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A Lighting Design Liberace Would Love

In Lighting Design by images310 / July 24, 2014

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Every year, HBO hosts a Golden Globes after-party event (held early in the year) that is centered around a theme, usually one of its nominated television series or feature films. This year’s theme  was the HBO film Behind the Candelabra, a film about Liberace starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. It was was up for four Golden Globe Awards and took home one for Best Miniseries / Movie. All the more reason for Billy Butchkavitz to help HBO pop the champagne.

Along with projections of champagne bubbles, Billy brought in other elements as homage to Liberace’s over-the-top style. He played off of many of his signatures — chandeliers, textures, rhinestones, oversized props, and lots of glitz and glam. For our lighting design, we picked up on the vintage baroque angle and created a lighting color palette of champagne and red with gold accents.

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It all began with scaffolding the pool of the Beverly Hills Hilton. In the past, this pool has been incorporated into the event design, but this year Billy’s design required the extra space for his vision of large-scale extravagance. Walls were built that were as tall as the hotel, hiding the pool deck walls, and turning them into décor elements. These walls were then draped with a luxurious, red and gold print fabric. We placed lighting at the top and aimed it down for dramatic effect. Gold chandeliers were hung from the walls, and to make them really stand out, we built custom Plexiglass boxes with gold frames for effect.

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In lieu of extensive video mapping, we created the big wall visual using conventional lighting; several gobo rotators created a solid projection of overlapping moving damask texture. It was certainly unusual, in this day and age of high-tech, to actually go old school and recreate a look by using old technology, but of course it worked beautifully!

The same  approach was taken with the HBO logo. We used automated fixtures to project the logo, overlapping it with MAC III projectors that have branding capabilities. We spent time ensuring they were lined up exactly so that it looked like a single image. This created a more intense image, and served as a great backup if needed.

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Leopard print lounges were placed around the event perimeter, with candelabra-shaped gold dividers between them. Uplighting was used on these dividers to bring attention to the décor. Circular lounges were also placed throughout the space, offering contrast to the red and gold printed dining tables where we had placed soft candle lighting. A gobo of champagne bubbles was used to light the entire space for one last textured element. Together, the various patterns and colors worked together to create a uniquely textured space that was as extravagant and lavish as Liberace was.

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The inspiration!

Photos by Gabor Ekecs

There Will Be Blood: Lighting the True Blood Premieres

In Lighting Design by images310 / July 17, 2014

 

HBO True Blood Premiere 3rd Season

Blood, vampires, and a dash of playfulness – all perfect ingredients for the annual HBO True Blood premiere parties. As far as lighting a premiere event goes, this was one time that the phrase, There Will be Blood, was true!

Each year since the first premiere event, Images has had the pleasure of working with designer Billy Butchkavitz. Through many of the events there is a common – ahem – vein – that runs through them. The color red, naturally, a gobo projection of the logo often repeated several times, often a central tree and cemetery scene, some fun interactive element with the guests and of course, given that the designer is Billy B, each one has a wicked sense of style. While many elements stay the same, Billy works closely with HBO to ensure the event design always captures the essence of the upcoming season.

And while vampires live forever, not so for cable shows. We show our last respects with this photo essay of all the True Blood premiere events. We may be saying goodbye and fangs for the memories, but we’ve learned that there really is no keeping a good vampire down.

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We begin our retrospective at a unique venue — the rooftop of ArcLight Hollywood’s parking lot. Nothing like starting out with a challenge! Billy designed a central tree, surrounded by a small graveyard. With no rigging points from which to hang our gear, we got creative by rigging the hardware to light trees and pipe and base. Gobos in monochromatic tones added interest to the lighting design, beginning a trend that would continue through each year’s premiere event.

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True Blood HBO event

2010

This year Billy added an intricate and very realistic backdrop to the party at Boulevard 3. To light it as realistically as possible, and ensure that no seams would be seen, we used uplights which filled in any creases and helped create dimension. Gobos added texture to the ballroom surfaces and patio area while smaller areas were detailed out with candles and projections from the show.

HBO True Blood Premiere 3rd Season

HBO True Blood Premiere 3rd Season

HBO True Blood Premiere 3rd Season

2011

Overall, Billy gravitated towards a monochromatic color scheme with the True Blood premieres. Being emerged in one color for too long presents a challenge as the color becomes a neutral and actually the eye and mind no longer recognize it. To avoid this and keep the party vibrant we used accent colors. The venue, the Hollywood Athletic Club (formerly Social Hollywood Athletic Club) was lighted in mainly red in the foyer with an added touch of candlelight for accent. In the main room, Billy did the opposite with a wall of candles and just a touch of red in the design elements. Centerpieces were a nod to the Southern locale of the show, and its town, Bon Temps.

