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.