Thematics LLC has designed custom Lightbox systems for Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and Valencia Community College in Orlando. Thematics' will showcase new illuminators and control software products at USITT 2008, booth #520.

Ball State is a comprehensive university with more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the US and around the world. It offers 170 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs; its College of Fine Arts boasts the University Theatre, home of the Mainstage series of productions.

Thematics owner and designer Charles Kirby “designed our Lightbox, which we received through a grant, for our specific needs and space,” explains Kip Shawger, who holds the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Chair of Design/Technology and serves as Associate Chair/Head of Design at Ball State’s Department of Theatre and Dance. “Lightbox replicates the university’s theatre space and lighting positions and is scaleable with more instruments as we move forward.”

“It’s a fantastic tool for students working in lighting, scenic and costume design, a great opportunity to put ideas in 3D space and show them to the director which can be difficult to do without a model,” he continues. “Lightbox is also a wonderful teaching tool, especially for showing people what light can do. When I say we have this new tool to play with, I mean that as a high compliment. Play is the best way to learn things.”

A 70x40-inch frame, Ball State’s Lightbox features an extended proscenium opening creating a 30-inch aluminum extrusion Custom ModelBox. Eleven overhead PVC clip tracks run along the upstage to downstage axis for the little lights to "hang" on. The ModelBox also includes eight adjustable side light booms and a flip up front-of-house extension to make hang and focus easier by assuring that every hanging position is truly accessible. The ModelBox rolls on sturdy casters and has a grid with an adjustable trim to enable lighting models in half-inch and quarter-inch scale (1:25-1:50).

The lighting fixture inventory includes 44 19-degree, 21 26-degree and 15 50-degree PinPoint Fiberoptic directional "little lights;" four shutterable miniature zooms (16-46 degree range); plus six gooseneck incandescent MR11 wash lights and Color Kinetics' LED wash light kits which feature four iMR16 RGB lamps, one strand of iMR11 RGB chromaisic chips and four 6-inch iCove strip lights. The 530 feet of Lumenyte black-jacketed Polymer Fiber Optic cable and accessories such as male and female 3D figurines, an adjustable leg and border set, Pop-Out-Furniture's pre-cut audience rows, a fiber cutter for clean onsite installation and assorted mini Rosco gobos are all included in the package.

System control for the Lightbox is a complete DMX loop comprised of a Multi-Source Illuminator 24-channel (MSI-p24) and two Multi-Source Illuminator 8-channel (MSI-p8) versions. Together with the Multi-Source Controller (MSI-p12), they have full control of each of the 106 individual little lights and 96 channels of control. Each pack comes with five pin DMX ports and external Smart Address dials so Ball State designers can easily change the channel assignments. The package includes a subscription to the new LIGHTBOX Operating System soft-control console (LBOS).

“Our students are using Lightbox a lot; they’re designing and programming with it. But they’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what it can do,” Shawger reports. “We pride ourselves on the use of new technology at the university and in our immersive learning applications. We really like the capabilities that Lightbox has given us.”

Valencia Community College is a multi-campus community college in Central Florida. Its East Campus in Orlando houses the 950-seat Valencia Community College Performing Arts Center (VCC PAC) and the intimate 100-seat Black Box Theatre.

The school’s CustomBox replicates VCC PAC and is convertible to the Black Box Theater space. It consists of a 72 x 36-inch aluminum extrusion Custom ModelBox frame 30 inches deep. Seven overhead PVC clip tracks run along the upstage to downstage axis for the little lights to “hang” on. The ModelBox also includes six adjustable side light booms and a flip up front-of-house extension to make hang and focus easier by assuring that every hanging position is truly accessible. The ModelBox rolls on sturdy casters and has a grid with an adjustable trim to enable lighting models in half-inch and quarter-inch scale (1:25–1:50).

Fixtures include four 10-degree, 40 19-degree, 40 26-degree and 20 50-degree PinPoint Fiberoptic directional “little lights” plus eight incandescent MR11 wash lights and Color Kinetics LED wash light kits which feature four iMR16 RGB lamps, one strand of iMR11 RGB chromaisic chips and four 6-inch iCove strip lights in a frosted plexi CycBox at the back wall. The 800 feet of Lumenyte black- jacketed Polymer Fiber Optic cable and accessories such as male and female 3D figurines, a USB optic camera for storyboarding and assorted mini Rosco gobos are all included in the package.

System control is a complete DMX loop comprised of a Multi-Source Illuminator 24-channel (MSI-p24) and two Multi-Source Illuminator 8-channel (MSI-p8) versions. Together with the Multi-Source Controller (MSI-p12), they have full control of each of the 114 individual little lights and 96 channels of control. Each pack comes with five pin DMX ports and external Smart Address dials so Valencia designers can easily change the channel assignments. The package includes a subscription to the new Lightbox Operating System soft-control console (LBOS).

Thematics is a NYC-based design firm dedicated to the themes of space. At its core it is a small group of designers who have worked worldwide on theatre, film, industrials, opera and television, showroom design, launch parties, and promotional campaigns. Thematics’ production team provides full lighting, sound, scenery, and projection design, and implementation elements for a wide range of projects.