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Lighting LA Zoo’s Beastly Ball

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 29, 2018

lighting LA Zoo's Beastly Ball
A Special Ball for the Beasts

The LA Zoo’s Annual Event is a Jewel for its City
By Liese Gardner

The Annual Beastly Ball hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is an event in which all the beasts – the denizens of the zoo, and the guests – have a ball together. During its 48 years, the event has become a jewel in Los Angeles earning the distinction as one of Southern California’s Top Events of 2018 from BizBash magazine. Images by Lighting has been honored to have been lighting LA Zoo’s Beastly Ball for 32 years!

A sprawling event in which guests meander throughout some of the most popular areas and exhibits, the Beastly Ball has helped make the LA Zoo an international leader in wildlife preservation and education. This year alone the more than 1,000 guests helped raise almost $1.5 million through ticket sales and a silent and a live auction.

The event has evolved through the years, becoming more sophisticated thanks in part to its planner’s responsiveness to suggestions from patrons and guests. Melissa Grossenbacher, Associate Director of Special Events at GLAZA, is one who has seen several big changes happen in the past two years since she joined the team 11 years ago.

One of those is the date change from June to May. “June conflicted with other high-profile fundraisers,” she explained. “Plus moving it to May capped off our month-long Wild for the Planet celebration which starts on Earth Day and ends with the Ball on the Saturday closest to National Endangered Species Day.”

Lighting LA Zoo's Beastly Ball

Lighting LA Zoo's Beastly Ball

The team also listened to its long-time patrons to create more points of interest along the event path where everyone could meet up. “Now there are two main hubs and we focus most of our activity there,” Grossenbacher says. At both hubs are silent auctions, food stations and experiential entertainment such as stilt walkers, a champagne chandelier with an aerial bartender, contortionists, and a mural photo opportunity.

But the main attraction comes at the very end of the path, so to speak. At 8 p.m. all roads lead to the concert area for coffee, dessert and a live auction and a concert. This was also a new change. Started in 2017, and The Concert for Conservation brings in big-name entertainers, many of whom are also GLAZA trustees such as the guitarist Slash. This year he was part of a lineup that included Nancy Wilson and others.

Lighting LA Zoo's Beastly Ball

The concert has become another area for the Zoo’s creative partners such as Images by Lighting to expand their services. Senior Lighting Designer Ray Thompson has been lighting the Beastly Ball for 32 years and looks forward to it every year. He too has seen positive changes. “It’s now become an elegant event in an environment filled with wildlife.”

And it all works. The animals seem as happy as the Zoo’s experts who are standing by to answer questions for the guests or hold certain animals and reptiles to let the guests get closer to them.

And then there are those many magical moments when guests are transported to a far-off land. This year that happened at the viewing area for the elephants of Asia Cambodia. There, as rays of sunlight broke through the clouds, guests enjoyed watching the elephants as the sitar music of Ronobir Lahiri connected the past with the present and Los Angeles to the larger world.

Lighting LA Zoo's Beastly Ball

Jack Hanna, the night’s honoree who has dedicated his life to animal issues, said it best – “A zoo is an ark.” Certainly, the Los Angeles Zoo has become known for protecting some of the most critically endangered species on the planet.  Every year at the Beastly Ball, guests have the honor of boarding that ark to learn more about them. They leave with the sense that it isn’t just wildlife we need to preserve, but our own connection to that world, and understanding that we too are part of it.

Photos: Jamie Pham

Corporate Event Lighting for Super Heroes

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 28, 2018

corporate event lighting

Corporate event lighting for a recent sales meeting produced and designed by Zoe Productions began with business meetings during the day followed by an awards dinner and gala at night. Led by our lighting designer, Lonnie Thompson, our corporate event lighting team was tasked with creating two separate looks using the very same room. The stage set remained the same through all.

For the first look, we kept it purely professional as the business meetings were taking place. Blue stage lighting and projections of the company’s logo lit up the room.

After the business meetings were finished, the same ballroom was transformed into an awards dinner and gala with a superhero theme. Our lighting team washed the walls in amber, red and pink with overlays of projections. The result was whimsical, playful and SUPER.

corporate event lighting

corporate event lighting

corporate event lighting

corporate event lighting

Lighting Premiere: Westworld Season Two

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 8, 2018

Westworld

The premiere of HBO’s Westworld promised as much drama as the new season of the show! Designed by Billy Butchkavitz and team and held at the NeueHouse, the event captured just the right tone between humanity and the inhuman … just like the sci-fi drama.

