NAIAS Has Cars, Too
Feb. 2006
Krowe, Todd and
Diamond Form
RARITAN, NY—Eric Todd and
Elliot Krowe, who teamed up last
August, have formed a partnership
with industry veteran Shelly
Diamond. The newly constituted
entity will operate as BMLBlackbird Theatrical Services and
will continue to provide lighting,
staging and production services
to the entertainment industry
Shelly Diamond’s career in the
industry spans over 30 years, the
last 17 years of which were spent
as a sales executive with See Factor.
“We’re very excited about the
addition of Shelly as partner. His
continued on page 55
including 279 television networks, train their cameras
on the all-important car reveals during press days. When
the direction is given and the cue called, the production
team has one chance for a flawless execution of the
unveiling of their client’s latest offering. Months of
planning and millions of dollars are riding on it. For more
in-depth coverage of the event, turn to pg. 50.
Great White Case Gets Pleaded Out
PROVIDENCE, RI—When the smoke cleared
from the infamous 2003 fire at a Rhode Island club
during a Great White performance, the first things
to be seen were criminal charges and a slew of civil
lawsuits. For anyone who does not remember, pyro
set off during the show at the Station set fire to
foam installed on the ceiling, and the resulting blaze
ended with the deaths of 100 people. While civil
cases have named everyone from the club owners
to the company that made the speakers that were
installed there, criminal charges were limited to
the Station owners, Jeffrey and Michael Derderian,
and the person who set off the pyro, Great White
tour manager Daniel Biechele. At press time, it was
announced that Biechele has agreed to a deal with
prosecutors in which he will plead guilty to 100
counts of involuntary manslaughter, but will serve
no more than 10 years in state prison.
Though all parties involved in the deal—from
Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan to Attorney
General Patrick Lynch to Tom Briody, Biechele’s
lawyer—declined comment on the terms of the
continued on page 55
Lighting Industry
Percolates as
Personnel Changes
SUNRISE, FL—Some highprofile management moves early
in 2005 underscore significant
dynamic changes in the lighting
industry. Just as Martin US was
experiencing a change in its top
leadership post, with Brian Friborg
replacing outgoing president Troels
Volver, Martin’s longtime VP of sales
and marketing, Eric Loader, left the
company to join the American DJ
Group (ADJ) as its director of sales
for its Elation Professional and
Acclaim Lighting divisions.
Industry insiders expect to
see more personnel shifting
as companies try to increase
market share and breadth, even
as they also struggle to lower
costs and face off against Chinese
continued on page 55
The Color Purple
Designers use new and
existing technology to
recreate epic moments.
Dawn Chiang
Meet the T-shaped lighting designer who is a
techie at heart.
Robert Juliat
Jean-Charles Juliat
jokes that lighting
nearly caused his
Ad info:
NAIAS Has Cars, Too
DETROIT, MI—With all the trussing, lighting, video
and consoles at the North American International Auto
Show, it sometimes looks more like a lighting show than
a car show. During the month of January, 700,000 square
feet of production elements are loaded into Cobo
Center in Detroit for the annual car show. More than
68,000 journalists from 63 countries and 43 U.S. states,
Vol. 7.1
N 31
T IO e
C T g
E C a
J E p
O N n
R N o
P O ts
C ar
10 (Or So) Toys That Will Change Your Professional Life, page 39
Ad info:
Ad info:
Ad info:
What’s New
20 Inside Theatre
Rare sky looks and projected scenery
are among the design elements in The
Color Purple on Broadway.
24 PLSN Interview
Designing lighting requires a broad
range of skills and a deep understanding
of a narrow range of skills. That’s why LD
Dawn Chiang is T-shaped.
37 Product Spotlight
What’s five times better and costs less
than Le Maitre’s Neutron Hazer? Their
new Radiance Hazer.
38 Road Test
When they say “big,” they mean big. The
BigLite 4.5 is Zap’s newest offering.
42 Product Gallery
Lighting design software: The
magical tool that makes a designer’s
job so much easier.
26 Installations
For the Edgewater Casino, the architect
approached the lighting as a building
Ben Richards Pioneers the Use
22 LD
of Video
When Rob Thomas tours the U.S. in the spring, LD Ben Richards
will be behind the console directing the lighting and the video.
46 Lighting Manufacturer
Robert Juliat
Four generations of Juliats steer the
Robert Juliat ship of lighting
50 NAIAS 2006: Production
Technology Drives Auto Show
Acres of lighting and projection technology descend on Cobo Hall in Detroit.
Must be January during NAIAS.
28 The Biz
Cross-marketing to build brand awareness is gaining popularity in the industry, but is it a trend?
Top 10 (or so) Toys That Will Change
39 The
How You Work in 2006
We all have our preferences for “tools” of the trade. In our recent
survey, readers tell us of their current favorites.
30 Feeding the Machines
Before every programming chicken
comes the patching egg.
36 Video Digerati
What party supplies do you bring to a
digital media programming party?
Ad info:
45 Focus on Design
Where would we be without our CAD
software? At the drafting table with our
crayons and Big Chief tablets.
52 Technopolis
A reader wants to know if 10 amps at
208V is five amps in each leg or 10 amps
in both legs. Swami Candela knows.
56 LD-at-Large
Twenty-one shows, 30 days, three
continents—time for the “zone defense.”
04 Editor’s Note
05 News
08 Event Calendar
08 Corrections
12 Letters to the Editor
13 On the Move
14 International News
16 New Products
18 Showtime
31 Projection Connection
44 Welcome to My Nightmare
48 Vital Statistics
The Publication of Record for the Lighting,
Staging and Projection Industries
The Writing is on
the (Video) Wall
ideo killed the radio star, and now it’s
threatening the lighting star—automated lighting.
At midnight on Aug. 1, 1981, a voice
came on a new cable television network and
said, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”
With those words, the very first video ever
played on MTV, “Video Killed the Radio Star”
by the Buggles, launched the network. It
was a heady time. New artists used the new
medium to shape our perceptions and for
the first time in the history of pop music, you
could see, as well as hear, their music.
The use of Ritalin doubled 10 years
following the launch of MTV and increased
about four-fold in the ten years after that.
Coincidence? Perhaps. Nevertheless, our
attention spans are not what they used to
be. Remember when TV was pretty much
monolithic and sequential? One thought
followed another. Now it borders on schizophrenia: Multiple panes, crawling headlines
and handheld cameras with dizzying zooms
and pans are commonplace in the post9/11 world. The visual landscape has been
completely transformed since video killed
the radio star.
I saw a concert recently where I just kept
thinking something was different. I couldn’t
put my finger on it at first, but I recognized
that something was there—or, in this case,
not there. Then it struck me—there was no
video. There were no projection surfaces, no
images, nary a gobo in sight. Once I recog-
Terry Lowe
[email protected]
Richard Cadena
[email protected]
Editorial Director
Bill Evans
[email protected]
Associate Editor
Allison Rost
[email protected]
nized it, it became crystal clear.
“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far. ” –The
I had a great time at the show, and when
I left, I didn’t think twice about it. Then I read
two articles in this issue, one by Phil Gilbert
and another by Cory FitzGerald, that made
me think that I may not be as crazy as I seem
(which is pretty crazy in and of itself ). In one
of the articles, Gilbert comments “Black is
the new white. Video is the new gobo.” In
the other, Rodd McLaughlin of PreLite says,
“It seems moving lights used to be ‘the thing’
to have at a show—the new toy with the
gobo logos and the flash and trash. Now,
more and more, video is the big thing...
Lights are becoming more and more for il-
Contributing Writers
Vickie Claiborne,Maureen Droney,
Phil Gilbert, Cory FitzGerald,
Rob Ludwig, Kevin M. Mitchell,
Richard Rutherford, Brad Schiller,
Nook Schoenfeld
Steve Jennings, Bree Kristel
Production Manager
Shawnee Schneider
[email protected]
Senior Graphic Designer
Robert A. Gonzalez
[email protected]
Graphic Designer
Jesus A. Fernandez-Davila
[email protected]
Graphic Designer
Josh Harris
[email protected]
Advertising Director
Gregory Gallardo
[email protected]
“Then it
struck me—
there was
no video.”
Ad info:
lumination only.” These two people came up
with virtually the same thought completely
independently of each other. To paraphrase
Arlo Guthrie, if enough people start singing
the same song at the same time, then friends,
it’s a movement. And that’s exactly what it is;
it’s the “Convergence Killed the Automated
Lighting Buzz” Movement.
Make no mistake about it; automated
lighting is here to stay. The history of lighting
suggests that we collect, rather than sequentially use and discard, lighting technology.
We still use PARs, Fresnels, dimmers and
two-scene consoles, right alongside of our
automated lighting. And there’s no reason
to discard our automated lighting or their
consoles; in fact, it’s the automated lighting programmers of today who will be the
digital lighting programmers of tomorrow.
The syntax is the same, and digital luminaires
are simply a more sophisticated form of
automated lighting.
On the other hand, the education of
the lighting industry will be turned on its
ear. Convergence is no longer some fuzzy
concept, but it is right here, right now. We at
PLSN are more aware of it than ever. Starting
with this issue, we will be integrating more
of the video news into the news section and
creating a new section just for Video News.
Twenty-five years after MTV hit the cable,
the strains of “Video Killed the Radio Star” still
ring true. Except now video is giving birth to
a whole new star.
Without lights, they say, it’s just radio. But
without video, how would you know you’re
being entertained?
Advertising Representative
James Leasing
[email protected]
General Manager
William Hamilton Vanyo
[email protected]
Business and
Advertising Office
18425 Burbank Blvd.
Suite 613
Tarzana, CA 91356
Ph: 818.654.2474
Fax: 818.654.2485
Editorial Office
10305 Salida Dr.
Austin, TX 78749
Ph: 512.280.0384
Fax: 512.292.0183
Stark Services
P.O. Box 16147
North Hollywood, CA 91615
Projection, Lights & Staging News (ISSN:
1537-0046) Volume 07, Number 01 Published
monthly by Timeless Communications Inc. 18425
Burbank Blvd., Suite 613 Tarzana, CA 91356 It is
distributed free to qualified individuals in the
lighting and staging industries in the United
States and Canada. Periodical Postage paid
at Tarzana, CA office and additional offices.
Postmaster please send address changes to:
Projection, Lights & Staging News, PO Box
16147 North Hollywood, CA 91615. Mailed in
Canada under Publications Mail Agreement
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ON N8X 1Z1 Overseas subscriptions are available
and can be obtained by calling 818.654.2474.
Editorial submissions are encouraged but must
include a self-addressed stamped envelope to be
returned. Projection, Lights & Staging News is a
Registered Trademark. All Rights Reserved.
Duplication, transmission by any method of
this publication is strictly prohibited without
permission of Projection, Lights & Staging
Console Makes Broadway Debut
NEW YORK, NY—Flying Pig Systems’
Hog iPC made its Broadway debut with the
recent opening of The Color Purple—the
Musical, and another Broadway-bound
show is waiting in the wings. The Elton
John/Bernie Taupin musical, Lestat, just
finished playing in San Francisco and will
be moving to Broadway in March.
Both shows were programmed by
David Arch, who
coincidentally also
programmed the
first Wholehog 2
console on Broadway in 1997 for the
stage show, The Life
(an honor he shares
with Christian Choi).
He points out
why he was the first
to specify Hog iPC
David Arch
on Broadway.
“I choose Hog
iPC for a few reasons,” Arch says. “The
shows were over four universes but under
eight, which meant no slow down in iPC
processing speed. Because the Hog iPC is a
new product, it’s therefore fully supported.
Its compact size is great for small Broadway control booths. Plus, when it comes to
viewing a lot of information quickly and
easily, the Hog ‘contents screen’ is still one
of the best.”
Another reason, he adds, is its familiarity
with Broadway electricians and production
crews. “It’s a big issue,” he notes. “Someone
has to run the show, which may run perhaps
years after I’ve programmed it. If they want
to rehang a light or change anything, it
helps for people to know how to use the
console without worrying about training.”
LD Brian MacDevitt and master electrician Jimmy Fedigan are the team
lighting the
Oprah Winfrey
of production
The Color Purple,
based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by
Alice Walker. The
lighting supplier
is PRG.
LD Kenneth
Posner designed Lestat, which played at the
Curran Theatre in San Francisco until Jan.
29. It moves to Broadway’s Palace Theatre
March 11. Based on the Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice, the show features the music
of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The lighting team includes LD Kenneth Posner,
production electrician Jimmy Maloney and
Console Operator Andy Catron. The lighting
supplier is PRG.
Inner Circle to Distribute
Coemar in USA
SUNRISE, FL—Italian lighting manufacturer Coemar SPA, has appointed Inner Circle
Distribution, of Sunrise, Fla., as the exclusive
distributor of all Coemar brand products in
the United States and Caribbean. ICD is a
partnership between industry veterans Noel
Duncan, Nick Freed and Gary Mass. The three
spent some time working together at Martin
Professional before pursuing other opportunities in the industry. In their latest stint
together, the three opened a new U.S. office
for Coemar before splitting off as Inner
Circle Distribution.
“We’ve been searching for the proper
representation in the U.S. marketplace for
quite some time. ICD is a perfectly suited
operation to accomplish our goals”, says
Fausto Orsatti, international sales director of
Coemar SPA.
Nick Freed of Inner Circle added, “ICD
was built to distribute professional lighting
products. Coemar has always been the
most talented lighting manufacturer in
the world. We’re proud to join the efforts
in bringing Coemar products to the forefront
in the States.”
NEW YORK, NY—BSR E1.22, Entertainment Technology—Fire Safety Curtain
Systems, is available for public review on
the ESTA Web site ( through
March 28. The draft standard describes
the materials, fabrication, installation,
operation, testing and maintenance of
fire safety curtains and fire safety curtain
systems used for theatre proscenium
opening protection. It is a serious attempt
to avoid offering a cookbook description of
a fire safety curtain system and, instead, to
specify how a fire curtain shall perform. It
doesn’t tell you what kind of fabric to use
for a fire safety curtain, for example, but
instead tells you how strong whatever fabric
you use must be and what abrasion and fire
tests it must pass. The document may be accessed by visiting
documents/public_review_docs.php, or
by requesting it from ESTA’s technical
standards manager.
In addition to being asked to review the
document to see if it offers adequate and
correct advice, reviewers are asked to look
for protected intellectual property in the
draft standards. ESTA does not warrant that
its standards contain no protected intellectual property, but it also does not intend
to adopt any standard that requires the use
of protected intellectual property, unless
that property is necessary for technical
reasons and can be licensed and used by
anyone without prejudice or preference
for a reasonable fee.
Any protected intellectual property in
the document should be pointed out in the
public review comments.
For more information, please contact Karl
G. Ruling, technical standards manager at
ESTA, 875 Sixth Ave., Ste. 1005, New York, NY
10001. His phone number is 212.244.1505,
his fax number is 212.244.1502 and his email
address is [email protected]
Ad info:
Draft Fire Safety Curtain
Standard Is Available for
Public Review
DES PLAINES, IL—The European Union’s
Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
Directive and the California Electronic Waste
Recycling Act was originally established to
address concerns regarding the accumulation of hazardous wastes resulting from the
manufacture of consumer products. The use
of lead, mercury and other hazardous substances in electrical and electronics products
are of primary concern and the RoHS and the
CEWRA will increasingly impact our industry.
Gepco International, Inc. recently issued a
Certificate of RoHS Compliance covering
more than 160 Gepco cable products.
“Gepco International, Inc. prides itself
on its commitment to the environment and
the continued development of safe and
environmentally friendly products,” stated
Scott Fehl, products development manager
for Gepco. “We have met or exceeded the
necessary requirements and are devoted to
continual compliance.”
In accordance with the requirements
of the RoHS Directive of the European
Parliament, Gepco certifies that their
cable products are manufactured free
of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalant
chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls
(PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl
ethers (PBDEs). This compliance applies
to products manufactured on or after
June 15, 2005.
Ad info:
Gepco Complies with RoHS
Y-100 Has a Jingle Ball
Ledesma was the lighting designer for the
high profile Y-100 Jingle Ball, which featured
nine artists, including Will Smith, Shakira,
Ricky Martin, Ray-J, T-Pain, The Pussycat
Dolls and others. The gig was staged at the
Bank Atlantic Centre in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
home to the Florida Panthers hockey team.
It was promoted by local radio station Y-100
and attracted a sold-out crowd of 17,000.
A revolving stage provided by Mountain
Productions was used to minimize change
over time between acts. All of the
lighting equipment, which included
a quantity of Robe ColorSpot 1200s,
was supplied by Paradigm Lighting.
Ledesma’s goal was to have a
design with the flexibility to create
dynamics and variety in the stage
look. The idea was to give each
performer their own distinct visual
impression via the lighting. Ledesma worked with his programmer
Mike Smrka.
Stage Research
to Distribute
Light Factory
NORTHFIELD, OH—Stage Research, Inc.,
a developer of software for show control
and lighting design, has been appointed as
the exclusive distributor in North America
for Light Factory, a PC-based lighting control
system. Light Factory is based in Auckland,
New Zealand.
Brad Rembielak of Stage Research commented about the distribution deal: “We
picked up Light Factory because we recently
expanded into SoftPlot and Light Shop (both
of which are lighting design software tools),
which add design capabilities. The piece
we’ve been missing is lighting control. When
we found Light Factory, we knew it was the
right piece for us.”
Stage Research is a 10-year-old company
that evolved from software developers who
worked in the theatre. Today, they offer a
variety of audio and lighting solutions for
professionals, educators and students.
The Light Factory software is available for
evaluation as a free download. Visit the Stage
Research Web site for details.
Web Site of
the Month:
Have you ever wished you had a
database of automated lighting so
that you could easily compare products and features? Keeping a database
like that maintained would take hours
of research and data entry.
Now Solaris has done all the work
for you and collated it in “The Definitive Stage Lighting Database.” The
online database features automated
lighting information from Clay Paky,
High End Systems, Martin, Robe and
SGM. There is an icon for each model
of fixture, and when you click, it takes
you to a page with an assortment
of information about that fixture,
such as the lamp type, color, optics,
movement, gobos, effects, control info,
weight, dimensions and construction.
It also gives you additional information such as links to the manufacturer’s Web site and a commentary about
the product.
For more information, go to www.
Ad info:
PLSN february 2006
The Colbert Report Gets Rock ‘n’ Roll Edge
NEW YORK, NY—Lighting designer Stan
Crocker recently helped create the signature
look for the new Comedy Central hit, The Colbert Report, starring Daily Show alum Stephen
Colbert in a parody of political talk shows.
Crocker’s music chops proved to be
just what the new show was looking for.
“Stephen and the producers wanted a bit of
a rock ‘n’ roll edge to the lighting,” Crocker
notes. “They wanted movement and color
changes that would be a little over the top
like the character that Stephen portrays.
The scenic design, by Jim Fenhagen of
Production Design Group, gave me a lot of
opportunity to affect color and texture. We
also put a bit of haze in the air to enhance
the gobo patterns.”
Scharff Weisberg provided a movinglight and LED package for Colbert’s studio,
the former Daily Show venue. Vari*Lite
VL3000 and Martin MAC 250 Profile moving
lights were furnished along with Lekos and a
complement of LEDs, including Color Kinetics Color Blaze units.
“Some vertical columns in the set were
originally designed to hold fluorescent light,”
Crocker points out. “With a slight modification in the set design, we were able to
position some Color Blaze LEDs and get a lot
of color versatility out of the scenic pieces.
The LEDs became a key part of the overall
lighting and scenic look. Other color changes
were accomplished with CXI color changers
on conventional VL3000s and MAC 250s.”
Crocker says he’s “really excited” about
the look of the new show, which debuted to
rave reviews.“The lighting, the scenic and the
graphics all work together to create an envi-
ronment befitting the extremes of the character that Stephen has created,” he observes.
“With this project, I came to appreciate
how lighting can affect the live studio audience from the moment they first walk in to
the studio, through the stops for commercials
and the bumpers back into the show. It all has
an effect on them and their energy, which has
an effect on Stephen and his energy, and it all
carries on to the television audience.”
In reference to lighting supplier Scharff
Weisberg, Crocker stated, “I had a great experience with Scharff Weisberg on the Queen
Mary 2 where Carly Simon recorded her
Moonlight Serenade DVD. I also used Scharff
Weisberg on a couple of recent TV shoots
with Coldplay and Dave Matthews Band for
VH1 Storytellers. So they were my first call
when I started putting together The Colbert
Report lighting concept.”
Ravitz Lights
2005 DVD
LOS ANGELES, CA—Jeff Ravitz,
principal partner with Visual Terrain, Inc.,
designed the lighting for the television
videotaping of Megaton 2005, shot in high
definition at L.A.’s Great Western Forum on
Nov. 25. The Spanish Broadcasting System,
producer of the shoot, contemplates a
DVD release in early 2006. The sold-out
show, which was said to be the biggest
event ever to showcase Reggaeton music,
featured superstars of the genre, Tego
Calderon, Don Omar, Hector “El Father”
and female legend Ivy Queen.
“The lighting and the shoot were
extremely challenging on a number of
counts,” explains Ravitz. “The Megaton
shows are comprised of an unrehearsed
series of acts. The performers are accompanied by only a DJ, or in some cases,
two DJs. Although the lyrics and delivery
are truly complicated and meticulously
prepared by the artists, there is still an
off-the-cuff quality about it. A stage full
of dancers can come and go at any time,
and often the songs just seem to end
when you least expect it. Our mission
was to give ourselves the tools to create
instant visual excitement with the lighting, while secretly still carefully adhering
to the principles of good broadcast lighting, which include balance, exposure and
composition. Visions Lighting provided
the extremely well-prepped system and
was totally can-do at all times. Steve
Lieberman did a phenomenal job of
programming and operating.”
Jeff Ravitz has received two Emmy
Awards and four nominations for his
design work. Recent projects include Neil
Young’s Prairie Wind filming for Paramount
and Bill Maher’s HBO special, I’m Swiss.
Low-Res Video Updates Video
Look for Human League
recent Synth City three-week UK tour featured a career-spanning set of the influential
electro-pop group’s greatest hits, backed by
a lighting and video show designed by Rob
Sinclair and supplied by Lite Alternative.
Sinclair had always been intrigued by the
group’s pioneering use of slideshow visuals
during their early days and, having worked as
a member of the lighting crew on the previous tours in 2003 and 2004, had been trying
ever since to create a modern video show
in the spirit of the original. After he was promoted to LD for the 2005 tour, the only real
brief from the band’s manager was that the
show should look completely different than
the last tour, giving Sinclair total freedom to
explore various ideas.
In the end, Sinclair designed a rig with
automated lighting, a handful of conventionals and a low-resolution video wall backdrop.