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2012

The year we did this event at the Lure Hollywood Nightclub was one of the darkest parties we have ever created, both literally and figuratively! The affect of blood dripping from the walls was achieved through video mapping.

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2013
Back again at the Hollywood Athletic Club, red was the prevailing color all the way around. An addition of ethereal creatures in hanging “coffins” created a chilling effect.

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2014

Billy’s designs always begin and end with texture which we play off of with lighting and gobos. Back at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the event once again featured a central custom-built tree. To create texture in the space around it, we layered gobo light patterns that covered nearly every surface. This, coupled with the texture used in the upholstery, furniture, and pillows, created an elegant space. Once again Billy used a scenic backdrop alluding to the show’s Louisiana locale to which we added uplights for a daytime effect. And the addition of Astroturf for grass was one of his brilliant touches that truly transformed the space into a Southern landscape.

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True Blood 2008 – 2014 RIP. We will miss lighting these inspired premiere events. However, we rest easy knowing that nothing lasts forever … except perhaps every episode of True Blood which no doubt will remain in syndication for decades to come!

All photos by Gabor Ekecs

 

A Fantasy Lighting Design

In Lighting Design by images310 / June 9, 2014

Shining Light on an Underground Annual Nightclub

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For an event that is known for its striking combination of music, artistry, and performance, it was only fitting that the lighting for the third annual Myth Masque Ball be as masterful and playful as the evening itself.

Held at the venerable Los Angeles Theatre in the city’s newly revitalized downtown, our Images team worked with Jack Strauss from No Static Pro Audio to create an ambiance that was both sensual and mysterious, true to the fantasy nature of Myth.

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The event attracted masked and costumed attendees who had found their way to the somewhat secret entrance via an alleyway where a lighted gobo over the door read “Myth.”

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Slow and ghostly music greeted guests as they entered the venue. To enhance the eerie vibe, lights were low with the exception of blue uplighting on fixtures alongside the corridor. At the end of the corridor, guests were taken to the next level thanks to a combination of radiant color and electronic music.

During the 48 hours before the first guest arrived, the space had been transformed from an undecorated space to a fairy tale ball. According to Lonnie Thompson, lighting designer, “Being in a theater had its pluses. The team there is used to housing large stage productions, so we were able to tie into existing power to run everything. This eliminated the use of a generator…or rather, three.”

Being that the ball was held on multiple levels of the theater and featured several alternating themes, our team team incorporated the use of both intelligent and conventional lighting fixtures. Conventional fixtures were used to complement the already impressive architecture of the historic building. The intelligent lighting fixtures were used on the lower level of the theater, to breathe life into the dance floor by creating a high-energy nightclub look.

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Set between the grand ballroom and the dance floor was the theater itself, where live performances occurred throughout the evening. Here, as in the grand ballroom, we illuminated the stage with the use of conventional lighting fixtures. During individual acts on stage, spotlights from the balcony highlighted the artists.

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Myth Masque was the quintessential lighting designer’s dream — it allowed us to truly influence the crowd with diverse lighting techniques and color variances. “The overall vibe of Myth Masque was an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’-meets-underground-urban Los Angeles,” Thompson says referencing the cult classic film by director Stanley Kubrick. Images took to this vibe and designed an evening of lighting and color, playing with emotion and beauty, to create an event that was mythic in its theatricality but totally real in conveying the world the event producers wanted to create.

Lighting a Rustic Wedding in Ojai

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 30, 2014

XOXO wedding Braedon Photography

For this simple yet utterly charming wedding held at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, we were honored to work alongside wedding planner Sonia Hopkins of XOXO Bride | Weddings and Events.

Sonia’s concept is best summed up in the piece that appeared this week in Style My Pretty: “There is something to be said about using your surroundings and playing into the tone of the venue rather than over-designing a space just because you can.” We agree! And so for our lighting design, we followed her lead with a clean and simple look just right for the venue.

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Photos: Braedon Photography.

To see the entire wedding, click here …

 

 

Lighting Pompeii

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 27, 2014

 

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It’s not every lighting designer who can say they worked in the Coliseum, but after this weekend, Images can now add this to our resume. Yet, this Coliseum was not that of Rome but of Los Angeles, located directly next to the California Science Center.

