Friday, October 26, 2012

LDI re-cap, a follow up blog post...

Solus Lighting LTD Lead Designer, Maureen Patterson, is back in Cleveland from her trip to Las Vegas for LDI.  Below is her re-cap and thoughts about what she saw at the conference and what is on tap for the future.  So, as promised, read on & enjoy!

"At first glance, the LDI show this year was not very impressive.  Attendance was down for both exhibitors as well as attendees.  I suppose in the age of technology, most information and specifications can be found on the internet (not to mention countless demo videos).  However, I’m old school.  I want information first hand – to experience things in person.  After all, any piece of gear can seem quite impressive in a controlled demo room and even more amazing in a video that is specifically trying to showcase and sell that equipment.   In this age of technology, we must not forget that there is no electronic replacement for the tangible.  Seeing the newest fixtures, comparing the output of the latest atmospherics, and programming the newest consoles in person provides a wonderful experience to know what new toys are worth the hype and which old reliable workhorses are worth standing by. 

Most vendors were showcasing LED fixtures, as had been the trend for quite a few years now.  However, I do mean almost everyone.  Even some of the smaller companies presented some extremely impressive LED fixtures.  As the technology advances, we are seeing better optics, more advanced color mixing, smoother fades, friendlier color temperatures for flesh tones, longer battery life on wireless fixtures, and several flicker free models for studio and television.  That being said, are LEDs ready to take over completely?  Not by a long shot.  Although the technology is improving, it is still cost prohibitive in most permanent applications.  That being said, the amount of competition that has crept up over the last few years will no doubt help push the manufacturers to focus on fine tuning their products to meet and exceed the expectations of old school theatre folks, such as myself.  What I found more interesting was the various applications LEDs are being used for beyond entertainment, such as streetlights as well as healing.

Of course, as lighting people, we are drawn to gadgets.  It’s always fun to see what I can control from my phone – foggers, hazers, playbacks, cue stacks, and architectural systems.  On top of just being cool, these apps and networks create powerful tools.  Need a remote focus unit?  Need to launch a cue stack or playback a specific look for a display?  With the right control system in place, you can do it all from your phone – even drive your console.  Pretty slick.   

I encourage everyone, no matter what your industry, to get out there and get your hands on the tools of your trade.  Information is abundant, but a product description, spec sheet, or demo video online will never be able to take the place of hands on experience.  As a professional, you know what challenges you face and problems you need to solve, whatever your niche may be.  Get out there, get your mitts on it, experience it, learn from it, and grow."

If you would like any additional information or would like to chat about some specifics, please do not hesitate to contact us - visit our website today!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

25 years of Live Design International

LDI is in it's 25th year and has become the largest tradeshow in the U.S. for all production toys in lighting, sound, projection and special effects.  With well over 300 exhibitors, this is the place to be where you will find anything you are looking for and then some.  LDI is a great place to go for some hands on demonstrations of the latest and greatest gear that is out on the market.  From manufacturers, to production companies to huge touring/rental houses - they are all there and ready to give you the knowledge to go forward in your designs with the best technology out there today.  Many vendors are willing & encouraging their clients, or potential clients, to set up a meeting at their booth for some one-on-one interaction.  This makes a giant tradeshow feel a bit more easy to manage.  We take full advantage of this with some of our vendors, LDI can be a bit overwhelming...we want to see everything as soon as possible!  If you schedule yourself some meetings or make a list of must sees it can help you stay focused and quell the visual over stimulation.  For your convenience as an attendee there is an app you can find here with a complete list of exhibitors, info on classes & training, an interactive floor plan and much more.  Check it out.

Although the focal point of the conference, LDI is not only just about the show floor.  There are several special events and training seminars that you can attend.  Many people attend classes in the workshops at LDInstitute, there is also a chance to study up for and take the ETCP certification exams.

Solus Lighting wil be attending LDI this year to see new products, catch up with some colleagues and meet some new vendors.  If we cross paths on the show floor, in a class or at one of the special events stop and say Hi!  If you can't attend this year stay tuned here as we will have a full report on what's cool from our Lead Designer, Maureen Patterson, upon her return to Cleveland.  We'll see you in Vegas!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

innovation through illumination

Solus Lighting LTD has the tag line, "innovation through illumination".  It is what we strive to do with each and every event, it is what we believe in and it is what we believe best serves our clients.  What exactly does innovation through illumination mean to us - and more importantly what does it mean for our clients?  Well, that is an excellent question.  In this blog we will tell you what innovation through illumination means to us and how we use this mindset everyday for the betterment of our lighting designs & for the benefit of our clients.