The backdrop is made up of 50 square meters of Chroma-Q Color Web configured for
each venue’s stage dimensions and driven by
PixelMad software connected to a Jands Vista T2 lighting console. Fixtures included 14
Martin MAC 250s, 10 MAC 500s, four Atomic
strobes with color changers, four MAC 2000s,
12Omnis, 12 Encapsulites, eight ETC Source
Fours and four 2-Lights. Conventional video
projection was provided by a Sanyo 10K
projector using images played back through
a High End Systems Catalyst.
The Color Web backdrop is 80% transparent, which enabled Sinclair to seamlessly
integrate the video and lighting elements by
using it as an additional visual effects layer
between the rig’s lighting fixtures and the
hi-res video projection screens. As a result,
he was able to use the Color Web on its own
as the main video backdrop, light through it
from behind or use it to provide extra effects
behind the front projected video screens.
For the Color Web content, Sinclair went
through the PixelMad library footage and
chose suitable images to complement the
nature of each song. For some songs he had
specific ideas about what he wanted to use
as content, such as the image of stick men
during “Sound of the Crowd.” He also created
various custom images using icons, logos
and four-letter words.
Of the video backdrop, Sinclair said,“I’m
really impressed with the Color Web. It was fun
experimenting with it to get the best out of it
and enabled me to light the show on multiple
levels, seamlessly integrating the lighting and
video in a way not previously possible.”
Upcoming Events
Rigging Seminars Principles
and Practice with Harry
Donovan and Jay Glerum:
Rigging Seminars, Principles and
Practice with Harry Donovan
and Jay Glerum:
Feb. 20-23, Las Vegas, NV (
Apr. 3-6, Las Vegas, NV (
Martin Professional Stage,
Studio and Entertainment
Field Technician:
Vari-Lite Technical Training:
Feb. 27-Mar 3, Sunrise, FL (http://www.
High End Systems Digital
Training DL2 and Catalyst:
Apr. 10-14, Dallas, TX (http://www.vari-lite.
High End Systems Console
Training—Hog 2 on iPC:
Apr. 11-12, Austin, TX (
Mar. 6-7, Los Angeles, CA (http://www.
High End Systems Console
Training—Wholehog 3:
Vari-Lite Technical Training:
Apr. 13-14, Austin, TX (
Mar. 13-16, Dallas, TX (http://www.vari-lite.
Medialon Show Control Training:
Mar. 15-16, Miami, FL (
National Systems Contractors
Association (NSCA):
Mar. 16-18, Las Vegas, NV (www.nscaexpo.
Mountain Productions 21st
Annual CM Hoist School with
Columbus McKinnon, James
Thomas Engineering, Lift All
and Sapsis Rigging:
Mar. 20-23, Wilkes-Barre, PA (http://www.
Martin Professional—Stage,
Studio and Entertainment
Field Technician:
Mar. 27-31, Simi Valley, CA (http://www.
Mar. 29-Apr. 1, Louisville, KY (www.usitt.
High End Systems Digital
Training—DL2 and Catalyst:
Apr. 17-18, Austin, TX (
Martin Professional—Stage,
Studio and Entertainment
Field Technician:
Apr. 24-28, Sunrise, FL (
Going Commando? Not Us!
In the January 2006 Video World
column, “Giggin’ in Low-Res,” we incorrectly stated that Main Light Industries’
Soft-LED drapery is made out of Commando Cloth, but it is not. The face is
made of 22 oz. Encore IFR (inherently
flame retardant) material and it is lined
with an IFR synthetic material.
Also, in the Showtime listing,
“Target: Red Room at the Third Annual
Vibe Awards,” the last name of one
of the lighting technicians was
misspelled. The correct spelling is
Ryan Babroff.
We regret the errors and are now
seeking counseling to alleviate our guilt.
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72 Watts of Laser Light for 340 Horsepower
DETROIT, MI—It was an important
day for Dieter Zetsche, president of DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz. Not only did
he return to his former domain in Detroit, he
also had to convey the American public to
an important innovation of the traditional
German car manufacturer in the course of a
major press conference.
After the latest rise of oil prices, fuel
efficiency became an important factor
when purchasing a new car, even in the
U.S. Still, Americans hesitate to part from
heavy off-road cars. Taking these two factors
into consideration, Zetsche presented the
amazed audience the seemingly incredible
squaring of the circle: A new full-size SUV
with the most environmentally-friendly and
most economical diesel engine of all time,
even licensed in those states with the
strictest emission standards.
Mercedes-Benz entered new innovative
territory not only with the drive technology
of the car, but also with the presentation
technology. Besides the combination of
video and attractive artists, a laser production by Lobo framed the world premiere of
the new automobile. With the presentation,
Mercedes-Benz made a big bang.
The presentation started with a video
sequence photographed in California by
Jaques Steyn and then merged into the laser
projection. After a speedy interplay between
3-D car impressions and atmospheric beam
effects, a green laser beam ignited a pyro
effect, and suddenly, the new automobile
hovered downwards.
Lobo’s creative
director Alexander Hennig says, “Even experts,
established in the media
industry for many years,
were astonished once
they saw with their own
eyes what can be done
nowadays with state-of
the-art laser technology
and a handful of smart ideas.”
The laser equipment was set up discreetly in the background thanks to
ultra-compact, fiber-fed projectors. Since
no one really expected lasers, the
effect was heightened by the element of surprise.
Altogether four
X15 multi-color
lasers delivered a
total of 60 watts
of white laser
light, generating
dual-field projections on a semi-transparent
screen. In addition, four 3-watt monochrome
lasers were integrated in the stage backdrop
for atmospheric beam effects.
The system was controlled by laser and
multimedia workstations of the LaCon series
wirelessly programmed and operated by
means of a laptop computer from any point
in the show area. The data transmission
between the controllers and the projectors
over the distance of approximately 100 meters was done via a proprietary optical and
digital media bus named DDL.
The entire setup, including the power
connections, lasers, controllers and projectors, was backed by a redundant system. In
the unlikely event of an error, the operator could switch to an entirely equivalent
backup system.
Buys Juntunen
MINNEAPOLIS, MN—Hoffman Communications recently purchased Juntunen Group,
a 21-year-old Minneapolis audio-visual production company. Employees and business
from Juntunen Group will be integrated into
the Hoffman Communications operations in
Minneapolis, Minn.
Hoffman Communications is owned by
Mark Hoffman and was started in 1988. The
company has specialized in producing and
staging corporate meetings and events as
well as video production. Juntunen Group
was owned by William (Bill) and Michelle
Juntunen, who started the company in 1984,
providing services to produce corporate
communications and training programs on
video and producing meetings and events.
“This purchase and combining of skills
and expertise is an excellent benefit for
our clients,” remarked Hoffman. “I find that
clients today are searching for a company
that understands their strategy and can offer
a vertically integrated set of communication
solutions and the creativity to shape and deliver their key message,” he said. “And more
clients need cross-platform capabilities. The
alternative is finding a boutique service that
offers only one specialty, and our clients just
don’t have time for that anymore.”
In May 2005, Hoffman acquired Audio
Visual & Film Group (AVFG). With the added
capabilities and technologies of AVFG, Hoffman expanded the size, scope and number
of events it can support.
During the month of January, Hoffman
and Juntunen employees merged into
Hoffman’s facility. This combined organization will have 40 employees.
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In Brief
Active Production and Design, Inc.
was named the in-house AV company
for the new Georgia Aquarium. Active
was contracted to install, operate and
maintain all internal audio/visual services…AV Concepts (www.avconcepts.
com) recently purchased an MA Lighting
grandMA console and a Barco PresentationPRO II video switcher for their rental
inventory…Design Partners Inc. (www. recently announced an expanded agreement with Don Cornelius
Productions. Olin Younger, DPI partner
and lighting designer, is now providing
lighting design for the weekly syndicated television show, “Soul Train.”…Production Advantage, Inc. (www. was awarded with ESTA’s 2005 Manufacturers’
Choice Dealer Award for a company with
7to 25 employees. The award recognizes
superior performance in four main areas:
staff, sales and marketing, inventory and
financial responsibility. The award ceremony was held in Orlando, Fla., in Nov.
2005…Scharff Weisberg Lighting was
the first company in the Northeast to
take delivery of the Vari*Lite® VL500™.
LD Fransen Tries New Technology
for Jeremy Camp’s U.S. Tour
HARTFORD, CT—Jeremy Camp is one
of the best-selling Christian rock artists in
the U.S., achieving gold sales for his first two
albums, and he’s on track to repeat this with
his third release. A 40-date tour to promote
his new record visited 40 cities across the
nation recently and more dates are planned
for early 2006.
Tour LD Tony Fransen had been using
his existing lighting desk for six years and
felt that it was becoming outdated as the increasing complexity of entertainment lighting rigs called for ever more powerful and
sophisticated control solutions. Fransen was
looking for a new programming platform
when he got the chance to demo the Jands
Vista. He specified it for the tour and Integrity Lighting Inc. CEO Steve Nance supplied it
along with the lighting package.
The lighting rig consisted of 15 High
End Systems x.Spots, 16 Studio Beams, four
Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, nine Color
Commands, one LX-1 laser, 10 A.C. Lighting
Chroma-Q™ Color Blocks, two 8-Lights with
color changers, eight 4-Lights, six ETC Source
Fours and 48 channels of dimming. Fransen
also used a Catalyst Media Server to control
playback of visual effects displayed by the
rig. More than 1,800 channels of DMX were
(L to R): Tony Fransen and Steve Nance
used to run the show, the majority of which
was programmed using WYSIWYG lighting
visualization software.
“The Vista did a great job of handling
everything from the moving lights to the
media server,” Fransen said. “Without the
Vista’s timeline feature, it wouldn’t have been
possible in the available programming time
for us to accomplish many of the complex
fades and more detailed cues. The desk had
so many time-saving features. Just the way
that you build cues—you can build so much
so fast and still have very fine control of
small details.”
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Lumileds Sets New LED Benchmark
SAN JOSE, CA—Lumileds Lighting and
Future Electronics recently set a new price
per lumen benchmark by releasing new
manufacturer-suggested retail pricing
(MSRP) for Luxeon® III and Luxeon I LEDs in
advance of the release of its new Luxeon K2
LEDs. A white Luxeon III Emitter, for example,
is now priced at $3.45 for quantities less than
10,000 units; this makes it 23 lumens per
dollar. Luxeon I Emitter pricing is as low
as $1.30 in low volumes. The new pricing
continues the trend of the dropping prices
of LEDs, enabling more manufacturers to
market new and innovative LED products.
“Lumileds is delivering the technology
that will help to grow the market for solidstate lighting,” said Mark Swoboda, executive
VP of sales and marketing for Lumileds. “With
Luxeon III LEDs, lighting designers and engineers can move forward creating brighter
LED-based lighting products while simultaneously taking advantage of the light output,
longer life and other technical benefits of our
Luxeon technology.”
“The importance of both value and performance in solid-state light sources cannot
be underestimated,” said Richard Wojtowicz,
technical director at Carmanah Corporation,
an international manufacturer of signage
and lighting system applications. “Our products cannot trade performance or quality for
price. Luxeon III LEDs value propositions are
enabling us to speed development of new
products and continue to build on our application and solution leadership and meet
our customers’ needs.”
A single white Luxeon III LED generates typical light output of 80+ lumens per
emitter and 190+ lumens per emitter in
Truss Manufacturer Contributes to Toys for Tots
Ad info:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Tomcat USA helped make the 2005 holidays a little brighter
for needy children in the San Francisco area with a donation of truss to Caltrain—a public transportation company in California. The donation consisted of 13 sections of light
duty-plated truss as well as a canopy system. This truss was used to decorate a special
Caltrain stage car that made nine stops in the San Francisco area to collect gifts for Toys
for Tots. The car transported Santa Claus and his helpers, who were accompanied by the
Salvation Army brass band and the Caltrain employee choir. To add to the festive music,
the special commuter train was decorated with approximately 40,000 lights.
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Letters to the Editor
LED, Lies and Videotape
I don’t want to take anything away
from Radio City Music Hall—it is indeed
one of the most spectacular venues in
the world—however, it does not have the
largest LED video wall in the world (see
Inside Theatre, Jan. 2006). The Colosseum
at Caesars Palace has a hi-def LED screen
that is 110 feet wide and 34 feet tall. It is
the largest indoor LED screen in North
America. I think the correct quote for
Radio City is that it is the largest “indoor
flying” LED video screen.
Re: Video World, January 2006—
The earliest use of a low-res LED screen
on a large scale would probably be U2’s
Popmart tour in 1997. The screen was
designed by my good friend and competitor, Frederic Opsomer. So you were
partially correct on the European origins.
On the DMX side, the LEC screen was
being sold in Japan by the guys who
eventually designed G-LEC. This was
also in the mid ‘90s (before Popmart)
and they were able to play bit map
patterns on the screen.
Matt Ward
Hurst Combines Lighting,
Video on A-Ha Tour
Rick Mooney
Loved your thoughts on “Who’s Your
Master?” The biz sure needs some cleaning up. We here at ATL Management sure
do appreciate your mag and the great
product ads. Keep up the great work.
Lynn Francis, Manager
Stephen and Other Dummies
Comedy Concert
You’re correct that U2 should be
credited for the earliest use of the LED
video wall. But we still think that was
more of an I-Mag screen that was as hi-res
as they came back then. The technology
has advanced to the point where that is
now considered lo-res, but the quasi-video
used on today’s shows is a different animal
than it was back then. Thanks for writing.
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OSLO, NORWAY—At a massive show in
Oslo, Norway, A-Ha kicked off their world tour
and a celebration of the city’s centenary. With
120,000 attending, it was the largest show
in Norway to date, and featured a 10-camera
DVD shoot with lots of video onstage. Visual
designer Andy Hurst wanted to continue the
video theme on a scaled-down version for
the arena tour that followed.
XL Video UK supplied Hurst, plus the
lighting and video equipment in an interesting design merging both mediums into
a eye-collage. Hurst worked with video
specialist Richard Shipman and XL’s project
managers Paul Wood and Des Fallon to get
the video elements exactly as he wanted.
LED tech for the tour was Andy Tonks.
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From the outset, he intended to use video
as a light source blended with the lighting
cues. He also wanted to separate the show into
three distinct acts that could be “unfolded”
throughout the set, and so divided the video
into three physically different “phases.”
The set kicked off with projections from
a Barco R18 projector rigged from the front
truss, beaming onto a silver drape hanging
off the mid-stage truss. Four main “media”
trusses containing lighting and video were
rigged downstage, mid-stage, upstage, plus
a curved truss between the mid and upstage
truss that was sub-hung with five 3-meter
trusses. Each of these sub-trusses was rigged
with three moving lights and three panels of
Unitek V9 LED screen. They were automated
via an Ibex motor control system, which
enabled dynamic looks to be created by
shifting the five trusses into different shapes
and positions. As this happened, the fascias
of each piece of truss effectively became
moving “bars” of video.
The rear truss was used to make up a
completely different video look. It was also
curved, and rigged as far to the upstage wall
as possible each night, greatly enhancing the
sense of depth onstage. It was rigged with
five evenly spaced drop-hangs, each consisting of three LED video panels, a meter apart,
with a moving light filling the gaps between
each one. This created a total of 30 video
panels in a symmetric but broken-up look.
This video wall “trick” was saved for the last
four songs of the set.
The wall was particularly effective
for producing movement via a single
image repeated across all 30 screens,
especially with the dancing “Bond girl”
in “The Living Daylights.”
All video content was stored and run
via an ArKaos system operated by Shipman, while Hurst ran the light show from a
Flying Pig System Wholehog 2 console with
a RadLite PixelDrive for his 15 PixelLine LED
battens. Video ran for 16 songs of the set.
All content was created by Hurst and Shipman using archive and library sources as
their base material, which they then edited,
manipulated and effected into footage
appropriate for the show.
Artistic Licence (UK) Ltd has hired
Peter Loosemore as the latest member
of their sales team. AL has also moved to
its new combined factory/office space,
which incorporates product demo area
and showrooms.
Nicholas Ano has joined Audio Visual Innovations (AVI) as account manager for the
office in Denver.
AV Concepts has hired Elisha Berkowitz as an in-house project manager in the
company’s San Diego office.
Briere Production Group Inc. of
Burnaby, B.C., has just been founded.
Operations manager Chris Briere said that
BPG will serve a wide variety of markets.
Panasonic Broadcast &
Television Systems Company has appointed Robert
Harris as vice president of
marketing and product
joined the video division as technical support manager.
Robert Harris
Pete’s Big TVs has a new home. The
company, formerly called Performance A/V,
has moved into their new 40,000-squarefoot warehouse. The new shop location is 22
Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720, and their
phone number is 800.999.0010.
Production Resource Group (PRG) has
promoted Art Lavis to sales and operations
manager of PRG Video, and Eric Seefranz has
Scharff Weisberg has added
Walter Elzey to
its staff as senior
account executive.
Most recently, Elzey
was director of production at Broad
Street Productions.
Walter Elzey
Video director and PLSN columnist Mark
Haney was recently hired by Screenworks
to work in its Los Angeles office under the
account manager/special projects title.
Leprecon Pro Lighting has appointed DC
Lighting & Controls as its new sales representative for the Pacific Northwest.
Alan Dresner joined Electrosonic Group as general
manager for the North American Video Display Solutions
(VDS) business beginning
Jan. 1.
Alan Dresner
Gear-Source, Inc. has appointed Henry
Kones to the role of director of business development. Gear-Source has also relocated
to new offices at 3101 Fairlane Farms Rd., Ste.
4, Wellington, FL 33414. The company’s new
phone number is 954.389.8866.
Hughie’s Audio-Visual of Cleveland,
Ohio, has completed the purchase of 3 Gun
Audio-Visual of Pittsburgh, Penn. The new
company will operate under the name of
Hughie’s Audio-Visual Productions and
occupy 10,000 square feet of office and
warehouse space in Pittsburgh’s downtown
Strip District.
Lex Products Corp has Hired three new
key personnel: Tom Siko, Bill Froelich and
Michael Scala. Tom Siko was hired to fulfill an
inside sales and customer service position. Bill
Froehlich joined Lex Products as manufacturing manager. Mike Scala was hired as the new
plant manager.
LightParts Inc., a parts and repair
source for automated lighting, has hired
Jullie Cowart as operations manager.
Karl Lengel recently joined LMG, Inc. as a
sales executive.
Stephen Shea has joined the Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED) team as a project
manager, working on NED’s maritime and landbased projects, including the entertainment
systems for the Cunard Queen Victoria and the
Hewlett-Packard Halo traveling exhibit.
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TBA Global Events is developing a
new entertainment group to be directed by
renowned entertainment executive Geoff
Thomas out of TBA’s Los Angeles office.
Xtreme Structures
welcomes Tim Kruse to its
force as general manager,
handling operations. Kruse
brings with him more than
12 years of experience in
the entertainment industry.
Tim Kruse
Zero 88 has appointed Paul McEwan to
a newly-formed project sales role, helping
consultants, dealers and customers with
specifying and installing Zero 88 products.
Liverpool Rings in New Year
with Pyro and Lasers
welcomed 2006 with a 20-minute multimedia son et lumière event organized by the
Liverpool Culture Company.
The show was staged on the steps
of St. George’s Hall, right in the center
of town, utilizing the iconic building’s
neoclassical architecture as a backdrop. It
featured dancing water fountains, a water
screen, lighting, sound, lasers, giant flame
effects and fireworks. More than 8,000
revelers attended.
The show was devised by Kirstie Blakeman, who was also the event manager, from
Liverpool Culture Company and Steve Boothman from Fantastic Fireworks. They wanted
to focus attention on the building rather
than the sky, and integrate the city’s 2005’s
Year of the Sea theme with the one
for 2006—Year of Performance.
Lighting gear came from Manchester-based Audile. Lighting was designed,
programmed and run by Rob Leach using
an Avolites Pearl console. The front of St.
George’s Hall was architecturally lit with
10 Studio Due City Color fixtures providing the color wash, and eight Clay Paky
Alpha Spots in between every other pillar.
Two Martin MAC 500s scanned various LCC
sponsor logos across the building. Molefeys, Martin Atomic strobes and additional
lighting supplied by French-based Atlantid
were used as lighting effects on the fountains and a 15- by 10-meter water screen.
The water fountains and screen also
came from Atlantid, supplied via their Hertfordshire-based sister company, Aquabatics.
The fountains were housed in two 15-meterlong by 3-meter-wide troughs and reached
up to 10 meters high.
LM Productions did the lasers, comprising of two 5W YAGs, a full-color Ion Whitelight Chroma 10 and a DPSS 3.5W Whitelight
laser. The YAGs were placed on either side of
the steps. The Chroma 10 was in the middle,
used for creating effects and scanning the
audience, while the DPSS Whitelight projected text on to the building. The operator
was Lawrence Ryan.
MTFX supplied a 12-way DMX controlled
flame jet system operated by Mark Turner.
The pyro was designed and provided by
Steve Boothman and Ian Woodroof of Fantastic Fireworks.
Power for all elements was supplied
and distributed by locally-based Pyramid,
crowd barriers came from Event Solutions and John Sutch Cranes provided the
50-meter-reach crane that lifted all the
fireworks onto the roof of St. George’s Hall.
LCC’s site and production manager was
Bill Howard.
InLight Goes to Tokyo for Distributor
TOKYO, JAPAN—InLight Gobos has
signed Mula Corporation in Tokyo as
an exclusive dealer for InLight Gobos
products. Mula Corporation is headed by
the world-renowned lighting designer
Mitsumasa Hayashi.
“I have nothing but respect for InLight
Gobos and their products,” says Hayashi.
“I have used both their standard catalog
patterns along with their custom glass
patterns. The quality of custom patterns is
exquisite, yet the turnaround time is very
quick. I’m very impressed with their work.”
Hayashi has lit everything from theatre and
opera to architectural installations. His recent design credits include John Ken Nuzzo
Mozart: His Life, His Operas (National Tour),
Yumi Matsutoya YUMING Love the Earth
Final (Aichi EXPO), Masaharu Fukuyama
15th Anniversary: We’re Bros. Freedom Tour
(National Tour) and Physical Theatre O En I
Ost (Theatre Apple).
Hayashi also has had much experience
with marketing lighting equipment in Japan.
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“I find what works for me and my work. If it
works for me, I know that other designers
and artists can benefit from them as well.
That’s where I see the great business opportunities. I’m certain that this new relationship
with InLight Gobos is going to be very successful,” he says.
Rick Hutton, president of InLight Gobos,
says he is excited about the new agreement:
“Mr. Hayashi has used InLight products exclusively for his productions for the past few
years, so it was a natural progression. It is a
departure from our current business model,
where we only sell direct in the U.S. market.
However, we saw huge potential in creating
a relationship with Mr. Hayashi in Japan. He
has his finger on the pulse of the Japanese
market, which has an ever-growing need
for high-quality, high-resolution glass
gobos, so we are very excited about this
blossoming relationship.”
Mitsumasa Hayashi
New Wire Grid System Matches
Shape of Swedish Theatre
the City Council, who were funding the
project, to Copenhagen Opera House in
neighboring Denmark, to see the Slingcoinstalled CABLEnet in use. Soon after,
CABLEnet was specified and confirmed
for Helsingborg.
