December 25, 2010

Wrapping up 2010

The past couple of months included working on the lighting for shows with Peter Frampton,
John Mayall (joined by Mick Fleetwood), Hiroshima, Three Dog Night, Gabriel Iglesias, Los Lobos, and Hal Holbrook doing his one-man show as Mark Twain, among others.  As you might expect, most of the links above to amateur Youtube videos aren't very good, but still give a sense of the shows, the venue and the lighting.  I operated the lights for some of these shows. Some artists came with their own lighting operators.

Just the other night I prepped my lighting rig for a sold out Bruno Mars concert.  This kid was #1 on the Billboard charts last week and this week he's got two songs at the #2 and #3 spots. He was ending his "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" tour here on Maui.  Below is a shot of him arriving at the Kahului airport.

I had decided to try adding a few more rows of lights upstage behind the band, including some MR16 strips on the floor.  In theater lighting terms, a truss or a batten pipe over the stage which has a row of lights attached to it is typically referred to as an electric, and they may be identified as 1st, 2nd, 3rd electric, and so on.  Each of my electrics has over 30 lights on it. I had 10 electrics for Bruno Mars, plus 50 side lights and another 100 lights over the audience pointed at him. That's about 450 lights which would probably total something like 400,000 watts. Not bad for a little theater on an island in the middle of the Pacific.

Yeah, I'm boasting about having that much power at my fingertips!  Of course, the lights are not all on at the same time, although I might slam on a good percentage of them on the last note of the final song. The squeals of the teenage girls have etched their memory into the walls of the hall.  I could still hear them reverberating in the rafters long after the show ended as I was wrapping up my cables.

But since the Burning Designer is about design, here's a creation for a one-night Christmas concert that had no budget and very little to work with.

I scrounged up some fabric and rope lights and hung them upstage from a batten in the shape of a Christmas tree. I focused some green lights on the fabric and then threw some fiber-optic cables in front of it so I could add some colorful little points of twinkles. My moving lights added pizazz when I rotated gobo shapes and colors on it. The lesson here is that: it's never about the flash and it's not about the latest gizmos... What it's all about is finding a way to add an emotional gush at just the appropriate moment.

To give it another name,  I'll call it... "romance".
Yeah, design is all about romance.

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