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Lighting the Oscar Greenroom

In Lighting Design by images310 / February 26, 2015

Oscars lightingEvery year since 2003 Architectural Digest has sponsored the Oscar Greenroom and every year, Images has been honored to do the lighting. The lounge is actually in a sound stage off the main theater where the telecast goes on, yet it is designed to look like a home interior in order to make the stars waiting their turn on stage more comfortable.

Each year a different interior designer from the Los Angeles area is chosen. This year actress Julianne Moore, who has a love of designing, joined the founders of the design firm, Commune —  Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, and Pamela Shamshiri — to create a setting inspired by Southern California’s mid-century architecture. The design showcased the region’s famous indoor-outdoor lifestyle with skylights, sliding glass doors and terraces.

The lighting we provided called upon both architectural and interior design techniques such as recessed lighting, natural skylight looks and wall sconces. And on one side of the limestone-floored living room, a wall of Samsung LED displays served as a virtual picture window with a view of the city that went from day to night and back again.

We were proud to be part of the event, and filling the Oscar Greenroom with light. With our job done, it was the Academy’s turn to fill it with stars.

Photos by Roger Davies

oscars lighting design

Oscars green room lighting


lighting design

Oscars lighting design

A Very Super Bowl!

In Lighting Design by images310 / February 25, 2015

10377162_10153111351121340_1786365754726908670_nSuper Bowl is super in so many ways. The biggest sports event of the year also creates some of the largest events as well! As one can imagine, Super Bowl is not just one day either. The festivities began on Friday of that weekend with an event for 2,200 guests. Images was brought in to light this event by Barton G, a Miami-based event and restaurant firm that had just opened another division in Los Angeles.

Images’ lighting designer Lonnie Thompson headed up this massive undertaking that took place at Phoenix Convention Center, Halls F & G. “We trucked to Phoenix with two semis loaded with more than 1,200 lighting fixtures,” Lonnie says. “The entire set up was seven days.”


The theme was a rugged look with many areas for seating and viewing. The large set pieces emulated Phoenix’s many craggy outcroppings of rocks and boulders. Lighting added the heat that the state is so well known for – rich ambers and reds were “painted” onto the sets with lighting. Other areas were washed in deep lavender. Texture and layering was key to lighting this event. To that end Images created six different gobo patterns for the various areas of this huge event. Intelligent lights were used to create a slow ballyhoo of monochromatic washes that moved over the base layer of texture. In all, 40 moving lights were programmed and cued.

The venue’s design required two types of rigging for the lights. In the entrance to the halls, the ceiling was lower and had no rigging points. Here, all the lighting was ground supported. Yet in the main halls, 25-foot-high ceiling enabled the team to set up 600 feet of truss with 32 motors to run all the looks.


The main stage area was designed with three semi-translucent panels of Spandex that were hit with both rear and front lighting for greater depth of color. The look was perfect for the hot country band, Lady Antebellum, who took the stage by storm. It was clear that Super Bowl weekend had begun and just as it was heating up our crew was chilling out after this week-long setup!






Timeless Lighting at HBO Golden Globes

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 18, 2015

lighting the golden globes

Imagining worlds and then producing them is the art of the event designer. It’s also the craft of the Hollywood art director. So it’s not surprising that when Billy Butchkavitz began to design this year’s Golden Globes look for HBO’s after-party, he’d call on the spirit of Cedric Gibbons, one of Hollywood’s most influential production designers. Working in the thirties, Gibbons’ style was decadent Art Deco – the type that is associated with platinum blondes, endless cocktails and piano lounges.

And so taking his cues from this, as well as one of Cedric’s musical sets, Butchkavitz conceived a rich topaz and gold palette for this annual indoor-outdoor event held at the Beverly Hills Hilton. To recall a Hollywood premiere from Cedric’s era, we added a classic effect – Klieg lighting, only with a modern technology spin on it using a series of Sharpie fixtures that did a “ballyhoo” in the night sky, just as they did in the thirties.

hollywood lighting

Inside, our lighting was just as classic (yet modern). Designed to highlight certain areas, as well as cast an overall texture across the major architectural elements, we used several techniques. One of these was the projection of a swirl pattern on a major element in the “set” — a dramatic golden staircase that descended from a 24-foot-high upholstered perimeter wall. This same lighting pattern was then projected over the charcoal grey carpeting.

