Monday, December 23, 2013

Holidays at home and around the world

What are your favorite things to see and do around the holidays?  Here are some of our picks of holiday special events from close to home and around the globe.

We'll start off in Cleveland, Ohio - as that's what we know best!  Here is an awesome guide from of must-sees for holiday vistors and locals alike.  One of our favorite holiday events happens in University Circle, Wade Oval Winter.  Here you will find an outdoor ice rink that features live music on Wednesdays and a couple of movie nights.  Admission to the rink is free, and if you show your rink wristband you get a discount at the museums around Wade Oval.  One of the museums offering the discount is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Through out December & the first weekend of January, CMNH presents Ice Age 2013: A Winter Event of Prehistoric Proportions.  Ice Age 2013 has plenty of activities, including ice carving demonstrations and a scavenger hunt.  Below is a picture of the lighting that welcomes you to the museum.

Many countries have the tradition of having a Festival of Lights around the holidays.  Here are just some of the festivals that happen inside and outside the United States.  You can check out some great pictures from Italy to Columbia and back to the U.S.  Here's one that we found on Twitter of a long exposure of a tree lit up with LED tiny lights.

Who doesn't like a good holiday decoration light show?  We do!  Here are some of our favorites from around You Tube.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

Back in 2003, when the Case Western Reserve University MFA program made Cleveland Play House their home, I designed a production of Twelfth Night in the historic Brooks theatre with a fantastic creative team.  We were all familiar with how one another worked through the creative process and were truly in sync.  Challenges were overcome through collaboration, and the show turned out brilliant.

I recently had the pleasure of designing the lighting for the CWRU/CPH MFA production of Twelfth Night now running in the Helen Theatre at Play House Square.  Having been involved with the program for many years, I was thrilled to be asked back and a bit nervous to be part a new team in a new space.  What if we didn’t click?  What if my process drove them crazy?  After all, it has been over seven years since I had designed for CPH.  What if they had forgotten how persnickety I can be (or, as a friend of mine termed me as “a loveable canker sore” – Thanks, Ron!)?  

As it turns out, my fears were all for naught.  The team for this production connected seamlessly out of the gate with the director’s vision to set the production in the Mississippi Delta.  The music, costumes, sounds, and scenery all supported this vision (and the lighting isn’t too shabby, either).  A few familiar faces along with new found friends and colleagues reminded me how wonderful a creative, collaborative design and production process can be.  

Having hailed from a previous regime of CPH, I am certainly among many former staff members that had mixed emotions about the move downtown.  The history and sense of community that surged through the old building was a major part of my Play House memories.   It was quite like visiting the folks after they sell the house you grew up in to move into a new condo.  The combination of new conveniences and comfortable old favorites put you at ease.  The past is not gone or forgotten, just repurposed. 

If you haven't visited the CWRU/CPH MFA program's new digs, you should.  Twelfth Night  is a great way to start.  If you're a veteran supported, bravo - unless you haven't experienced this production of Twelfth Night yet, in which case, what are you waiting for?  It runs through October 26th, and you can get tickets here.  Enjoy the show!  ~Maureen E. Patterson, Lead Designer Solus Lighting LTD

Monday, July 08, 2013

Why hire specialty professionals

When selecting vendors for your event, there is the option of a one-stop shop or a specialty shop.  This blog post explains the benefit of selecting the best all around fit of services.  From Scratch Weddings blog written by Lighting Designer James Bedell.  You can find the entire blog post here.  ~Beth Reyes, Lead Production Technician Solus Lighting LTD

