre Controls (yes, THAT ETC) about putting High End Systems somewhere within the ETC line.  It’s not a secret that the Revolution didn’t quite hit the rental market like they liked (although it is a fine moving head for its application), and this is a brilliant move for a manufacturer already in a good place with the conventional market, high quality LED markets, and theatrical lighting control market.

We here at JimOnLight.com always have a place in our heart for the High End brand, and I personally am always glad for people to get to continue to reap the creations that come from Richard Belliveau’s big ol’ brain.  Awesome, ETC and High End!

From an email from High End’s marketing department:

Barco and ETC announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems, Barco’s lighting activities, part of the Entertainment division. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the envisioned divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential, while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks as it becomes available.

From the ETC Press Ninjas, Rachel Frederick in particular:

Middleton, WI (01, March, 2017) – ETC and Barco announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, once the acquisition reaches final stages.

BARCO’s stock is kinda kicking some booty — here’s the last year to date:

BARCO’s one year stock performance

 

Keep kicking the photons, High End Systems!!  Nothing but love for you!!

Things I’ve Learned in Lighting

Sometimes our lighting world feels like this — task lists and spreadsheets and travel schedules and light plots, oh my!

shit-shit-shit

I’ve been traveling a lot.

A lot, a lot.

Try keeping up with Brad White (he’s an effing machine, folks, I learn a lot from him pretty much every day AND he’s not a d-bag about it), but I most definitely have been making the rounds more than I ever have in my life. Right now, for example, my body is in three time zones, so sleeping is a joke. It doesn’t matter anyway because I’m flying back to another time zone where I can wait for a whole day to get some sleep, have no time to go to the firing range (my hobby is shooting as a lot of you know), or even have a break from the go-go-go. I’m not sure why, but I really like it that way. This is perfectly OK, fully acceptable, and a major part of the business. It’s a bit masochistic, methinks. I live and die to help people have a good show, even if it’s be going to a job site and putting my hands on someone’s shoulder and telling them how killer that look they just wrote was.

An old friend asked me recently about living in light and how it differs from his life, this very energetic and powerful industry full of powerful people… and I really didn’t know how to answer because I don’t really know any other way, this is the life I live.  So…  I suppose just writing down some of the things I’ve learned because of lighting and the lighting industry might be a useful post. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have learned a lot of things by smashing my face into them until I could either no longer feel my face or a I figured out a different way to accomplish a task, but I think that if you’re about to get out of school, if you’re switching careers and trying to get into lighting somehow, or just looking for another path — allow me to impart some of the hard-knock wisdom I’ve learned in my life.

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Here’s an unordered list of things that I’ve been thinking about in hotel rooms and airplanes as I’ve been spreading the photon love across our beautiful Earth.

