Professional Lighting & Production - Spring 2018 - Page 29

HTING IN 2018 easy for people to come up with a concept. It then becomes one of the designers’ jobs to educate the client on what is possible and what is not. Gotschel: I find that most clients I have dealt with understand lighting technology to some degree, but with all the new innovations that have come forth in the past several years, they don’t really un- derstand everything these newer products can do. The other factor is that many clients I’ve dealt with have a difficult time conceptualizing three-dimen- sional space. I still create renders and occasionally set up shop demos, or send videos to explain my ideas. The accessibility of this information hasn’t re- ally changed how I deal with clients. They still have general concepts they perceive and I still interpret them as best I can. Larivée: It is fair, and I see it as a good thing. People are better educated. Before, we were doing things on our own. Now, clients, even audiences have seen things and know what we are talking about. I think it’s great because we can talk with an artist about certain effects and they will have a good idea of the result – same for producers or managers. Audience wise, they have high expecta- tions. There’s YouTube, so they’ve seen a lot and it’s pushing us to come up with new visions. Smith: I’m not sure if it is the popularity of consum- er LEDs or something else, but it seems like clients today are more aware of what products can do and what they want on their show. With that, along with the amazing visualization software available, it is much easier to show a client your concepts and give them a very realistic look before they spend all their time and money on something they are un- certain about. At the same time, I find some clients try to find much cheaper options, often believing that all brands of technology are the same. It can be a very difficult time explaining and convincing people that it is worth the money to bring in the right product the first time instead of going the cheap route just to cost more in the end and often still not give the image they were looking for. PL&P: Considering things like a grasp of common technologies and tools, available education and training, etc., do you think the barrier for entry into lighting design and operation is higher or lower now than it was, say five years ago? In your experience, what's specifically contributing to that, and any tips or advice for people looking to get a start in stage lighting? Bartnes: As far as barriers to entry, they are still there. This is a difficult industry to succeed in. If you want to be an LD/operator, you have to stop taking gigs that don’t put you behind the light board. Over time, customers will only call you for board op gigs so it’s a multi-year transition. Clark: I think it’s way easier to get into stage lighting these days. With the advent of technology, it becomes very easy for someone to hook up a laptop and run lights. But to that end, I think the art of lighting a stage is being lost. It’s so easy to make the lights do things that people sometimes forget that there is something happening on stage; operators are too busy pointing the lights in your eyes and seeing what their console can do. My advice has always been: if you are looking at starting out in this business, go work in a shop for a while. Coil cable. Do what needs to be done and, above all, listen to people. There are some very smart people out there who are more than willing to share their knowledge. I have gotten more than a few gigs by just being in the shop, visiting and prepping gear. If people keep seeing you, they will hire you. Gotschel: I think there are a lot more professionals offering private training courses than there ever were in the past. The internet and social media has played a major role in this. Social media offers free advertising, and online courses can easily be set up. My advice to anyone starting in the lighting indus- try is to do your research. Don’t go for just anyone offering a course; look at reputable companies. Now, that will only take you so far. The rest comes down to experience. Larivée: Yes and no. It used to be more a “vibe thing” than now. Lighting was more abstract and vague. LDs were doing plans with stencils, jumping on projects because you knew someone. Now, you still jump on projects because you know someone, but you have to nail it. We have less time and way more technology in our hands. Pro- gramming a lighting desk is way more complicat- ed than it used to be. I think that younger lighting professionals are more educated and they are not afraid to ask questions. I feel that the youngsters are prepared and it helps that technology is a heavy part of their lives. Smith: I believe it is easier than ever for people to become designers, programmers, and operators. The technology has come a long way with the software available to us that greatly improves the visualization of what we are designing and programming. You don’t need to know the right people or live near a rental shop to be able to learn a console; you can simply download the offline editors or PC versions and start teaching yourself how to program. The console to use these days seems to be the grandMA2, and I’m sure the MA3 in the next two or three years, and MA Lighting has made it that much easier to learn by providing free access to visualization software for their console range. MA3D is a great solution for those who can’t afford WYSIWYG performance. For beginners, there is nothing more helpful than actually being able to visualize what you are trying to do and see how your commands respond without a rig in front of you. In addition, the amount of knowledge on websites and in forums is insane. There is a great network of professionals out there that is more than willing to help you if you find yourself scratching you head. Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief of Professional Lighting & Production. Spring 2018 | 29