Team BarthaMay 7, 2015

Be Cool

Putting Your Show in the Best Light

Flip a switch, light a room. We do it every day, right? Lighting a show is a whole different animal. It’s a detailed and highly technical process that includes using the best technology and the right equipment to deliver the best result for the client. It’s also pretty cool.

Lighting design is customized to each show. The lighting and rigging teams must take the size of the room, the design of the set, and the personality of the show into consideration when putting together the right lighting treatments.

Bartha’s lighting and rigging departments do constant research to ensure that we are offering clients the best, most advanced technology. That includes watching trends in the industry, reading reviews of new equipment, and getting hands-on at trade shows like Lighting Design International (LDI).

Leaner and Greener

An emerging trend in event lighting is the desire for a greener experience. “We had a client recently who asked us to meet a certain energy threshold,” said lighting department head Billy Davidson.

In order to meet those green standards for the entire production—including lighting—Bartha consulted with a green-initiative company.

The challenge of reducing power consumption was carefully thought out and implemented, with custom-designed, greener lighting treatments. “The mantra is smaller, faster, brighter,” Davidson said of the newer energy-efficient technology.

The lighting team used lights called ‘airstars’ to reduce the wattage required to light the room. Each airstar can replace 12-18 traditional lights because it’s designed to emit light over a larger area. “The airstar is effectively a 360 degree instrument,” Davidson said.  “We used 12,000 watts instead of 144,000 watts and achieved a better result.”

The emphasis on greener production was a first for that particular client, and the successful outcome was the result of a true collaborative effort between the client and the Bartha team.

The Right Light

Although there’s some pretty cool technology out there, not all live up to the hype. Through exhaustive research, the team reviews and determines what will best meet the needs of Bartha’s clients and productions.

“There are always certain technologies that get a lot of buzz around them for good or bad,” Davidson said. “Part of what you have to do is separate the fanboyism from what it really does.”

One of those new instruments caught Davidson’s eye recently, but the acquisition of it was carefully considered to ensure that it was the right purchase.

The light offered “a great narrow beam—really tight—to the point where you had to be careful not to point it at stuff, or use it in smaller rooms, or it could cause a fire. A warning actually comes with it,” he said. “It looks great on big shows, but we do more than that, so I couldn’t justify the cost.”

He kept researching the technology though, and found an even more versatile light made by the same manufacturer, best-in-industry Clay Paky. With the ability to provide both a highly-focused beam with sharp edges as well as a wide open beam, the hybrid Mythos “does everything the other one does, but you can also use it in smaller rooms. This makes sense for us.

“The advantage of using that style of light,” he said, “is that when you can concentrate the light in that really tight beam, it gives you a really cool look.

“With other lights, you see the effect of what they’re shining on, but with these really tight beams, the beam itself is an effect. Especially when there’s haze in the room, when that light moves through it, it’s a set piece that I can move around myself.”

Now that’s cool.