Wedding DJs are necessarily limited in the lighting statements they can make. 
The typical DJ has a stock of lighting they’ve purchased as part of an inventory. Financially speaking, they treat these lighting elements just like audio gear. By investing in this equipment and building a rental fee into their contract price they pay back the cost of the gear and eventually begin making a profit. By investing in what they see as universal gear, they will rent it over and over again until they recoup their investment.
The problem with that approach is that sound and light are fundamentally different. While the same audio rig can work well for a wide variety of wedding scenarios, lighting gear will rarely work that way. To be even more specific about it, what makes the music for your wedding special is what we hear, not what speakers make the sound. But in lighting it’s what we see, and what we see is directly related to what gear is chosen.
Fight the Trends
Because DJs are buying gear to appeal to widest swath of the market, they are forced to follow the current decor trends. Currently, it’s all about uplighting. Wireless color changing LED uplights are all the rage because they are easy to set up and give a simple bold lighting statement. I’m not here to tell you that uplighting is bad. I’m here to tell you that it’s a trend. Part of the reason you’re seeing it everywhere is because it’s so easy for DJs to buy and use. But trends come and go. Remember when it was all about smoke and lasers? Remember those spinning globes that shot light in all directions? Hey, remember the disco ball? These were all lighting trends of different eras.
Design the Look You Want
When you hire a great DJ you get to talk about what you expect to hear during your wedding. The really good DJs like Scratch Weddings will ask you about your musical tastes, what to avoid, what makes you dance, about what your families like, etc. Lighting should be no different. Great wedding lighting should be designed to make your big day look and feel amazing to you. More than anything it should be personal, not cookie cutter. A DJ can’t do that anymore than a lighting guy can give you great music.
Bottom Line
Lighting is a separate skill from providing music and it should be treated as such. If you want great wedding lighting hire a lighting designer (like me!!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The After Ceremony Event - Graduation Style!

High school, undergraduate or post-graduate...YOU DID IT!  After the formalities of the ceremonies are over, it's time to get down and have a great time with your family and friends.  Whether your graduation party is in a ballroom, a private residence or in a tent - we can help you get your party started and keep it rocking all night long!

Solus Lighting LTD specializes in special event lighting, and nothing is much more special than celebrating your entrance into higher education or the work force.  Lighting can help enhance the theme of your graduation party and can offer color support in your former or future school colors.  We customize our lighting designs for every event, and work with you or your event planner to make your vision come to life.  Having a true lighting professional on site for the party is essential to get the best & most out of the lighting rig.  Our lighting technicians have the ability to provide soft subtle lighting for the early portion of the party, and can then transform that same lighting rig into club style lighting when the dance floor gets hot.  These two extreme examples, and anything in between can be accomplished with us at the helm of the lighting console.

If you want to rock out with your lights on contact Solus Lighting LTD now!  Visit us on the web or give us a call at 216-912-2199.  Have lights will travel, we are not only lighting up Cleveland, Ohio - we are everywhere...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Spring brings commencement season

Spring awakens the senses to new beginnings.  Now that April is here, many people are looking forward to a major event – Commencement.  Graduation Ceremonies are tradition to mark a milestone achievement, and, for many, mark the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. 

Colleges and universities are continually expanding their curriculums to offer more majors and degrees for undergraduate, graduate, post graduate, and trade certifications.  This expansion has increased graduating class sizes. 

Commencement ceremonies are being held in larger and larger facilities – tents, auditoriums, convention centers, and arenas.  Friends and family members attend to watch their loved one cross the stage and receive their hard earned degree.  With these ceremonies taking place in larger facilities, technology is needed to ensure the occasion can be clearly seen and heard. 

Sound reinforcement and image magnification (IMAG) are often used to ensure each walking member of the class can be seen and their name heard.  IMAG is live footage shot at an event and broadcast onto a large screen to give the audience a better view. 

Lighting is essential to achieve great image quality for live IMAG and televised events.  The proper fixtures, positions, and intensity levels make certain those dark robes don’t merge into the background.  Working with a professional lighting designer will ensure there isn’t a bad seat in the house for your commencement ceremony. 

Want to make sure there isn’t a bad seat in the house for your commencement ceremony?  Contact us today to find out more.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fundraising season is gearing up in Cleveland, Ohio!

The Ides of March is upon us, and although the snow will still occasionally fly here in Northeast Ohio, spring is just around the corner.  Spring kicks off a wide variety of fund raising events throughout the area ranging in size and scale.  Development and marketing departments have been working since last year’s campaigns in colleges, universities, theatre companies, museums, and hospitals (among others) to ensure as many philanthropic dollars flow their way as possible.  This is no easy task with so many wonderful causes and non-profit organizations throughout the greater Cleveland area.  So, what works? 

As with any event, know your audience.  Once you know what makes them tick, it’s easy to target what will impress them.  Sometimes, this is in the venue selection and d├ęcor.  Other times it is with food or entertainment.  We have been lucky enough to light several high profile fundraisers.  We have seen that the most successful nonprofit events are when all of these elements come together flawlessly.  Creating an interesting atmosphere increases engagement with auctions and other interactive revenue generating ideas.  Each detail supports and flows to the next, enhancing the theme at every turn and creating that wow factor guests and donors notice.  As long as they feel like a VIP, they will keep coming back and spread the word. 

