Monday, May 18, 2015

Your Project This Week: Protect Wireless Technology for the Performing Arts!

Editor's note: Below is a repost from The Performing Arts Alliance.  They are a national network of more than 30,000 organizational and individual members comprising the professional, nonprofit performing arts and presenting fields. For more than 30 years, PAA has been the premiere advocate for America's professional nonprofit arts organizations, artists, and their publics before the US Congress and key policy makers. Through legislative and grassroots action, PAA advocates for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may soon rule on several proceedings that will impact the use of wireless microphones.

What’s at stake:

Chip McKenzie, touring company of MAMMA MIA. Image: Patrick Mansell
The FCC is proposing that entities using fewer than 50 microphones would not be able to register in a geo-location database which provides interference protection. This will affect many performing arts organizations, venues, and productions.

The FCC is also considering a longer-term home for wireless microphones in a different area of the broadcast spectrum. Moving within the spectrum would mean arts organizations would have to purchase expensive new equipment. Many already did this in 2010--spending $25K-$100K--when the FCC mandated wireless microphones vacate the 700 MHz band of the broadcast spectrum.

Why this matters:

Nonprofit performing arts organizations, commercial theaters, schools, and performers have all relied on wireless microphone technology which operates within the radio frequencies between broadcast channels of the television band. These frequencies are called “white space.” Wireless backstage communications systems also operate in white space and are integral to stagehands and technical crew. Interference to backstage communications could compromise the safety of performers, technicians and audiences.

What you can do:

Ask your Representative to protect wireless technology used in the performing arts!

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, are circulating a sign-on letter in the House of Representatives urging the FCC to protect wireless microphones. The letter will be sent to the FCC later this month. Ask your Representative to sign on to this letter by close of business on Thursday, May 21.

Speak up for performing arts wireless technology and contact your representative today!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Kenny Foster Named USITT Lighting Design Award Sponsored By the Barbizon Lighting Company

The USITT Lighting Design Award was established in 1997 and first awarded in 1998 by USITT and contributing member Barbizon Lighting, in memory of Sam Resnick and in honor of Sid Bloom.

USITT Lighting Design Award Recipient Kenneth Foster
Nominees must be graduate students or undergraduates in their junior or senior year. Nominators must cite examples of work that feature the individual’s creative application of lighting design and/or technology in the performing arts. Examples must be cited that demonstrate excellence in areas such as:
  • Compositional skill
  • Rendering
  • Light plot
  • Drafting
  • Engineering
  • Research
  • Computer applications
  • Personnel management
  • Effective use of resources
The 2015 winner and 18th recipient of this award is Kenny Foster from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.

Kenny talks about becoming a designer and his influences, "Being an artist was by no means a choice, but rather a necessity. If I could do anything else, I absolutely would (and the pay would probably be better, to boot), but I would never be fulfilled or happy. I am an artist, first and foremost, I only choose lighting because it makes the most sense to me and I feel I can create the best work by controlling it. If sound, costume, scenic, directing, performing, or studio art influenced me more, I would use that as a medium without a second thought. There are two individuals that have helped drive me to where I am today in my career and in my life. Michael Barnett, the Lighting Professor at The University of Mississippi, thrust me into Lighting Design and pushed me farther than anyone else ever has. He never once gave up on me, even though I was an absolutely atrocious student (at the time) that initially resisted him at every step. He is a strong man that I will be grateful to for the rest of my life. Kenton Yeager, the Head of Lighting at The University of Tennessee, has helped me to become a more open artist, and pushed me to create work that is more sophisticated and imaginative than I ever thought possible."

Foster also fully believe in the transformative powers of theatre and has a very heartfelt passion in Theatre for Young Audiences. Kenny is dedicated to finding unique and original approaches to present thought-provoking entertainment to audiences of all ages.

He continues, "Theatres servicing young audiences in this country need to be recognized as the valuable influence on our future that I know them to be. It is my goal and aspiration to do everything I can to strengthen programming and production quality in as many dedicated young audience theatres as I can in my career."