  • Be a good person.  No one wants you on their crew if you’re unable to smile and at least make other people feel like you want them around.  This is so important, especially if you’re an impressionable new tech/designer/manager/hand in our awesome industry.  If you follow this rule, I promise you will go far.
  • Always bring your tools.Have you ever shown up to a call without a C-wrench or some other piece of gear that actually makes you useful?  I’ve yet to meet a woman or man who can tighten bolts of various sizes tight enough with their hands to make a difference, so don’t look like you came to work without your brain.  Also, it gets real old really quickly to have to provide someone with a wrench who is probably going to walk off the job with MY wrench, so bring your own shit.
  • Everyone is tired.  You’re not the exception.  That guy over there?  He’s probably been on the job just as long as you, and all your whining wants to make people do is staple gun your lips closed, and never call you again for a gig.  We’re all guilty of this, me included.  It’s really up to you to keep it to yourself as much as possible.  There’s certainly a time and place, but usually during the gig isn’t either of those.
  • You’re not as good as everybody doing what you do.  This is particularly true when it comes to recently graduated students, people who have huge egos, and people without talent.  There are anywhere from 5 to 5,000 Stevie Ray Vaughans in Nashville right this moment, for example, who didn’t have the “right place at the right time” scenario like SRV did, and the same thing goes for lighting designers and programmers. There’s one Peter Morse, there is one Patrick Dierson, there’s one Benny Kirkham, there’s one Sean Cagney. Be humble, be real. Be yourself and do your own stuff.
  • Your resume is for getting jobs, not talking about ON a job. If you think the rule above didn’t apply to you, try this one. No one cares how many shows you did when it comes to the professional industry — we’ve all done lots of shows. You obviously wouldn’t be on a show if you were completely worthless (well, your mileage may vary) but the general idea is do your job and prove to me that you can by doing that job without me having to go back and do it again.
  • Relationships are sometimes hard. I’m divorcing right now. It happens. Not all relationships last, and not all people are meant to be together. It’s just life. Get a helmet. Don’t let it ruin your life, move on and find happiness. It’s not the end of the world. Here’s an idea: make sure that your significant other knows exactly what you do, how long it takes for you to do it, and if you travel, make sure that it’s not a surprise. Do all of this before you set out on that first leg of the tour.
  • Don’t be deadly.  When you do things on the job site that endanger your fellow hands and staff…  you’re deadly.  We work in what’s typically classified as a hazardous environment.  It takes one moment to forget to do something, and that one thing could cause a chain reaction of failure that could and will eventually take the lives of those who are just working to support themselves and their families just like you.  Don’t be deadly.  This is just entertainment.  No matter how much a show costs, it’s never worth a funeral.  We play for a living.
  • Be expert at what you do before you give advice to others.  So often on a job site, people are quick to give advice to other seasoned professionals in order to look like an expert at their job and make whomever is doing that job right now look less qualified.  That makes you a douchebag.  Don’t be a douchebag.  You would be surprised how much nicer the workplace is when everyone isn’t pissed off.  Seriously!
  • The client is usually right.  Sorry folks, this is true.  Who do you think is paying the rent?  However…  you’re a seasoned professional.  If you think the client is wrong, it’s your responsibility to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you have a better idea to make their show even more awesome than they think they’ve made it.  But — can you do it without telling them that you’re right and they’re wrong?  THIS is what makes a REAL seasoned professional.  Just make sure that you’re doing what is best for the show.
  • There is a time and place to be wasted.  That time is never, ever during work hours or show call, and never, ever at the show site.  Some people may disagree with me here, but I’d rather we all disagree a little than me having to write another post about people dying at work.  Cokehead riggers, methed out carpet kickers, baked loaders, drunk focusers…  I feel like I’ve seen at least a little bit of all of it, and it still scares the crap out of me.  A whole lot of us like to party in this industry — let’s do it at the party or after the party we’re working.  I need my crew at their top performance, and so does everyone else.  You may think that you can work while you’re blasted.  You cannot.
  • Politics is always a bad discussion topic at work.  We all talk about it, we all get offended when someone tells us that we’re wrong, and you can barely ever make an inroad with someone who doesn’t want to connect your opinion with their political beliefs.  Hey, this is our future we’re talking about here!  At least in lighting, which is where I’ve lived my life, there is a major polarization of the two party system, and even a greater separation within each party.  Plus, we in lighting tend to be very passionate about the things we like and dislike, and the last thing you want to do is get into a political debate when people want you to string multi.  Save it for break, and even then, be human.11705114_10153192765669930_6129062547362133458_n
  • Find a hobby.  You need something to do outside of working.  I can’t stress this enough.  Find something other than light that you like doing, and do it when you want outside of working.  My hobby is shooting and firearms, and it’s something I enjoy that relieves the stress of life’s foibles.  In my particular case, my hobby and the time I’ve spent on it gives me a way to protect myself from some of the crazies out there in the world.  Speaking of…
  • Crazies are everywhere.  There is a staggering amount of completely unreasonable people in the world, from lighting to marketing to production, and everywhere in between.  There are people out there who will stalk you, drive by your house, try to hack your email, and they make it their life’s work to ruin yours.  Be smart; get an attorney.  Slander is Slander, Libel is Libel, and Stalking is Stalking, even digitally, and it’s all against the law.  Protect yourself, don’t let someone intimidate you because they’re miserable with who and what they’ve become.  If the law won’t help you, make sure you can shoot center mass if they breach your perimeter and decide they want to hurt you.  Some people don’t know when to quit, and make it their life’s mission to cause you pain and injury.
  • Take care of your body.  I’m trying to work on this the older I get, and the older I get, the more important it gets.  When you put garbage into your system, you get garbage out of your system.  This industry does not favor a lack of energy, and the more sluggish you are at work, the more sluggish you’re going to find your pay to be.  Plus, that 45-minute dump you had planned during the call is really screwing up my workflow.  Also, if you’re overweight, lose some of that weight and see how much better you feel.  I have another 30 pounds before I’m “satisfied” with what I am, and every five pounds feels like five more happy years on my life.
  • Get really good at networking.  Learn how to manipulate TCP/IP networks.  Get really good at it and become familiar with the equipment, methods, and structure of said networks.  Everything (almost) in lighting has become a network device, and everything (almost) is talking DMX wrapped in a header of some kind over an ethernet line.  Welcome to the future.  Also, please don’t rely on that 25 dollar hub or switch to be your network highway when you’ve spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars on control, fixtures, and other equipment.  Please don’t do that for your show’s sake!
  • Learn how to solder.  Just do it.  This should be as important as wiping your own ass in this industry.
  • Be nice to those who may appear to have the least impact on your life.  This is a pretty easy one, actually.  It’s evident when you go out with colleagues or other professionals…  watch how people treat wait staff, restaurant workers, janitors, drive through order takers, and anyone you run across in your day.  It absolutely drives me to fury when I’m with someone I respect and I see them shit on someone like that, I instantly lose some of my respect for them.  Be nice to people, you never know what kind of war they might be fighting today.  Besides, who the hell do you think you are?  We’re all humans.  Spread some kindness.