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The center’s 16th Annual Discovery Ball gala transported guests to Pompeii during this kick-off event for the West Coast premiere of the traveling exhibition. Following a cocktail reception at which the guests enjoyed a preview of the artifacts on display, everyone was moved via chariots (golf carts) to the entrance to the Coliseum which had been transformed into the garden area of a Pompeiian villa.

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Working with the center’s Vice President of Event Services, Chris Scion, Images’ lighting designer Lonnie Thompson created a lighting palette in tones of amber, red and blue to light the main arch and side arches of the impressive Los Angeles Coliseum entrance.

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Pieces of art, similar to those that might be found at a Roman villa, were uplit for drama and dining tables were hit with pinspots in warm, amber hues.

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The main stage was lighted in shades of pink and blue and the inner archway directly behind it glowed softly in reds and blues as guests arrived.

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As the sun began to set, the lighting inside the arches intensified, creating a dramatic view, one that perfectly recalled this ancient time in which beauty and art were held in high regard.

 

From Par Cans to Can Cans

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 15, 2014

For Images, it was fitting that the theme of Pacific Pride’s Royal Ball this year was Paris, the city of lights. Image’s event lighting began where all things Parisian do – at the Eiffel Tower. Only this one was a 30-foot-tall replica installed by event designer, Rrivre Davies of Rrivre Works.

Images by Lighting

We fully lit the tower which welcomed the crowd of more than 600 people. A series of stringer lights radiated out from it creating a canopy of sorts. “For outdoor spaces, doing something overhead like these stringer lights is simple, yet gives the area a focal point as well as a sense of enclosure,” says  Ray Thompson, lighting designer.

Images by Lighting

This was the third year that Images did designed and installed the lighting for the Royal Ball, the largest fund-raising event for Pacific Pride Foundation, an organization that provides services to the LGBT community of Santa Barbara. The event, which this year raised $250,000, was started three years ago by event producer Merryl Brown of Merryl Brown Events in Santa Barbara, and has been held at the Bacara Resort and Spa for the past two years.

“The presence of Images at this event is non-negotiable,” says Brown of her short list of trusted creative partners. “Everyone at Images is an artist; a top-notch professional. I give them ideas and they always interpret them perfectly.”

Images by Lighting

Inside the ballroom foyer, Images brought the house lighting down and added amber uplighting to create a different color palette and a sexy vibe.

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The event design by Davies included a healthy dose of French Morocco and a rich palette of burgundy, gold, brown and oranges. Images designed LED fixtures around the perimeter of the ballroom which were programmed to transform the room’s environment with color and light as the entertainment and evening’s vibe shifted.

Images by Lighting

Light fixtures (lamps, pinspots, spotlights) for the room and the 11 lounge areas were installed on a truss super system. The truss was then sleeved in a fabric the same cream color as the 25-foot-high ceiling thereby hiding any mechanics to allow the room to be fully transformed into a completely different environment.

“This was the Royal Ball,” Thompson says. “It had to be very regal. No one wants to see pipe and base or trussing. Everything had to be clean.”

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And although the lighting was clean, huge mirrored disco balls over the dance floor suggested that the evening was also meant to be a little racy as well. During the evening, Images projected a scrolling leaf pattern gobo on the dance floor, designed to pick up patterns with the brocade fabrics Davies had selected for the draping. And at one point, Images hit the mirrors with a new toy. “They are called Sharpies,” Thompson explains. “They send out a tight beam of light enabling us to bounce off just a section of the mirrored balls. The effect is quite extraordinary.”

As was the lighting to which Davies can attest. “I walk the clients through for a final sign-off during the day, when all the lights are on in the ballroom. They panic a little until the lights go down, the lighting by Images comes up and everything looks incredible.”

Lighting 2013 Primetime Emmy After-Parties

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 13, 2014

A Look Back at Enchanted Forests + Fine Feathers

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Lighting designers are always looking for ways to innovate and move their ideas forward. Yet just as often, they revisit projects that worked, using them as launching pads for new inspiration. At our weekly meeting we did just that with these Emmy after-parties and found plenty to re-inspire us from the work we did with these two seasoned teams of event professionals.

Just as energy in motion remains in motion, the ideas, technology and creativity that were put into motion with past events, continues on as we build upon it anew.