The theatre required access to overstage and Front of House lighting and
rigging positions in the roof. They wanted
to maintain the elliptical shape of the roof
void with the CABLEnet, as it curves round
to match the shape of the auditorium.
The finished grid is 23 meters at its
widest point and 9.5 meters deep, following the shape of the ceiling.
The Helsingborg grid was installed
by a Slingco team of four in just two weeks.
They worked alongside the load-out
contractors who were simultaneously
dismantling and removing the theatre’s
old metal mesh walkways from the roof.
Slingco is engaged in its second
Swedish CABLEnet installation—at
Stockholm University Dance Theatre—
involving some of the same design team.
This project is scheduled for completion
in the spring.
IZAMAL, MEXICO—The Izamal Convent
on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is hoping that
a new nightly light spectacle will illuminate
the local area’s history for visitors.
Robe Ecolor 250 XT architectural luminaires are being used as an integral element
of a new permanent historical multimedia
spectacle,“The Mayan’s Light,” which has been
devised to attract tourists visiting this site and
town. Illustrating the spirit and pride of the
Izamal people, the show is also encouraging
visitors to stay an extra evening in the area.
The lighting design was created by Elias
Cisneros from award-winning lighting design
firm 333 Luxes, based in Merida City, Mexico.
333 Luxes initially submitted ideas—
along with other lighting companies—for
the project, which was specially commissioned by the Yucatan Tourist Bureau, headed
by Carolina Càrdenas.
The tourist board appointed show producers A4, headed by Alfredo Escalante and
Efrain Perez, to develop a multimedia show
celebrating the fact that Izamal is listed as
one of the 100 “magical towns” in Mexico. It’s
also probably the oldest town in the region,
and the convent itself was the first built in
the Americas, constructed by the Franciscan
Monks in 1553.
When 333 Luxes won the lighting contract, Cisneros chose seven Robe Ecolors as
his wash fixtures, to bathe large sections of
the convent’s arched stone walls and architecture in different colors and textures for
the 30-minute show.
It was the first time that Elias Cisneros had used a Robe product, but it came
recommended by a number of sources. The
units were supplied by one of Robe’s Mexican distributors, GA Iluminacion.
Cisneros chose Ecolors for the design
specifically because of their response time
and the versatility of the beam angels, which
are manually adjustable from 8º to 22º. These
proved ideal for both washing the façade and
spotting the belfry icons and other details
around the building. The fixtures are also used
to produce meteorological effects, like thunder
and rain.
They are rigged at various strategic positions around the building, and run from a
PC-based Nicolaudie Sunlite controller.
The show is currently running Tuesday
through Saturday nights and has been
attracting up to 250 people nightly. The
opening was attended by more than 1,000
people including local dignitaries and VIPs.
Other components include sound, video
and live actors.
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installed a CABLEnet tensioned wire grid
system into the main auditorium at Helsingborg Theatre in Sweden—giving safe
and flexible access to the overstage/above
auditorium roof space.
It’s the first tensioned wire grid
in Sweden.
Helsingborg was also the first town
in Sweden to open a municipal theatre
in 1921. Originally housed in a theatre
built in 1877, its current building opened
in 1976. Helsingborg Theatre is one of
the leading producing and receiving
houses in the country and has a frenetic
production schedule.
Rochdale-based Slingco—developers
of CABLEnet—was visited by architects
Peder Lindbom and Torsten Nobling of
Stockholm-based AIX Architects at the
PLASA Light & Sound Show in 2004. The
pair was leading a major refurbishment
project for the theatre, and they were interested in utilizing CABLEnet technology.
Discussions started in early 2005.
Slingco’s Nick Dykins took a delegation of
13 people from Helsingborg Theatre and
Mexican Convent Hosts
Flashy Multimedia Nightlife
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City Theatrical
VL500/1000 Floor
City Theatrical’s new VL500/1000 Floor Stand
is a low-profile, moving light mounting base
specifically designed for Vari*Lite’s new VL500™
Wash Luminaires. It features a broad, stable, lowprofile base measuring 17 by 13 inches by 1 inch (43.2 cm by 33 cm by 2.5 cm) with rounded
corners. Fabricated from strong, lightweight aluminum, the VL500/1000 Floor Stand is stackable for ease of storage. The mounting plate of the VL500/1000 Floor Stand contains 1/2 inch
diameter (12.7 mm) mounting holes on 8-inch (20.3 cm) centers suitable for either VL500 or
VL1000™, as well as a center hole to enable the mounting of any conventional lighting fixture.
Ad info:
City Theatrical, Inc. • 718.292.7932 •
Field Template
SoftSymbols Version 2
Field Template’s new SoftSymbols™ Version 2 is
their next evolution in CAD lighting symbols. Built
in the VectorWorks® environment, SoftSymbols is
a package of hybrid 2-D and 3-D lighting symbols
designed to work with either SpotLight or AutoPlot. The downloadable package includes 28 lighting manufacturers, symbols devoted to drafting
elements, a map of the entire symbol package and
an instructional guide. SoftSymbols contains more
than 2,500 symbols, and it ships with a 60-page
SoftGuide©, explaining the craft and manipulation of VectorWorks symbols, and the SoftMaps™
that graphically show all of the SoftSymbols. The
web-based application is available for download.
Field Template • 310.832.4700 or 212.749.9117 •
American DJ
Fantasy Scan 250
Ad info:
American DJ’s Fantasy Scan 250 is a 250-watt 3-D multicolor
kaleidoscopic effect projector with a scanning mirror. It comes
with one gobo, four textured glass patterns, all of which are replaceable, and eight dichroic colors plus white. Features include
a prism mirror, a strobe effect and a gobo shake effect. The fivechannel unit can be operated with any universal DMX controller
or in standalone, sound-active mode. Other features include a 30º
beam angle, manual focusing, continuous duty and multi-voltage
operation (98V-255V). The unit weighs 28 pounds and measures
22.5 by 15 by 11 inches. The suggested retail price is $999.99.
American DJ • 800.322.6337 •
ProCases ATA Truck Pack Trunks
The import division of ProCases, Inc. is now
offering ATA truck pack trunks. These cases come
in three different trunk pack-friendly sizes and
feature: 1/2 inch plywood (13 mm) construction with black laminate; 4-inch heavy-duty
casters and caster plate; caster cups on the lids;
carpet-lined interior and recessed latches and
handles. The AC-TP2 has outside dimensions
of 48 by 32 by 24 inches, and the retail price
is $599. The AC-TP3 has outside dimensions
of 48 by 24 by 24 inches, and the retail price is
$549. The AC-TP4 has outside dimensions of 24
by 24 by 24 inches, and the retail price is $499.
ProCases, Inc. • 800.435.8737 •
Ad info:
Elation CMY Zoom 575
Elation Professional’s new 575-watt CMY Zoom
575 is a CMY color changer for up to a 100-foot throw.
The unit is outfitted with a yoke, a safety “eyelet”
and a base plate. It features remote DMX addressing, which allows users to set the DMX address from
any standard DMX console. Other features include
a glass dichroic reflector, 8˚to 22˚ degree motorized zoom, a 150 mm Fresnel lens, full dimming,
a mechanical high-speed shutter and barn doors.
Special effects include a beam shaper and a frost
filter. It measures 16 by 14 by 17 inches and weighs
65 pounds. The suggested retail price is $2,499.95.
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Hawkeye Scenic Q-16
Hawkeye Scenic’s Q-16 Scenery Automation System
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bigger version of the Q-4 four axes system, the Q-16 records, stores and plays back up to 150 cues containing
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and operate, anyone who can run a lighting console can
run Q-16 with a few minutes of training. Q-16 can produce motion with soft starts and stops, accurate at any
speed and from either direction. Engineered in a rugged
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the Q-16 controls motors, hydraulics and pneumatics.
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Chauvet Q-Series Intelligent Fixtures
Chauvet’s new Q-Series™ is a range of intelligent fixtures designed primarily for clubs and
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moving yoke spot fixtures, one moving yoke wash fixture and four scanners. All nine feature a dimmer/shutter/strobe channel, speed control of
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Southco A3 Slide Latch
Southco’s new A3 slide latch has a molded thermoplastic body, push-to-close convenience and flexible locking options for sheet metal and thin thermoplastic door panels. Its
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Southco • 610.459.4000 •
Thern Custom Control
Thern, Inc., hads introduced its new line of custom-designed control panels for stage and theatre
production needs. Custom options in the new designs include required voltage, variable speeds, DMX
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options. Additionally, Thern designs custom ULrated control panels and custom control consoles
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VectorWorks 12 Viewer
Nemetschek North America recently released a free, downloadable VectorWorks Viewer
application that has been updated for VectorWorks 12. The Viewer enables those who do not
own the program to view and print projects created
in VectorWorks Fundamentals, VectorWorks Architect,
VectorWorks Landmark, VectorWorks Spotlight, VectorWorks Machine Design and VectorWorks Designer.
The Viewer lets an individual open a VectorWorks file
and make use of the viewing tools and commands,
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Nemetschek North America • 410.290.5114 •
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PCVB Annual Luncheon
Pennsylvania Convention Center,
Philadelphia, PA
Producer: Philadelphia Convention &
Visitors Bureau
Lighting Company: Advanced
Staging Productions
Production Manager: Jason Cataldi
Lighting Designer/Director: Jason Showers
Lighting Technicians: Robert Morbeck,
Kevin Hiddleson
Set Design: Ellen Diamond Williamson
Set Construction: On Q Productions
Rigger: IATSE Local 8
Staging Company: Advanced Staging
Video Director: Michael Spector
Video Company: Advanced Staging
Flying Pig Systems HogPC
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Christmas Spectacular 2005
Essex Alliance Church, Essex Junction, VT
Producer: Worship and Arts Department
Lighting/Staging Company: Dark Star
Lighting & Production
Production Manager: Ron Myers
Lighting Designer/Director: Chris Tall
Lighting Technicians: Bill Schenck,
Jeff Iasilli
Set Design/Construction: Joe Town
Rigger: Randy Darden
Pyrotechnics: Chris Tall
Video Director: Tim Chamberlain
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24’ x 32’ Fiber Optic Curtain
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Christie LX100 10K Projectors
DFS500 Switcher
Sony D50 Studio Camera
w/30x Lenses
Vista Systems Spider Pods
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Sony DSR-1500A DVCam Decks
Custom DA Rack
ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards
Atlantic Dance Hall, Walt Disney World
Boardwalk Resort, Orlando, FL
Producer: ESPN Television
Lighting Company: JGLD/PRG Orlando
Production Manager: Amy Madden/
ESPN Television
Lighting Designer/Director: Jay Grindrod
Lighting Technicians: Arnold Tucker, Teresa
Neumann, Didi Scott, Heath Goodwin,
Dennis Hus, Steve Grnya
Master Electrician: Chip Neufeld
Set Design: Nick Ferrel, Jimbo & Associates
Set Construction: Cinnebar
Video Director: Steve Beim
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27” monitors (Disney)
Hi-res 13” monitor (NEP)
DVEous Dual Twin
Second switcher for
matrix wall (NEP)
11th Annual Comics Come Home with Denis Leary
Agganis Arena at Boston University,
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Producer: Bill Kenny Productions
Lighting Company:
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Production Manager: Jib Clark
Lighting Designer/Director: Hans Shoop
Lighting Technician: Bill Whittney
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By CoryFitzGerald
Photos by Paul Kolnik
Rare sky looks,
rear projection
set action
or the last several years, Broadway
has been borrowing its storylines
from a variety of mediums. One major contributor, the music of well-known
musicians, coined the “jukebox musical,”
and has led to a series of hits and misses.
Another source of raw theatrical material
comes from major motion pictures. They
have begun the journey to Broadway
success by stripping down the plots and
adding new music—something which is
starting to become sparse on
the Broadway scene. Shows
such as Hairspray, Dirty Rotten
Scoundrels and the eversuccessful Spamalot have
been welcomed to Broadway
with open arms and high
ticket sales. None of these
shows, however, have dealt
with serious issues or brought
true drama in a musical form
as has The Color Purple, which
opened last month at the
Broadway Theatre. This show
takes the unique experience of a woman
dealing with racism, abuse and the seemingly never-ending destruction of her
family and brings it to life in a truly
moving and enjoyable show.
The design staff for this show—Brian
MacDevitt, lighting; John Lee Beatty, scenic;
and Paul Tazewell, costumes—crafted an
extremely versatile world with which they
could tell the intricate and lengthy story in a
very concise and efficient way. With the plot
spanning 30 tumultuous years, the show
has to run at a quick pace to keep the action
moving and deliver all the plot points to the
audience in a linear way. While at times the
show feels a bit rushed, this can easily be forgiven when one thinks about the enormity
of information that the audience needs to
absorb to fully understand the character’s
One of the most visually breathtaking
images used on stage in recent memory, the
cyc, or rear “wall” of the stage, is a painted
rear projection (RP) drop that evolves
throughout the show as the central focal
point along with the surround, which holds
the action together. Serving as the keeper
of time, the cyc is continuously transforming
aged. By speeding up the movements on the
cyc, he was able to simulate a “time lapse,”
with the motion of the sky moving across the
set at a slightly unnatural speed. While this
was a subtle effect, it does clue the audience
in to the time changes, while the action of
the actors may not. In one scene, Celie, the
main character, walks from the mailbox to
center stage. Though it’s a short five-foot
walk, five years actually go by in the story.
The scenery throughout the show must
cater to
the everchanging
and still
a sense
of continuity, as
well as
a similar
style. To
do this,
has designed a series of wooden flats that
look like the slats of an old barn or dock.
The key is that these flats are allowed to
move freely and interlock with each other,
giving a sense of movement from one house
to another, or from an outside scene to an
inside scene. But they never really lock the
characters into a specific location. This abstraction gives a unique versatility to the set
and follows it through the many years of the
play, nicely balancing the chronology with a
sense of timelessness.
The show was first staged in Atlanta and
the scenery has changed quite a bit since
then. “The Atlanta production was completely different. It used two turntables with
very realistic interiors, and multiple floors,”
The cyc is continuously transforming
with images that recall epic moments
from films like Gone With the Wind.
with images that recall such epic moments
from films like Gone with the Wind, where
the sky is so vivid that it becomes a character in the scene. MacDevitt achieves this by
utilizing a number of different effects based
on the rear projection scrim and painted
backdrops. “There is about 10 to 12 feet
behind our RP screen, which is unheard of in
a typical Broadway house. With this, we are
able to use a variety of angles, colors and gobos, as well as two painted sky drops, to get a
very multilayered cyc. We spent a lot of time
working with the cyc to achieve the looks we
did. It’s very ‘old school.’”
In order to give the audience the visual
cues of the passing of time, MacDevitt used
the cyc to advance time while the characters
Lighting Designer: Brian MacDevitt
Scenic Designer: John Lee Beatty
Costume Designer: Paul Tazewell
Associate Lighting Designers:
Mark T. Simpson, Jennifer Schriever
Assistant Lighting Designer:
Benjamin Travis
Automated Lighting Programmer:
David Arch
Production Electrician: James
Head Electrician: Dan Coey
says MacDevitt. The current approach has
not only changed the look of the show, but
the staging as well. “The new set has opened
up the sky much more,” continues MacDevitt.
This inclusion of the sky almost makes it a
character in the show. Its color and depth
continuously reflect the mood and flow of
the story and characters, complementing
each scene with a beautiful or horrible image
as the mood pans back and forth.
In an amazing complement to the
scenic elements, the texture of the lighting blended almost seamlessly with the
broken wood feeling of the set. At times,
it felt as though the light coming from the
Front of House area was actually coming
through a “fourth wall” of more wooden
scenery. “I chose naturalistic gobos, bare
branches, small and big leaves and the slats
to compliment the natural feel of the set,”
says MacDevitt. There is always texture on
the set. In addition to the choices of texture,
the scenic elements also helped dictate the
color choices throughout the show. “The
set dictates a lot of the color choices; for
instance, I used a lot more amber and green
than I normally use, but they really worked
with the set as well as period and music.”
MacDevitt goes on to explain more
of his color choices: “I wanted to take the
“...I chose not to make it look like a
fake sky, but rather an amazing rare
sky, something that could happen,
but not every day.”
-LD Brian MacDevitt
it is difficult to imagine
people spontaneously
bursting out into song
to lament such horrors.
However, the show
keeps up its comic
timing, not letting is
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naturalistic colors and augment them to a
more heightened state. I don’t want to say
‘supernatural’ because that implies a mystical or other worldly aspect; however, I did
push the color palette beyond a traditional
natural look. In order to slightly overstate
the sky cyc, I chose not to make it look like
a fake sky, but rather an amazing rare sky,
something that could happen, but not every
day.” The resulting images are truly amazing.
Rarely have I seen a theatrical cyc look the
way this show does, making full use of the
layering of drops as well as fantastic mixes
of color and angle. “There are two troughs
cut into the deck with strip lights, as well
as in the grid to wash the cyc layers with
color,” adds MacDevitt. This, in combination
with the Vari*Lites used behind the cyc,
keeps the various looks constantly changing and well-blended.
As Act 2 opens, Celie begins reading her
recently found letters from her long-lost sister
and children about their adventures in Africa.
For the first time, the audience is taken from
the Georgia countryside, and brought to a
wild and colorful version of Celie’s imagination.“We see how she is visualizing her sister’s
letters. We are watching the stories unfold
in a new world, with colors that have been
pushed even farther from naturalism, seeing
it through her joyful eyes.” MacDevitt shares
that he based his designs for this unique part
of the show on Fauvist paintings. The audience watches the drama of Nettie’s life unfold,
her trip to Africa, her missionary teachings, life
with the tribe and the attack on their village,
which left them as stranded refugees.
The play uses this montage of description in parallel with a racial attack on Celie’s
outspoken friend Sofia. As we learn about
what has happened to Nettie, we learn that
Sofia had be confronted by the mayor’s wife,
and after refusing to bend to her will, was
beaten by the mayor’s guards. The staging
and lighting do a particularly good job of
capturing this moment, by linking it to the
destruction of the African tribe with which
Nettie lived. After this sequence, a lone beam
of light shines through the stage to light
up a jail cell, into which the beaten Sofia is
taken to be cared for by Celie. This image
is striking as compared to the last time we
have seen Sofia, a brazen and larger-than-life
woman who always speaks her mind in a
time when an empowered black woman was
an egregious irregularity. Sofia remains in a
nearly catatonic state until the showdown
at Celie’s house, where she finally confronts
Mister, her abusive husband. This emotional
dénouement sparks independence in both
Celie and the broken Sofia, starting both
their lives over and showing the growth of
Celie’s character into a full adult.
Rape, incest, racism, misogyny and lesbianism rarely form the plot of musicals, and
sues cloud the direction of the show, which
is ultimately Celie’s reunion with her sister
and two children. The Color Purple succeeds
in its mission to present difficult and highly
emotional issues as a musical through the
combination of excellent performances and
outstanding design elements.
LD Ben Richards
pioneers use of video
Photos and Text
By Steve Jennings
ince his solo release Something to Be
last year, Rob Thomas has been touring
various parts of the world—including
North America and Europe. The next stop is
Australia before returning to Canada and the
U.S. in March, and then wrapping up with a
summer shed tour in June and July. We spoke
with visual designer/director Ben Richards,
who has worked with Thomas and Matchbox
Twenty before taking the helm of the solo
“Working with Rob Thomas again, you
get to know an artist very well after a few
years on the road. We’ve always maintained
a very high level of class and professionalism
in the Matchbox Twenty camp, so it was only
natural to keep that vibe going on Rob’s first
solo tour. Rob is such a great artist to work
for because he really lets his production staff
do what they do best. He does have some
input regarding the color treatment of each
song, but in the end, he trusts me and his
manager to produce his visual show.”
Richards is a pioneer in the creative use
of lighting and video. As the lighting designer for Dream Theater, he designed a rig that
made extensive use of video, and the lighting/video interface was custom-designed to
give him ultimate control from the lighting
console. He continues his experimentation
with the Thomas tour.
“I went to LDI in 2004 and three products
caught my attention at the time. First was the
ESP Vision visualizer software, which I had
to buy for my own business. The second was
the Element Labs LED panels, and third was
the Main Light Industries SoftLED curtain.
By the time I walked out of that trade show, I
had most of my design concept figured out
on a napkin!”
The design is a mixture of automated
lighting and low-resolution video display
elements. “We’re using 28 High End Systems
Studio Beam wash lights, 18 Martin MAC
2000 Profiles, 10 Martin Atomic Strobes with
color changers, four eight-light Moles with
color changers and two truss spots. For video
display, we’re using 29 Versa tile 1-meter
panels and 12 quarter-meter panels. We also
have three medium resolution SoftLED Panels, which gives us a backdrop size of 48 feet
wide by 33 feet high,” Richards says.
The result is a colorful rig that is both
punchy and visually stimulating. “There’s
definitely something very modern about the
Versa tiles. The content looks so pixelated,
but at the same time, you can really see some
great detail and fluid motion. They’re also
very bright with rich, saturated colors. I also
enjoyed blending the SoftLED curtain with
the Versatiles to create more depth on stage,”
he adds.
Though it was his first time using much
of the technology, Richards found getting up
the learning curve was not difficult: “I learned
everything about each product well ahead
of time, and through the use of my own ESP
Vision system, I was able to choose and scale
all the video clips for each song, mostly from
stock Catalyst content, and program them
in my lighting cues on the Wholehog 3. I
would say about 90% of my previsualization
work was approved by Rob and his manager.
During the show, all lighting and video cues
are triggered by the Hog 3 and I also call six
As for the controller, Richards is happy
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the advent of the
media server controlled by a lighting console has helped
lighting designers like myself to become ‘visualists’ in every
sense of the word.” -Visual designer/director Ben Richards
Visual Designer/Director:
Benoit “Ben” Richards,
Millennium Lighting Design LLC
Lighting Company:
Ed & Ted’s Excellent Lighting,
Kevin Forster, account manager
Visual Department Techs:
Ritchie Steffa, Blake Rogers,
Steve Richards
Video Company: Show
Distribution, Jacques Tanguay,
account rep (VersaTiles);
Ed & Ted’s Excellent
Lighting (SoftLED)
Production Manager:
Andy Omilanowski
Tour Manager:
Dave Licursi
“By the time I walked out of that trade show,
I had most of my design concept figured out on
a napkin!” - Ben Richards
sense of the word.
The way I can convey
the complete emotion of each song is
totally at the end of
my fingertips. I also
believe that using
ESP Vision software
helped everyone in the Rob Thomas organization believe in my design concept even
before we set it up for the first time in the
real world. And the best part for me was
that I didn’t have to stay up all night during
rehearsals because most of my show was
already programmed,” he says.