golden globe lighting

Around the perimeter of the room, we used LED uplighting to overlay an architectural element to the space. These light columns anchored the space while lighting washes in gold and amber added warmth. Pinspotting on the table made the flowers – arrangements of gardenias, cream roses, China mums, and white amaryllis true to the trends of that era – pop.

premiere lightingTo add yet another layer of texture onto the timeless event design, we created a custom pattern inspired by the work of the artist, Gustav Klimt. This was projected on the perimeter surfaces, including the exterior of the ballroom wall used during the broadcast. Between these, the warm tones and classic color palette, everyone look gorgeous. Finding lighting that flatters everyone, as well as the design, is a talent that we’ve found in Hollywood never grows old, no matter the era.hollywood lighting And just to end on a little Hollywood magic, before and after shots that truly reveal the unbelievable work that went into this event

Photos: Gabor Ekecs

The Magic of Lighting

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 16, 2015

event lighting

On any day of the week, lighting is a necessary tool to illuminate, highlight or enhance. But then there are those crazy weekend nights when lighting pulls out the top hat and cane and launches into a professional magic act. For Images, this was one of those nights, and our inspiration for this magical transformation of a ballroom in the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills was event planner Jeannie Savage, owner of Details Details Weddings and Events and Revelry Event Designers.

The event was a unique mash-up of magical elements, the center of which was a life-size three-dimensional castle designed by Mattias Doorn from Revelry Event Designers. Also in our lighting bag of tricks was stage lighting, pinspotting of long, communal tables and accenting the beautiful floral work by The Empty Vase.

We employed several lighting techniques, beginning with architectural lighting using conventional lights and LED fixtures to create multiple color tones on the castle. Our inspiration was that nighttime shot of Sleeping Beauty’s castle that everyone knows and loves.

event lighting

We also pinspotted the tables and added gobo projections of ornaments on the walls and on the dance floor. Oh, did we forget to mention that this was a magical holiday event? Jeannie’s client left no magic trick unturned for their 300 guests … Sheena Easton performed, an Elvis impersonator mingled with guests, and even a tasteful, three-dimensional rendering of Mickey’s ears were part of the design graphics on stage.

“I wanted guests to feel a sense of Disney without it being overly obvious,” Jeannie says. “This was an event for adults, so the goal was an essence of Disney but sophisticated.” Her vision was met with the magic of this dream team, who, unlike Sleeping Beauty, was wide awake and didn’t miss a trick to create this colorful event!

Photos: Jessica Claire


event lighting

event lighting

Bringing it “Together” with Premiere Lighting

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 15, 2015

lighting premiere events

For the premiere of HBO’s new show, Togetherness, which is about four main characters trying to rekindle old dreams and make new ones come true, designer Billy Butchkavitz wanted a fresh look that would underline that theme.

lighting a premiere


After walking a blue carpet area which we lit for the print and electronic media, guests entered to a photo opportunity in front of a suburban home on a bright sunny day marked by a blue sky. It was that blue that brands the show and was the basis for the event design.

lighting a premiere

Pinspots and LED uplighting on the architecture supported that look and drew the guests’ attention to the multiple patterns, the floral centerpiece and the architecture of this majestic venue.




Lighting a Hotel Ballroom

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 5, 2015


The Langham Hotel in Pasadena is a luxurious property with design elements that date back to the Gilded Era. It is an event venue that comes with more high-end cache than high-tech advances. And so when lighting this type of property, there are many factors we take into consideration and some of those came into play during the Tournament of Roses Annual President’s Ball when we were asked to create a tropical vibe in an environment adorned with chandeliers and wainscoting.

This is certainly nothing new to us and we’ve found some great ways to map out a lighting design that can enhance and transform any type of environment. Sometimes all that is needed are a few lighting techniques that suggest the design. That was what we did to turn this luxurious ballroom into a lush setting.

lighting a ballroom

Three Tips for Lighting a Hotel Ballroom (or anywhere for that matter!)

1. Texture, texture, texture! With any location that you want to transform, texture is the best way to mask what you don’t want people to notice. The eye will always go to the lighted area — or in this case, the textured area, and will overlook the dark areas.