Although I am a bit biased, lighting can be the most important element to enhance any fundraiser.  A skilled designer can help guide guests through multiple spaces, draw focus to auctions and sponsors, and enhance any theme imaginable by creating appropriate atmosphere for each stage of the event.  Need some of that wow factor for your upcoming fundraiser?  We’d love to help.  Contact us today at 216-912-2199, send us an email or visit our website!   ~Maureen E. Patterson, Lead Designer Solus Lighting LTD

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wedding Traditions

Being in the middle of winter makes us think of wedding traditions.  What?  Now?  In February?  Yes!  As we're sure you all know, we are coming out of the winter bridal show season.  Now that there has been some time to digest all of the information that was out there at the bridal shows, it's time to think of what is most important to feature on the big day.  So we start to think about how we can incorporate some heritage wedding traditions.  We decided to put together this blog post with some links that we found on some wedding traditions from around the world.  If you would like to find out how we can incorporate your traditions through lighting at your wedding visit our website or give us a call.  Enjoy!     ~The Solus Lighting LTD Team

We all know the saying "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe".  What is a sixpence?  Anyway, did you know that your Maid of Honor is supposed to get a paper plate from the bridal shower & make holes in it, then tie all the ribbons from the gifts to it.  This then becomes the "bouquet" for the bride at the wedding rehearsal.  That was a new one for us!  This web page from Elite Dresses is full of traditional American wedding customs.

According to Irish tradition, bells are provided to wedding guests or are placed at the reception tables.  The sound of the bells is thought to keep away evil spirits and are often used instead of clinking glasses at the reception.  Irish readings can be incorporated into the services, and there is plenty of Irish music for your DJ or band to choose from to play.  Check out this article from The Knot to read more!

Anyone who has attended an Italian wedding is familiar with confetti.  No, the bride & groom is not covered with little tiny bits of paper.  Confetti is the traditional Italian candy, Jordan almonds coated with a white hard candy shell & typically wrapped in a small mesh bag, that is placed at each place setting at the wedding reception.  Italian folklore says that Sunday is the luckiest day to be married & that the bride should not wear any gold until after the wedding rings are exchanged.  The veil also comes from Italian tradition, and is thought to ward off evil spirits.  Here is a great source for some more Italian wedding traditions.

Sunday is the most popular day for Jewish weddings, however Saturday night weddings may be held an hour & a half after sunset.  Typically a jewish couple will be married under a four post structure called a chuppah.  The chuppah is a symbol that represents a house established in public that the couple will spend the rest of their lives together.  Find out about the breaking of the glass, the Ketubah and the Horah here at the Jewish Wedding Network.

An Indian wedding ceremony is flush with symbolism & tradition that starts well before the actual wedding day.  In addition to other traditions, the rehearsal dinner is known as the Sangeet.  The Sangeet is held the evening before the wedding and is full of amazing food, music and dancing.  Like the Jewish chuppah, an Indian ceremony is held under a structure called a mandap.  This is a four post canopy that is typically adorned with vibrant colors & intricante designs.  Read more about Indian wedding customs.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Lighter" perspective on The Special Event

The Special Event (TSE) in Chicago did not fail to impress.  I was lucky enough to begin the week attending ISES meetings, retreats, and sessions before the convention kicked off.  What I found most inspiring was the passion ISES members have.  We had the pleasure of getting to know several chapters throughout the Midwest and beyond – some are struggling and others thriving.  This opened up a great dialog amongst chapters and ISES leaders creating a wonderful collaboration to inspire all of us.  I know for a fact the ISES Cleveland chapter came out with exciting programming ideas for next year.  You can read more about ISES Cleveland’s TSE experiences here
Lighting isn’t a large part of the exhibit floor or educational sessions at TSE (we go to LDI to get the latest on gear).  I use the show floor for my own research.  I love seeing what inspires decorators, florists, designers, and event planners.  When we work with these pros together, the end result is always impressive.  Therefore, it is important for me to be on the same wavelength.  Most often, just overhearing their comments about any sort of product lends perspective.   Although, I must admit, a roll of the eyes can be even more telling. 