Richards, who grew up in Canada and
currently lives with his wife in Austin and
Los Angeles, spent several years working
for High End Systems as a programmer
Lighting Gear
28 High End Systems Studio Beams
18 Martin MAC 2000 Profiles
10 Martin Atomic Strobes with Color Changers
4 Eight-Light Moles with
Color Changers
2 Lycian 1.2K Truss Spots
2 Whole Hog 3 Consoles
(with Data Lynx DMX A/B
Switch Box)
6 Martin QF-150 fixtures
(for the Fiber Optic portion of the
Soft LED curtain)
Video Gear
29 Element Labs 1-meter Versa
Tile Panels
12 Element Labs ¼-meter Versa
Tile Panels
3 Main Light Industries
16’W x 33’H Medium
Resolution SoftLED drapes
3 High End Systems Catalyst
Media Servers
(2 active and 1 spare)
with the current version. “The Hog 3 has
come a long way in the past few years. I’m
very proud to be a part of the beta software
development team,” he says.
Besides being a beta tester for the
Wholehog 3, Richards enjoys pushing the
limits of technology and being a pioneer
in the convergence of lighting and video.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the
advent of the media server controlled by a
lighting console has helped lighting designers like myself to become ‘visualists’ in every
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before striking out on his own. Although
Nils Thorjussen, one of the owners of Element Labs, spent time working for High End
Systems, the two were there at different
times. They do, however, know each other
through industry ties. “It’s great to work with
Nils Thorjussen at Element Labs s because
we’ve known each other for many years.
For the U.S. fall tour, we got the Versa tiles
from Show Distribution in Québec City.
Our good friend Jacques Tanguay, who has
supplied VarioLift Motors on the Matchbox
Twenty tours, was able to broker a deal
with Westbury National Show Systems in
Toronto for the rental of the Versa tiles. The
Soft LED drapes and the Catalyst Media Servers
were provided by Main Light through our tour
vendor, Ed & Ted’s. It’s always a pleasure to
work with our account manager, Kevin Forster,”
Richards says.
“Unfortunately, since we are mostly playing
old theatres on this tour, motion control was
too heavy, so we’re keeping that part of my
concept for the big finale in 2006.” PLSN
The T-Shaped
Dawn Chiang
By RobLudwig
awn Chiang made her debut as a
Broadway lighting designer at the
ripe old age of 25 and hasn’t looked
back since. Her prolific career spans three
decades and she’s designed every type of
production imaginable. The daughter of a
Silicon Valley inventor, she’s written operation manuals and is really a techie at heart.
She has lectured and taught lighting design
as a guest instructor at some of the most
prestigious universities in the country. In an
interview with PLSN, Chiang explains how
she is a product of saying “yes” to herself
for 30 years and that she might just be a Tshaped person.
PLSN: What’s keeping
you busy these days?
Dawn Chiang: I’m out in Arizona doing a
co-production of Crowns, which is being coproduced by the Arizona Theatre Company,
Portland Center Stage and the Actors Theatre
of Louisville. Between them, they have four
theatres and I’ll be going to all of them.
That will keep you busy.
Is that a common trend
in the industry?
Regional theatres are doing a lot more
co-production these days as a way they can
do productions that are a little more elaborate than a single theatre can afford, and
share expenses all the way around.
From fire prevention to user manuals,
Lighting designer embraces it all
What types of materials
are shared?
The set will move—the lighting equipment is specific to each venue and each
regional theatre has their own inventory—
the scenery travels, the props travel, the
costumes travel, the actors travel, and I’ll be
in a full tech for each of the theatres.
You stay pretty busy
year-round, don’t you?
[Laughs]. I have a rather eclectic
background and it’s always been that way,
I think, out of my own interest in all things
technical, things eclectic, things that are
You started in theatre.
Did you seek other projects from there?
Yes, I think the first one was writing the
operation manual for Strand’s Light Palette.
The Light Palette was relatively new and had
been out less than a year at that point, and
I ended up opening three different shows
on this new lighting console. So, after doing
three shows on this new console, I ended
up coming back to L.A., where I was living
at that time and where Strand was based,
and had six pages of single-spaced questions, comments and queries about this new
console. Wally Russell, president of Strand
Lighting at the time, asked me to write the
operation manual since they didn’t have one
yet. I did that while I was on the road as the
lighting director for Paul Anka. This was 1979,
before laptops existed, so I lugged a portable
typewriter around North America writing
an op-manual by day and calling a show by
night. [Laughs].
It seems that you do a
lot different things to
stay busy. And you’ve
also won a handful of
awards. Tell us about
the THEA (Themed Entertainment Association) award and what it
meant to you.
The Fire Zone at Rockefeller Center, N.Y.,
opened in October of 2000, during Fire
Prevention Week. It was the desire of the
Fire Commissioner of FDNY, Tom Von Essen,
to teach more people about fire prevention
and fire safety. Rockefeller Center donated a
former two-story diner to FDNY to repurpose
as a center to learn about fire prevention and
fire safety. So, I ended up working with the
architect in developing this project called
The Fire Zone.
It’s basically three rooms. The front
room has the front half of a fire engine in
it—you can’t miss it. We tell this whole story
through a lot of firefighter’s gear. We have a
couple light-duty firefighters there, as well
as some other training staff, and we take
visitors through this experience that uses a
half-dozen video projectors. In the second
room we have what looks like the remains
of a burned-out New York City apartment.
Basically, I get to burn the second room
down with lights and smoke five different
ways—to show you the five most common
causes of fire in the home. And there’s a
video being shown on the walls and the
scenery, and the staff person takes you
through each of the sections and explains
what you just saw. So, you’re immersed:
You’re in a room with four walls, a ceiling
and a floor where it lights up and burns
down. You have to get through a hallway
filled with smoke—“stay low and go” is the
phrase they use—and you end up in the
merchandising area. It’s a small space, but
it’s been very useful. I was helping conduct
some of the tours the opening week, and
one of the last groups that came in was a
Spanish-speaking family of about 10, who
spoke very little English. At the end of it,
the uncle, who was sort of the leader of the
group, came over and tapped my shoulder
and nodded to say, “Yes, we understand.”
Designing to save lives
through lighting and
Yeah, it’s very cool. At least it makes
people aware. And the N.Y. Fire Department
has been very pleased with the response. The
place has been booked with school groups
all through the school year.
While some lighting designers focus on one
area of design, you’ve
seemed to do a lot of
different things.
Three-Story Light Box at the Newport Office Center
You’re absolutely right—it’s true. I think
it reflects the breadth of my interests. I was
reading something recently that described
T-shaped people, and it explained what it is
to be a T-shaped person. It described people
who have a broad range of interests and
skills and also have a particular depth in one
area, as well; hence, a T-shape. It stated that Tshaped people are always very interested in
what they do, and you’ll always be surprised
by what comes out of them. As the author
was describing it, I thought, “I’m a T-shaped
person.” [Laughs].
You were trained in classical music and dance.
Did you enjoy your time
with the New York City
That was an incredible training
ground. We were doing 14 to 20 operas,
in repertory, for a six-month season. Now,
they’re back to doing two seasons at three
months each.
But six months of working six days
a week, physically putting in at least
80 hours week, is incredibly intense for
everyone. At the time I was working
there, we could have six or seven different productions performed in that given
week. I figured I was focusing more than
1,000 lights a week. If I thought I was fast
before joining the City Opera, I became
even faster and more accurate in my time
working there. You have to learn how to
knock it out and be accurate in what you’re
doing. Because things are moving so fast,
repertory of any kind is great for honing
your skills. It’s a great place to get a lot of
experience in a condensed amount of time.
You’ve done some lecturing, having been a
guest instructor at the
university level. What
message do you attempt
to convey to students
of the theatre?
There are a few…
Most students are there because they
have some interest in this magic called
theatre. So part of it is learning how to delve
even deeper into the material and really find
your response to it, and, through your selective discipline, whether it’s being a designer,
performer or director, how to manifest that
and craft it into something that is going to
connect with audiences. So, that’s one direction we work on.
Another part, in lighting design, certainly
is the technical aspect. How do you make
it happen technically? How do you analyze how to make an idea, that you had on
impulse, actually happen, and what are the
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technical ingredients
And another part
that I deal with a lot
is how to then make
the transition out of
academic training into
the professional industry.
I always encourage students to aim high. I came
out of apprentice-style
training. I did my undergraduate training, and
although I got accepted
to graduate school, I was
getting work straight out
of undergrad, working
for top New York and
London designers. That
became my apprenticeship, assisting those designers for the first five
years of my career, which
was a private reading
with each of those designers.
If you look around at lighting designers
working in the theatrical community, about
half of us have apprentice-style training
and about half have a graduate degree. And
those are both valid ways to go. My great
fortune, coming out of my undergraduate
program, was falling into a top design circle
in the United States, so it can happen.
As I tell my students, I found that while
I’ve been going through my career, I’ve been
asking myself—every three hours, every
three days, every three weeks, every three
months, every three years—is this worth it? Is
it worth the all the things I have to do to get
work and keep my career going? And every
time the answer came back: Yes, this is what I
want to do. You have to make those choices.
So, I am the product of saying “yes” to myself
for 30 years, and I can tell you that I am a very
happy person and feel terrifically rewarded
by the kind of work that I get to participate
in. But you have to make the effort in order
for that to happen.
Building With Light at t
Architect Patrick Cotter Uses L
By PhilGilbert
ince the first World’s Fair took place
in London’s Hyde Park in 1851, cities
around the globe have erected structures in celebration of man’s triumphs, often creating symbols that maintain their
(in)famous stature in the ensuing years
and decades: Seattle’s “Space Needle,”
the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Montreal’s
Biosphere, the observation towers at
Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
For the 1986 World’s Fair, the
city of Vancouver built a glass
and steel homage to the “Crystal
Palace” of the first World’s Fair. Upon
completion, the building became
known as the British Columbia
Pavilion, and became a celebrated
piece of architecture for the citizens
of Vancouver.
Fast-forward 20 years, and the BC
Pavilion still stands on the waterfront,
welcoming travelers as they enter the city.
But while the latticework of steel has not
changed, most everything else about the
monument has.
The New Casino…
Enter the BC Pavilion today and you will
find yourself in the midst of 48 table games,
600 slot machines, and Vancouver’s first sanctioned craps table. More concisely, you’ll find
yourself in the new Edgewater Casino.
When the owners of the new casino brokered the deal with the city to take over this
historical site, they looked to Patrick Cotter
of Patrick Cotter Architects to redesign and
remodel the former home of “Expo ‘86.”
“One of the major challenges of this
glass structure is that the city of Vancouver
considers this to be a legacy building,” says
Cotter. “That meant we could not change the
exterior and were afforded limited ability to
alter the building.”
The landmark status of the building was
certainly not an easy roadblock to bypass,
as the transparent nature of the building
in synch
with the needs
of a modern casino.
“Part of the challenge is that casinos
require total control over their lighting, not
only for managing the ambience of their
space, but also to ensure that light levels are
appropriate for the security cameras and system in place,” comments Cotter. “The variable
light levels delivered by daylight coming
through the windows had to be controlled.”
intrusion of outside light
and offering a new
façade with which
to silhouette the
existing superstructure.
for the
called for
emphasizing the
the outward
through the
use of a dynamic
lighting solution. Turning to TIR
Systems, manufacturers of solid-state lighting
solutions, the design team
specified a complete system of
LED-based wash luminaires to paint
their 40-foot-tall white wall.
“We chose to illuminate the interior
wall with a digitally-controlled solid-state
lighting system, creating dynamic life behind
the glass exterior walls,” says Cotter. “In this
case, we used light and the lighting system
as major exterior design elements that were
integrated completely within the architectural design.”
…and the New Façade
LED Color Wash
With all of these issues in mind, Cotter designed a one-of-a-kind interior wall;
a white fabric “envelope” that sits five feet
inside of the 20-year-old glass walls. This
membrane ended up serving double duty,
separating the gaming floor inside from the
In all, 45 Destiny CW LED wash fixtures
were provided by TIR systems, with DMX
playback coming from an
Enttec DMXStreamer unit
and DMXPlayBack
Remote push-button interface.
The luminaires were
at the
of the
wall, set
back four
feet and
eight feet
each fixture.
The throw
height is between
30 and 40 feet,
which gives the light a
faint gradient as it dims near
the top of the envelope.
The DMX specification calls for no more
than 32 units to be daisy-chained, which
drove the decision to split the signal into
two runs with a Doug Fleenor opticallyisolated splitter/amplifier. Units are split into
east and west networks throughout the
building, with all fixtures receiving the same
DMX information.
Daily routines for the security personnel
at Edgewater Casino include activation and
deactivation of the lighting system. Natasha
Kennett, project engineer with TIR Systems,
explained to PLSN just how simple this is:
“All the customer has to do is to push a
button to activate the show. So in the DMXStreamer, we have 12 shows recorded, and
the customer uses the remote to go, ‘Today,
I want the New Year show on,’ which is show
number one,” she says.
Kennett’s duties included commissioning the exterior lighting system as well as
designing and programming the sequences
that were eventually recorded into the
DMXStreamer. Using a laptop loaded with
Colour-Tramp software from Artistic Licence,
Kennett was able to previsualize a wide variety of effects for the client prior to going live,
allowing the casino representatives to get a
big picture view of the lighting sequences
while spending fewer nights on-site.
She and her team worked hard to make
sure that every piece of the system was
properly installed and operating properly.
“In exterior projects, we are always
competing with sunlight, in a sense. We want
to make sure that we are on-site, at night,
when it’s dark outside, so that they can see
the effect clearly. So sometimes I’ll be on-site
at 9 o’clock in the morning, and I won’t leave
until 2 the next morning. During the day, you
want to check on things like signal integrity
and show programming. Then once sunset
comes, you put the show into
action,” Kennett says.
Don’t Even
Try to
City Hall
such a large
and the
of a large
residential area
across the
to mention
City Hall—light
pollution was a
concern from the
“We had to overcome some initial skepticism,
especially from the City of Vancouver.
t the Edgewater Casino
s Light as a Design Material
There was some
concern about how
residents living
nearby might
perceive the
building’s look,”
comments Cotter.
Working with
TIR, the design
team was able to
produce a computer
model simulating the
lighting effect and its overall impact on the cityscape.
“We developed a lighting management policy for the casino that enabled
the city to have input into modifying, changing or controlling the lighting programming
as needed after the project was completed.”
Cotter says that while this type of agreement
is rare, he was confident that everything
would be fine. “To date, there have been no
requests from the city to adjust or alter the
lighting in any way,” he says.
The Stop-and-Look Factor
TIR Systems Destiny CW LED Wash
were integrated completely within
the architectural design,” Cotter says.
“We repeated the use of LED uplighting
on the interior side of the envelope, and
used the light as a mechanism to break
down the effect of being enclosed.”With
Edgewater, Cotter has combined two
seemingly incongruous ideas, a casino and
windows, and pushed the envelope
of design.
“Lighting is rarely used as an architectural material element. But with Edgewater it was a vital building component.
Architects are used to working with solid
materials and lighting is usually only used
to modify those materials. To use light as a
basic design ‘material’ is fairly unique in architecture. We think the results show well.”
We do too.
Phil Gilbert is a freelance lighting designer/
programmer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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The lighting effects on the building exterior are constantly changing, with subtle
color fades based primarily on the casino’s
chosen colors. Kennett worked hard to
deliver a rich variety of shows based on the
client’s requests.
“All the shows we’ve created for them
are dynamic shows. But in terms of dynamic
shows, there is a difference with one that is
really energetic, with
a lot of motion to it.
Those we’ve done in
other applications.
For Edgewater, we’ve
done dynamic shows,
but the shows are very
subtle. They change
from one color to the
next in about five minutes. So unless you really
focus on looking at it, you
kind of don’t know that they are
changing,” she says.“A lot of architects like that type of effect, because they
want people to go, ‘Hmmm.’ And they want
them to stop and look. That’s the effect we
want to create here. Something that’s subtle,
yet attracting their attention.”
Though area residents will see a typical
day-to-day light show of blues and greens
designed to evoke a sense of the surrounding body of water, special events and holidays are certain to get a little more festive.
Kennett says the design process was very
interactive, with the client offering ideas
for several annual programs that they’d like
to see. “For example, they wanted a show
for Valentine’s Day, one for Halloween and
another one for Christmas. So then I talked
with them about what type of color they’d
like to see and what type of effect they
wanted to look at,” she says.
“In this case, we used light and the lighting system as major design elements that
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To Broaden Brand Awareness
ow that I have your attention, I’ll
tell you that I meant to say “cross-marketing.” As product lines converge and
individual manufacturers offer increasingly
similar types of products, the need to stand
out against the market clutter has become
more critical. One nascent trend that’s just
touching the lighting industry—but which is
becoming more pervasive throughout industry in general—is to see niche professional
markets partnering with lifestyle entities to
raise brand awareness. Cross-dressing might
seem to take the notion a bit too far, but then,
RuPaul’s glittery sequins might catch the rays
of a moving light fixture quite nicely.
Any number of companies that don’t deal
directly with consumers, or whose consumer
products are not brand-dependent (i.e., you
buy the Coldplay record because it’s Coldplay,
not because it’s on EMI Records), have been
creating crossings with more mainstream
media. Advertisements for Boeing and United
Technologies are increasingly common
in prime-time television and in consumer
magazines, despite the fact that most readers
will not need their own 737 or rocket engine.
Rather, they are building that most 21st-century of all products—the brand itself—which
transcends mere products.
The trend is more and more evident in
the entertainment industry, where products
from related industry sectors are mingling
with the larger pool of lifestyle consumer
products. Not everyone who has a T-shirt or
baseball cap with the brand “Fender” printed
on it can actually play a guitar, which is why
the percentage of revenues from that musical-instrument maker coming from apparel
is approaching double digits, and its lines
of clothes and shoes are found at upscale
retailers, not just grungy music stores. SLS, a
company that makes professional P.A. speakers, last year cut a deal with the producers of
reality show Rockstar: INXS in which their live-
sound products were featured prominently
on the show, building brand awareness for a
new consumer line of products endorsed by
Quincy Jones and to be sold in Wal-Marts.
The benefits of association with more
widely-known entities are clear. Last year and
closer to home, A.C Lighting became an official sponsor of A1 Team Great Britain, a Grand
Prix race team. As A.C.’s own press release on
the matter explained, the sponsorship will
“…increase overseas business derived from
new or existing markets represented by the
24 other participating countries. [Grand Prix
racing] is the perfect platform for the company to promote its brand and services on a
global level, and provides a dynamic environment for sponsors and countries to network
at a business to business level.”
Phil Capstick, the company’s sales director, elaborated: “As a leading international
supplier of cutting-edge architectural and
entertainment lighting and audio technology solutions for a diverse range of clients,
we feel that [Grand Prix] is a natural fit with
our company’s brand values and provides
the perfect platform for A.C. to raise its brand
profile on a global level.”
One way of looking at it is that it’s not
much of a stretch to turn a supplier of
By DanDaley
some of the more famous shows and events
the company’s products have been used on
as a marketing strategy before dismissing the
idea.“I don’t think that’s a valid strategy for an
industry like ours,” he says.“The mainstream
isn’t interested in this level of entertainment
technology. My daughter owns three Fender
guitars, but no lighting consoles.”
Tony Hansen, who was once a designer
at Universal Studios, counters that the general public is now exposed to far more of that
technology than they were even five years
ago. “People regularly use spotlights, smoke
machines—they even use Lekos, even if they
don’t know it’s a Leko,” he says.
Troels Volver, outgoing CEO of Martin
USA, thinks direct partnering isn’t effective,
but doesn’t close the door on letting others
promote Martin’s image. Every year, Martin donates a grant to a major university’s
theatrical department. Ostensibly, students
get imprinted with the brand, but Volver
acknowledges that it goes further into the
One way of looking at it is that it’s not
much of a stretch to turn a supplier of
entertainment technology into an
entertainment company in and of itself.
Apple certainly proved that.
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entertainment technology into an entertainment company in and of itself. Apple certainly
proved that. But will this theme become more
pervasive in the lighting sector?
Tony Hansen, who oversees the marketing strategies at Techni-Lux in Orlando,
thinks so. “In the U.S. market, at least, the biggest struggle has always been to get brand
awareness, no matter how you can get it,” he
says. As the influence of trade shows diminishes and as it becomes harder to distinguish
between product lines, a perceptual association with something iconic—something
that can convey the image a company wants
to create in a single, wordless glance—will
be crucial. “I’m intrigued by the idea of an
association that goes far into the consumer
mainstream, as long as that association has
been carefully considered,” Hansen adds,
noting that such a strategy can also produce
negative blowback if the icon gets tarnished.
“Disney spends a lot of time denying that
Michael Jackson ever made that movie for
their theme park,” Hansen says.
However, others in the industry doubt that
a business as niched as professional lighting
could benefit significantly from mainstream
consumer associations.“We sell to a very
specialized audience in a highly specialized
and relatively small market,” says Bob Gordon,
president of A.C.T. Lighting, in Agoura Hills,
Calif., who says he once considered using
mainstream when the schools promote the
grant to a wider audience.
George Studnicky, president of Creative
Stage Lighting, suggests an even bolder
cross-market connection: He’s looking for
a way to pair a creative lighting experience
with wine. More than one CEO has suggested
that whatever mainstream icon a company
pairs with, it should reflect some of the
individual’s own passion, and that’s the case
with Studnicky. However, he adds, thoughts
have to be tied to action. “All of these efforts
can go unnoticed unless they are perceived
as having real value, and currently, we are still
testing the ways to get this information to
the marketplace,” he says.
Niche industries are by nature obscure
to some degree, and often stay that way. But
the imperative to build brand awareness
has made for some odd marketing bedfellows, and the need to rise above the clutter
of a crowded marketplace may mean this
strategy will get significantly more traction
in the lighting business in the near future.
Hansen says that SGM, which they distribute
in the U.S, is currently considering some type
of endorsement program.
I’d like to propose a contest: Which
well-known celebrity might best illuminate
(pun intended) the lighting industry in a
mainstream type of ad? Best suggestion
wins a PLSN T-shirt.
E-mail your entry to [email protected]
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Confronting Your
n the near future, you will be able to hang
some lights, plug the data lines in to your
console and press “Find.” The system will
then automatically configure itself in front
of your eyes and you will be able to immediately begin programming. Within a few years
of this feature being added to all automated
lighting consoles, we will begin to see newbies that have never had to create a patch.
Ah…this is the stuff dreams are made of.
Unfortunately, the development of concepts
such as Remote Device Management (RDM)
takes years to create and adopt. In the meantime, we will all need to continue to understand and practice good patching skills.
A Defining Moment
When working with automated lighting,
you must understand why a patch is important. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary
lists a definition of patch as “a temporary
connection in a communication system (as
a telephone hookup).” Well, this
is especially accurate when
applied to our industry.
A patch on a lighting
console is used to
define fixtures by
type and (usually) number,
and then correlate them to the
actual fixture’s
DMX start address. This information ensures that when
you adjust the pan value for
the fifth moving light, that the proper DMX
channel is modified.