2. Choose a color palette that keeps the eye entertained but not overwhelmed. Color is nice but use it in moderation.

3. Sometimes it’s about smoke and mirrors – keep the focus on the elements you want seen and are the most significant. This will help cover up carpeting or chairs that don’t quite match and draw attention to what you want them to see — the table top setting, floral design and more.

lighting a ballroom

lighting a ballroom


A Celebration of Light and Art

In Lighting Design by images310 / December 3, 2014

Los Angeles

The pressure to be creative is high when the client is Adobe. Mistyka Garcia is well aware of this. The owner of SO Events to has been producing the final night event of Adobe MAX Bash, the after party of the company’s annual conference in Los Angeles, for the past four years. Images has been privileged to have been chosen as the lighting designer of each one.

The event is attended by 4,500 people and is the talk of the conference before and after. It’s up to Garcia and her team to fulfill Adobe’s annual vision for the event in a creative and unique manner. Last year, the theme was “Street Fest” and the event featured cirque style entertainment along with interactive activities. This year it was “Celebrating Creativity Through Art, and featured more modern performance art along with interactive and visual art installations.”

“The challenge about doing this event is how to keep the event fresh and exciting year after year, not just for the creative people, but for sales, marketing and developers,” Garcia says. “This means that for some, the party is about the creative element and for others, it’s the networking. The common thread is always to celebrate creativity.”

As guests walked in, a graffiti artist painted a custom mural inspired by user-generated art from the conference on a shipping container. Large letters spelled out C-R-E-A-T-E while a gobo projection “painted” the ground before it. As guests got further into the huge space – normally a parking lot in Downtown Los Angeles – there were many lighted treats waiting for them.

One of the main highlights this year was a large skull with video mapping that involved Adobe software. “My client was inspired by the work – a large skull called Shogyo Mujo that was mapped with a series of images and textures,” Garcia recalls. “We partnered with Bart Kresa who has done a lot of work within the event industry.


Around the perimeter of the space, pods of creative lighting were set up for guests as lounge and dining areas. The Images team had a lot of fun lighting these. The one nearest the seafood station with blue lighting gave off an effect of moving water, while another was an art piece ala Jackson Pollock. We used UV instruments to accent the neon paint.

The highlight of the event for the client is always the dessert tent. Knowing this, our lighting team worked overtime to create something that would draw both attention and cameras.

Ribbet collage

Swirling projections behind the candy sculpture added to the “Wonka-esque” atmosphere while instruments called “Solaris” ran through their design sequences adding light and motion that could be seen perfectly through the clear top tent from anywhere at the event.

“The client always wants this area to be special,” Garcia says. “It came out perfect. As Images was installing the lighting, I knew the client and guests would be totally wowed. I think it turned out amazing as far as lighting.”

And it was a success as well for Garcia in terms of visual eye candy – the event was snapped hundreds of times over by Adobe’s very social media savvy audience.

A Prescription for Great Lighting

In Lighting Design by images310 / November 14, 2014

HBO Getting On Party 2014

Last week, our team at Images enjoyed bringing light to a dark comedy. The event was the premiere of the second season of Getting On. The  HBO original series takes place at an extended care unit where no one should ever be so unlucky to be sent and so the event featured actors playing nurses and doctors who dispensed prescriptions for candy pills along with laughter. Held at the Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood, designer Billy Butchkavitz was in fine form exploring his dark side with some light humor, and of course great design.

HBO Getting On Party 2014

Our first task – light the step-and-repeat red carpet arrivals which was set up in the parking lot. For this, we wanted our lighting to be designed for the cameras. While it looks bright in person, this type of lighting evens out skin tone, making everyone look great, and enables the cameras to get clear images of elements both in the foreground and the background (which, as you can see here, refers to the show’s branding, an important part of any premiere event).

HBO Getting On Party 2014

From there, the lighting shifted to a more dramatic tone at the selfie station. Guests could take photos in front a replica of the hospital entrance while sitting in wheelchairs (remember, we did say it was a dark comedy).

HBO Getting On Party 2014

The next stop along the way took everyone into the “pharmacy.” We lit this area in the same orange tones with texture that set the overall color palette for the night.


