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Kirk Garreans's Blog (16)

The importance of a mentor

I was reminded this week of my first, and likely most important mentor in this industry. He was the owner of the company that first hired me in the mid 80's to do lighting for concert tours and other live events.


You see, Brad Barrier, the owner of Stage Lighting Products in Tyler, TX was not just a boss, but a friend and mentor when I was extremely green. He taught me that doing a good show is HARD work - and that there are no shortcuts for doing things the RIGHT way. He…


Added by Kirk Garreans on April 18, 2012 at 12:38pm — 2 Comments

the futility(?) of attempting the impossible

It's been a crazy fall for me and my company - I've been in Nashville for a corporate show, ran the Encore for a live TV broadcast on Fox News (the Republican Debate in Orlando) & the subsequent Florida Straw Poll, worked a large association meeting in Boston, and am now in Montreal doing a medical conference. It's nice to be busy, but hard to keep up with writing a blog as well!


Do you remember the song "One of these things is not like the others" from your time watching…


Added by Kirk Garreans on October 12, 2011 at 7:50am — 1 Comment

Keep it clean!

I'll have to admit, I'm not the most tidy of people... I don't feel the need to have every tassel on a throw rug laying flat or iron my polos before I wear them on a load-in. But when it comes to equipment and work space on show site, I am adamant about keeping things clean and organized. There is seldom time to be hunting down a case that contains my spares, or cleaning a piece of gear that is failing due to overtemp conditions.


Like some of you, I am often at the mercy of…


Added by Kirk Garreans on September 9, 2011 at 4:58pm — No Comments

MUST the show really go on?

After the past few weeks in which we witnessed 3 separate incidents of failures of outdoor staging structures, I feel the need to discuss this matter. I'm far from the only one to do so - you can read for yourself the multitude of blogs and articles on this subject, most of the same mind - this latest tragic failure was unacceptable, and will hopefully change how our industry works on outdoor events. There are now 5 people dead, including one of our own, IATSE Local 30 spot op Nathan Byrd,…


Added by Kirk Garreans on August 16, 2011 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

Learning about Lumens

In our house, we name our pets after terms and objects in the entertainment industry. We've had pets named Pinspot and Patch, and currently have a cat named Lumen. She isn't all that bright (she IS a cat...), but who says the name has to be descriptive, right?


In some ways, projectors have the same problem. There are lots of projectors that SAY they have high lumen output, but then don't have nearly the same brightness as another projector with the same lumens. So can you…


Added by Kirk Garreans on August 12, 2011 at 8:19am — No Comments

Training for our industry

There seems to be a big shortage in our industry - no, I'm not talking about airline upgrades or backstage catering with surf-n-turf for every meal... this week I want to discuss training for people working in our industry.


I know that most of us started out at the bottom of our fields and slowly worked our way up through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, to get to the place where we are today. I think there is a huge value to people that have had this type of education that…


Added by Kirk Garreans on August 7, 2011 at 4:30pm — 6 Comments

Back ups

I'm writing this from the Minneapolis / St. Paul airport, where I have finally arrived after boarding and de-planing my flight from Denver this morning a grand total of 3 times (well, I only de-planed twice, since we actually left on the 3rd attempt). I should be home in Orlando later this evening, but it got me to thinking about backup systems. I know that airplanes have redundant backup systems on board, but when a plane can't function before it leaves the ground, they usually don't let it…


Added by Kirk Garreans on July 25, 2011 at 12:25pm — 4 Comments

Things I've learned or re-learned from my Joplin trip



As some of you know, I took my family to Joplin, Missouri last month for almost 2 weeks, to assist with the tornado relief there. During that time, I had minimal internet access, and no spare time to write my blog. For that, I apologize.