In order to fully understand the purpose
of patching, you must have a notion of
the basics for DMX communication. The
automated lighting console outputs 512
distinctive DMX channels per universe of
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DMX. Each of these channels is capable of
256 unique values between 0 and 255. A
DMX-controlled lighting fixture will respond
to a pre-assigned number of DMX channels and relate their values to the various
parameters of the fixture. For example, a
simple fixture might use seven DMX channels to control all its functions, with one
channel controlling each parameter (pan, tilt,
cyan, magenta, yellow, zoom and dimmer).
This mapping is known as the fixture’s DMX
protocol. The specific DMX values of each
channel relate directly to the associated
mechanical function. So a DMX value of 0
on the seventh channel will cause no light
output, while a value of 255 will result in full
light output.
The lighting fixture will need to “know”
which channels of the DMX universe correspond to it. To make that happen, the user
must assign the fixture a DMX start channel
(also known as a DMX address). This value represents the first DMX channel that the fixture
should “listen” to. It is assigned at the fixture
Most automated lighting consoles
allow users to assign unique numbers (or
handles) to each fixture. It would be confusing
to try to program fixtures directly from their
DMX start addresses; so by assigning unique
numbers to each fixture, the user is able to
quickly identify and program the various
fixtures within the lighting rig. For example,
if there are four of the above-mentioned
seven-channel DMX fixtures connected to
the console, then you could assign them user
numbers 1 through 4. Their DMX start addresses would be 1, 8, 15 and 22. The console’s
patch screen would be used to associate
these start addresses accordingly with the
predefined user numbers. Because automated
lighting consoles utilize fixture libraries, the
console’s logic will map the various functions
of each fixture to its related DMX channel
based on the fixture’s DMX start channel.
Once correctly patched, you can simply select
fixture 2 and adjust the dimmer. There is no
need for the user to recognize that DMX channel 14 is being adjusted.
By BradSchiller
wash light. The parameters and DMX protocol
for each model is slightly different. You must
ensure that the fixture library used in your
console matches the fixture model used in
the lighting rig.
Once the fixture type is selected, then the
DMX protocol and any options must be considered. Many fixtures operate in various modes
that alter the DMX protocol (in layout and/or
number of channels). Using the wrong model
or protocol will easily cause your fixtures to
respond incorrectly or not at all. Next, the DMX
address and universe must be assigned to the
proper user number within the console. Follow
the instructions in the console’s user manual
for full details on this process.
There is no substitution for proper
procedures when it comes to patching.
Finally, it is important to ensure that the
actual fixture are the correct type and set
to the desired mode or protocol and DMX
start addresses.
Cleanliness Counts
If you are preparing the patch for a
production, be sure
that your paperwork
is accurate, clear and
well-organized. A
great place to start
is the offline editor
of your automated
lighting console. Most
modern consoles
provide software
to work offline, or a
printer connection
at the very least. All
paperwork should
be dated and include notes about fixture
models, protocols, modes, etc. Ensure that
the universe numbers are clearly indicated
with the DMX start addresses and consider
drawing a plot of the expected cable runs.
Usually, I modify a copy of the lighting
plot and include the user number, DMX start
address and DMX universe with each fixture. I
will also then add notes to the plot regarding
modes, settings and cable runs. This way, all
the members of the lighting crew have the
same information regarding how I expect to
control the rig from the lighting console. In
addition, the entire crew becomes aware of
my user numbers and how I relate to the fixtures. Then if a problem develops and I inform
the lighting crew that fixture number 15 has a
problem, they know where to look.
The lighting designer, programmer and
lighting crew chief will all have
different opinions and methods for
determining the patch of the lighting rig.
using dipswitches or a menu display system,
typically with an LCD panel. The logic circuits
within the fixture will then sequentially map
the needed number of DMX channels to the
correct parameters.
The Chicken or the Egg
Many important people are involved
when preparing a production with automated lighting fixtures. The lighting designer,
programmer and lighting crew chief will all
have different opinions and methods for determining the patch of the lighting rig. Usually, the
lighting designer will not be too involved
in the patch, as they are more concerned with
just getting the rig working. In most cases, the
programmer and crew chief must discuss the
cable runs and addressing plan to determine
which fixtures will be on which universe. With
some productions, this can become quite complicated when trying to determine how many of
which type of fixtures can be placed on a single
DMX universe.
I have been involved with many productions as the automated lighting programmer
where I have determined the cable runs and
DMX addresses. I have also been handed plots
that already have the addressing and cabling
determined. In either case, I must enter all this
information into my lighting console correctly.
First, I must select the correct fixture model or
library to match the fixtures used. This can be a
fairly convoluted process because our industry
has produced many different models of the
same fixtures. For instance, one manufacturer
produces three different versions of the same
You Can’t Play Without Patching
Patching is an essential routine for the
automated lighting programmer. Without
a properly configured patch and lighting
rig, there is no way your console can communicate with the fixtures. In the future, our
industry has promised intelligent systems that
can configure themselves with little intervention from the programmer. Until this becomes
the standard, we must all recognize and make
the most of proper patching routines.
Contact Brad at [email protected]
AUSTIN, TX—Coldplay returns to North America
on another leg of their Twisted Logic tour in support of
their album, X&Y. Pete’s Big TVs (formerly Performance
A/V) is supplying the large LED video backdrop for
the production. The creative and highly interactive
display is used to dramatic effect, enhancing the
band’s performance. The video wall is made up of
Lighthouse R16 panel
with 14-bit processing and
M4 technology. It is the
lightest indoor/outdoor
product in the rental LED
Pete’s Big TVs also
developed an interface
that allows the lighting
director to control and
adjust the brightness
of the screen, helping
to integrate lighting
and video.“We believe
that options like this
truly help to make the
video and lighting work
more seamlessly to execute the overall look of the
show,” says Guy Benjamin, of Pete’s Big TVs.“This was
something we saw as a way to help the designer
balance the elements of the show. We believe that
innovations like this are one of the reasons people
come to us.”
A.C.T Lighting Named U.S.
Distributor for ArKaos
LOS ANGELES, CA—A.C.T Lighting, Inc. has been
appointed distributor for ArKaos VJ DMX Media
Server Software. Since its start in 1996, ArKaos has
developed software products that manage, trigger
and manipulate still and video graphics in real time.
Their software is used by lighting artists and video
jockeys to create and manage visuals projected
on large screens at live performances, concerts,
theatres, events, clubs and more.
Bob Gordon, president and CEO of A.C.T Lighting,
said,“ArKaos is a pioneering company in the media-
server and video-authoring software market. They
have been in the business for more than 10 years,
and it shows in the maturity and comprehensive
nature of their product. When you combine this with
the price of their software, you get a product that is
hard to beat.”
“A.C.T Lighting is an excellent partner to develop
our DMX software in the U.S. market,” said Marco Hinic,
ArKaos CEO.“Their expertise at selling networked
DMX products will be a great help in integrating our
solutions in all types of shows and events.”
Vista Systems Expands
European Presence
PHOENIX, AZ—Vista Systems
recently announced that Vista
Europe, its new European office
headed by Nicholas Wheeler,
will make its debut representing
the company at the Integrated
Systems Europe (ISE) show
in Brussels in February. Vista
Europe will distribute and
service their products either
directly (in France, Belgium and
Holland) or through a network
of local distributors (in Germany,
the UK, Italy and Spain).
“We expect 2006 to be a
thrilling year for the European
market,” says Nicholas Wheeler.
“The opportunities for Spyder in
Europe are many. Spyder will, at
last, give all market segments a
choice of high-end equipment.
“In addition, the European
fixed-installation market
is totally open to this kind
of technology,” Wheeler
continues. “Spyder is ideal
for any application that can
benefit from high resolution,
clarity and unmatched image
sharpness or where more than
one projector is desired or
multiple digital sources are
being supplied.”
Some of Vista Systems’
existing customers in Europe
include VLS, Auvitec and
Europe Group in France, Peter
Joy and Creative Technology
in the UK, EADS in France,
Germany and the UK, and
Deutsche Telecom.
Most recently, Wheeler,
a longtime Vista Systems
proponent, was selling Spyder
through his own company,
Right Direction, based in
Gibraltar. He also serves
as technical advisor and
consultant for EADS, specifically
on widescreen technology
and simulation for military
applications, since 2003.
Earlier, Wheeler was technical
director for Publicis Events
Worldwide; he also acted as TD
on a number of jobs for Walnut
Creek, Calif.-based In-Vision
Xerox Meeting
LEDs, video and a custom set make meeting
come alive.
Hi and Wide
in Vegas
Hi-def goes wide with 13
million pixels for Vegas
Video Digerati
Show prep is all about
solving problems
ahead of time.
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Video Company Mods
Video Wall for LD Control
Set, Lighting, Video
Compliment Industry Meeting
BOSTON, MA—The Xerox Corporate Industry Analyst and Consultant Briefing (IAB)
at the Seaport Hotel in Boston attracted 175 leading industry analysts, consultants and
press related to the printing industry. The event kicked off with Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy
addressing the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Leading Industries Executive
Forum. Two days of general sessions followed on the theme of customer-driven growth.
Each presentation by Xerox senior management concluded with Q&A periods.
Scharff Weisberg teamed with Alexandria, Va.-based Velocity Communications Group to
produce the event. Scharff Weisberg furnished two 7.5- by 10-foot screens built into a 40-foot
hard set. Rear projection of Beta SP video, graphics and I-Mag was done with two primary
and two dual-converged backup Barco R10 projectors. A pair of 61-inch NEC plasma screens
was used as delay screens in the back of the room to improve attendees’ sightlines.
I-Mag was captured with two Sony DXC-D50 cameras with long lenses sub-switched
with a Sony DFS 300. The ISO record of the two cameras was recorded on Sony 2800
decks. A Vista Systems Montage enabled Scharff Weisberg to route the two cameras,
two graphic computers and Beta SP playback to either screen or to two 42-inch NEC
confidence monitors.
The lighting complement for the sessions was extensive. A dozen Altman Spectra
PARs were strategically placed at the base of the hard set, allowing Scharff Weisberg to
change the color of the set. The Xerox logo was backlit with Arri 1K Fresnels. Two truss
towers supported ETC Source Four fixtures to wash the stage and for special effects. A
16-foot goalpost behind the set sported Fresnel backlights. Controlling all the instruments was an ETC Express 250 lighting console.
Scharff Weisberg’s Guy Bostian served as project manager for the event. “It is always
a pleasure working with Lisa and the team from Velocity. Scharff Weisberg is happy to
service them in any locale they need us,” noted Bostian.
“Peter Scharff and Guy really bent over backwards for us,” notes Lisa Lauerman. “We
couldn’t think of doing a show without them. Thanks to their competitive pricing, I hope
to take them on the road wherever we go.”
02 Fills Void with
DUBLIN, IRELAND—A speciallycommissioned work of light art using
LED fittings was recently installed in 02’s
new Irish headquarters in Dublin. All 850
members of 02’s staff have been moved to
the new building in Dublin’s redeveloped
Docklands area, which was opened by
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
The lighting feature is installed beside
the central spiral stairwell leading from the
first to the fifth floors. It consists of three
17.75-meter-high vertical lines of Element Labs Versa Tube, each 1 meter apart,
running the full height of the void and
disappearing into the ceiling.
The feature was designed by Peter
Pritchard of Pritchard Themis, a London-based architectural lighting design
practice. Pritchard’s brief was to produce a
“living” installation that was aesthetically
pleasing, lively, interesting, adaptable,
something that didn’t dominate the environment and said something meaningful
about the 02 brand.
“It was a complex
brief,” he admits. “But
the versatility of the
product made it really easy to achieve.”
Projected Image
Digital supplied and
installed the Versa
Tubes, more than 50
pieces altogether.
PID’s Rob Fowler and
Dick Welland undertook the installation
and commissioning
Thousands of Video Tiles Create
Environment at Auto Show
DETROIT, MI—A recent Barco press
release revealed that a number of global auto
manufacturers were using Barco LED tiles
for their booths at the 2006 North American
International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
In conjunction with rental partners XL Video,
Creative Technology, CT Germany, Imag and
Bluewater, more than 40,000 MiPix, Olite 510
and ILite 6 XP LED tiles were used at the show.
Auto manufacturers including Cadillac, GM,
Ford, Saturn, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Porsche, Kia,
Land Rover, Hummer, Jeep, Infinity and Buick
used the tiles for video applications ranging
from promos to documentaries to virtual
scenery. Ford used ILite 6 XP tiles for a curved,
segmented wall in their trademark oval shape,
Nissan used Olite 510 tiles for arched displays,
turntables and a unique video ceiling and
Jeep used large-scale MiPix LED walls for
“moving content” behind each vehicle.
Steve Scorse, vice president of sales and
marketing for Barco’s Media and Entertainment division, North America, commented:
“It’s a more video-intensive show this year
than ever before,” said Scorse, “and we’re
delighted that Barco LED technology is at the
forefront. Everywhere the visitor looks, there’s
video showing new cars, promos, commercials, branding—even company history.”
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of the work on site, for which they had to
complete an Irish “Safe Pass” course. The
tubes are fitted to the wall in a 20-mmdeep recessed trench via customized
brackets designed by PID, so they are flush
to the surface for a very neat finish. The
crew worked 24 hours nonstop to get the
tubes inserted and fixed into the trenches.
Also specified was an Element Labs C1
controller. For content, Pritchard outlined
what he wanted, and Fowler developed
and refined various video clips in Apple
Motion. They came up with the standard
“02 Wall”—a data stream flowing motion effect—which looks simple when
in operation, but “took a lot of creating,”
says Fowler. He also created some custom
content for use on occasions like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. These are
all stored as QuickTime movies on the C1,
and will be integrated and triggered by
the overall building controller.
I-Mag Helps
Inaugurate NYC Mayor
NEW YORK, NY—Impact Video was on hand to provide LED screens for the second inaugural address of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Publicly sworn in on Jan. 1, Mayor Bloomberg
recited the oath of office with his two daughters, Emma and Georgina, at his side. The short
inaugural address touched on the progress Bloomberg has made and set a more serious
tone for the future.
Impact Video provided two Illuminator Truck
Mounted LED Screens
featuring Daktronics ProStar LED technology. The
17- by 23-foot screens
were positioned in front
of City Hall on either
side of the stage and
angled toward the crowd
of several thousand for
optimal viewing of the
Lighting Console
Integrates Visuals for UB40
LONDON, ENGLAND—Lighting designer
Dan Hardiman upped the creative ante on
UB40’s UK arena leg of their world tour by also
taking on the role of video director, directing and mixing a full manned-camera I-Mag
system and a substantial lighting rig, all via
the lighting desk. The piece of kit enabling
him to do this was D-Tek Industries’ D-Mix
Pro, a single rack space “black box” device that
allowed him to program and sequence video
mixes via a DMX user-interface.
Hardiman produced all the content and
designed the set in addition to the lighting
and video.“I’ve always believed in total artistic
control,” he said.“Having one person totally
responsible for all the show visuals is the only
way I believe it can be done properly.”
Only after he was immersed in production rehearsals did Hardiman realize exactly
how much brain space was needed for him to
process live camera direction plus operating
lighting cues. But the setup enabled him to
preprogram some basic camera mix building
blocks and work live “on top” during the show.
To free up some head space, he came up
with a lateral maneuver to alleviate himself
from having to call four or more followspots
covering 10 band positions in addition to live
directing four cameras and operating a complex lightshow. The idea came to him after a
show in Russia where he had to call 12 spots
via an interpreter.
Narrowing his followspot vocabulary
down to 15 basic commands, he put the
vocals into a sampler and created a system
whereby the desk triggers preprogrammed
macros that fire the necessary sample and
create the right command at the right time.
He runs two intercom networks; one exclusively for audio to the follow spots and the
other for cameras, dimmers and racks. In conjunction with main UK leg lighting contractors
PRG, he developed a customized headset to
mix the two systems.
The stage featured a 34-foot-wide by 18foot-tall 15 mm pixel pitch Sony LED screen. It
was supported by two customized ovular soft
screens on either side of the stage, fed with
Barco projectors. There were three Sony D50
cameras, two in the pit and one at FOH, plus a
remote-controlled hot head over-stage, all of
which were run through the D-Mix Pro, along
with the M-Box media server playback sources.
The D-Mix effectively performs the functions of
both a mixer and a switcher device.
Hardiman says of the D-Mix,“I like the
fact that it’s a one-box solution enabling me
to run my M-Box playback footage and four
live cameras through the Wholehog 3. DMX
is finally giving me the potential, power and
flexibility I need to focus simultaneously on
the show’s creative aspects.”
The lighting desk and all the FOH gear is
supplied by Hardiman’s own company t-h-c.
XL Video built him a custom camera monitoring system for FOH, so he can view up to 16
sources in a variety of configurations on a
single flat screen.
The tour continues throughout 2006.
Hi-Def Video
Goes Wide in Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV—Three thousand people recently attended a Las Vegas-themed
sales incentive program that was overloaded with production technology, including a
very wide hi-def video projection. The event was produced for a Fortune 500 software
management company at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The video, supplied by AV Concepts, included Digital Projection12k SXGA+ projectors
on three screens including a 15- by 50-foot center screen and two 15- by 20-foot side
screens. The client wanted a 90-foot high-resolution image using a single HD source. The
images were mapped using a Vista Systems Spyder processor and an expansion module.
The image was 13 million pixels wide, and it was projected across all three screens using
a Qu-bit high-definition hard disc source.
The AV Concepts team provided various levels of support throughout the program,
including helping the client design all aspects of the widescreen, referring a technical
director and aiding in on-site management and logistics.
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Robe MediaSpinner
Robe Show Lighting has launched a range
of MediaSpinners to display assorted media.
The MediaSpinner50 AT features a multimedia
extension with a panel for attaching to plasma
screens, LCD displays or projectors. It has a BNC RGBHV video connection, three-pin XLR audio connection, DMX data in/out via three- and five-pin XLRs, plus
a DMX-controllable power supply output for independent
on/off switching of the load. The units are DMX-controllable and can be run from any lighting
desk, or in standalone mode. A four-digit LED display enables onboard programming. Master/
slave operation using a serial cable is an option, running multiple fixtures through one unit.
Robe America • 954.615.9100 or 818.557.7442 •
DPI dVision
Digital Projection International (DPI) announced their entry into
the native 1,080p display market
with its single-chip DLP™ dVision
1,080p projector. It features the
latest .95-inch DarkChip3™ DMD
from Texas Instruments, which
supports a native resolution of
1,920 by 1,080. With user-adjustable light output from 500 to 2,500 ANSI lumens and contrast
ratio up to 6,000:1, the dVision 1080p presents virtually any video, HD or computer source. Six
lens options range from motorized horizontal to vertical lens shift. Connectivity is provided
via DPI’s VIP 1000, an external processor that employs true 1,080i to 1,080p de-interlacing,
HQV video enhancement, dynamic noise reduction, adaptive scaling and 10-bit processing.
Digital Projection International •770.420.1350 •
Barco FLM R20+
The new Barco FLM series is specifically built
for the rental and staging market. The first projector in the FLM series is the FLM R20+, featuring a
three-chip DLP engine with true native SXGA +
resolution, 20,000 center lumens, sealed optics,
10-bit processing and a contrast ratio of 1,800:1.
The range of projectors is designed to be quiet,
compact and easy to set up. The lens range of the Barco
RLM and SLM projector series can be reused on the FLM series,
so there is no need for further investment in new lenses. Optional
software plug-ins offer features such as multiscreen applications and advanced setting controls.
Barco Entertainment • 435.753.2224 •
Gepco Component Video and
Cat5E Cable
Gepco International’s new Component
Video and Cat5E Hybrid Cable is intended
for commercial A/V applications that require the distribution of high-resolution
component video with Cat5E for IP-addressable devices or displays. The coaxial is 23-gauge
solid miniature HDTV coax, featuring low attenuation, 3GHz bandwidth, gas-injected dielectric
and a dual foil and braid shield. Each coaxial element is 100% swept test to meet or exceed
SMPTE 292M and 259M specifications. The Category 5E four-pair element has a 350MHz bandwidth, exceeds TIA/EIA 568-B.2 requirements and is ETL verified. The flexible UL-rated Type CM
GEP-FLEX outer jacket is suitable for permanent installation. A plenum version is also available.
Gepco International, Inc. • 800.966.0069 •
Vista Systems
Montage II
Vista Systems new Montage II M2C50 console is now shipping. The M2C-50
connects to the Spyder network with a
single RJ-45 connector cable without
extra software or special configurations.
The console is automatically updated to
the current configuration and it works
seamlessly with Spyder’s control software, allowing simultaneous functionality and communication to the video
processor. All buttons are user-programmable and multiple layouts are available. It boots in five seconds and multiple consoles and client
PCs can communicate with the same Spyder server. Users can access and run scripts, command
keys and function keys, apply treatments and select sources from a console environment.
Vista Systems • 602.943.5700 •
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NEC LT and
VT Series
NEC recently added five
new projectors to its product line: the LT280, LT380,
VT48, VT480 and VT580. The
VT48 offers 1,600 ANSI lumens, while the VT480 and
VT580 have 2,000 ANSI lumens. The VT48 and VT480 are
SVGA 800 by 600 native resolution, while the VT580 is XGA 1,024 by 768 native resolution. The VT48/480/580 feature a plug-and-play setup and operation, up to 4,000
hours of lamp life via Eco-mode™ technology and a noise level of 25dB. The projectors
come standard with a three-year limited warranty on parts and one-year limited warranty on labor, plus one-year InstaCare™. The lamp is covered for one year or 500 hours.
NEC Solutions America • 800.NEC.INFO •
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Preparing Your
for a Show
o you’re the lighting
programmer about to
work on a show using
some kind of digital media
server. How do you prepare?
What equipment do you
need? What software do you
need? What can (and should)
you do ahead of time to be
prepared for the show?
There are a few essentials in preparing for
a programming session
with a digital media server.
For instance, the content
should be organized ahead
of time. Whether the source
is the producer of the
show or an online content
creation company, all the
content should be properly
formatted according to the
server’s recommendations,
which means you must get the content
from the source well before the day of the
show. Specific formatting information for
all media servers is readily available online,
so definitely consult the manufacturer’s
technical support Web site for that particular media server—all servers have different
recommendations for file resolution, file type
and codecs. A piece of content optimized for
one media server may or may not play back
the same on another server, so it’s not worth
the risk to let it go unchecked. Not sure
how to properly format your content? Many
software programs are available in a variety
of price ranges that you can use to change
formats, including QuickTime Pro, Final Cut
Pro and RiverPast, for starters.
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Now, let’s continue with specific questions related to the setup and operation of
the equipment:
1. Media Server
Is your media server controlled via DMX
or another type of protocol (i.e., MIDI)? What
kind of hardware is involved in connecting
the media server to the console? What kind
of video signal does your media server output? How many outputs? How will that signal
be distributed to the projection device(s)?