That’s enough for now.  I’ll update this as I go, but I think you all know what I mean.  If you have extra guidelines for lighting life, please post in the comments.  You’re always welcome here.

 

PLSN Hometown Heroes — Who’s YOUR Hero?

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It is DEFINITELY that time again, folks!  Time for the PLSN Hometown Heroes nominations!
http://plsn.com/lighting-hometown-heroes-nominations.html

From the Hometown Heroes nomination form website:

Each year PLSN honors regional lighting production companies with our Hometown Heroes awards. These awards honor the best regional lighting production company in six regions across North America: the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest and Canada. The best part about this is that PLSN readers – the people who actually work with these companies – get to decide who’s really the best.

Sure, we could just come up with a list ourselves, but where’s the fun in that? We are looking for your ideas on the best regional lighting production company in the U.S. and Canada. Let us know your faves (and, yes, you CAN nominate your own company).

Nominations are due by July 1, and regional finalists will be named shortly thereafter. Voting on the regional finalists will then take place, with regional winners determined by July 31st. The winners for each region automatically become the finalists for the 2016 Hometown Hero Lighting Company of the Year Award, which will be presented at the Parnelli Awards Dinner scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Rio Hotel & Casino.

Who made your tour or show rule this year?  Who made you feel like your show was more important than even you imagined?  Get on over to the form and nominate them up!  This is your opportunity to show the rest of the industry who the good companies are, the ones who make things happen when things need to happen.

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4Wall Acquires Shadowstone (Law and Order SVU Fans, Take Heed)

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A little bit of industry inner workings business, 4Wall Lighting has acquired the team and gear for Shadowstone, Inc — a pretty major player in lighting production for film, TV, broadcast, lots of work for decades.  If you’ve ever been a fan of Law and Order SVU, you saw a lot of what was filmed lit by Shadowstone’s gear.

From the official press release from 4Wall:

Moonachie, NJ:  4Wall Entertainment Lighting, a national provider of stage and theatrical lighting services, has reached an agreement to acquire the assets of media, film, and entertainment lighting provider Shadowstone Inc.

4Wall CEO Kathy Torjman spoke of the acquisition.

“Adding Shadowstone’s team and equipment to our strong foundations in both the New York and Washington DC markets is a great benefit to our customers. Shadowstone has a loyal client base, as well as incredibly high standards for equipment and customer service that we share.”

Industry veteran, Frank Marsico, founded Shadowstone in 1993 and grew the company from the humblest of beginnings into a premium industry brand with the help of Vice Presidents Paul Marsico and Philip Marsico.

Shadowstone’s rental division, which has experienced rapid growth in recent years, supplied lighting and electrical equipment to major Motion Pictures and TV productions nationwide including Law & Order SVU, The Blacklist, Gotham, Boardwalk Empire, The Amazing Spider Man 2, Black Mass, and Tower Heist.

The accomplished Shadowstone systems division has designed, built, or supplied major media projects including studio installations for Fox Network, ESPN, NBC Sports, ABC/Disney, EWTN and AOL, as well as government projects such as LED broadcast lighting systems for the White House Press Briefing Room and multiple US Senate Hearing Rooms.

In addition to the substantial equipment inventory gained through this acquisition, 4Wall will also retain Shadowstone’s highly regarded and experienced team that has helped build the business into what it is today.

“We feel that the rental and systems staff we are bringing into the 4Wall fold from Shadowstone will be a great fit for our divisions, while also greatly expanding our company knowledge base in the film and television sector,” said Torjman.

Frank Marsico spoke of the acquisition and the upcoming transition, saying:

“I would like to personally thank all of Shadowstone’s clients, industry associates, friends, vendors, and especially the Shadowstone staff, for helping make the ‘Shadowstone vision’ a reality over the past 23 years. The Marsico family and our staff look forward to the new opportunities and growth that will come from joining the 4Wall organization.”

 

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO – Shawn London, FOH Audio for Eagles of Death Metal and Le Bataclan Attack Survivor, Speaks to JimOnLight

We’re honored to have a life-changing video to share.  I wish it were about something cool like Rate masters or inhibitive submasters used to protect certain parts of your effects live, but no…

This is Shawn London.  Shawn reached out to us here to tell his story of the coward Daesh attack on Paris, he was mixing audio at FOH when these assholes came into the venue and started killing people.  Once you watch this video, once you hear how Shawn was shot at several times, how he had to hear the pleas of people being purely executed, and how he got out while saving a life or two beyond his own…  you may have a change in heart in the way you do things.

