NEUHAUS LIGHTING

Festival Concept

Just having a little fun today.  Playing around with easy festival lighting ideas.  Only requirement is that it fits on a 40x40 roof.  I think this would work.  It really depends on how many band members you have.  The walls are Cobra panels from Element Labs.    I have never used them before but I think they would work well in this application.  The rest of the lighting is  28xVl2500 spots and 18xVl500 washes.  Most of the lights hang from ladders on the perimeter or the roof.  This puts a good deal of weight on out side of the roof structure allowing a greater number of fixtures.  Simple rigging of the ladders will keep weight down.  The ladders combined with the lights from the midstage truss and set pieces would make for a nice little show.  A small lighting package with big punch.  I would most likely add some more 500's to the DS for band wash.  It is just a quick Idea.


VideoScreen 4

In a previous post about Vectorworks 2010 I wrote about the video screen plug-in by Landru Design.  After viewing the VW 2010 demo I wondered what had happened to this plug-in since I noticed that VW included a video tool.  I was happy to here that it is still alive and kicking.  It turns out that Andy Dunning found and read the blog and was quick to point out that his plug-in VideoScreen 4 is still out there.  I am glad it is.  After looking at his website I can see that Andy's plug-in offers a lot more than the VW2010 tool.  I really like the VS4-LED part.  I have always had trouble explaining what a low res LED wall looks like.  Now I can just show my clients.  In this age of visually illiterate clients it is a must to be able to show them a 3d rendering a not a 2d plan.  This is what makes Vectorworks and it's plug-ins so powerful.  Being able to switch back and forth from 2d plan or section to a 3d model is very powerful.  Thanks Andy for writing such a cool plug in.  Everyone should check it out.  While you are at it you should check out his other plug-ins.

Vectorworks 2010

Vectorwork new release 2010 is coming soon, I can't really tell you when.  But soon.  I was asked to listen to a product demonstration today.  The webinar which was hosted by Nemetschek NA pointed out how the new release will bring some 80 new features.  A yearly release of Vectorworks if becoming expensive, and time consuming to keep up to date.  Updating software every year can be a very big hassle.  It maybe my experience from updating from 12.5 to 2009.  I know there were some big changes made between those releases.  My complaint is having to update all the plug-in I have already purchased.  May I suggest that Nemetschek take a look at making Vectorworks backwards compatible with third party plug-ins.

Many of the images that Vectorworks advertise on there website are amazing.  I have never been able to render anything like that.  I wish I could.  I have read a lot of material and bought several books on the subject and still ever got the results I wanted.  I understand that Vectorworks is a very complicated program.  That being said, it would be nice if a program like Vectorworks would have an extensive library of online tutorials.  I have purchased other software packages like Daylite and Rapidweaver who have done that.  Is is very helpful.  When I have a question about how to do something in these programs I know that a an online tutorial will be there to show me.  If these smaller and much cheaper packages can offer this much free support I am sure Vectorworks can do it as well.  I know that the books and training classes are a good source of revenue for Vectorworks or Nemetschek, but selling the program would make you more money.

Vectorworks should be in the business of making all there users experts.  If every user of Vectorworks was an expert it would create a synergistic effect creating more business for its users and more sales of the software.  Vectorworks, mission should be not only to create the best software on the planet but should also be to make sure all there users can use the product to the highest possible level.  What good is a product update if the users can not take it to the highest level. 

So what is new.  The Event Planning menu is very nice.  It allow you to quickly build small over head plans for event layout.  This would be nice for an intern at a event planning firm to use.  It allows you to build your room, stage, and seating all quickly in 2d, but you are working in the 3d so cool.  It is a nice little add for the spotlight.  Blended screen tool is really cool.  I wonder what happened to VideoScreen 3 by Landru Designs?  Anyway, I am sure there are lots of added features and functionality to 2010.  The little hour demo I watch could not possibly cover most of it.  I hope that it rocks.  But I may never really know.  I am not planning on updating to 2010.  I was disappointed with my rendering results with Vectorworks 2009.  I also suspect that upgrading to 2010 will cause me to repurchase all the plug-ins I use.  Most of these new versions will have small changes in the update.  While this is nice, I could have stayed with the old plug in.

One advantage of upgrading is the new symbol libraries.  Oh boy!!! As a lighting designer I really like to have the new symbols.  Sure I could always repurpose older symbols and just update the key.  BUT THAT IS LAME.  Hey VW guys why don't you develop a free quarterly update for users of Spotlight.  I am talking all users.  Start by updating the symbol libraries for v.11 or v.10.  They should not have to upgrade to get current symbols.  I am not just talking about lighting instruments either.  Go a head and make more symbols of band instruments, stage accessories, sound gear, and generic scenic elements.  The more extensive your symbol libraries are the faster I can work.  For example.  My client wants to see a 57 Ford Mustang on stage.  You guys should already have something close to that in the library.  For me to go find it on the net or build it from scratch could take hours.  Hours of time I don't have.  Lighting guys or event guys don't work on a design for month like architects.  I often have a day or two to get concept drawings to a client.  It is all about work flow.