2. Lighting
Control Console
What lighting console will you be using?
How many channels does your media server
need for control, and does your lighting
By VickieClaibourne
console have
enough available
channels and DMX
universes? Is the
software version
in the console up
to date, and does it
include the latest
fixture personality for the type of
media server you
are using? Since
digital lighting
is a bleedingedge technology,
software versions
change rapidly.
As such, it is not
unusual for a
lighting console
to include a library
that is out of date
or inaccurate.
Knowing what version of the fixture personality is included in a fixture library is crucial
to being able to use all available features of
any lighting equipment.
3. Projection
What type of projection device is being
used? What is the imageprojection surface? What
size will the image be?
Are there available hanging
positions for the optimum
distance between projectors and screens? What
video signal cable and
connectors are suitable
options for the equipment
you are using? Which signal
choice is best suited for
your application?
Identifying these questions and addressing them
helps avoid any surprises
on-site when it is almost
impossible to correct major
errors or oversights. Having
a clear picture in mind about
the entire setup and thinking through every detail at
least once will ensure that
setup will happen more
smoothly. Should you carry
extra hardware like cables,
adapters or hard drives?
If there is any doubt as
to whether or not the
right equipment will be
available on-site, then the
answer is yes. It is better to
be prepared than to be without the
correct adapter you need to connect device
A to device B. But how far do you go with that
idea? Extra connectors and a spare cable can
easily fit into a gig bag, so those are essentials.
Extra hard drives or video equipment like scan
converters are more helpful in applications
where the show is in a remote area and backups are not readily available. Any equipment
that is larger than something you can carry can
usually be negotiated ahead of time and supplied by the local company providing the gear.
4. Prep Time
Prior to the first day of programming, if
possible, it is worth the time to set up the
server and load all the content. This assures
you that the server is in acceptable working condition and loaded with the correct
software version. (Note: It is also wise to
carry backup copies of all software in case an
emergency arises and the software needs to
be reinstalled.) Once the content has been
loaded onto the server and everything checks
out as functioning, closely watch the playback
performance of your content by either connecting the lighting console and triggering
the content or manually executing the content
from the media server’s user interface (where
applicable). If there are any issues with playback performance, those
issues can be more easily
dealt with at that time
than when you arrive
on-site at the gig without
the software and hardware
you need to make any
necessary changes.
While all of these
preparations may seem like
common sense, they will
help alleviate bigger problems and allow more time
for concentrating on the
creative part on-site. Don’t
skip the smaller details,
because they can make or
break a good show. PLSN
Vickie Claiborne is a
freelance programmer and
can be reached at
A piece of
optimized for
one media
server may
or may not
play back the
same on
another server,
so it’s not worth
the risk to
let it go
Hazed and Confused
Le Maitre
Radiance Hazer
By RichardCadena
oon after Canadian-based special
effects manufacturer Le
Maitre introduced their new
haze machine, the Radiance Hazer,
Adrian Segeren, the president of
the company, told me that it outputs about eight times more haze
than their old standby, the Neutron
Hazer, and it cost less to boot. I
was confused.
“Won’t that kill your Neutron
Hazer sales?” I queried.
“Probably. But it’s better that we
do it ourselves than to wait for our
competition to do it,” he replied.
I was a bit surprised, but I
thought it was a sound strategy—if,
indeed, it was true. Last month, I
had the chance to use the new Radiance Hazer in a show and, by my
estimation, it appears that it is true.
The new haze machine puts out an
impressive amount of haze, it’s very
quiet and it has a built-in fan that
runs off the DMX512 input, making
it easy to control while helping to
evenly distribute the haze.
vaporizing fog and haze machines is the
deposits left behind by the evaporation
process, which tend to foul up the works
and block the flow of fluid. To prevent
that from happening, this unit has a
“four-port Rapid Clean Vaporizer,” which
allows you to take apart the vaporizing
chamber and clean it out. With a few
hand tools and a few minutes, you can
ensure the fluid is flowing freely. In the
short time I used the machine, I didn’t
have to clean it, but the user manual
recommends cleaning after every 25
liters of fluid consumption. The machine
will hold either a two-liter or a four-liter
bottle, so if you were to run the machine
on full output, continuous duty with a
four-liter bottle, that means that you
should clean the machine after about
10 and a half hours of use, or about
every four or five shows. But it’s difficult
to imagine that you would every use it
at full output, continuous duty unless
you’re working outdoors. So you’re more
likely to run it at a lower setting with
a reduced duty cycle, so my guess
is that you should have to clean it
every 10 or 20 shows, depending on
several factors like the length of the show,
the amount of haze, the effectiveness of the
ventilation, etc.
Little Package,
Big Output
The water-based
haze machine uses a
500-watt heater and is
housed in an enclosure
that is slightly more
than 16 inches long,
10 inches wide and 7
inches tall. It weighs 28
pounds and it operates
at 120V, drawing about
5 amps.
The unit can be
operated without a
remote in standalone
mode, remotely with a
DMX512 input or with
a handheld remote.
By setting the first digit of the three-digit
DMX address selector to 6, then the hazer
operates in standalone mode. In this mode,
the output is determined by the value of the
second digit, with 0 being off and 8 being
the highest output level (setting it to 9 is
the same output as setting it to 8). The third
digit sets the fan level from 1 to 8 (it can’t be
turned off in this mode).
The optional handheld remote has three
potentiometers for fan speed, interval control and variable haze output, plus an on/off
switch. In the presence of a DMX512 signal,
the control signal overrides the handheld
remote. In DMX512 mode, the machine uses
two channels: one for the haze rate and one
for the fan speed.
The Bottom Line,
It’s Top Drawer
The show in which I used the machine
was in a large space and we ran it periodically on a low setting, around 20 to 30%.
I say “periodically” because I kept having to
direct the board op to turn the haze down
or off.
Besides the fact that the machine is
relatively small and it puts out a lot of haze,
I liked the yoke, which can double as a floor
stand, tilting the machine at enough of an
angle to direct the haze over the heads of
the performers from an upstage position.
The yoke is also a good carrying handle
as well.
There is also a Radiance Touring System,
which incorporates a Radiance Hazer and a
Versa Fan in a single touring road case. The
DMX-controllable Versa Fan slides out of the
case like a drawer and right into position. It’s
packaged smartly for fast load-in, set up and
All the features of the Radiance add up
to a great hazer for venues from the smallest
to the largest. The Radiance Hazer seems to
be everything that Segeren said it was. No
longer am I hazed and confused.
Le Maitre Special Effects, Inc.
The Clean Machine
One of the most common problems with
PLSN february 2006
It’s One BigLite:
By Nook Schoenfeld
The 4.5
t first glance, it was easy to be in awe
of the size of this new fixture. It lives
up to its name. The large instrument,
built by Zap Technologies and distributed by
Martin in the U.S., is an automated luminaire
that is as bright as it is large.
The 4,500-watt xenon bulb
provides quite a punch, and,
along with all of the other
guts of this fixture, lives in an
attractive, weather-resistant
polycarbonate housing. One
of the first things I noticed
is that despite its size, the
cooling system was not
noisy like I expected. The
outboard ballast is designed
to be placed in the dimmer
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area of a show. I was surprised to find it was
fairly lightweight.
The one-armed light moves incredibly
fast. It can pan a full 570º in 1.5 seconds.
It does not have a standard yoke, but
has one fast arm that
balances the instrument
perfectly. It’s safe to say
that if I am standing next
to the instrument when
somebody pans it quickly,
it will knock me over. It
functioned quite well
when I tested it with a
circle effect from a console.
It has a great reaction
speed to the incoming
DMX512 feed.
If you look through the front
plastic cover where the light exits,
you can see how it works. You will
notice three color-scrolling cassettes. Each
cassette is easily removable and can contain
12 colors, including a frame of CTO and diffusion. If you use the colors that come with the
light, you will notice that the scrolls are gradient saturations of cyan, magenta and yellow.
It provided quite a satisfactory
color-mixing system. The strobe
scroller provides a continuous
strobe effect, but the BigLite takes
it one step further and provides
electronic strobing via
the ballast.
The lamp is fixed,
but the reflector behind it moves. This enables the light output
to zoom from a tight
1º up to 18º in a quick
matter of one second.
Through a DMX512
signal, the programmer
can adjust the lamp’s
X/Y focus and actually move the hot spot
if they wish. Martin
claims this will extend
the bulb life and beam
quality. Also, to aid in
bulb life, when the dimmer is closed, the ballast
goes into “standby”
mode. The bulb does not
douse, but goes to about
half power. This helps
keep the fixture cool and
is easier on the lamp. The
lamp can be struck from
a console or by pressing
a button on the ballast.
From a tech’s point
of view, this fixture is
easy to work on. The
color/dimming cassettes pop out and can
be bench-tested with
DMX512. They have
provided what they call
“a safe maintenance bay”
that allows techs to work
on a lit fixture without
unnecessary exposure to the xenon bulb and
its UV rays. They claim the entire fixture can
be worked on with only three tools. Software
can easily be uploaded to the fixture.
Despite its size and only one arm for a
yoke, I believe this fixture is very road-worthy.
It rides in its case with the base down. If you
choose to use it as a floor light, it could live
on its wheels by simply removing the lid of
the road case. To hang from a truss, you have
to place the light on its side and attach a
heavy-duty aluminum plate to the base. The
plate has half-couplers that clamp to standard trussing. Of course, the weight of the
instrument is an issue should you decide to
hang it from a truss. At 270 pounds, it would
take four stage hands to hang it.
It stands 4 feet tall and
has a triangular base
that is approximately 33
inches per side.
The list price for
this fixture is $49,995.
It comes with separate
road cases for the fixture
and the ballast. A 20meter power cable and
a safety are included.
The model comes in a
7K unit as well.
This light is perfect
for large touring rigs as
well as outdoor spectacles. As an outdoor
architectural fixture, it
is fantastic. It would be
a great addition to any
TV/film shoot, especially
for large panning shots of a stadium on
game day or concert event. Bottom line is,
there are no bad qualities in this fixture. Zap
has delivered an exceptional fixture.
What it is: Zap Technology BigLite 4.5
What it’s for: Outdoor events, architectural lighting, large productions,
TV/film shoots, stadium events,
large concerts.
Cons: 270 pounds per fixture.
How much: $49,995
And How They Will
Change the Way You
Work in 2006
By PhilGilbert
Leslie Zevo: I wonder what the flashing red
lights mean.
Alsatia Zevo: Well, red usually means caution, or beef, if it’s a bouillon cube.
-From the movie “Toys”
Wreck of the
Barbie Ferrari
All of us have toys. For you, it may be a
remote-controlled car. For me, it might be my
FOH Nerf gun. My editor staunchly denies
the fact that he has a pink
Teletubby that sits
Rob Mombourquette
on his lighting console.
But the point is, no
matter how old we get,
we’re always looking
for new toys.
When asked for her name her favorite new work toy, Jeanette Farmer, lighting
When the pink
director at one of Cirque du Soleil’s newest shows, KÁ, said, “Whoohooo!”
Barbie Corvette at
More importantly, she also has the following to say about her fifth generaPLSN HQ drove its
tion iPod: “…file storage, music to program a show to, show video for playback
last lap recently, we
practice…entertainment and work stuff!”
knew we had to find
The newest iPod, as with so many before it, has made a real splash, with the
a proper replacement,
addition of video playback on top of the sleek and simple styling that we’ve all
so we polled some of
come to expect from Apple. With the rampant popularity of media servers in our
our most avid readers
industry, it should come as no surprise that this device has found supporters,
to find out what toys
and a few companies are already finding new ways to use this toy tool to their
they thought were
going to change the, an online graphics content provider, has adopted the new
way they do work in
iPod as a vehicle for content distribution and previewing. A package deal from the
the next year. When
company’s website includes 1,000 pictures and clips delivered to you on a brandthey didn’t respond to
new iPod. The iPod includes two resolutions of each clip or image: one correctly sized
our voicemails, we called
for previewing on-board, and another higher-resolution clip for downloading to your
them back and offered
chosen media server or video platform via USB 2.0.
them free subscriptions to
the magazine. Some of them
actually fell for the ploy. These
are some of their responses.
Finest Work Song
Learning to Fly
Ad info:
“Very slick,” commented
Roy Mombourquette, lighting
manager for Tour Tech East,
as he described the Bonanza
PowerQuick personal-lifting
With two models offering capacities of 300 and 500
pounds each, the PowerQuick
is a battery-powered rope
ascender, intended for any application where a person would
be manually climbing a rope.
Designed for use by the U.S.
Special Forces, the PowerQuick
is now being made available to
commercial (aka civilian) users,
and is designed to meet OSHA,
CSA and other applicable safety
100.0602.TopTenProd.JH.indd 39
2/6/06 1:19:31 PM
Eye in the Sky
When it comes to giving us the toys we want, the boys from Austin are often the first responders
on the scene. On the video end of things, we’ve seen such standouts as the Catalyst media server
and DL1, the first entries to their “digital lighting” line of products. As an added bonus, they
shoved a Sony video camera and an infrared illuminator in the DL1. Why? So that Willie
Williams could give all of us a view up Bono’s skirt… err… kilt?
This time around, High End Systems is going to make it even easier for your
stagehands with the DL2. By putting the media server into the moving light,
High End is removing a whole lot of bulky video cables from your rig while
giving you more control over each of your projected images.
Jeff Nickles, the president of Production Design Associates, forecasts
a full and rich life for this new toy: “We all know where this one is going.
It will be duplicated many times
over, but they are the first to put
video into a moving head and
make it commercially viable
and available.”
“…they are the first to put
video into a moving head and make it
commercially viable and available.”
–Jeff Nickels on the High End Systems DL2
Long As I Can See the Light
“Like butter.”
We’re pretty sure that all context is being preserved when we tell you
that Carlos Colina, lighting designer for Univision Network, was talking
about the Coemar ParLite LED: “It will eventually become the standard truss
toner on every show.” Pretty big words. But with plenty of other people saying the same thing, we’ll bite.
The ParLite is quickly taking over every application where designers
need a small and bright fixture with great saturated colors. Compact enough
to fit in a 12 by 12 truss, the ParLite
LED doesn’t need an external
transformer or a bulky heat sink to
get its job done.
“It will eventually become the standard
truss toner on every show.”
–Carlos Colina on the Coemar ParLite
Yellow Submarine
Light Parts owner Robert Mokry predicts that—no matter how much the LED companies try to convince us
otherwise—we haven’t seen the end of our go-to tungsten fixtures.
“I think ‘dichroic conventional lighting’ is going to happen sooner or later in a big way. Gels will
die sooner or later, like buggy whips,” he says.
He says that products like Ocean Optics’ SeaChanger, High End Systems’ Color Command
and Wybron’s Nexera will go from being considered accessories to being a part of every fixture
installed in a standard installation.
The SeaChanger is currently sold as an add-on color-mixing system for ETC’s Source
Four line of ellipsoidal reflector spotlights. Using a four-color system that includes industry
standard cyan, magenta and yellow dichroic filters, as well as their patented “xG” Extreme
Green filter, the DMX-controlled component allows the designer to access a rich palette
of colors on their conventional fixture.
“I think ‘dichroic conventional lighting’ is
going to happen sooner or later in a big way.
Gels will die sooner or later, like buggy whips.”
-Robert Mokry on the Ocean Optics Sea Changer
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Black is the new white. Video is the new gobo. Or something like that.
Video is probably one of the biggest shifts that lighting-types have made in the past couple of years, and there is no sign of it
going away any time soon. While a couple of products have dominated the showroom floors, we are now seeing much more
competition in the media-server market.
With the introduction of the GrandMA Video media server, MA Lighting is making things especially easy for the
users of their GrandMA line of lighting consoles. Fully bidirectional communication with their GrandMA line of
lighting consoles means that no DMX conversions will be needed and media servers can be placed anywhere a network drop exists. Due to this bidirectional connectivity, clips from the media server can also
be previewed directly from the lighting console’s screen as a thumbnail image.
Fabian Yeager of Yeager Design says that it’s “truly a powerful tool for programming scenic
video and LED walls or curtains.”
The Source Four PAR has become
ubiquitous. You see them everywhere.
I mean, I keep expecting to see one
in the hardware aisle of the supermarket. (I wish you could at least buy
HPLs that way.)
Industry vet Chip Monck agrees,
adding one of Philips’ newest lamps
for this fixture to his toy list. “For
me, the Philips 250-watt, G12 base,
metal halide for use in my ‘feature
fixtures’ is what I’ve been waiting
for,” he says.
Offering unprecedented lamp
life with an impressive amount
of punch, Monck says he’s using
these replacement lamps for the
Source Four PAR extensively in
his retail designs.
Toys in the Attic
Ad info:
So when I went to Toys ‘R Us to pick out
the replacement toy for our Honolulu offices,
I have to say that I was a bit disappointed
not to find a GrandMA Video or a ParLite LED
in aisle seven. So we got a Tickle Me Elmo
instead…which is alarmingly popular.
A few notes on some of the other products mentioned:
-If your technical director doesn’t know
that you’re catching up on episodes of Lost
during the client’s keynote, it will be much
easier to expense your iPod.
-I really wish I would have had a PowerQuick in seventh-grade gym class.
-While Marc Brickman is bound to get his
hands on some DL2s, I don’t suggest letting
him near yours. They might come back to
you blue.
And, on a final note, our general counsel
wants me to tell you that no lighting designers
were harmed in the writing of this article.
Lighting Design Software
n the beginning, there was computeraided drafting and design (CADD). Until
the early 1980s, it was limited to mainframe and mini-computers, and it cost in the
neighborhood of $40,000. Yes, there are four
zeros behind that four. It kind of makes the
old T-square and $500 drafting desk look
very appealing.
But IBM and Bill Gates changed all that
in 1981 when they popularized the desktop
PC. Along came AutoCAD about two years
later, and suddenly, a really good CAD
software program could be had for about
$1,400 plus the cost of a PC, which ran a few
thousand dollars.
In the lighting community, John McKernon had been writing computer code
for what eventually became LightWright,
Web Address
Product Name
a program designed to simplify the task of
managing lighting design paperwork, since
1979. The original LightWright was launched
in its present form in 1988, and is now up to
version 4. A few years later in 1992, the folks
at Cast Software introduced a new software
package that harnessed the power of the PC
for the job of designing lighting plots and
visualizing them in virtual reality. Thus was
Capture 2005,
Basic Edition
Capture Sweden
born the modern-day visualizer with built-in
CAD and lighting paperwork software.
In the past several years, many more
CAD programs have hit the market, offering a variety of software solutions for the
lighting community. In addition, console
manufacturers have recognized the potential and the demand for previsualization
software, and most of them have made
of elements
Compatible file
2,000 various
CPF (Capture 3.0),
2,000 various
CPF (Capture 3.0),
Capture 2005,
Extended Edition
Cast Software
By RichardCadena
Design Suite
EWG, LW2 & all
"Real" DWG and
64 u
"Real" DWG and
64 u
AutoCAD &
AutoCAD Lt
"Real" DWG and
AutoCAD, AutoCAD Lt
"Real" DWG and
Native to VectorWorks (MCD), use
in conjunction
with Spotlight or
Import from
Lightwright, import from Strand
300, 500-series
62 u
Design & Drafting
Field Template
Future Light
John McKernon
ed by City Theatrical
Conception Inc.
Professional A/S
North America
Stage Research, Inc.
Symbol library for
Virtual Light Lab 3
Standalone, but
needs current version
of QuickTime
Lightwright 4
Windows® 98
or later; Mac OSX
10.2 or later
Microlux Light
Standalone (PC)
MLX (Microlux),
Standalone (PC)
MLX (Microlux),
on t
Microlux Vision
Standalone (PC)
DWG/DXF, Excel,
Filemaker, ASCII,
Proprietary/ DXF
SoftPlot 3D
Proprietary/ DXF
LighShop Online
Light Grid
new ones
added almost
Vision 2.0
Native: ESC or
Capture 2005
accommodations for their top-of-theline consoles to facilitate their use. With
ever-decreasing programming time and
the ever-increasing size and complexity of
t or
Martin ShowDesigner
Lightwright 4
WYSIWIG Production Design Suite
lighting rigs, previsualization is becoming
as much of a necessity as it is a luxury. The
invisible hand of the market has responded as a number of software solutions have
become available to meet the demand
for better and more powerful design and
programming tools.
What follows is a survey of many of the
Latest features
current options available for the design,
management of paperwork and visualization
of lighting and video. And not one of them
requires the use of a T-square.
Retail Price
Live console programming information in 3-D, bidirectional console communication (autofocus, fixture
selection & patch information).
Live console programming information in 3-D, bidirectional console communication (autofocus, fixture selection & patch information), DMX controlled views, truss & set pieces, DXF/DWG import, demo EXE file creation.
Streaming video & moving scenery.
$990 first user,
$145 additional
Available in English, Dutch, German, Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish, no limitations in number
of universes, software copy protection: no dongle required,
$1,650 first user, compatible consoles: ArtNet, AVAB, Avolites, Capture USB DMX
$255 additional Boxes, CITP compatible (ADB, ChamSys, BlueLite, LightFactory),
Compulite, EntTec DMX USB Pro, ETC Net2, Hog2PC, LT-Light.
$600 - $3,200
64 universes of DMX control in & out, USB or Ethernet FX rendering, volume light, lens effects.
A real CAD program powered by Autodesk Technology.
64 universes of DMX control in & out, USB or Ethernet FX rendering, volume light, lens effects.
Plug-in to AutoCAD.
LD Content, share the Power and save 70% on CAD design times.
Plug-in to AutoCAD and AutoCAD Lt.
Intelligent CAD objects.
Plug-in For LD ASSISTANT Ac, AutoCAD and AutoCAD Lt.
Version 2 adds ADB, Color Kinetics, Selador, Supervision, James Thomas Engineering and Shelley's 600-symbol
Section Collection.
The professional-grade alternative to VectorWorks' Spotlight
symbols that are physically accurate and data-filtered.
FocusTrack is a tool for documenting how moving lights are used
in theatrical productions. Available for Mac or PC, FocusTrack is
already in use on shows including The Woman in White in London
and New York, Oklahoma on tour in the U.S., and Guys and Dolls,
Mary Poppins, Footloose, Miss Saigon and others in the UK.
New column shading, new QuickFind buttons, new PhotoShoot Loop mode for easier photographing of moving light focuses, new tools for keeping track of lamp life and unit maintenance, improved functionality for
focus plotting and refocusing conventional lights.
Version 3 added the ability to have multiple models "onstage," more lights, cyc groundrow, four-circuit cyc &
$239 individual,
groundrow, multiple models on stage at the same time having same or different lighting, slide show feature
$599 (four users)
Current version 3.2.1, which is a free update to v3 owners.
that does time fades between stage pictures. v3.2.1 added platform feature, vertical model placement, export+ $99 per ading pictures, updated color library.
ditional user
62 universes of DMX; 100 moving light libraries per show; stores accessories, weights, symbols and template
holder sizes; focus chart database; work notes database.