There can be many obstacles when talking about a light design for a special event.  There could be an issue with the event space itself, with the availability of a certain piece of gear that we think should be on an event, or perhaps the budget for the event is tight.  No matter what arises, a trained lighting designer can use their knowledge and expertise to keep the look they and the client wants but at the same time be able to make the necessary adjustments.

Let's take a look at all three of those limitations on one job.  In a perfect world we, along with any other special event lighting company, would love to have an unlimited budget.  This is not the norm or reality in many markets.  However, no matter what the budget for the event, you as the client should be able to get the biggest bang for your buck.  We recently had a client who wanted some automated lighting for a special event.  When we presented the light design and the quote, it was a bit out of range with the budget for the show.  So our lead designer sat down with the client to talk out what he was trying to get out of the lighting.  Ultimately, they wanted the movement & color changing of an automated fixture for the price of a reverse mirror ball DJ fixture.  The fixtures had to be small, because of limitations with the performance space.  The fixtures had to be able to take the elements of a September in Cleveland, Ohio - as the space was outside & exposed to those elements, which in September in Cleveland it could have snowed!  With our experience in the entertainment lighting industry, our knowledge of what gear is out there and most importantly remembering that we use "innovation through illumination" we were able to come up with some fixtures that made everyone happy and the event a great success.  We were able to keep the integrity of the design, achieve the desired effect, mount the fixtures safely and stay comfortably within the event lighting budget.

This is just one example of how we stand behind our tag line & company.  We could offer up many more, but in the interest of getting some other things done today - we will stop there.  If you would like to hear more or talk with us about how we can use innovation through illumination for the lighting of your special event, please don't hesitate to pick up the phone or keyboard!  Check out our website.  It has all of our contact information and it's pretty cool too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What is the best lighting fixture for the job?

Just like any other profession, there is a wrong way and a right way of achieving the end goal.  In our case, as trained lighting professionals, part of getting to our (or more importantly, our client's) end goal is having the knowledge to choose the correct fixture for the job.  There are several other elements that also contribute to making the "wow-factor", such as fixture placement & color palettes.  However, this blog entry will focus on why having the knowledge to choose the correct lighting fixture is the most important first step for the expected end result.

First, we will discuss automated lighting fixtures.  We could go on and on and on about this subject for days, but will try to keep it simple & brief.  Here is the bottom line, there are so many different types of moving lights out on the market today - the choices are endless.  Fixtures with stock colors vs a color mixing system, static gobos vs rotating gobos, fixed vs variable lensing and the reputation of a fixture's optics can be extremely overwhelming.  We have to be honest and say that anyone can read a spec sheet of a moving light fixture, but nothing but real world lighting experience is useful in making the correct decision when specifying the correct mover for the job.  One real quick example...the Elation Platinum series of moving lights use the exact same lamp as the Clay Paky Sharpy moving light.  So these fixtures must be comparable with each other?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The video below shows the Elation Platinum series fixture at work in a small venue for a wedding reception.

This next video shows the Clay Paky Sharpy fixture at work.  These fixtures, with the same lamp as the Elation but different optics, are so bright and fast that they need to be specified for a very specific purpose in a much larger venue.  The Sharpy lighting fixtures can be seen on the circle and the stage floor at the 2 second & 15 second mark of the video below.

Next, we will talk about LED fixtures.  A couple of months ago, we wrote a blog entry about LED vs incandescent lighting fixtures.  Many factors go into deciding on when to use one over the other.  To use an LED fixture because it's "better" and "newer" is merely a sales pitch, and should have no basis in the final design.  There are senario's for all types of different lighting fixtures.  Knowing what the best answer for both the budget and the final result is what sets a lighting professional apart from the rest.  We have some photos to help us explain.  The photo below is of LED fixtures trying to uplight a venue.  The beam spread on this particular fixture is the wrong choice to wash a wall, which is what the client wanted.  This is a strong example of the incorrect lighting fixture being specified to achieve the end result.

