Guiding the workings of our office by day, designing lighting plans by night, our Director of Operations tells us what satisfies his artistic itch:
“Everyone needs lighting. As a Lighting Designer, I work on projects ranging from theater and dance performances to architecture and events. One of my regular projects is the Consumer Electronics Show, held each January in Las Vegas. I’m part of a team responsible for putting all the lights, sound, video, and staging up the day before, rehearsing the show, running the show without a hitch (we only get one shot at it) and taking it all down again. For these kind of shows my job is about the art of time management.
The process starts weeks before when we develop the Light Plot: a big plan that shows where all the lights will go. This gets translated into an equipment list which gets sent to the lighting rental shop. A few days before the show we head to the shop to ‘prep the package’: testing and labeling everything, organizing cases for the truck, and finalizing the schedule and crew numbers.
At Load-In, usually a day or two before the show, we walk into an empty room. The crew of riggers, electricians, and more electricians work all day to set everything up. Once all the lights are hung and cabled we focus them: adjusting each and every light to get it aimed in the correct place, the color is correct, and all the bolts tightened. Focus sometimes runs longer than planned, with one shot to get the show right, we have to keep at it until everything looks good.
During the show I operate the computer control console ‘running’ the lights that were programmed during rehearsals the night before. Then all too soon the audience applauds, and the show is over, but for us it means time for Strike: not a break but when we take down everything, pack it into cases, onto a truck, and back to wherever it came from.
The whole process takes days and days of work to produce about 45 minutes of stage time but when the show does well at the end of the day it’s all worth it.”