Guests walked into a recreation of the science lab where the characters of the town are designed, and tweaked. This space was neutral in tone with a white and gray palette … cold and sterile. A complete opposite to the next space with its blood red walls and criss crossing gobo projections. A rooftop area offered even more space for design — a large-scale video projection by Bart Kresa, more gobo projections and a bar at which visitors to this version of Westworld could mosey on up and whet their whistle.

Design: Billy Butchkavitz | Lighting: Images by Lighting, Curt Stahl, Raymond Thompson |  Video Projection: Bart Kresa Design | Venue: Neuehouse | Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals |  Photos: Gabor Ekecs

Westworld

Westworld

Westworld

westworld

westworld

 

Lighting My Friend’s Place

In Lighting Design by images310 / April 29, 2018

lighting my friend's place

Lighting My Friend’s Place allows our team at Images by Lighting to be part of a wonderful charity organization that provides vital services to more than 1,400 homeless youth in Los Angeles. To commemorate its three decades, the organization held a charity event — the 30th Anniversary Gala at The Hollywood Palladium — which was hosted by actor and comedian Jack Black. More than 500 philanthropic leaders and homeless youth advocates came together for an evening of entertainment, dining and auctions.

The design theme of the gala was rich floral textures and blooms. Led by Curt Stahl, our lighting team not only created stage lighting that complemented this theme, but also created different moods as various speakers and entertainers took the stage. The laser-like beams in red, blue and yellow stage lighting highlighted the rich floral textures throughout the evening.

Venue: The Hollywood Palladium | Event Producer: Chase Simonds | Art Director: Caitlin Sacks | Set Design: Atomic Design Inc. | Entrance Table Designs: Edge Design and Décor | Florals: Clementine Floral Works | Catering: Good Gracious Events

lighting my friend's place

lighting my friend's place

lighting my friends place

lighting my friend's place

On the Eve of the Oscars

In Lighting Design by images310 / April 18, 2018

New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve both fall on the night before a big event and yet both have become their own holiday. Just as these evenings now have their own style and traditions, so it is with the night before the Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest event. In fact, the event has even come to be called “The Night Before.”

Started 16 years ago by Hollywood insiders as a casual party between friends, the event has grown to 1,200 attendees. It’s a way for industry insiders to come together casually, to celebrate the industry and the Oscars, and to raise money for MPTF (Motion Picture Relief Fund), a cause that has helped thousands of industry members in need since 1921.

This year the event was held at a soundstage at Fox Studios. The vision was a simple, yet architectural space in which the guests could enjoy one another’s company, dine on a menu by Caramelized Productions, and experience goods and services from a number of presenting sponsors.

This year there were 11 ranging from transportation to lifestyle goods. The sponsors help raise funds for MPTF and also raise the level of fun and excitement at the event. For instance, Ford gave away a Mustang, and guests could win trips on Delta Air Lines.

The soundstage was set up with the sponsor booths arranged on the perimeter of the space. These booths were also constructed by Silver Birches and lighted by Ray Thompson from Images by Lighting. Here, specific lighting needs of each sponsor were taken into consideration such as finding just the right amber lighting for the Ford Mustang on display.

Overall, the space was centered by a large wooden “chandelier” flanked by two smaller ones. This brought the high, open ceiling of the soundstage down to a more intimate level. A symmetrical sculptural treatment of the same wood was used in the seating area, further closing the gap between the event space and open ceiling. The lighting was designed with extensive energy-saving LEDs to shine on and through the wooden structure creating more design texture with artistic shadow play.

The overall effect of the team’s efforts was a space that was gracious, comfortable and relaxing … all elements that one would want the night before a big day of lights, camera, action, and awards.

Oscars

HBO Premiere: Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

In Lighting Design by images310 / March 21, 2018

HBO Premiere

The HBO premiere of The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling was about words — the funny words Shandling said as his alter-ego, the satirical talk show host Larry Sanders, the private words he used in his journals and the many, many words of admiration from other comedians he inspired and supported throughout his life. All these words became a film by Judd Apatow who culled them as he was preparing the memorial for Shandling. The documentary will be aired in two parts on HBO March 26 and 27.

The premiere event paid homage to the documentary, the man and his words. Designer Billy Billy Butchkavitz created a strong design silhouette with linens in black and white emboldened with characters. Pops of color from bright yellow flowers, and even more colorful language (Shandling’s favorite type of words) were printed on pillows. Our lighting designer, Curt Stahl, also used custom gobo projections of words at the entrance and along the proscenium of The Avalon. Rentals by Town and Country and Event Rentals and Photos by Gabor Ekecs.