Allows creating a complete and exact plan with all the necessary paperwork, comes with an extensive manufacturer specific library, improved libraries.
2-D plan view only, but 3-D information is present, making it
compatible with Microlux Professional and Microlux Vision. A
free version is also available.
Ability to view your plan, either in 2-D or 3-D, visualize the lighting and test every aspect of your design, focus
and see the beams of light, find out the exact illumination, calculate the weight on your truss, improved bill of
material and equipment rental management.
Significant rebates are also available for those interested in contributing to the maintenance of libraries or software improvements.
MICROLUX Vision is an add-on to Microlux Professional to allow you to visualize the intensity of spots onscreen as it is controlled by the console in real time. The intensities can be shown with a beam representation
on the plan or they can be displayed in a table format, thus allowing MICROLUX Vision to preprogram a lighting board without the spots. Compatible with more DMX devices.
Compatible with many USB-DMX Interface, Artistic DMX Dongle
and others
Silver: $1,745,
Gold: $3,740
Moving objects, live video input.
LDI Software Product of the Year in 1998 and 2003, Eddy Award
winner in 2004. Lightwright was written by John McKernon, a
professional designer and an associate designer to Ken Billington.
Silver = Drawing package only; Gold = Silver + rendering and
Library additions; define, manage, format labels: define positions, hang instruments, and create summaries;
create multi-circuit instruments, gang instruments, add accessories, assign instruments to focus areas and
show light beams in 2-D and 3-D; and more. See Web site for details.
Many upgraded functions including increasing the number of possible line drawing items to unlimited.
Many upgraded functions including increasing the number of possible line drawing items to unlimited.
Single source for every category of photometric information with
thousands of lighting fixtures, gels and filters, gobos and bulbs from
industry manufacturers, web-enabled, web-deployable application.
Light Grid is a software application that allows you to simulate
and experiment with virtual lighting fixtures.
$750 per universe/port to
Compatible with an ever-expanding list of consoles and protocols. InfoComm 2005 Product of the Year.
High dynamic range textures, moving truss and set pieces, complete modification within Vision, one-button
renders, MOV and AVI creation, software console for conventional fixtures (shutters, iris, bottle rotation, etc.).
Can You
Give Me a Jump?
s a touring tech with a production
company, I have encountered so
many different situations, but none
as interesting as the time we had a show
in rural New Mexico. I was traveling with a
small band and we had a one-off in a medium-sized hall in the middle of nowhere. In
advance of the show, I contacted the venue
and asked about their power availability. I
was told they had a 200-amp single-phase
disconnect with Camlocks, which would
work for my show. I was satisfied that our
power requirements would be met, and I
didn’t think about it again until weeks later
when we showed up for the load-in.
After unloading the truck, the first
thing I did was to start setting up the
power distro. The house technician walked
me over to the disconnect, and when I saw
it, my heart sank. It wasn’t big like I was
expecting. In fact, it was small—very small.
I didn’t even have to open it to know that
it didn’t have Camlock connectors. It was
just too small. When I showed the house
guy my feeder cable with the Camlocks,
he instantly knew there was a problem.
We both sat there for a second, just staring
at tiny connectors in the panel. Suddenly, he
said, “I’ve got an idea.”
A few minutes later he came back with
something bundled under his arms. It was
a couple of sets of jumper cables. I cringed,
but watched in silence as he took the jumper
cables and carefully attached them to the
feeder cable first and then to the distro panel.
He took great pains to make sure they were
attached firmly and he did everything he
could to make sure it was a good connection.
“How’s that?” he inquired.
“I don’t know,” I said. “To be honest, it
looks pretty scary to me.” He nodded silently,
as if to say he understood.
“Hold on,” he said. Then he disappeared
again. A few minutes later, he came back
with something else under his arms.
This time, it was plastic garbage bags. I
watched as he carefully wrapped each
connection with a garbage bag. By the
time he was finished, we had all the lighting in place and we were ready to test
the makeshift connections.
I fully expected the whole thing to go up
in a big flash and a puff of smoke, but I didn’t
have the luxury of time to search for an alternate solution. Much to my surprise, when
we turned everything on, it actually worked. I
slowly brought up every light and there was
no flash, no puff of smoke-not even a wisp.
That night while the band played, I kept
a close eye on the power distro. I was certain
that it would fail at any minute, but it just
kept on.
When the show was over, I was relieved
that we had made it all the way through
without so much as a hiccup. Still, the first
thing I did was to go over to the disconnect
and kill the power. I unwrapped the plastic
garbage bags covering the makeshift power
connections and I realized how lucky we
really were. While the band was playing and
the lights were going, we were teetering on
the edge of a meltdown. The jumper cables
connecting the power from the distro panel
to the feeder cable were almost completely
melted down and the black, charred mess
was holding by a thread. It’s a wonder we
didn’t burn down the building.
I know the show must go on, but from
now on, the jumper cables are staying in
the car.
James Berry
Second Baptist Church, Houston, TX
Jeff Coonce
PyroGuys, Inc.
Reno, NV
[email protected]
Ad info:
Personal Quote:
Licensed to thrill.
Serving the Reno, Sparks, Carson
City and Lake Tahoe areas. Outdoor
concerts, outdoor close proximity,
indoor stage.
I have been in business since 1990. I do
indoor and outdoor pyrotechnics and
fireworks as well as close proximity.
Old car restoration. I have a 1939 GMC
open cab pumper fire truck, and a 1947
Chevy deliver sedan. My son and
I do the parades.
I have three PyroDigital systems with
wireless capabilities. Lots of PyroPak stuff.
Don’t Leave Home Without:
Patience and a sense of humor.
Lighting Design CAD Software
ontrary to what some may believe, my
first lighting design was not chiseled
in stone tablets, nor was it drawn on
papyrus with berry juice. But it was close.
When I got my first design job, I found
it hard to justify spending hundreds or
thousands of dollars on a lighting design CAD
program, so I used what I had. In that case,
it was CorelDRAW. I might as well have used
crayons and a Big Chief tablet.
But the drawings I eventually produced
did serve their purpose; they helped me
calculate the number of fixtures I needed to
illuminate a stage to a target
illuminance, where to hang
them, how much power
was needed for the job and
what type and quantity of
materials were needed. They
served to illustrate to the
electrician exactly where to
run power and where to put
the connectors, and they
served to give the client an
idea of what to expect from
the design. But most importantly, they gave the client
the confidence that I knew
what I was doing (wink, wink)
and made them feel better
about cutting a check for
my services.
Using a drawing program
to design a lighting system
was something akin to using
a camel to get to Midtown
Manhattan—it will get you
there, but there sure are
better ways to do it. It took
hours and hours of painstaking drawing and calculations, and I had
to shoehorn a lot of walnuts into pecan
shells. But in the end, I had what looked
like professionally-drawn blueprints,
kind of like the ones I used to draw
when I was in engineering school. Still,
I knew that next time, I would have to
bite the bullet and buy some real lighting design software.
I ended up getting three different
programs, all of which did similar things
but in different ways. The first one I tried
had a bit of a learning curve and I found
it challenging to get around in it. When
I bought it, I didn’t have time to learn it,
and by the time I needed it, I was under
the gun to produce a lighting design.
So I shelved it and went for the second
program, which I found much easier to
learn. I spent a few hours with it, and
it was not intimidating by any means.
By the end of the day I had a rough
design in the can. I was happy with the
drawings, and more importantly, so was
the client. I was able to produce 2-D
plan and elevation drawings, 3-D isometric
drawings and photorealistic renderings of the
lighting system. It was much quicker, easier
and so much less frustrating than using Corel
Draw. I was happy with my newfound talent
for making my work look good—thanks to a
great piece of software.
All was right with the world and the lighting designs flew off the drawing board like so
many white doves. One day, an evil architect
from Middle Earth sent me an AutoCAD
drawing of a building for a lighting design I
was to do. It was a fairly large file, about 15MB.
I opened my lighting design program and
imported the .dwg file only to watch my computer choke and the program crash. As usual,
I was under the gun to produce the drawings
“Let the beauty we
love be what we
do. There are
hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss
the ground.”
– Jalal al-Din Muhammad
Rumi, poet (1207-1273)
and didn’t have time to deal with compatibility issues. So, I reached over to the shelf where
lighting design software number one was sitting. I grabbed it, installed it again and I was
able to open the AutoCAD drawing with no
problem. Then, I was forced to learn it. But by
that time, I was a little more CAD-literate and
I forced myself to get up the learning curve
rapidly (translation: I was on the phone support line for hours on end to the point of very
nearly wearing out my welcome). With a little
support (OK, a lot of support), I began to feel
comfortable with the program, and I found
out that the two programs each had their
strengths and weaknesses and there were
some pretty cool features in each. Now I use
them both, depending on the job at hand
and the circumstances
surrounding them.
The whole time, the
third lighting design software package had been
sitting on the sidelines,
eagerly waiting to get
in the game. Someday, I
promised myself, I would
find the time to explore
its virtues and discover
what it’s about. It happens
to be a popular program
that is used a lot by production companies. Since
the beginning of the year,
I have been spending time
with it, and the next lighting design I do, I will try it
out, if for no other reason
than just to challenge
myself, learn something
new and increase my
marketable skills.
Three programs, three
approaches to the same
issue. Now, the question facing every aspiring designer
is,“Which program should I buy and
use?” Truthfully, you can hardly go
wrong with any of the mainstream
lighting design CAD programs. They
vary in degrees of power, flexibility,
resources and ease of use, but in my
humble opinion, they are all capable
of producing good results. If you’re
trying to decide among them, talk
to as many people as you can who
use lighting design CAD software
and find out what they have to say.
Also, consider how you will be using
it. Are you a beginner with little CAD
experience? Will you be working a lot
with architects and/or big AutoCAD
files? Will you be working a lot with
production companies? The answers
to these questions will help steer you
in the right direction. It’s up to you to
drive to the right location.
And take my advice; stay away
from Corel Draw unless you want to
create an illustration. Even then, you
might have more fun with crayons and a
Big Chief tablet.
Send your smoke signals to the author at
[email protected]
By RichardCadena
Ad info:
Crayons and a Big Chief Tablet Every Time
On Location:
The Theatrical Lighting of
Robert Juliat
Four generations of Juliats chart
the course of the company
The assembly line.
By Richard Cadena
or you it was the music; for
me it was the lighting.”
As the words leave the lips
of Jean-Charles Juliat, chairman of
Texas Instruments
at CES Keynotes 2005
the Fresnoy-en-Thelle,
theatrical lighting manufacturer
The NCsoft booth
at E3Juliat,
2005 a smile comes across
his face and his eyes light up like a
schoolboy in love. If you’ve ever laid
your hands on a Robert Juliat fixture,
then you can understand the connection between the man’s passion for
great lighting and the products his
company produces. Their followspots
seemingly float as you move them,
The Juliat factory exterior.
and the controls glide with ease. The
materials that go into their profile
are many faithful customers, such as Cirque
spots and Fresnels have a look and feel about du Soleil, Blue Man Group, the Celine Dion
them, and the quality of the craftsmanship is
Theatre, Disney, New York’s Lincoln Center
undeniable. And then there’s the optics. The
and Carnegie Hall, and many opera houses,
sharpness of the projection from the Robert
theatres and television
Juliat line of fixtures is their stock in trade. In
studios around the
a word, it’s brilliant.
world, who swear
For almost 100 years, the company has
by the compacrafted a name for itself in an industry that
ny’s products.
is not known for long-lived companies. As
Robert Juliat
Jean-Charles, the third in the line of the Julifollowspots,
ats to helm the company, prepares to hand
the reins down to his sons, François and
Frederic, the company seems to be humming and digital
along like a well-oiled machine. Their 5,500dimmers are
square-meter (59,000-square-feet) factory
often specified
located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north
in touring
of Paris was built in 1986, not too long after
the company narrowly escaped financial
disaster due to a single deal gone wrong;
but Jean-Charles met the challenge and
rebuilt the company into a stronger
business, reclaiming distribution and
successfully bringing the task of
the marketing and sales in house.
Bringing it
to the U.S.
Today, the company is
financially sound and growing each year. Along with
the never-ending new
product development
and ongoing marketing
efforts, they are starting
their fourth year with a
U.S. office in Wallingford, Conn., presided
over by industry
vet Fred Lindauer.
Lindauer is very
familiar with the
product line, having worked as the
marketing and sales
director for the North
American distributor of
Robert Juliat in the past. So, it seems,
shows and events, including the
Olympics and the Football World
Cup. It’s an impressive customer list,
to be sure, but Lindauer’s goal is to
make the product line more accessible to the general population. The
perception of some people is that
good quality and an affordable price
are mutually exclusive. Lindauer
believes otherwise.
“We want to put the quality of
Robert Juliat into the hands of a
broad range of customers who have
a mistaken impression that these
products are out of the reach of their
budget,” he says.
The perception he’s
battling, ironically, is due
in large part to the company’s success in reaching
the high end of the
market. Perhaps that’s because their roots go back
to a time that pre-dates
nightclubs, discothèques
and concert touring when
their best customers were
the theatres and opera
houses of Europe.
(Left to right) Francois Juliat, Jean Charles Juliat
and Fred Lindauer.
“We want to
put the quality
of Robert Juliat
into the hands
of a broad range
of customers who
have a mistaken
that these
products are
out of the reach
of their
– Fred Lindauer
One and Two
The Robert Juliat story
goes back 1896 when JeanCharles’ grandfather, Jean
Juliat, was an apprentice to
filmmaker Georges Méliès.
You might know Méliès as the
creator of Le Voyage Dans La Lune
(A Trip to the Moon) in 1902, which
includes the famous scene of a spaceship landing in the eye of the man on
the moon. Back then, the special effects
in his films were far ahead of their
time. The elder Juliat translated his
expertise in projection to
the world of lighting
and built luminaires
for many customers,
but mainly for theatres
and opera houses.
But it was Jean’s son
Robert who branded
the company when he opened a
shop and shipped his first luminaire
in 1920. He soon found success as a
manufacturer of stage lighting and he
filled the niches he found supplying
lighting equipment to stages around
Europe. Robert ran the company until
his retirement in 1975, when JeanCharles took over.
“No, it’s supposed to be white!”
– Church to Jean-Charles Juliat about his lighting design
The New
Now the task that lies
ahead of Jean-Charles is to
prepare the company for the
transition from his command
to that of his sons, François
and Frederic. For François,
the gravity of carrying on
the four-generation family
tradition is one he greets with
enthusiasm. Having spent
several months in California
working on his college degree
Juliat Number Three
Jean-Charles grew up around the family
business, a position which afforded him the
opportunity to meet many lighting designers who “gave me the thirst for lighting,” he
says. In 1962, he did his first major lighting
job, lighting the exterior of a church in the
south of France for a concert. His idea of
lighting at the time was colorful and bold,
but the church wasn’t quite prepared for his
design. “No, it’s supposed to be white!” they
cried. He jokes that he was almost excommunicated on the spot. But Jean-Charles
fell in love with lighting and he went on to
light several more shows, each time taking
his lighting design a step further. But to him,
lighting design meant actually designing
the lights as well as drawing the plot. Over
the years, his innovations included color
and unique
effects, such
as the first
bubble machine ever
to hit Europe, which
he built
around 1968.
When his
father, who
was injured
in World War
II, slowed down and turned the company
over to him, Jean-Charles inherited a company which, in his eyes, needed a facelift. “At
the time,” he says, “there were 10 employees
in the company, and all of them were over
60 years old. And me, at 20 years of age…I
had to change everything.” So he set about
the task of transforming the company. The
result is the company that you see today.
Five in-house sales staff look after 14 dealers in France and a worldwide distribution
network. The research and development
department stays busy refining products
and creating new ones. In the factory behind the offices, CNC machines stamp, cut
and machine-metal parts for the assembly
line while a powder-coating booth applies
the finishes to the works in progress. Several
assembly line workers, many of whom have
been with the company for 20 or more years,
carefully build the products that are to be
shipped to customers, approximately 60% of
which reside outside of France.
The level of detail in the construction
is apparent when you visit the assembly
line. Standoffs under the carefully bundled
cables protect them from the heat of the
fixture. The shutters are positioned very
close to the gobos so that each can be
crisply focused. The lack of any lamp
adjustment apparatus is an indicator of
the tight tolerances to which the instruments are manufactured.
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while interning at Christie, Inc. (the video
projector manufacturer), he worked to build
a foundation in business and in production,
preparing for this eventuality. His grasp of the
American market and his personal ties with
Lindauer helped finalize the decision to take
on a U.S. presence. Now he works hard to plant
the seeds of its success, traveling extensively to
trade shows and visiting the U.S. office when
he can. In between trips, he is busy learning
the ropes in the home office and studying the
business of the company.
“In the early days,” Jean-Charles says,“I took
no holidays, and I worked 50 or 60 hours every
week.” For the last few years, that’s a sentiment
echoed by François, who is already putting
his own stamp on the company. The gradual
changing of the guard means that Jean-Charles
can spend more time doing what he loves to do.
He can be found tinkering in the shop, creating
new inventions, building prototypes and collecting antique luminaires for his second-story
museum. But he still longs to fill those niches he
sees in the market. “What I want to do is to build
something that doesn’t exist. We are building
a brand new 4K followspot with exceptional
optics and a number of motorized options and
accessories that are unequaled in the market.
We are always looking for the niche products,”
he says.
Vari-lite assembly
Genlyte Controls
Full-Time Employees:
A partnership between Vari-Lite, Entertainment Technology and Lightolier® Controls.
Number of
Product Families:
• Vari-Lite is a designer, manufacturer and
distributor of automated lighting systems serving markets including concert
touring, theatre, television, film, cruise
lines, houses of worship and corporate
• Entertainment Technology is the
manufacturer of patented IGBT-based
dimming control products, Marquee®
lighting control consoles and Color FX™
interior color-mixing downlight.
• Lightolier® provides advanced lighting
control systems for commercial operations and residential properties.
The IT Department
Wallbox dimmer assembly
Current Tours:
Gretchen Wilson, Australian Pink Floyd,
Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium, the TransSiberian Orchestra
Current Projects:
Charlotte Arena, DFW Grand Hyatt, Nokia
Theatre in New York, Crossroads Church
Vari-Lite product manager, George Masek
Vari-Lite assembly
Dallas, Tex.
Vari-Lite was founded in 1980; Entertainment Technology in 1983; Genlyte Group
in 1984 and Lightolier in 1986. By 2002,
Genlyte had incorporated and had all companies under one roof.
Bob Schacherl, VP of worldwide sales
Control Systems for Live
Second Edition
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook
Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and
Electrical Distribution
Control Systems for Live
Entertainment provides essential
information for technicians, engineers
and designers interested in how control systems and computers are used
in the live entertainment arena.
Specifically covering control for lighting, lasers, sound, video, film projection, stage machinery, animatronics,
special effects and pyrotechnics for
theatre, concerts, theme parks,
themed-retail, cruise ships, museums,
corporate and other events.
"In plain language, Box discusses
day-to-day practice on the set, current
equipment in use and extensive tricks
of the trade useful to everybody from
the director of photography to the
gaffer, rigging crew, best boy and
lamp operator....Box thoroughly
demystifies the world of film lighting."
- Ray Zone, American
Cinematographer Magazine
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
A-Z of Lighting Terms
Author: Brian Fitt
Pages: 256 Book/Paperback
This pocket-sized A-Z guide will
be of use to all those in the
industry, particularly students,
who have heard expressions or
terms and wondered what they
meant. Although most technical
books have glossaries, The A-Z
of Lighting Terms has expanded
on many of these terms using
illustrations to clarify some of the
more complicated principles,
formulae and laws.
Stage Manager
The Professional Experience
Author: Larry Fazio
Pages: 400 Book/Paperback
Author: John Huntington
Pages: 440 Book/Paperback
Third Edition
Author: Harry Box
Pages: 556 Book/Paperback
"Larry Fazio presents the journey of a stage manager, from
interviewing for the position
through striking a theatrical production. He describes what
does-and sometimes, does notmake a good stage manager
based on his own experience
and that of other theatre professionals." - Janine Rauscher,
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
Your #1 resource for continued education.
Lighting Control
Technology and Applications
Second Edition
Author: Robert Simpson
Pages: 576 Book/Paperback
"A work of awesome scholarship... It's eminently readable,
with ultra-clear diagrams...This
is the definitive book the industry
didn't know it needed by an
author totally on top of his subject - it's a must for anyone who
needs to know what's under the
bonnet of a lighting control system." Lighting Equipment News
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
Illustrated Theatre Production Guide
Author: John Holloway
Pages: 336 Book/Paperback
A step-by-step approach,
Illustrated Theatre Production
Guide contains a brief history of
physical theatres and the development of various forms such as
thrust, proscenium, and black
box venues. Operation of theatre
equipment is covered in detail in
the chapters on rigging and curtains. Instructions for operating a
fly system and basic stagehand
skills such as knot tying and drapery folding, are clearly outlined.
Concert Tour Production Management
Author: John Vasey
Pages: 184 Book/Paperback
All you need to know about concert
touring by an industry expert.
Appendices provide industry
standard forms and information.
Only book dedicated to production
management for concert tours.
Concert Lighting - Second Edition
Techniques, Art and Business
Author: James L Moody
Pages: 279 Book/Paperback
Thoroughly updated with new sections on Computer Aided Drafting,
moving lights and other new equipment and techniques. A real-life
look at what a lighting designer
does- from fighting for contracts to
designing a show. Special emphasis on rock-and-roll concert lighting.
Order online TODAY at
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NAIAS 2006Production Technolog
Video Is the New Automa
As the booth displays get more and more
eccentric,the complexity of the product reveals
increases exponentially as manufacturers
consistently compete to out do their rivals.
By CoryFitzGerald
f it’s January, then it must be time for the
North American International Auto Show.
Every year, Detroit is the site of the launch
of the auto show circuit, which brings with
it acres of lighting technology. Over the
past several years, LEDs have been breaking
ground in large arenas all over the world,
and auto shows have recently embraced
the technology and put it to excellent use.
This year, however, there was a huge influx
of both LED and other lighting-controlled
video products. Nearly every booth at the
show contained one form of LED product
or another, and that, along with the creative
teams, made the show floor look more and
more like the LDI tradeshow floor. As each
passing year pushes the boundaries of what
is possible, it’s interesting to look at what is
actually going on in the booths, the people
who make it happen and what we can
expect to see in the future.
An auto show can be
broken down into two
basic parts: the
booths—the ones open to the public for
the bulk of the show—and the press events,
which are the main events where car company executives present their company’s latest
offerings to the press. Auto manufacturers
use these events, held throughout the year in
various cities, to launch new products or give
updates on the progress of the company.
The press events themselves are usually held
a week or so before the show opens to the
public, giving each company a slotted time
to speak to the press. As the booth displays
get more and more eccentric, the complexity
of the product reveals increases exponentially as manufacturers consistently compete
to outdo their rivals.
