Where Entertainment Production and Design People Meet!

      I broke my number one rule in this business. I assumed. When the TD for a small ballroom gig called me and wanted me to light and event that had no points or any way to hang a truss, I believed him. At the same time, I received an email informing me that there will be no cameras at this particular gig so I needn't concern myself with even front light or any rear light at all.

     So I have a 12'd x 16' wide stage for a bunch of speakers to walk around. 14' ceiling in the Cosmopolitan hotels' ball room. I have a bunch of scenic panels from Atomic Designs inventory that snap together like Legos to make a cool 3d shape and act as a set for me to light. I have plenty of LED fixtures to uplight this set from the front and rear and that looks great. My problem is front light.

     I have placed 4 10' pipes with lekos on them around the room. I have added a ground row of Color force LED strip lights along the front of the stage. I figure with all of these, I would be safe. Probably run them all at 35% and have enough of a glow for all the performers to be seen.

     Sure enough, 4 hours before the show the producer comes up and tells me they just ordered a front of house camera package to record the CEO speakers of this particular company so they can watch themselves. I had advanced for this possibility and corrected my lekos with the proper gel, but as soon as the IMAG imaging appeared on the side screens I knew I was in trouble. I would have to crank up the front light to full for the cameras. Unfortunately this white light would now bleed all over the set and my colors would get washed out.

      The speakers were lit, but were darker than the backdrop. It was OK in the end as I found a decent balance for the cameras, but I did sacrifice the color in the video. To the naked eye, the stage and speaker looked fine. On camera, not so much. 

      After the first day I walked up to the front and just starred at the ceiling of the ballroom. There in front of me, 3' from the downstage edge of the stage was an air wall track. I could have easily hung 6 medium flood pars and been in perfect shape. I dropped the ball. Iw would be easy for me to say things like "Well the client did say....", but in the end I'm paid to cover myself for anything thrown at me. And I forgot to ask the TD to check for air wall tracks I could use to put the lights where I needed them. I boned myself.


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Comment by Nook Schoenfeld on July 1, 2014 at 9:14am

You are so correct. Unfortunately a site survey by myself wasn't an option and I blew it by not inquiring beforehand. Thanx for the tip on the hotel air walls. I have never been refused, but I imagine it happens often enough that it would be smart to ask ahead of time.

Comment by Gerard Bourcier on July 1, 2014 at 7:02am

Even if there are air wall tracks, many hotels won't let you hang from them. Thats why it's important, whenever possible, to do a site survey with your own eyes. Don't rely on someone else to look and ask all the right questions. I am surprised it took you all day to notice the tracks in the ceiling though.

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