These assholes blocked the exits, you guys.  They were executing people trying to escape.  Shawn will explain to you all of this, please watch his frankly horrifying account while standing behind a Midas Verona at the Le Bataclan when the bullets started flying.

In addition to the JimOnLight.com video with Shawn, Eagles of Death Metal was interviewed by Vice News founder Shane Smith.  I’ve been watching Vice since that great network started, I’ve tried to model a lot of the ballsiness of Vice’s, well, ballsiness, into the posting on JimOnLight over the years because those who work in our various lighting industries are usually pretty no-bullshit.  This second video is raw too, the band is glad to be alive and pretty destroyed that this happened, as you would imagine.  Hang in there though, there is real talk in this video too.

If you cannot watch this one, please don’t watch the first one.  But please, put on some adult underwear and save your life.  Learn from their experiences.  We humans SUCK at not repeating the history we all suffer through, so let’s make this the last time I have to give an interview like this.

YEAH! SGM Resets, BACK TO BUSINESS!

I NEVER get to post stories like this!!!  From last week’s story about the SGM Lighting bankruptcy, SGM Lighting has restructured, and everything is all rock and roll again!

G_Spot

From the story at Julius Media:

Despite reports it had filed for bankruptcy, SGM has in fact restructured with a keynote new investor. “After a period of disagreement between shareholders about the future capital structure, the board of directors had no other option than to apply for a proceeding aiming to restructure the company. On November 9th at 18:00, SGM was completely re-established with its new shareholder and capital,” the company said overnight. The management ascertains that SGM will continue as before without any changes — and stronger than ever. All business elements remain unchanged:

  • The entire team behind SGM is identical
  • The worldwide distributor network is identical
  • The high service and quality are identical
  • All warranty commitments are identical

What changes substantially in SGM is the financial strength. The new ownership relates to investment company, Eurofinim, whose CEO, Paolo Covre, wants to carry on SGM in the spirit created by Peter Johansen and ensures so by Peter Johansen’s continued role as CEO of SGM. Paolo Covre states: “I have followed SGM from the sidelines for quite some time, and I find the company’s visions both sensational and impressive with regards to its scope, high pace and innovative solutions. This is the kind of company I trust and I am honoured to be a part of, and it just needed a financial injection to continue and enhance its growth.” Peter Johansen is very positive towards the new investor’s wishes for SGM’s future. “Paolo and I share many viewpoints and I am sure he will become a great asset for SGM. I am happy to have him on board. SGM is now stronger and more motivated than ever before. We will continue our growth, developing the innovative products we believe in. We are confident that the misleading rumours we have unfortunately incurred into will be immediately disregarded”, says Peter Johansen.

An editor’s note:

Now before you get all “misleading” on the world, Peter Johansen, let’s just make sure that you know that the news everyone got was that your company declared bankruptcy.  I’ve also got emails stating such.  So let’s be careful about throwing that “misleading” word out there, we’re all glad as hell SGM Lighting is back to business!  Take the media’s collective sadness as note that we all dig your products, and don’t throw blame into the wind hoping to stick it somewhere.

SGM Lighting Files for Bankruptcy

G_Spot

G-Spot image courtesy of SGM Lighting

A source that wishes to remain anonymous has informed JimOnLight.com that SGM Lighting has filed for bankruptcy.  A press release is pending on the subject and will be released early next week from SGM.

Peter Johansen, founder of the Martin Lighting group, took over SGM Lighting about 18 months ago — today we learn that the company has filed for bankruptcy, and most of its 80+ employees have been sent home pending status clarification of their jobs.  This sucks.

From a Danish-news language article I found on this while trying to get more information — this is the first news of this here in the US, broken by JimOnLight.com:

Peter Johansen bought the Italian company SGM Lighting in 2013 and moved in this regard all workplaces to Denmark – specifically Sommervej in Haslemere.

The aim was to create a leading global supplier of intelligent lighting design, such as machines that can perform 3D lighting effects.

The acquisition was also a reunion with the industry in which he left in late 1990, when he claims that it was ‘squeezed’ out of the Martin Group, which he was the founder:

I left the industry as number one in the world and then going back again .. It feels a bit back then, Muhammad Ali had won the World Cup and definitely going back and got a lot of beatings,” told Peter Johansen in an interview with TV 2 | ØSTJYLLAND in 2013.

Peter Johansen has also previously had a brief career in the luxury yacht industry with the company ‘Royal Denship’. The adventure ended in bankruptcy.

Sorry to break this news, world.  I for one loved the G-Spot.  In other news about SGM, the reallocation/acquisition of SGM by a new financier will bring another 400 jobs back to Denmark, so there is that.  Not sure how that helps the American lighting industry, but people having a way to sustain themselves no matter where they are is a good thing.  I’m sorry for the SGM employees who will suffer from this loss.