HBO premiere

HBO premiere

HBO premiere

HBO Premiere

HBO premiere

Lighting USC: The Opening of The Village

In Lighting Design by images310 / March 6, 2018

In planning meetings we always ask – what’s the objective? It’s not often that the answer is “To get people to look up.” Usually when it comes to lighting, people want the tabletops to pop, the stage to be well lighted and sometimes some gorgeous gobos to add texture.

In this meeting, and many more to come, our lighting designer, Curt Stahl, found that the team at the University of Southern California wanted all that AND they wanted people to look up to notice the buildings that would be surrounding them at a courtyard sit-down dinner.

The reason? The buildings are part of The Village, a two-year, $700-million-dollar project that involved students, faculty and donors at the university and the entire city of Los Angeles in the making of it.

“Nothing in the life of the university has been this big,” Adam Rosen told those of us on the planning end of the Gala. Rosen is the Assistant Vice President Cultural Relationships and University Events, and his team began working with a wide web of people both in the city, the university and government, a year and a half out. “The campus was expanding by a third,” he added. “That was monumental and needed to be celebrated in a big way.”

The event was actually the third event in a matter of weeks. While the others were big in numbers – 15,000 and 2,500 — the Gala was big in scope, intent and audience. Among the nearly 1,000 guests would be the mayor of Los Angeles, the city’s most prominent business leaders, philanthropists and elected officials. They would be joining USC President C. L. Max Nikias and colleagues for an event that would make them connect with and remember this milestone moment.

Lighting USC

Lighting USC

Lighting USC

SOWING THE SEEDS OF A GARDEN …

“We were first brought in to produce the ambient lighting for the courtyard dining area,” Stahl recalls. “This entailed a gobo projection over the tables to convey a candlelight hue and the layout of truss and lights so that no light would shine in a guest’s eyes.”

But that, Stahl would learn, was just the beginning to what would become a monumental evening of light and emotion.

The main focus of the show would be to get the guests to see The Village in a way that would make them remember it forever. They would literally see the dream come to life on the walls of the buildings.

When the song, Make Our Garden Grow by Leonard Bernstein was suggested to the planning team by the university president, they knew just how to capitalize on it.

“We loved the song, and wanted to really make that garden grow,” Rosen said. He and Caroline Lett, Senior Event Producer, were very familiar with video mapping and realized that technology like this would be an emotional and artistic way to intertwine the message of heart, soul and progress.

They approached Bart Kresa, from Bart Kresa Design, a creative force in the world of video mapping who began working on the project eight months from the event. Rosen and Lett brought him together with Mike Paterson  and Candice Reckinger from the USC School of Cinematic Arts to work out the visual details.

Meanwhile, our team led by Stahl began laying all the power distribution for the event from the kitchen power to the lighting to the video mapping. And because Kresa needed to map the projection area of the buildings over 10 days and 10 nights, power was needed 24/7 to run his 28 projectors of 31K each and 11 smaller projectors.

Our involvement grew to include architectural lighting designed to seamlessly integrate with the video mapping which began 20 feet off the ground and was focused mainly on the central building. This left the arches and the far left and right facades to be lit in such a way that guests couldn’t tell where mapping began and our lighting left off.

“We went with Images because they had done beautiful work projecting on buildings,” Rosen said. “We wanted someone to integrate the two seamlessly. We were only projecting on a portion of the buildings, the right visual perspective for our guests where they were sitting. We all worked together with Bart, Curt, Mike and Candice so lighting flowed into the projection.”

Lighting USC

… THE GARDEN GROWS EVEN BIGGER …

The final element that required lighting was a flash mob performance of 110 dancers and singers from the USC School of Dramatic Arts.  One group of performers surprised the group by transforming from waiters into dancers. Moments later another group dressed in aprons from Trader Joe’s (a major tenant) came onto the “stage” from another entrance. And so it continued until the courtyard was filled with a variety of performers, each representing a cultural or academic group from the university or from The Village, who started the evening on an energetic note.

Multiple rehearsals enabled our lighting team to know where each performance would go amid the tables so we could follow them with spotlights. Each time another group of performers entered the scene the lighting focused on them. The key was to perfectly time their entrance with the lighting, “telling” the audience where to look and when. Finally, all performers met on the main stage which we had designed with lighting that would shift throughout the rest of the program for speeches, musical performances and dinner.

“This was a challenge – to create the theatrical look of an outdoor concert,” Stahl says. “To make the stage look larger, we used a concert lighting technique of positioning laser-like lighting features on the stage that shot beams of light over the audience during the flash mob performance. This intentional use of a laser look put the focus on the stage.”