The client then called Solus Lighting LTD to help enhance what was already done to get closer to the desired look of the space.  We used incandescent lighting fixtures to supplement the LED fixtures to achieve a truer wall wash.  The incandescent fixtures not only have a much wider spread than these particular LED fixtures, the client did not want any color change through out the evening so there was no need for the extra cost of an LED fixture.

Like we said before, this blog entry could go on for days.  We just wanted to give a few examples of how important it is to hire the correct people for the correct aspect of a job.  So when it comes time to light a wedding reception, gala, fundraiser, private party or corporate special event, who ya gonna call...the lighting professionals at Solus Lighting LTD!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Solus Lighting SCOREs!

Greetings from sunny, hot & humid Orlando, Florida!  A couple of weeks ago we told you to stay tuned for some highlights from what we have been up to in July 2012...wait no more!  Although, this blog entry will not speak of only special event lighting in Cleveland, Ohio.  In this blog entry we are showcasing the Cleveland chapter of SCORE, and how important is has been to Solus Lighting LTD as well as how they can help all small businesses.

SCORE is all about helping small businesses succeed by offering former business counselors to aid in the review of their business plan, stimulate business growth and ensure long-term stability.  The counselors we spoke to before opening were extremely helpful, to assist us set out on our path to starting Solus Lighting LTD.  Everything from helping us to accurately project cash flow, to helping us streamline our business plan, to helping us understand what the banks we were going to talk with was expecting from us - SCORE was there every step of the way.  The repetitive and key word in that last statement... helping.  It's what SCORE does, and it is what they do well.

When it came time for the Cleveland chapter of SCORE to hold it's annual awards luncheon, they called us to help them.  They called us & asked if our Co-Owner and Lead Designer, Maureen E Patterson, would be their keynote speaker.  We were more than happy to be able to return the favor of help for them.  We have pulled some clips from Maureen's speech that reflex how SCORE helped us launch & since then grow.

Monday, July 09, 2012

It's a patriotic start to July 2012 for Solus!

Solus Lighting LTD started off it's busiest month yet with some patriotic flair!  We were the chosen lighting vendor for a private party held on the east side of Cleveland.  Red, white & blue with stars was the theme of the affair.  There were two tents on site for the event.  The main tent was a clear top tent, where guests enjoyed dinner & the band.  Solus handled feature lighting of the food stations in this tent.

The second tent, which was used for cocktails and featured a bar in the center, was a first for us here at Solus Lighting.  The canopy of this tent was red, white and blue.  This is something rarely seen around Cleveland, Ohio and we were stoked to be one of the firsts to light it.  We enhanced the tent canopy by matching the color of the canopy with the color of our lighting and the results were loved by all guests.

Stay tuned for more from Solus.  Next up for us is the Cleveland SCORE awards ceremony, where our Lead Designer Maureen E. Patterson has been chosen to be a keynote speaker.  Later that same day, come and visit us at BarRoom in downtown Cleveland where we will be serving up some special offers at the Bridal & Beyond Productions Summer Bridal Bash 2012!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where have you been???

I'm not sure where you have been, but a little town called busy is where we have been.  Solus Lighting has lit events in three different cities within Ohio so far in June, and we are gearing up for a Florida show coming up soon.  Our first stop was in Sandusky...

A wedding reception featuring uplighting, one custom gobo on the dance floor, one custom gobo projected above the bar in the tent on the patio and landscape lighting along the 18th fairway of the golf course.  Fabric ceiling and flowers by Kirk Miller Floral Design.  Check out more pictures here.

Our next stop was in Columbus.  We were providing string light swags on a roof top pool deck for a wedding reception.  Unfortunately, the weather was too windy and so for safety purposes hotel management moved the reception inside to the ballroom.  Check out the chairs in the pic below tipped up, linens were flying everywhere!  We stopped early on at load in to snap a couple of pictures.  The finished product would have looked amazing.  If this were your wedding reception, what kind of lighting would you have wanted on the pool deck?  We have other photos of our string light designs & much more on our website!