The 65th Primetime Emmy Governors Ball
The concept for the 65th Primetime Emmy Governors Ball began simply enough with the idea to have dinner in the garden. But there is nothing simple about the largest annual formal sit-down dinner in the country. The 4,000-person event (that’s 400 tables), was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and was produced and designed by Sequoia Productions, led by Cheryl Cecchetto.

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The garden had grown in design and size into an enchanted forest comprised of three 40-foot-tall stylized trees surrounding a main stage. An expansive canopy of futuristic “foliage” hung overhead. Irma Hardjakusumah designed the trees for Sequoia Productions which were then fabricated by Bill Ferrell Company and Sosa Sisters. Other elements of the event included pieces by Classic Party Rentals, Lux Lounge Event Furniture Rentals, and linens from Resource One.

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Lighting by our team began with those canopies which were stretched across the entire 20,000-square-foot ceiling. We illuminated the faux-liage – the leaves Hardjakusumah designed from different lengths of Plexiglass – with LED lighting to create a weeping willow effect.

This modern take on a classic tree became even more futuristic as throughout the evening the trees and the room softly shifted color palette, giving the forest its enchanted mood and turning this environment into something that went far beyond the garden walls and into the realm of fantasy.

Photos by Nadine Froger

The HBO After-Party

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Down the street (or rather, freeway), from the Governors Ball, our lighting team had also been working all week setting up lighting at the HBO tent. This bash, overseen by HBO’s vice president of special events Cindy Tenner with designer-collaborator Billy Butchkavitz, took place in the Pacific Design Center’s fountain plaza.

Much like the designers of the Governors Ball, Butchkavitz drew his inspiration from nature. The message was clear — HBO was proud of its year and awards, with a design inspired by peacock feathers with a color palette of blue and green accented with silver.

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Green and blue lighted lanterns were another thematic element used by Butchkavitz. The central focus of the tent was a multi-story structure that dazzled with lanterns.

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More lanterns – pieces that Butchkavitz had found in his many travels — were stacked on the two main walls of the event, and installed and powered by our team. We were also responsible for the installation and operation of the large-format video projectors for the content provided by Bart Kresa Design.

Our team also worked with Butchkavitz to select an overall break-up pattern of lighting with a texture that complemented the event linens, custom carpet and video imagery. (see top photo)

As lighting designers, Images finds inspiration and innovation in new technology and equipment. And yet, as these two events demonstrate, our best inspiration will always come from the talented event designers with whom we are honored to work.

Photos: Gabor Ekecs

Lighting an Al Fresco Wedding

In Lighting Design by images310 / April 9, 2014

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This wedding was beautiful by day…

Exceptional at night!

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We were thrilled to be part of this wedding at Sunstone Winery & Villa in Santa Ynez. Wedding planner Alexandra Kolendrianos’ work is always beyond gorgeous.

Outdoor events are fantastic and in Southern California we have many. Yet they can pose a few challenges for lighting because … well, they are outdoors! Power is one issue, but so is the fact there is no overhead structure. Lighting designers love what are called “rigging points.” At an al fresco event there aren’t any. This is where the wood structures provided by Rrivre Works came into play. As you can see, their chandeliers and our lighting fixtures were attached to these rustic arches. Power was creatively hidden within and around them.

Ultimately, this solution created what the planner and the couple wanted — a look that fit perfectly with the winery’s rustic elegance. For our part, this gave us the ability to pinspot tables and light the dance floor with texture. And the olive trees provided natural decor simply by adding uplighting!

For more on the entire event check out this blog post on Style Me Pretty!

Photographer: Jose Villa | Floral Design: Mindy Rice | Cake: Decadence Fine Cakes & Confections | Stationery: Lazaro Press | Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid Los Angeles | Catering: New West Catering | Wedding Planner: Alexandra Kolendrianos | Hair & Makeup: TEAM Hair And Makeup | Lighting: Images By Lighting | Band For The Reception: DeBois Entertainment | Bride’s Dress: M Bridal / Ines Di Santo Gown | Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Ybarra Music | Chandeliers & Wood Structures: Rrivre Works | Linens: La Tavola Linens | Olive Bread: The Bakers Table | Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals | Venue: Sunstone Winery & Villa | Wood Tables & Bar: Fusion Event Rentals

Paisley Pomp at the Veep Premiere

In Lighting Design by images310 / April 3, 2014

HBO Veep Premier Party 2014

Some designers have nightmares of color and pattern, fearing the dreaded “clash.” But to designer Billy Butchkavitz this is where his dreams come true. “As everyone knows, I’m not afraid of color and pattern,” he told BizBash at the premiere event of the HBO comedy, Veep.