The existing architecture of the pharmacy was lighted using a special soft light called MR16 with a dichroic filter. These filters produce light that is perceived to be more saturated and are used in theater and architecture.

HBO Getting On Party 2014

Guests were given a prescription by these pharmacists of questionable degree and certification, yet no matter what was ailing anyone that night, the cure was laughter.

HBO Getting On Party 2014
Each of these vignettes was perfectly engineered with lighting that gave off that oh-so-flattering fluorescent pharmacy-doctor’s-office vibe.

HBO Getting On Party 2014

HBO Getting On Party 2014

Inside the ballroom, there was drama – the architecture and lighting – and laughter – the preview of the show. The lighting on the ceiling medallion was done in-house by the Avalon, which we then augmented with textured lighting. We were able to find the same pattern as the mums in the linen and layered that pattern with lighting over the tables and floor. We added orange light to the architectural columns and the theatrical proscenium, placing everything on a dimmer system so we could control the lights during the viewing, and bring them back up again after it.

While the comedy may have been dark, the event was perfectly lighted … doctor’s, er, designer’s orders!

Photos: Gabor Ekecs

Pure Imagination: Lighting + Design

In Lighting Design by images310 / October 31, 2014

Anything you want to do, do it.

Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it!

— Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

There is nothing to changing the world if you are Willy Wonka. Or, if you happen to be a member of this amazing event team that created two totally different worlds in the same tented event space within 18 hours. Even then, it took our talented team a lot of “Wonka” ingenuity to pull off this feat!

7- AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-022_resizeThe first event: An underwater theme

xAndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-072The second event: A candy fantasyland

The objective: Transform a lush underwater theme featuring a full-blown water show, and a live mini-Broadway revue, into a whimsical candy factory with hard sets and another live stage show.
The timeframe: 18 hours
The setup: The team of event professionals led by producer Sonia Sharma of Sonia Sharma Events had worked for months to cleverly layer the technical and design aspects of each event so they could be peeled back, turned off, or strategically moved and now it was time to make it happen.
The lighting: Given the time constraints, the physical layout of the space, the design complexity as well as all the costumes, performers, and sheer magic needed, this dual-event weekend was nothing short of a Las Vegas extravaganza.

“Between the tent and the water show, this was as close as I’ve come to mixing theatrical production lighting with event lighting. They were so integral,” says Images’ Curt Stahl. “We needed to make it all look seamless between the entertainment, lighting, design and production. It was challenging yet, in the end, made this job all the more rewarding.”

To design this private birthday event attended by 180 guests, Sharma brought in Revelry Event Design as co-designer who then brought in the rest of the team. Starting three months out, everyone worked to get their own design together separately and then came together to begin to create the puzzle of installing the second party first so elements could peel back once the first party was over. This would be the only way to create such complex designs within the time frame.

“The process was very technically involved,” Stahl says. “There were a lot of meetings with the design team, riggers, set constructors and the rental company to nail down the design aspect, review renderings and create diagrams.”

Images also had to work closely with the entertainment producer, Douglas Johnson from Entertainment Plus Productions. Theatrical lighting was required for every element of entertainment, especially the water show which was heavily technical with lasers, moving lighting, video projections, water walls, fountains and wet and dry stages.


1 -Edgar Loves - blur spot AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-109_resize

At the entrance, embellished with a stunning floral sculpture by The Empty Vase,  and around the perimeter of the tent, Revelry had installed hedges for privacy and creating borders. For added drama, our team spent four days installing miles of twinkle lights in the hedges.

3 -AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-005 Cocktails for the first event were held in a lounge area designed just outside the entrance of the dining tent.


In this area, several water shows took place — a short version during cocktails, and a longer show following dinner. A video screen behind the show displayed images that complemented the show.

While all of this hinted at what was to come, nothing could really prepare guests for the experience of walking into this environment.

9 - AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-040_resize

We lighted the space entirely in shades of blue in keeping with the underwater theme. Pinspots flown on a truss system made the placesettings and vibrant colors of the floral design pop. Patterned gobos of playful bubbles decorated the floor while the entire environment seemed to sway with the motion of the sea thanks to Revelry’s ceiling treatment – seaweed cut from lightweight fabrics that moved as if with the ocean’s currents. Revelry’s Tuxedo Shade chandeliers were covered with blue fabric, and hung in groupings of three throughout the tented structure.