Anyway, I hope 2010 is a good update.  Someone please tell me how you like it.

Good spot light Ops?

Last night I had a new guy on spot light.  Sometimes it can not be helped.  They have to learn some how.  The amazing part of the whole night was how my new spot light guy did not know stage directions.  I understand that there is always a first time.  But a first day is something else.   I never understood how a show critical job could be given to a guy on there first day.  I know I worked years before I got to run a spot light.  I think that the industry has lost a lot of integrity.  Take all the recent rigging problems and roof collapses.  It sounds like people are getting injured and killed at a larger rate than even last year.  This job is getting more dangerous by the day.  Promoters, are cheaper than ever.  Hiring guys at 6 bucks and hour to build a stage and hang thousands of pounds of gear over the audience and the artist.  It is only a matter of time before something tragic happens.  I hope it never does.   Remember what I was saying about he first day.  I have seen riggers on there first day.  If I know more about rigging than the rigger, he should not be working.  I am not a rigger, but I know what is safe and will work and will not.  The first day is going to get someone killed.

Big Valley Storm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR_yq3mB0bM

FAQ's

I get asked a lot of questions about my show.  Here a some common questions and the answers I ways give.

Q.  I have these spot lights, do you think they will be bright enough?
A.  If you have to ask, NO.  Do your home work and see if the spotlight you are providing will work for the venue.  I have never been to this venue.  It is your job to know what will work correcly for the gig.

Q.  Do you really want the lights patched to your plot?
A.  I understand this is your first show.  Welcome to the bisiness.  Yes always patch the lights to the plot.

Q.  Are two spot lights going to be enough.
A.  Honestly, if they both work for the whole show, yes.  Spot lights are very important to every show.  If both of them broke, how would we see the artist?  I look at it this way.  I have two spares for everything at a show.  So if the bare minium is two spots.  Then you need two spots and two spares.  So just bring 4, or 5.

Q.  The propoter does not want to pay for the extra lights.  Will the artist pay?
A.  NO!  I get this question at a lot of festivals.  Most of the time it revolves around something like ACL bars.  I understand that the artist managment agrees to festival lighting.  Most people would agree that festival lighting would include, 120k, 2 or 4 moles, 4 acl bars, and at least 2 spot lights.  When you summited a bid for the show your company agreed to provide these items even if you did not know it.  So just bid the show accordingly.

Q.  We are having some problems with the downstage truss.  Four lights are not working.  Is that ok?
A.  I am going to go with NO!!!!!!  Please make sure everything works before it leasves the shop, then again after you set it up, then again after you gel, then after you patch.  You should have checked these lights almost 6 times before I see them.  On this note are you going to return the money the promoter paid for those 4 lights?  At the very core of this issue is someone paid you for all those lights working.  Please don't make me the bad guy.  I will inform your client about the money they are due back.

Q.  Where were you guys last night?
A.  I don't know.  What I do know is how the lights were yesterday.  I hope yours are better.  I am going to remember if they suck.

Q.  Do you guys give out tshirts?
A.  We do.  But now that you have asked you don't get one.  I will be more than happy to do what I can to get you as much swag as you want.  In return your gear should all work and your service should kick ass.

Q.  On your plot you only have 42 lights on the downstage.  Do you want the rest of them?
A.  Once again, I understand this is your first show.  I don't want things that are not on the plot.  If they are on the plot you should bring them.

Q.  Can I post pictures of your show on my website?
A.  Sure, that is fine.  As long as you do not claim that you designed the show, or provided anything that you did not.  For example.  Every picture of my show should; 1. Be appoved by me or artist managment. 2. should have designed by Ed Neuhaus under the photo.

Production Solutions, I remember my first festival.

Production Solutions in St. Louis SUCKS!!!!  I know I should not say that about anyone, but it is so true.  Let me count the ways.

1.  I arrived at the gig and the lighting package that had been advanced includes 4 sets of ACLs.  Guess how many are there?  0.  Did anyone call in advance and tell me that there was a problem? NO.  When asked about this, a representative from the company told me that they were not in the budget.  But 8 MAC 700's where in the budget.  Who asked for those?  They are nice lights but I don't want them for this show.  Also, the sound side of the company had two Midas 3000 desks at the venue.  That is a big desk for an opening act.  Oh yeah these are the guys who brought the oldest spot light in the world to a show.  I worked for a company 10 years ago who had one of those lights.  WE NEVER SENT IT OUT!!!  HAVE SOME PRIDE IN YOUR GEAR.

2.  If you can't patch dimers, find some one who can.  Look if you have a sounds company that's cool..  Have a sounds company.  DON'T DO LIGHTS.  When the guy patching is just an extra monitor guy who does not want to do his job it really shows.  It makes you company look like crap..  After all Production Solutions, St. Louis says they do it all.  What they really do is audio.  Everything else is just a side job.  My lighting tech for the day was never around.  I had to go to monitor world to find him more then once.