We are now back home and working in Cleveland, and back to transforming the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Uplighting of the skeletons, along with the pattern projection over the entire space is enough light to be able to turn off the existing lights.  The feel is a very intimate private party amongst the dinosaurs.  The centerpieces for one of the wedding receptions were all different dinosaurs & other animals that are featured at the museum statues...pretty cool!  You can see other pictures of the entire space here.

The bride from one of our CMNH weddings had this to say about us, "This was the easiest and most pain-free part of my wedding - Maureen handled everything and I almost had no thinking to do which was great!  It was off my mind and the place looked AMAZING!!!"

In other Solus news...our very own Lead Designer, Maureen E. Patterson, was asked to be a keynote speaker at the SCORE Awards ceremony in July.  SCORE is an excellent resource for small businesses, and everyone at Cleveland SCORE is awesome to work with.  Stay tuned for more on this!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Uplighting level 2

Way back in May of 2011, we wrote a blog titled Uplighting.  This was a very basic introduction to the how and what elements of uplighting.  As we have gotten feedback from you through out the past year, we thought that we would take some time to talk about different styles of uplighting.  Ok, there are several different types of lighting fixtures out there.  We already talked about incandescent vs LED lighting fixtures in our blog here.  This blog is going to focus on which type of lighting fixture is best to use to achieve the expected look, no matter if the fixtures are incandescent or LED.

There are all different types of beam spread that we can get out of lighting fixtures (i.e., how wide the beam of light is projecting up the wall).  Some lighting fixtures achieve this by what type of lamp is installed, while other fixtures achieve this by what type of lens is installed. Most lighting fixtures are flexible as to how we get different beam spreads out of one fixture, some are built by the manufacturer as a fixed beam spread fixture.  A couple of different looks can be achieved with uplighting.  In the shots below, we used lighting fixtures with a narrow beam spread.  This gives a striped look to the wall.

The striped look isn't for everyone.  With a lighting fixture with a wider beam spread, we can achieve what most imagine when they think of uplighting and that is to wash the entire wall with color.  In the shots below, we used the wider beam spread lighting fixtures.

As you can see, uplighting is not just throwing light up the side of a wall.  There is an art, as well as a fair amount of technical knowledge needed to get the correct fixture in the correct space to achieve a certain look.  There are many venues where it is appropriate to use several different types of lighting fixtures for uplighting the space.  You can count on us to get it right, every time.  Visit our website for more information.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Solus Lighting goes international

Solus Lighting LTD was recently hired to provide technical lighting support for a temporary exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel.  We completely transformed an empty space into something everyone there was excited about.  The venue was in an old building on the site of Ha Tachana.  Ha Tachana was an old train station, that was in the middle of the railway traveling between Jaffa & Jerusalem.  Ha Tachana existed even before the city of Tel Aviv was built, and is now a bustling tourist site filled with shops & restaurants.  It is also the temporary home for Bodies...The Exhibition, produced by Premier Exhibitions.

We were able to travel a bit before we started to get to work on the rig and will be sharing more pictures on our website and Facebook pages.  For now, here is an introductory taste of some of things we got to see and work on!

This is a shot of the Dead Sea.  At 423 meters below sea level, it is the lowest place on earth.  The name comes from the fact that it is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, it is 8.6 times saltier than the oceans, and no animal can live in it's environment.  One other fun fact, people cannot sink in the Dead Sea - we all just float because of the denseness of the water from the salt.

After we floated out of the Dead Sea, we continued our travels into Jerusalem.  The photo above is of the Garden of Gethsemani, which is a place located on the Mount of Olives.  The garden now features beautiful landscaping, however the olive trees that are seen here are over 2000 years old.

Night time view of part of Tel Aviv.  Tel Aviv is open 24 hours a day, known as the "city that never sleeps".  It is also renowned for it's miles and miles of beautiful beaches on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Ha Tachana, the site of the venue, was one block from the Mediterranean Sea.  So most of the crew would have lunch on the beach.

Here is the venue before we started the transformation into the exhibit.  This building is known as Hanger 20 on the grounds of Ha Tachana.

Day two into the install and the truss structure is up and ready for the lighting hang.

This shot shows the rig coming together in the front half of the exhibition.  All specimens, descriptions and signs were all lit for visibility of the guests.  We used several different types of fixtures to light the exhibition.  All served their own specific purpose of lighting specific elements of the exhibition.