A 120-by-120-foot video screen displayed an underwater scene and additional wall treatments included a bar with mirrored port holes. During dinner, we provided theatrical lighting to back-to-back entertainers. These included those on the stage, and those off stage — specifically aerialists who performed from above. The lighting for the stage was flown on a ground-supported truss that held all the other scenic elements, décor, chandeliers, and performers. Another truss was installed outside for the outside entertainment show.

AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-046_resizeThe lighting design for the entertainment stages and all the decor was thought out and configured so that it could be reused, regelled, and reprogrammed from the same position as much as possible for the next event … which would be happening in just 18 hours!


From undersea to over-the-top … the transformation of the space into a fantasy candy land began late Saturday evening after guests left. Our crew worked through the night and into the morning to reconfigure everything anew and THIS is what guests saw as they entered the space the next evening!

9 Blurr Light spots AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-087_resize

Where before there had been yards and yards of blue draping, was a hard set of this fantastical candy factory. What was hard to believe was that it had been there all along. During the day, the draping was removed, other elements put in place and the facade relighted in a completely new configuration.



“I’m not afraid of color,” Sharma says, which we love! It was fun to make this world of color come to life with lighting. The lighting changeover here included turning off the ultraviolet lights that made the under the sea creatures glow and turn on a series of LEDs that washed the new entrance with a series of color sequences. Inside the tent, the flowing “seaweed” had been removed for a clean ceiling treatment. The flooring and dance floor, flowers, and more were replaced. The lighting had also been pre-installed. “There would not be enough time to come in and install anything new,” Stahl says. “So we turned off what wasn’t needed for this look and then refocused what was. We reprogrammed the LED color shifts and swapped out new gobos and lighting textures.”

4 edgar loves AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-111_resize

5 edgar loves AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-112_resize
The only area of the event that remained the same for consistency was this fantasy children’s play area complete with carnival rides and games. Here, the clear top of the tent area was festooned with twinkle lights and gobos created a pattern on the ground that separated the area with lighting.

12 Edgar Loves AndrenaPhoto-SoniaSharma-EmptyVase-102_resize

Back inside the main tent on the last evening, all the stops were pulled for the live stage show. We installed and ran intelligent lighting, Broadway-worthy lighting effects such as a scrim silhouette effect, and video mapping.

5- Chocolate-Wall_resizeAnd finally … dessert. Of course it could be nothing short of fantastic and it was. A custom sculpted chocolate fountain wall featured a live, working chocolate waterfall as well as built in cave which guests could enter and help themselves to a variety of desserts.

To sum up the imagination behind these events and the accomplishment of this team we have to go back to Wonka, who sang it best …

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be.

The team
Sonia Sharma Events: Design and Production | Revelry Event Designers: Design | Andrena Photography | The Empty Vase: Floral Design and Floral Sculptures | Wolfgang Puck Catering | Images by Lighting| E+ Entertainment | Classic Party Rentals

An Evening in the Garden

In Lighting Design by images310 / September 9, 2014


This year, the planners of the annual gala at the Huntington Gardens wanted to evoke a sultry Southern evening. Given the unusually warm weather of Los Angeles that week, it seems the weather was in collusion with the theme.

A deck of white-washed planks installed by Town & Country Event Rentals laid the foundation, literally. From that beginning, layer upon layer of design elements were added, ending with the lighting. To create the feeling of a night on the patio, we added string lights across the entire deck space and also horizontally stacked them artfully between the pillars of the facade behind the band. Colorful paper shades added a sense of celebration.


Teal accents made the iconic architecture pop and mirrored the teal shutters that were added to the cabanas and back bar.


The guest of honor — the library itself — glowed softly from across the way thanks to our architectural lighting.


Cabanas outfitted with Adirondack chairs and comfy pillows had been built into the deck design. We added uplighting in white and accented them (four in all) with more paper lanterns.


Extensive landscape lighting brought the beauty of the Huntington’s lush landscape out and added much to the feeling of dinner in the garden as a full moon kept watch.


And finally, the details! In addition to geometric gobo break up patterns on the dance floor, another lighting detail we created was putting the Huntington’s new logo in lights. Laissez les bons temps roulez!