One of the problems this presents is the
fact that there are two separate lighting rigs
essentially sharing the same space because
the press events are usually held within the
space of the display booth. Occasionally, the
same firm designs both the display lighting and press lighting rigs, but more often
than not, separate companies handle each
part. One difficulty with this arrangement is
the issue of control. With two separate rigs
come two separate controllers, and while the
display lighting might be more permanent, the press event usually requires
coordination and control over the
display lighting to fully control the
entire booth.
The Spectacle of the
For the past two years, I have
worked the Hyundai press events.
These events, while certainly not
the largest in the room, are a good
example of how the event continually tries to build upon the previous year’s image and make the
event that much more of a spectacle. The key moment is always
the car reveal, when the car is hit
with a burst of light or something to make it pop and draw
attention. Then the press gets to
take pictures, so the car needs
to look its best and brightest.
While the presentation may not
be that long, it is always thor-
oughly rehearsed,
the point
of perfection, so that
involved, particularly those
responsible for
the look of the
car, are all completely satisfied.
New Tools From Existing
Howard Werner, a principal designer with
Lightswitch, was responsible for the lighting in the DaimlerChrysler exhibits as well as
the related press events. In concert with the
marketing and PR departments at D/C, Werner
worked with the exhibit’s scenic elements to
create the final looks and collaborated on the
organization of the booths to best light the
cars. Werner explained,“This year, we used a
new fixture that I, on behalf of Lightswitch,
have been helping design with PRG. It’s called
the Auto PAR. It’s basically a Power PAR HMI
unit on a Vari*Lite VL6 Yoke. It’s designed specifically for auto shows and exhibits where the
number of units and man-hours for focusing
makes these units very practical.”
Chris Medvitz, another principal designer
at Lightswitch, also used these fixtures on
both the Nissan and Infiniti displays. He commented, “They are a leap forward for us. The
difference is seamless to the client, but we
don’t lose a day between when the cars are
loaded in and when we have them lit, just to
focus the lights.”
The flexibility a moving yoke offers is
mirrored in the flexibility of LED and video
technology. While the creative process involved with creating a wide variety of video
content may be just as laborious as or even
more so than with lighting, the payoff is well
worth the extra effort. To be able to modify
the look and feel of a video sequence or to
instantly change the color and tone of an
entire display run off of video devices such
as VersaTile puts incredible power back in
the designers hands. It’s reminiscent of the
advent of moving lights. This year, Element
Labs, makers of the Versa TILE LED product
line, had products in many of the major
booths. According to Matt Ward of Element
Labs, “CT Germany provided Versa TILE and
VersaPixel for the Saab booth. Versa TILE has
been part of the Saab exhibit since September 2003. The 50 mm square VersaPixel
system was mounted in custom extrusions.
Also, Upstaging provided the VersaTube system for the Ford press events in Cobo Hall.”
…And New Technology
for New Tools
Over at the Infiniti exhibit, Medvitz found
another use for the VersaTube fixtures.“We
used them as a reveal mechanism for our big
moment. We wanted a look that complemented our custom-built ‘media blades,’ which were
scenic pieces that had strips of Barco MiPix set
under an acrylic piece with sandblasted edges,
creating a soft and subtle video look. We built a
circular array that fit around the car, which was
flown for the reveal and then used as a hanging scenic piece. The look was perfect for the
feel of the show, and with the custom content
ology Drives Auto Show
tomated Lighting
Medvitz. Throughout the exhibit and on
press days, a variety of media was used, including plasma screens and both Mac- and
PC-based interactive displays, in addition to
the video used for the main displays.
Across the aisle from the Nissan booth
sat the DaimlerChrysler booth, designed
by fellow Lightswitch
Building the
partners Howard Werner and John Featherstone. For this booth, Featherstone used
a four-panel, 25-foot-high display of Barco
MiPix on travelers, positioned like Japanese
shoji screens, for the reveals of the cars.
“Every time the screens opened, something
Building on
the success of
each year, the
designs for
the displays
and press
events continue to build, both simplifying their setup
and simultaneously pushing the envelope
of the technology to outpace the prior year.
As Chris Medvitz pointed out, “We put in
a framework for next year. Each year is a
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100.0602.NAIS.JH.indd 51
significant investment in the technology
and the techniques used, usually to be used
again. Each exhibit evolves and embraces
the technology.”
“It seems moving lights used to be ‘the
thing’ to have at the auto show, the new
toy with the gobo logos and the flash and
trash,” Rodd McLaughlin said. “Now, more
and more, video is the big thing that delivers the message of the booth. Lights are
becoming more and more for illumination
only.” This trend, especially evident in the
growing use of the Auto PAR, illustrates that
technology really is driving the booths and
the displays are getting increasingly more
complex and demanding of the technology.
As the trend continues, we look forward to
seeing what innovations this part of the
industry continues to drive.
Ad info:
integrated with the main video look, it was a
very effective tool for incorporating the reveal,”
he said. Medvitz also designed lighting and
media for the Nissan exhibit—both displays
were produced by the George P. Johnson Company—for which he was the creative director
for the content of
the “media cloud.”
This comprised
a circular array of
Barco Olite modules,
providing a low-res
video display flanked
on either side by hi-res
Chromatek 6 mm LED
screens to fit the concepts
created in the booth.
“Originally, the concepts for the ‘media cloud’
included a seamless integration of high- and low-res
video; however, after testing
and looking at the fixtures
together, it became clear that
the low-res video wouldn’t fill
out the original concept. We
decided to use more abstract
content, which would also coordinate with the screens, and augment them
as opposed to distract from them. We also
built a base of content using text to highlight the products. All the video products
were utilized based on their specialty, and
what was needed in the display,” explained
new would appear,” said Featherstone.
The media for the screens was controlled
by a Green Hippo Hippotizer media server
and programmed by Rodd McLaughlin.
“I chose the Hippotizer,” said Featherstone, “because some of the content
needed to have its aspect ratio changed.
The Hippotizer has two separate effects
channels, which allowed us to still apply
other effects to the content on each of
the eight layers, as well as have control
over the master layer.” McLaughlin used
a MA Lighting grandMA lighting console
to control his media server, while Dennis
Conners programmed the lighting for the
event on a Martin Maxxyz console.
“The PR and marketing people provided the big picture for the content,”
said Featherstone, “but the actual content
was conceived and created in partnership
among Lightswitch, producer Clear Blue
and Kinetic Creations, a Detroit-based
content provider.” While the content was
abstract, it was still fully integrated into the
shows and aided in the reveal process in
addition to being used just to disguise the
cars. One reveal, a new Jeep product, was
delivered to the stage in what looked
like a crate, and then it drove
out of the crate onto the
main stage to the surprise
of the audience. This is just
another example of the
techniques used to build
and excite the press
2/6/06 1:22:27 PM
Swami Candela Sees But
One Path
By SwamiCandela
fter six years of writing the
Focus on Technology column,
old what’s-his-name is moving on to new challenges (see the
new Focus on Design column in
these pages). Technology remains
an important part of this industry
and PLSN’s mission to educate,
inform and amuse our readers
includes a commitment to continue
to bring you informative articles in
a clear, concise language that your
mother could understand. To that
end, we are in search of a top-notch
replacement for old what’s-hisname. If you are qualified and interested in writing a monthly column
on technology for PLSN, please
contact the editor at [email protected] In the meantime,
we will be pleased to answer your
technology questions. Please e-mail
your questions to Swami Candela at
[email protected]
Dear Swami,
I remember PLSN published
an article a while back about 208V
power distribution in the tech section. Oh wise one, I have a question
that I hope you can help answer. If
the manufacturer of moving light “X” says that
their light pulls 10 amps on 208V, does that
mean that it is 5 amps on leg A and 5 amps on
leg B, or 10 amps on both legs A and B? Half
of the people at my work say it’s the former
and the other half say it’s the later.
Dear Please-Don’t-Pull,
We’re not sure which manufacturer makes
moving light “X,” but we’re pretty sure the
Swami used to work for them at one time or
another, most likely in India or Afghanistan.
Yours is an excellent question, but I think
it’s one that becomes apparent when you
look into Swami’s crystal ball. Alternatively,
you can just look at a drawing of a lighting
load connected to a three-phase transformer.
The vast majority of power distribution
systems in venues in North America are fourwire “wye” systems. They have three hot legs,
each of which is 120º out of phase with the
other two, plus one neutral and one ground.
(That makes five wires, I know, but electricians
The vast majority
of power
systems in venues
in North America
are four-wire
“wye” systems.
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PLSN february 2006
aren’t known for counting skills.) These wires
are color-coded so that even an audio tech can
hook up the power correctly: green is always
ground, white is neutral and the three phases
are black, red and blue. That’s why, when you
go into a new venue, you will most likely find
five female color-coded Camlock connectors
into which you can plug your feeder cable.
To connect a 208V load on a three-phase
wye system, you use two phases and connect
the load in series with the two legs.
This leaves only one path to complete
the circuit, and that’s through both legs. So
you should be able to see from the illustration that there is one path for the current,
which means that all 10 amps have to flow
through both legs.
Having said that, you would think that
when you see a 100A three-phase power distro that it would only provide 100 amps total,
but that’s not the case. Instead, it means there
is a total of 300 amps available. Perhaps that’s
the source of a lot of our confusion. That and
the number of wires in a four-wire system.
One last caveat; when you are connecting loads to a three-phase system, it is very
important to balance the loads among the
three phases. If you are not careful, you can
burn up the neutral by pulling too much current through one of the legs and not enough
through the other two. That’s because the
sum of the currents in the three legs, if they
are balanced, is equal to zero. This is not easy
to do with variable loads such as dimmers,
but if you see flames coming from the general
direction of the feeder cable, then you might
consider a career as a pyro tech.
Where do you
need a wireless
lamp today?
Assistant Head of Lighting
Automations Technician/Board Operator
Let Them Know...You
are Seeing their ads
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enable you to receive
PLSN for
Your #1
resource for
View the large
Cirque du Soleil’s production of Zumanity
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in Las Vegas, NV is seeking applicants for
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The ideal candidate must have previous
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If you are interested in this position, please
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No Phone Calls Please
Stop Answering
Let the LD FAQ T-Shirt do the answering for you.
You may have already heard about these shirts that feature the answers to
the Top 10 stupid questions audience members ask. Now you can order one
of these beauties and a portion of the net proceeds will benefit the music
and arts programs of the Rogue River, Ore School District.
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PLSN february 2006
100.0602.Index.SS.indd 54
2/3/06 8:49:23 PM
A.C.T Lighting, Inc.
All Access Staging & Prod.
Applied Electronics
ASI Production Services
Atlanta Rigging
Barbizon Lighting Company
Chauvet Lighting
Checkers Industrial Prod.
City Theatrical Inc.
Clay Paky America
Coast Wire & Plastic Tech., Inc.
Creative Stage Lighting
Doug Fleenor Design
Element Labs
ESP Vision
Full Sail
Future Light
High End Systems
Infinite Designs
KLS Technology Group
Legend Theatrical
Leprecon/Cae Inc.
Light Source
Mountain Productions
31,44,51 757.591.9371
11,35,49 512.836.2242
54,C3 800.472.8541
FC,13 954.927.3005
Ocean Optics
Pearl River
Pro Tapes & Specialties
Robe America
Robert Juliat USA
Rosco Laboratories
Staging Dimensions
Theatrical Media Services, Inc.
Tyler Truss Systems
Xtreme Structures & Fabrication
pointed—not so much that he left at a
critical moment (he was at Martin slightly
longer than even Volver was), but where he
went. ADJ thrives in the rough-and-tumble
landscape of the low- and mid-markets for
lighting and learned early on how to leverage the advantages of Chinese manufacturing economics products—ADJ general
manager Scott Davies seemed quite at
home amid the bustle in the lighting and
DJ arena at the far end of the NAMM show
in Anaheim in January, where three rows
of booths on the convention center’s lower
level formed a high-tech version of Mott
Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Loader’s
presence at the helm of Elation’s sales strategy is intended to give ADJ an address on
Fifth Avenue, as well.
One industry insider commented on
background that “ADJ understands the dynamics of the MI and DJ distribution side of
things. It’s time for them to move upmarket,
and that’s what Eric brings them.”
Loader agreed, telling PLSN that,
“Elation is intended to be the professional, longer-warranty brand.” A separate
marquee, Acclaim Lighting, that Loader
will also direct, will focus on architectural
and stage lighting products. Loader said
that Elation has its own dedicated staff to
sell into the high end of the market and
establish an identity apart from that of
ADJ; the venture has five full-time sales
staffers and three full-time technicians
reporting to him in Los Angeles. “This is
AC Power Distribution, Inc.
City Theatrical Inc.
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Lighting Industry Percolates
as Personnel Changes
continued from cover
competition. P.J. Turpin, former Clay Paky
America CEO, is rumored to have been
hired at Martin US. Former Midwest sales
manager Lewis Long returned to Martin in
January. But it’s a trend that goes well beyond these two companies: Departing High
End VP of sales Bill Morris will have part of
his bailiwick covered by global tech support
manager Jeff Pelzl, whose role is being
broadened to include worldwide sales.
Loader’s move illustrates ADJ’s apparent
strategy of developing high-end market
share with a reanimated and dedicated
upscale brand. Martin Professional founder
Peter Johansen started the company on
a strategic path upmarket from a DJ-level
company, and Volver continued that strategy when he became the CEO of Martin US.
As an executive during that period, Loader
had a great view of the action throughout
that era, coming to Martin in 1994 and with
hands-on experience as a DJ himself. (In
fact, he had worked for American DJ at one
point early in his 20-year career in lighting.)
At the same time, it appears that Martin
US has to position itself to add market
share in the opposite direction. Martin has
to continue to try to reverse revenue and
profit declines of the last several years and
get better traction in the lower ends of the
market while cutting costs by moving more
manufacturing to Asia. And it has to accomplish that while still maintaining its position
at the industry’s upper end.
That’s what makes Loader’s move more
about building market share, and to do
that it’s the people behind the products
that make the difference,” he said.
Loader emphasized that the Elation
move was not a comment on Martin US’s
situation, and he credited Martin US as one
of the parent company’s most successful
divisions over time. However, he suggested
that a seemingly constant stream of personnel changes had hindered its market
performance in recent years. “Since I came
in there, I had five different bosses, and I
hired and fired more people than I care
to count,” he said. “It had become a very
corporate environment and there were
not many faces left in the company that
people recognized.”
Still, Loader said that he sees Elation
and the rest of the established lighting
industry on one side of an emerging confrontation between them and increasingly
Chinese manufacturers, some of which are
evolving from OEM suppliers into branded
competition. “It’s a huge challenge,” he
said. “The quality of products coming out
of there is much higher than even two or
three years ago.”
“It’s going to be harder to move
downmarket, but that’s where the top-end
companies like Martin have to go,” one
industry observer commented. “A company like ADJ is already there; pumping up
Elation as a high-end brand is the logical
move for them.”
-By Dan Daley
Krowe, Todd and
Diamond Form
continued from cover
contribution will round out our considerable expansion plans,” said Krowe.
“I am thrilled with the team we are
assembling. We have a unified vision
and are looking forward to growing
together,” said Diamond.
Paul Edwards, former director of
standards at PRG and president of
Quantum Energy Devices, has also
joined BML-Blackbird as technical director and general manager.
“Major equipment acquisitions are
underway to support the workload of
the new enterprise,” said Todd, “including our designation as the exclusive
provider in the New York metropolitan
area for BigLites. The new xenon fixtures
being represented in the U.S. by Martin
Professional will debut at the GM Winter
Blast event at the Super Bowl.”
Elliot Krowe will serve as CEO of the
newly-formed company with Eric Todd
as president and Shelly Diamond as
senior vice president and production
sales manager. “We are committed to
maintaining the level of personal service each of us has been known for; this
is the very nature of our client relationships,” said Todd. “Our growth has and
will continue to reflect this.”
The address and phone numbers for
BML-Blackbird Theatrical Services will
remain the same until completion of a
move to a new and expanded facility
during the first quarter of 2006.
Great White Case Gets Pleaded Out
continued from cover
plea bargain, it has been speculated that
Biechele will cooperate with prosecutors in their case against the Derderians,
who each are charged with 200 counts of
involuntary manslaughter for allegedly
installing the flammable foam in violation
of the state fire code.
All the three defendants were originally
charged with two counts of involuntary
manslaughter for each of the 100 people
killed. One count per death alleged criminal
negligence; the other accused the defendants of committing underlying offenses
that led to the deaths.
Sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited
highly flammable foam lining the club’s
walls and ceiling, creating a fast-moving
blaze that killed 100 people and injured
more than 200 in the fourth-deadliest
nightclub fire in U.S. history. The device in
question was a gerb and, flammable foam
or not, as PLSN editor Richard Cadena noted
in the March 2003 issue, why would anyone
use a 20-foot gerb in a room with 15-foot
Biechele, who was apparently not licensed as a pyro specialist, has said through
100.0602.Index.SS.indd 55
his lawyer that he had permission from
the club to light the pyrotechnics during
the concert, which the Derderians have
disputed. Some victims’ relatives reacted
angrily to news of the plea bargain, saying
they hoped to see Biechele go to trial. Each
manslaughter charge carries up to 30 years
in prison.
-By Bill Evans
PLSN february 2006
2/6/06 1:23:35 PM
Around the World in
here’s only one guy I know, Kevin Lyman, who owns his own tours. He produces the Warped tour every summer.
Over the years, Kevin has produced a variety
of other events and tours, and he often calls
on me to help light them. He knows I will
draw up something original, yet fit it into his
allocated budget.
Last year, Kevin started a new yearly festival to be called A Taste of Chaos. The main
stage would host five bands that played
under my light rig. During set change, other
acts would play 15-minute sets on a B stage,
built wherever it fit in each daily venue. His
only demand was that I treat each band
the same. Everyone uses the same lights,
gets the same programming time and looks
This tour would take place on three
different continents with 21 shows in 30
days. Each band played a 30 to 40 minute
set of their original music. I would duplicate
the same light rig in each country as often
as possible. But more importantly, I had to
make sure I used instruments and consoles
that could be found in every country. For
this, I chose Martin’s MAC 2000 Profile for
the hard-edge fixture and High End’s Studio
Beam for the wash fixture. In addition, I
added some Thomas PixelLines (LED strip
lights) for eye candy and some Martin
Atomics as strobes. The console was the old
faithful Hog 2 with a wing. This gave me the
most playback faders and buttons for an
affordable price.
My first thought about the truss structure was to come up with something that
moved. Straight trusses bore me. But if I take
some truss and move it to a different position for each band, I could come up with
some distinctively different looks. This theory had worked well for me in the past, but
I quickly abandoned the idea once I started
to program. I gave it up for two reasons.
First, some truss configurations looked a lot
cooler than others. With instructions to keep
each band lit equally, it was impossible. The
other reason was that each new truss move
added a whole slew of new focus positions
for all the moving lights. I was making it a
lot harder on myself and the new techs that
I would use in each country.
So I chose a straight front truss with
five wash lights, five hard-edge lights, some
By NookSchoenfeld
spaces for band members to walk into. I
only use two followspots at a time, one on
the vocalist and one to pick up solos. Lekos
cover the rest.
The mid truss was 50 feet long, configured into an arch by adding some hinges
and extra hoists to lift it. I alternately underhung wash and hard-edge lights, making
everything symmetrical. On the top rail of
the truss, I alternated the LED strips and
strobes. The rear truss was predominantly a
rag truss. I needed 40 feet of black backdrop
to hide four drum kits and all the backline
gear not being used by the band playing
at the time. I also had a custom-painted
backdrop for the tour. This discouraged
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Molefay blinders for crowd lighting and
six Lekos for front key lighting. I need the
Lekos because I know many of my bands
start out hating spotlights for two reasons.
The first is that they grew up playing clubs
and would have a blaring light from 30 feet
away blinding them the whole show. The
second was that their first LD had no idea
how to properly utilize followspots as front
light. The Lekos I use on the front truss are
done in what I call a “zone defense.” I focus
five 26º Lekos across the front edge of the
stage. The sixth Leko goes on the drummer.
I use them as key lights and leave no dark
every band from using their own backdrops
for their set. Since the truss was there, I hung
some bars of ACLs across the top to use for
accents. These are PAR 64s with aircraft landing bulbs, which produce tight white beams
focused in fans and are commonly seen at
most rock concerts.
Once I had a design, I sent the artwork of
the stage light design and a list of questions
to each band’s management. The questions
were simple: Do you like spotlights? Do you
like or hate strobes? Do you like lights to
move at opportune times or do you prefer
them parked? Do you like multicolored
bright looks or solid-colored washes? In
addition, I requested a CD burned with the
songs each band would probably play each
night. I realize bands will alternate songs in
their sets quite often, but most bands have a
few favorite songs that they play each night.
These were what I would program. I would
punt (come up with light cues on the fly) on
any extra songs they throw in each night.
I have one rule I follow for every band—I
either keep all the wash lights focused
on the band while the hard-edge fixtures
remain in graphic foci, or vice versa. This way,
I always “light the money.” First up was a
punk band named Rise Against. No spots, no
strobes, minimal movement and solid color
washes. It was easy for me. I concentrated
on intensity bumps and intensity chases,
keeping it all simple. I used lots of one color
washes, mixed with white to suit the fast
upbeat music.
Next up was Story of the Year, a large group
of maniacs who never stood still for a second.
Fast music changes combined with backflips
off of side fills and lots of “stop” cues. That’s
when the music peaks and stops for a brief
second before a tempo change. Lighting designers live for this. I used spots quite often as
solos changed rapidly and musicians climbed
on speakers. I utilized lots of movement, chases
and color flashes.
Next up was Funeral for a Friend, hard-driving power rock. Their songs were rock anthems,
with typical verse, chorus, bridge and guitar
solo cues. I lit them in primary colors with big
power washes of light. I used occasional movement and strobes when called for. I treated
them as Led Zeppelin should be.
Hardcore band Killswitch Engaged was next.
They wanted something different—all strobes,
all the time. At first, I thought they would be the
toughest challenge and the least amount of fun
to light. I was mistaken. They were a blast and
kept me on my toes. They changed beat constantly, and coming up with 100 different strobe
effects took some time.
Last up was a pop band called The Used.
They played some fast music, but their popular
songs were power ballads. They wanted no
spots or strobes to start with, just lots of intensity
bumps and sweeping lights to augment their
lyrics. They reminded me a lot of an angrier
Journey. I lit them very prettily with nice color
combinations. Sweeping choruses into fancy
guitar solos. The management informed me it
was perfect, just what they wanted. But halfway
through the tour, the band changed their mind
and asked if I would use spotlights on them as
well as some occasional strobe flashes.
They had watched how I lit the other
bands. So despite using the same light fixtures
for each band, the light show looked entirely
different for each. And I was able to keep to the
one simple lighting rule I abide by—never see
the same look twice in the same show.
E-mail Nook at [email protected]
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