Lighting USC

… UNTIL EVERYONE HAS TO LOOK UP!

Later in the program, the audience was focused right where the organizers wanted it – up and on the buildings for a gorgeous performance of video technology that mixed with emotion and music. When the fireworks went off at the crescendo, there was not a dry eye in the seats, or from those standing outside the courtyard. Did we mention the students who watched the event as well?

Student housing is a big component of The Village and many were already living there at the time of the event which meant that communications between the event organizers and the students was huge. That called for blackout curtains during nighttime rehearsals and total communication the day of the show so no one would open a window or wave just at the moment a video poppy was growing up the wall.

And so students were of course not only a large part of the days leading up to the event, but the event itself.  “We invited everyone from the entire Village to watch the show,” Lett says. “We opened up the surrounded hedges and had about a thousand people watching rehearsals and later the night of.”

In the end, the event was not only a watershed moment for USC, and the city of Los Angeles, but an electrical storm shedding light and energy on The Village for years to come. What better way to make a garden grow?

THE TEAM

Venue: USC | Producers: USC — Adam Rosen, Caroline Lett | Lighting Design: Images by Lighting | Video mapping and design: Bart Kresa Design | Video Production, equipment, audio equipment, camera truss: Gear Connection | Linen, reception: LUXE Linen | Linen, dinner: BBJ Linen | Rentals, reception: Rrivre Works | Rentals, dinner: Town and Country Event Rentals | Floral: CJ Matsumoto | Catering: Wolfgang Puck Catering

 

PHOTOS
1. USC Photo/Gus Ruelas
2. USC Photo/Gus Ruelas
3. USC Photo/Steve Cohn
4. USC Photo/Nadine Froger
5. USC Photo/Gus Ruelas

A Holiday Party that Bonded with Lighting

In Lighting Design by images310 / February 1, 2018

bonded with lighting

What makes great event design? “If you want drama and wow, it’s lighting every time,” says designer Rose Forbes, owner of Two Tree Events in Los Angeles.

In fact, a holiday event Forbes produced this past season for True[X], a digital ad company, was particularly bonded with lighting. It doesn’t take an international person of mystery to sleuth out that lighting design was a large component of this classic James Bond murder mystery theme!

Playa Studios was a blank canvas for the theme to play out. Gold was the primary color while diamonds were the shape that was repeated throughout. A photo booth area with a Bond shutter effect, a Bond villain and a Bond girl all added to the festivities.

Forbes, who has worked with our lighting designer Nicholas Blasi, many times during her 16 years as a top planner, asked him to create a retro look bathed in gold light. “I don’t try to rein in his creativity,” Forbes said. “The result is always unbelievable.”

With his license to kill it with lighting, Blasi made a statement right from the very beginning. “In the guest entrance, I overlaid the custom TRUE 007 gobo with a sparkling diamond effect,” he explained. “Select walls at the bars and lounges in reception area were also lighted with the same effect which carried the effect throughout. On the floor, we transformed the space with a series of fine line custom hexagon gobo patterns.”

And the perfect accessory for this event – besides a tuxedo and martini – was the addition of one last lighting effect — golden mirrored balls over the dance floor!

bonded with lighting

bonded with lighting

bonded with lighting

bonded with lighting

bonded with lighting

bonded with lighting

Event Producer: Two Tree Events | Lighting: Images by Lighting, Nicholas Blasi | Venue: Playa Studios | Floral: Subrosa Floral Design | Photos: MKP Photography | Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals | Catering: Brown Paper LA and Sugar Fish Sushi | Bar: Liquid Catering | Bond Wall and AV: Joey with Big Time Operators | Confidential Envelopes and other print work: Woo Paperie and Press | Performers: Brenda Hamilton, Eric Newton and Lexi Pearl

Pure Gold: HBO’s Golden Globes After Party

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 19, 2018

Golden Globes after party

The stars aligned both on the red carpet and for event designer Billy Butchkavitz at this year’s HBO Golden Globes after party at the Beverly Hilton. This was the 75th Anniversary of the awards, a milestone marked by diamonds. Fusing the facets of diamonds with rich golden tones, accented with orchid, was the perfect visual Billy chose on a night all about Hollywood glitz and glam.

Our LD Curt Stahl worked with Billy to shine light on this multi-faceted design. Walls draped in sumptuous gold fabric were bright with uplighting, a textured gobo projected over the entire area added another layer of pure gold to the event, and carefully focused spots on the dining pavilion highlighted an artistic mobile sculpture centerpiece as well as art along the proscenium edge itself. Lending a moving element to the entire design was a wall featuring the video map talents of Bart Kresa. In all, all the elements of the Golden Globes after party added up to a gem of an event!

