How I kept an incorrectly made glass gobo from cracking…

Nothing is worse than putting in a glass front projection gobo of your client's logo and having it read backwards 90 minutes before the show is to kick off. Without the protective mirror on the side to make the logo read correctly, the glass would crack within minutes after being turned on. So, with a knife and some muffler/heat-shield ducting tape and permission from my boss, I created another surface to reflect the heat of the 750W lamp projecting the gobo. Thankfully, the glass gobo made it through the show without cracking — a medium sized gamble with a huge payoff.
AJ Tragethon, lighting technician
San Jose, CA

How I Made Characters out of VL1000s…

I designed a show for California Repertory Group, in Long Beach, CA, entitled Shakespeare 72: A Tumble of the Heart. Scenes from many of the Shakespeare classics wove in and out of each other over 90 minutes. The task was to make the moving lights participants in the action. Six VARI*LITE VL1000TS units were lowered to a 9' trim and played the roles of the trees of Midsummer Night's Dream, armies of Henry VI, and the spirits of Joan La Pucelle, among others. To help all of our mindsets during programming, we named each fixture and referred to them not by fixture type but by their names, which all appropriately began with a “V.” The most important elements to making these lights characters were haze and tight shutters. With clearly defined beams of light and clear color choices, the audience was able to pick up on the intent of the light, whether to “trip” Helena into Demetrius's arms or to stand fast behind John Talbot facing against certain death.
Nick Solyom, student
California State University Long Beach

How I made a concentration camp for “The Shawl”…

My most challenging lighting job was designing lights for a two-act student production about the lives of Jewish people during WWII at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. The set was a simple, dirty purple fabric backdrop with a couple gray step units and a splattered gray floor. It was really up to the lighting to set the scenes. For the second act, entitled “The Shawl,” I needed to make an electrified barbed wire fence. To get the desired effect, I used Apollo's Barbed Wire with R02 and Rosco's Munn Slash with R312. I covered the whole backdrop with the wire and then layered the Slash over it. The effect was great, and it really set the dark, despairing mood of the scene.
Erica Burger, lighting designer

How I got an effect from a conventional light fixture…

Recently, I was shooting a comedy sketch show in a studio equipped with only basic lighting fixtures: some 2K fresnels, some 1K fresnels, some softs, and a few ERSs. The executive producer asked me to create a “unique and different” atmosphere for the featured singer, but I didn't even have one PAR64 to spice up the set. I solved the problem by removing the front lens of an ERS and putting it in the barndoor of a 2K fresnel. I secured the lens firmly inside by connecting the two big flaps of the barndoor with strips of gaffer. As such, I was able to obtain the perfect projection of the fresnel against the white background of the set. I added a gold amber gel to the ERS lens, and the effect was complete. By adjusting the position of the ERS lens back and forth, I was able to regulate the focus of the projected image. You could even see the texture of the glass on the background. Mission accomplished! Everybody happy!
Carlos Gaston Fazio, lighting director
Promofilm US

How I lit an intimate opera recital…

….in an auditorium with nine 650W fresnels, four fixed pipes, 24 channels (no front light position), all white and beige surrounding walls, and no technical team, except myself and a ladder, in ten days…

For O Casal Schumann (The Schumann Couple), staged at Casa das Artes in Portugal, I borrowed more spots from another theatre by the opera studio I work for: six PARs, six 1kW ellipsoidals, one 1kW flood. To have front and boom angles, I managed 6m pipes fixed in four 3' stands to hang ellipsoidals connected with cables to the circuits of the fixed pipes. PARs jewel-lit the singers and enhanced their costumes' textures. Finally, I projected the flood on the scenery (red curtains tied to the pipes) with a scarlet gel generating a general soft reflection that gave the overall warm tone, which was the only request of the director — a warm environment.
David Sobral, LD
Porto, Portugal