3.  WHO USES MEDIUMS ON THE UPSTAGE?  really?  If you don't know the difference find some one who does.  Thanks for putting the one narrow on the up stage.  Oh yeah thanks for the wides on the down stage too...  54 MLF and 6 WFL is a cool look.   I have been trying to get that for years.

4.  What size gel does a source four par take?   I know, but the people who work for PRODUCTION SOLUTIONS do not.   The local IA climber was stuck in the truss for an hour fixing the gel that was falling out of the cans.  PRODUCTION SOLUTIONS please teach your people how to do there job.

5.  We had one par on the upstage that did not work.  That is fine..  sometimes it does not work...  But you should know how to fix it.  I was told that there was nothing that could be done because there was no spare cable.  WHAT!!!!!.   The audio department had plenty of spare everything.   They did get it working.  Thank you guys for that...  But really, have spares..  Spare cable, spare lamps, spare fan outs, spare everything.   I know your audio department was well prepared for the show.   WHY WAS LIGHTING NOT?

6.  The oldest spot light in the world worked great.  Much to my surprise.  The one next to it could only be about two months younger.  I think the serial number on that one was 278.  That young gun did not want to work.  We started the show with out it.  It was fixed with some duck tape and started working around the 3rd song.  Way to go lighting guys!!!  When the same spot stopped working in the 5th, 7th, and 11th song you guys were no where to be found.  I had to get the FOH audio guy to find you.

I remeber my first festival.  I was very unprepared.  I have since then learned what to do.  I guess this is Production Solutions first festival.  Maybe the first one with lights.  Next time please remember a few things.  If the lighting director for a band sends a lighting plot.  DO WHAT THE PLOT SAYS.  If there is going to be a problem you should call me before I get there and figure it out.  I have worked very hard to provide an easy set of instructions on how to do my show.  It is hard to screw it up.  Production Solutions did.  I am sorry that I had to give you a review like this, but the people who pay you guys deserve to know.

Oldest Spot Light Ever

So,  those that have worked with me in the last few years have gotten to see my lighting rider.  Many find it very funny, and some find it help full.   When I started out writing the rider it was very dry and to the point.  Over the last few years I have added things to it.  Mostly to add color and express exactly how I wanted the lighting to go.  In one such note I commented that I would not allow spot lights older then the Lighting Director to be used on the show.  Until today that had not been a problem.  Today I found what I believe to be a spot that is older then I.   That would be 30 years old.   Look at the picture.  What you can not see in the picture is the serial number.  It is 58.   That is right..  The 58th Satellite I ever made.  OMG!!!!  WHAT THE HELL.   So the company who owns these lights is Production Solutions in St. Louis.  www.psllc.biz    Production Solutions lighting gear is crap.  Or maybe it is just there people.  They do not know how to read a plot or care about the lighting aspect of the show.

Update on Texas House Bill

Lighting Designer ban to be pulled from HB 2649
Thursday, May 28th, 2009

PLSN is reporting that Texas State Senator Averitt, who added language to Texas House Bill 2649 that effectively banned entertaiment lighting designers, has stated he will remove that language from the bill before submitting it to the Texas House of Representatives.  While he has said he wants a committee to study the issue and make recommendations, this does keep lighting designers legal in the Lone Star State, at least in the short term.

Texas Senate Bill HB 2649

This morning, the Texas House Senate passed HB 2649, which outlaws nearly all theatrical lighting designers currently working. This bill forces all lighting designers to be either licensed electricians, or registered as an architect or interior designer.

SECTION 3. Subchapter G, Chapter 1001, Occupations Code, is
amended by adding Section 1001.3011 to read as follows:
Sec. 1001.3011. LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION
REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform
lighting design services unless the person is:
(1) licensed as an engineer under this chapter;
(2) registered as an architect, landscape architect,
or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6; or
(3) licensed under Chapter 1305.
(b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the
preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement
and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting
fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the
specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and
other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop
drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the
installation or operation of lighting fixtures.
SECTION 4. Section 1001.401, Occupations Code, is amended
by adding Subsection (e) to read as follows:
(e) A license holder is not required to provide or hold any
additional certification, other than a license issued under this
chapter, to seal an engineering plan, specification, plat, or
report.
SECTION 5.Subchapter F, Chapter 1051, Occupations Code, is
amended by adding Section 1051.308 to read as follows:
Sec. 1051.308. LIGHTING DESIGN; REGISTRATION OR LICENSE
REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform
lighting design services unless the person is:
(1) registered as an architect, landscape architect,
or interior designer under this subtitle;
(2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or
(3) licensed under Chapter 1305.
(b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the
preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement
and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting
fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the
specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and
other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop
drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the
installation or operation of lighting fixtures.
SECTION 6. Subchapter D, Chapter 1305, Occupations Code, is
amended by adding Section 1305.1511 to read as follows:
Sec. 1305.1511. LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION
REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform
lighting design services unless the person is:
(1) licensed under this chapter;
(2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or
(3) registered as an architect, landscape architect,
or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6.
(b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the
preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement
and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting
fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the
specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and
other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop
drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the
installation or operation of lighting fixtures.