Designer: Billy Butchkavitz with Brian Butchkavitz | Venue: Beverly Hilton | Lighting: Images by Lighting | Video Mapping: Bart Kresa Design | Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals | Sub flooring over pool and construction of perimeter walls: Special Events Contractors | Pavilion Tent: SoCal Tents | Photos: Gabor Ekecs

Just like in Hollywood, a great story from beginning to the end!

Golden Globes after party

golden globes after party

Golden Globes 2018

golden globes after party

golden globes after party

golden globes after party

golden globes after party

golden globes after party

golden globes after party

Premiere Lighting: The Shape of Water

In Lighting Design by images310 / January 9, 2018

premiere lighting

THE SHAPE OF WATER, LIGHTING AND EVENT DESIGN

On the outside — literally — film premieres are about the red carpet, the flashing lights, the step-and-repeat and the media. Inside the event, however, the story is very different. The design of a premiere is usually an extension of the film’s artistry and how it made the audience feel.

For instance, when Jennifer Wang, founder of JWang Consulting, began to design the look of the Los Angeles premiere for director Guillermo del Toro’s adult fairy-tale, The Shape of Water (which won a Golden Globe for Best Director, Motion Picture, and Best Original Score), she wanted it to be a continuation of the world in which the audience had just stepped out of. “It was important to evoke the feeling of the film,” she said. Immersive experience is the phrase that comes to mind, especially for this story of a watery love affair between an aquatic creature and a lonely mute girl.

While Wang just founded her own event company last year, she has been producing film premieres and corporate events for 18 years and has a well-developed sense of style, objective and sense of how to mix the two. As it was in the film, light and color were important to achieving the look she and her client, Fox Searchlight, sought to best immerse guests in this unique world. Images By Lighting’s lighting designer, Nicholas Blasi, was be instrumental in helping her do this.  Blasi understood the objective immediately. “She was very clear; Jennifer wanted guests to feel immersed inside the world of water.”

premiere lighting

That world began from the very moment guests entered Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, the event space. There, the actual creature’s tank prop from the film was surrounded by watery floor-to-ceiling gobo projections that created a continuous flow of teal blue current. The teal itself was a custom tint that reflected the color palette used in the film and its promotional materials (below). After some trial and error, Blasi found just the right combination to recreate it, and then added purple uplighting on architectural elements to warm up the feeling of the space.

shape of water lighting

The restaurant provided the client enough room for the 500-plus guests, and the several wide open spaces that could work as a canvas for the lighting. However, what it didn’t provide was easy access for the use of a generator. Any possibilities they kicked around always ended up meaning that cables would have to be visible through the space and that would deter from the watery look.

premiere lighting

Instead, Blasi brought in all LED and ran it on house power. “We brought in tons of glass gobos and rotators to create the movement. There were about 30 throughout the space, and another 80 uplights and pinspots. Everything was battery-powered,” Blasi said, adding that while this approach was needed in this case, green solutions like this are the future of lighting.

No river runs smoothly and a test run revealed a possible dam. “The main bar back is amber glass which did not tie in with the look of the party,” Wang explained. “Originally we were going to cover it in Plexiglas and backlight it in blue. But as we were testing the lighting, the moving lights on the wooden walls around it looked perfect. So instead of bringing in Plexi, I worked with AAA Flag and Banner to create a vinyl decal that recreated the look of the wood panels and would replace the amber glass for the night. It looked so good, the head corporate person from the restaurant jokingly commented why they didn’t print wood decals instead of buying real wood all the time?”

New ways of seeing, changes in preconceived notions … these were not only the result of vinyl decals but also the film’s underlying message. Like water and love, design and lighting are also essential elements with no formal shape until talented event professionals use them to construct the “shape” —  a beautiful event space such as this — with them.

The Team

Planner: JWang Consulting | Lighting: Images by Lighting | Venue: Ocean Prime Beverly Hills | Floral Design: Empty Vase | Furniture: Blueprint Studios| Rentals/Water Walls: Town and Country Event Rentals | Specialty Chargers: BBJ Linen | Linens and Pillows: La Tavola | Vinyl Bar and Water Wall Decals: AAA Flag and Banner | Audio: CBC Technical | DJ: Raul Campos | Photos: Line 8

Fully charged! Fun fact … The charger plates from BBJ Linen (which rents more than linen) appeared to be specially designed for del Toro’s creature and Wang’s design.

Left: “Luxe,” a turquoise blue charger | Right: Sea Sponge Blue charger