I am writing this week about some of the many things I learned or re-learned from our experiences on the trip. I hope you will indulge me this week, and I'll get back to the video and projection subjects next week.…


Added by Kirk Garreans on July 13, 2011 at 5:12pm — No Comments

Using projection as a scenic backdrop

If you do corporate shows, you by now have seen more than your share of widescreen projected images used as a stage backdrop. It has been popular for years, but as blending technology and inexpensive stock content has become easier to use (and less expensive), I tend to see more of these projection "sets" than I do actual scenic flats on a corporate stage.


There are benefits and drawbacks to using this technology as a scenic element. The most obvious benefit is that it gives…


Added by Kirk Garreans on June 27, 2011 at 10:13pm — 4 Comments

Trade show madness - InfoComm!

I'll admit that I am not a fan of working on trade shows and exhibits. I don't have the patience to wait for truck marshaling, venue policies and rules, red tape of some of the exhibit companies, etc. And once the booth is up and running, I can't stand just sitting around waiting for something to break - give me cues, let me program, whatever, but just sitting is often worse than writing 150 presets on the Encore for a show the next day.


But I do occasionally enjoy ATTENDING…


Added by Kirk Garreans on June 11, 2011 at 10:01pm — No Comments

Aspect ratios for displays

Sorry that I am a bit late in posting this week - with the end of school events for my daughter, a very busy work schedule, and planning a trip to assist with disaster relief in Joplin, I've had little time for blogging (or even sleep!).


This week, I'd like to discuss standard display aspect ratios. There are SO many (actually, unlimited) aspect ratios out there, but there are a few standard video aspects that I see and work with most often, so we'll limit our discussion for…


Added by Kirk Garreans on June 6, 2011 at 10:26am — 3 Comments

A very bad day

We've all had 'em - those days that we really wished we had taken our parent's advice and paid a little more attention in school and become a doctor or lawyer or Chucky Cheese restaurant manager. Anything except having to work on this current show. If you are a parent, these kinds of show days make Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day seem like a day off.


Earlier this month, I was sent a link to a story about one of those show days. This particular show is…


Added by Kirk Garreans on May 28, 2011 at 5:48pm — 1 Comment

Projection Networks part 2 - IP addressing

Last week I discussed WHY you would want to network projectors, and how to check IF they can be networked. I even began discussing HOW to connect them using CAT5 or CAT6 cables and a few methods of controlling them with a remote computer and software. Today, we discuss the all-important IP address.


Why is addressing so important? Well, if someone were sending you birthday money, you would want them to send it to the right street address, right? And you want to have an address…


Added by Kirk Garreans on May 22, 2011 at 12:13pm — 7 Comments

Projection Networks part 1 - why network at all?

I get a lot of questions about how to network various video and projection components together. In this day and age, if you don't have at least some basic networking skills, you will be quickly buried by those that do, or burned by the gear that requires proper network connections. Get some training, read some books (including / especially the equipment manuals!!) and work alongside those that know more than you, and be willing to learn from them.


I am by no means a…


Added by Kirk Garreans on May 13, 2011 at 5:30am — 4 Comments

Who the heck is this guy?

Wow - me, a legitimate (OK, debatable) professional blogger! Who would have thunk it? Certainly not some of my high school teachers. But I am honored to be invited to write this weekly blog, and I'm equally honored to have you read my musings.


This week, I'll give you a little glimpse of my professional background in the entertainment industry, and we'll continue the video and projection subjects next week.


I have wanted to work in show biz for almost as long…


Added by Kirk Garreans on May 6, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments

What came first - the gear or the engineer?

I occasionally cringe when I arrive on show site and learn what equipment I am tasked with cobbling together to make pretty pictures. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I have to wonder "does anyone really use this gear anymore?" or "how am I supposed to make this composite feed work alongside HD signals?". But, as we all tend to do, I begin to formulate a plan to make whatever piece(s) of gear in question fit into the engineering of the system, and it usually works out in the…


Added by Kirk Garreans on April 29, 2011 at 2:00am — 2 Comments

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