That's all we can show you here.  If you are abroad and would like to see the exhibition, more information can be found here.  If you would like more information or would like to see a Bodies...The Exhibition here stateside visit their website for current show locations.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Wedding season is here!!!

It's the beginning of May and it is 79 degrees in Cleveland, Ohio.  Wedding. Season. Is. Here!  We were thinking that now is a good time to offer up some links to help brides-to-be with the final details, and also for the not so immediate brides-to-be with where to get started.

Welcome to Solus Lighting LTD's Wedding Resource Blog Post!  Let's dive right in...

Today's Bride has an excellent articles section of their website, that has categories for anything that you forgot to think about, but they did not!  Everything from ideas about decorations, to tips on favors and guest accommodations.  They even have a section titled "Tips & Tricks" with a link to an article about how to remember names - we have read that one a couple of times!  You can find all of their great resource articles here.

Another great wedding resource page is on The Knot website.  The Knot also has a wedding planning section on their website.  Here you can find out about the current wedding color trends of the season, as well as the top bridal beauty dont's.  They also have links for many many other topics such as destination weddings and reception ideas, just to name a few.  You can find their resources here.

We round out this week's blog with Wedding Connections website.  Wedding Connections has an article page on their site where you can find tips, themes, traditions, guides and articles.  You can find tips on planning 24 months from your wedding date all the way up to last minute wedding day details.  You can find their article page here.

We hope that this will be helpful in either getting started for or putting the last finishing touches on your big day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's benefit week at Solus Lighting LTD

Solus Lighting LTD is proud to be a part of two excellent benefits this upcoming weekend.  The first will happen on Saturday 04.21.12 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History with the Trout Club Banquet & Auction.  This event will support various conservation and environmental programs related to cold water fisheries.  Registration and more information can found here, on the CMNH website.

The second event is happening on Sunday 04.22.12 at Signature of Solon Country Club.  The event is the Bridal & Beyond Productions Spring Bridal Fair, with those proceeds going to benefit Wish Upon A Wedding.  Wish Upon A Wedding provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness and serious life altering circumstances.  Registration can be found here, on the Signature of Solon website or here, on the Bridal & Beyond Productions website.

Wether you support wildlife or are a bride-to-be or anything in between, come on out this weekend and support two great causes!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tent season is right around the corner

When spring is in the air, it gets us thinking about what we refer to the late spring/summer/early fall seasons as "tent season".  Having a wedding reception or any kind of party for that matter in a tent is popular this time of year.  Your awesomely talented and creative staff members at Solus Lighting LTD can light a tent like no one else!  Our staff has dozens of years of combined experience in the professional lighting industry and half of that was spent summer after summer perfecting our tent lighting techniques.

We have blogged before about how we can do all of the same things in a tent that we can do in a traditional venue.  This includes, but is not limited to, uplighting, custom pattern projections (gobos), ceiling washes, string lights and paper lanterns.  When choosing a tent for the site of the celebration, there are several options available.  There are clear top tents, solid top tents, false (fabric) ceilings can also be installed in tents.  Fabric ceilings in tents transform the entire space and can be lit in several different ways.  The fabric ceiling can be lit so that ceiling feels high and unobtrusive or they can be lit to bring the space down for a more intimate feel.

Whatever the visions are for the dream tent party, we can turn them into reality!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rockin "Studio 54" Wedding

Solus Lighting LTD had the distinct honor of providing the lighting for a wedding at the Akron Art Museum.  The wedding and reception featured LED fixtures highlighting the museums amazing architecture, as well as handling the dance floor lighting and illuminating the terrace which featured the bar.  Lead Designer, Maureen Patterson, also chose ETC Source 4 fixtures to project crazy interesting patterns over the lower and upper level of the sprawling Beatrice Knapp McDowell Grand Lobby area.  Patterson also used some small incandescent fixtures to provide up lighting in all of the different colors that were in the bridesmaids dresses.  Finally, the design was rounded out with lighting Robert J Events & Catering food stations.

Check out the brides testimonial here.  The wedding was also featured in the real weddings section of Today's Bride Akron publication, as well as in the Akron Ohio News!