Gaining this understanding is essential to ensure our clients get the very best lighting design for their event.  I have heard the following questions countless times over the years when beginning the design process for events: “Where you at The Special Event?”  “Did you see __________   (fill in the blank with a specific product or element from one of the networking gatherings or celebrations)?”  “It’s kind of like that, but here’s what I’m thinking…”  Clearly, if the answer is “no” to either of the first two questions, I would be holding up the process.  Having the ability to keep the creative ball rolling partially comes from what we learn at TSE and is critical for the design process.   Also, having the ability to pitch ideas outside our area of expertise makes us more valuable to the entire team we are working with. 

As with any convention, the networking is possibly the most valuable.  Meeting creative minds from all over the world is a great inspiration.  Building these relationships and solidifying existing relationships helps build a wonderful source of stimulating ideas for the future.  I am excited to translate all I soaked in at TSE into our upcoming events!     ~Maureen E. Patterson, Lead Designer Solus Lighting LTD

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why is color temperature important...

In this blog post, we will talk about & show examples of different color temperatures.  We will keep it pretty low-key & also relate why color temperature is important not only in the t.v. and theatrical lighting world, but also in the special event lighting world.

Before we begin to talk about color temperature, we should begin with a quick review of how is light measured.  The most basic unit of light measurement is the lumen.  There is a common misconception that light output is measured in watts, however this is not accurate.  Watts are the measurement of electrical energy that certain type of lamp will consume.  The actual light output is measured in lumens.  One lumen is equal to the amount of light from one candle at a distance of one foot.  For you theatre folk, here is where we could branch out into footcandle history...but I digress.  So ok, now we know what a lumen is.  Why?  Well, as we progress away from incandescent lighting fixtures the old way of using watts to describe output will be dated.  When we, as lighting professionals, are looking to purchase or rent lighting fixtures for specific jobs - we are looking at the lumens of the fixture.  We could care less how much power it will take to operate the fixture, we'll figure that out later - we want to know how "powerful" (in terms of the output) that lighting fixture will be at what distances.

Ok, by now you are thinking...well, what about color temperature?  Color temperature is not easily explained, partially because the first thing you have to understand is that "white" light does not exist.  Alright let's go way back, back to our Roy G Biv days.  Everyone knows this 'scale' of the spectrum.  Well, this also can pretty much explain color temperature.  Color temperature is measured in degrees of kelvin.  The lower the number of kelvin the warmer, or more red, the light will look.  The higher the number of kelvin the cooler, or more blue, the light will look.  So think of 2500k-3000k range of being a "typical" household lamp with the burnt red to yellowish tint.  Then up to around 3500k we are into bright, almost "white" yellow.  On up the scale to 4000k for a "bluish" light.  Then we get into daylight, which is the 5000k-7000k range.  We will save the next portion about CRI - which is how your eyeball actually sees light for the next level of blog post!

How does all of this physics translate in to the special event lighting world?  Well, hopefully it is obvious by now that just "throwing light around the room until it looks cool" is not how any job should be approached.  Lighting design is not only an art but it is a careful calculation of not only what we have just scratched the surface about here but also a slew of technical mumbo jumbo.  Don't worry, we take total care of the mumbo jumbo to the point where you don't even know the mumbo jumbo had to happen in the first place!

Below is a picture of us replacing some lamps in an auditorium.  I quickly snapped this photo with my phone of two of the chandeliers in the space.  Notice the difference in color temperature?  A good lighting designer will know which one is appropriate for the job...which is why we were called in!  Let us keep your event at the right temperature!     ~Beth Reyes, Lead Technician Solus Lighting LTD

Monday, January 07, 2013

Fresh 2013 Start

Bloggers out in blog world...we've missed you!  The end of 2012 was busy for us at Solus Lighting LTD.  Plenty of weddings, private events, corporate holiday celebrations, not to mention that we got some well deserved time off to spend with our families around the holidays. You can catch up with the photos on our website, our Facebook page, our Google+ page or any other of our social media sites.

We aren't ones for New Year's resolutions, however we are going to try something new as 2013 progresses.  Are you thinking, "more consistent & awesome blog posts"?  Well if you are, you win... win a, um, ya congratulations!!  Joking aside, we will be posting not only on our favorite subject of lighting but on some of our other interests too (expect some video game references/blog posts) as well as what is coming up next time.  To start off, this is GREAT news!

So for now, we leave you with one last holiday shot from 2012...and stay tuned for our next blog post.  We will be talking about the basics of color temperature.