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The event was paisley on paisley, beginning at the step-and-repeat wall. Even the cast of “Veep” seemed to be in on the theme.

The event, hosted by HBO at Paramount Studios, was a cacophony of bird fabrics and paisley patterns – the designer’s vision of how the show’s main character would designer her vice presidential residence.

 HBO Veep Premier Party 2014

Having worked with Butchkavitz numerous times over the years, Images by Lighting knew that too much is never enough in this talented designer’s sketchbook. To play up the paisley patterns on the banquettes, the linen and the walls, lighting designer Curt Stahl added paisley gobo breakup patterns on the path leading up to and then inside the 66-foot round tent that had been placed over the fountain outside the Paramount Theater.

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“In addition,” Stahl says, “We installed 24 chandeliers in the tent, color washed the ceiling with LEDs, and spotlighted the centerpieces for drama and to make them stand out.”

 HBO Veep Premier Party 2014

The tent’s exterior was also lit with texture to complement the surrounding environment. “And the studio façade itself – a wall that flanks the event facility, was lighted,” Stahl says. By using lighting in this way, everywhere the 800 guests looked was part of the created environment.

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At the candy station, Images by Lighting also added eight chandeliers in the tree to extend the interior look outside.

HBO Veep Premier Party 2014

Guests filled hollowed out replicas of a “biography” by the main character (which plays a large role in this season’s episodes) with candy.

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While gilded chairs, bright red flowers, and the use of gold accents everywhere (even the ties of the waitstaff) added presidential pomp, Images by Lighting added the pop with lighting!

Photos: Gabor Ekecs

Lighting A Runway Fashion Show

In Lighting Design by images310 / March 25, 2014

An Event Where Careers Take Off

It’s a Friday evening and the team of Images by Lighting has been at Barker Hanger for five days, installing the lighting for an hour-long multi-media fashion show. Hours before 3,000 students take their seats for the show by the graduating class of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, the lighting design team takes one final walk through.

The young fashion designers are making last-minute adjustments to their show, models are primping and ushers are taking their places. Images by Lighting makes a final light check and run-through on a covered box truss will become an architectural element of the show, lending added drama to several of the collections.

Images by Lighting FIDM

The statistics are impressive … 3,000 people for each of the three shows, 450 feet of truss, 230 conventional lights, 30 intelligent lights, 30 LEDS, 96 channels of changes. Then all of this will be changed out for the gala event on Saturday night when the chairs become round tables for a seated dinner and yet another fashion show.

Blocking the show.

Blocking the show.

The main show, called the FIDM Debut, is divided into four segments each with its own graphic design look and lighting design. The first section features collections from graduating students from FIDM’s Theatre Costume Design Program. This year the theme was Jazz. The second part of the show is called Chairing Styles, a creative collaboration between students in three FIDM majors: Textile Design, Fashion Design, and Interior Design.

Then there is the ode to the event’s sponsor, Cadillac, in which Cadillac’s art is interpreted through design and fashions. The runway show ends with the collections of the top graduating students from FIDM’s Advanced Studio Fashion Design Program. From a line of children’s wear to resort and men’s wear, social and even wedding collections, the lighting and graphics reflect the designer’s color palette and inspiration.

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Images by Lighting is on the site for the five-day set up. On Monday, the truss is installed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the lights are rigged and focused, and there is a dry run of the show. Thursday is the dress rehearsal with the first show at 5:30. Friday night there are two shows and on Saturday, a sit-down gala event.

“Images by Lighting has been doing the shows with FIDM for the past 10 years,” Ray Thompson, lighting designer, says. “About three years ago we were looking for something new. We’d used all the intelligent equipment there was and veteran producer Jim Watterson, was ready to retire. Then we introduced video mapping. We made the entire hard wall set into a video screen to orchestrate an entire show through video with imagery and effects. Together with Jim, we work hand-in-hand with students and staff in FIDM’s media department to create the imagery that is in the fashion show. They do a great job, and Jim spends countless hours on the images and the music for the show.”

The introduction of video that is used for imagery, branding and background, brought with it renewed excitement. “Jim even decided not to retire so he could explore the possibilities more,” Ray says.

Images by Lighting

One down, two to go!

This year the images at this state-of-the art show were big and bold – textures from nature, art and architecture. As the show came to its rousing end, it was clear that Images by Lighting did more than light a fashion show – it had shed light on the energy, wonder and excitement of a creative profession and the future for each of those young attendees.