Taking a cue from Jim Hutchinson (a.k.a. Jim On Light), we have become increasingly interested in the next generation of lighting designers, board ops, and live event technicians. A student at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music recently got in touch with us via Twitter, asking for Vectorworks symbols of our signature GT truss products. After exchanging a few Tweets with David, he had the files he needed to get on with his design. The assignment: create a rock concert environment with given stage and performance platform constraints. Budget and rigging considerations were left to the wayside. This was simply an exercise in letting the mind wander.
David has sent over his plot, as well as some great renders of his design. Before we get to that, we wanted to pick his brain about the current state of lighting design. Anyone can put a Vectorworks symbol, be it lighting, structure, or video, on a plot without rhyme or reason. We were hoping to understand what made David tick.
Sparking the Light
David explained that he started his technical theatre career in elementary school, working backstage for a variety of productions. He explained that what began as managing curtains, or running a fog machine soon turned into opportunities to operate a spotlight. As he reached middle school (7th and 8th grade, for those of us who have forgotten), he admits, unabashedly, that he was willing to serve as both a noise boy and a lighting tech from time to time. Everyone knows how hard it can be for a lighting designer to talk about those dark days behind an audio console, so we certainly appreciate his candor.
David was fortunate enough to be one of the first students at a technical theatre magnate high school in Dallas, a unique opportunity many high school lampies would give their drafting hand for.David explained that he looks to industry veterans Kenneth Posner, Kevin Adams, and Warren Flynn for inspiration. He shared a quick story about meeting Flynn’s son on a touring production of Wicked, and that Flynn has eagerly mentored him through his early career and lighting education.
Now to the part most of you have been waiting for, the design in question. David explained that this project was an exercise in designing without real world limitations. He was given stage and platform dimensions, and let loose from there.
You can see in the renders what he described as the ability to flood the stage with light from any conceivable angle, with any light color he wanted. David mentions that his design was inspired by Trans Siberian Orchestra, and U2 tours, each with incredibly bright and flexible lighting plots. As the audience peers into the frame of the stage, they immediately, but perhaps subconsciously, notice the perspective created by the structure. This is intentional, notes David. Curves are placed downstage, mid stage, and upstage to add to the perspective effect. If you were to count, you would find almost 400 lighting fixtures in the plot. Without a pre-rigged truss this design would be almost impossible to tour with. That’s were David turned to Tyler Truss. Tyler GT allows for pre-rigged fixtures to ride in the truss to the next destination. He also mentions that he was intrigued by the idea of lighting through the GT’s legs as they were pinned on top of the truss during the show. As you can see in the render, he certainly achieved his goals.
Thanks to David first and foremost for taking the time to talk to us about his design project, as well as for thinking of Tyler GT as the perfect solution for his project. We salute his pioneering nature, and look forward to working with innovative students and seasoned designers alike to create new solutions to old lighting and structure problems.