Congratulations Mr. Foster - from all of is here at Barbizon Lighting

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Energy Efficient Tungsten/Graphene Lamp Developed That Outlasts And Outshines LED.


Lambent Labs
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Lambent Labs is excited to publicly announce the development and commercialization of a new lamp technology that is more energy efficient and outlasts current LED and nanodot technology ten-fold.

Lambent Labs, which primarily works in developing and commercializing lighting intellectual property on special projects originally developed for DARPA has made a significant breakthrough in illumination technology.  By nanotizing tungsten and graphene and printing them in a honeycomb matrix on a nano level allows for 80% more surface area to illuminate and cool at the same time with less energy needed that all but eliminates the fragility and limitations of traditional tungsten/halogen lamps.

Now that preliminary patent work has been filed and approved, Chief researcher Franz Strahlend can now publicly discuss the initial results, and they are astonishing.  “The lowest  efficiency even with the sloppiest matrix layouts we’ve been able to achieve is 185 lumens to the watt using standard 120 volt mains power.  These lamps work just like traditional mains-powered illumination sources – there is no need for switching power supplies or transformers.” 

Tungsten/graphene matrix filament
The technology also allows developers to change the orientation and polarity at the atomic level to adjust the color temperature of the emitted light. The lamps will shift warm on the low end, but at full power Lambent had successfully created and tested lamps with color temperatures anywhere from 1900K to 7500K.

Strehland continues, “The life expectancy in the bake tests have been astounding.  LED manufacturers have been touting if you change out lamps when your child is born not changing until they go to college – on the conservative end we’re looking at life times more like needing a new lamp when your child retires.”

The new lamp technology will cost approximately 10% more than current tungsten/halogen lamps and should be available in any lamp form factor from A-lamps to ANSI lamps by Q4 2015.

The true breakthrough for lighting designers is that this new technology no longer leaves them asking mind-numbing questions about Color Rendering Indexes, Color Quality Scales, and R9 values.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lighting Designer Benjamin Cisterne turns to Barbizon and Gantom Lighting & Controls for refresh of Australian War Memorial Exhibition

The renewed First World War Galleries of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra opened to the public in December 2014, with a new lighting design by Benjamin Cisterne that makes extensive use of customized LED lighting fixtures from Gantom Lighting & Controls (formerly Darklight: Precision Lighting System) to illuminate both the historic dioramas and the display cases.

“Over the past years, demand for Gantom products, among museums and unique exhibits around the world, has steadily increased. This is due to the modularity and versatility of the lighting products we make,” said Gantom president Quan Gan. “It’s thrilling to see a gifted lighting designer such as Benjamin Cisterne apply his vision with our lighting products in this outstanding exhibition venue.”

Australian War Memorial
Design: Cunningham Martyn Design
Showcases: Designcraft
Lighting: Benjamin Cisterne Design
Lighting Integrator: Barbizon Lighting
Photography: John Gollings
“The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is one of the most visited places in the country,” said Cisterne, whose company Benjamin Cisterne Design was subcontracted to exhibition designer Cunningham Martyn Design (CMD). “The First World War Galleries had not had much done to them since the 1970s and were in need of a revamp.” Australia in the Great War, in the Galleries, is said to be one of the most significant First World War exhibitions in the world, drawing on the Memorial’s unique collection of First World War artifacts, technology, uniforms, medals, photographs, film, and personal items such as letters and diaries.

For the display cases, Cisterne sought an alternative to traditional tungsten lighting. He approached Barbizon Lighting to help him identify LED options that were compact, state-of-the-art, powerful, and could be mounted in a variety of ways. “After reviewing several manufacturers we elected to go with Gantom as they had a more complete and finished offering of products that were plug-and-play and had excellent optical properties,” said Paul Lewis, system sales, Barbizon Australia Pty Ltd.

Australian War Memorial
Design: Cunningham Martyn Design
Showcases: Designcraft
Lighting: Benjamin Cisterne Design
Lighting Integrator: Barbizon Lighting
Photography: John Gollings
Lighting the dioramas called for fixtures that combined theatricality with durability. “My background is in theatre design and one of the things that people come to me for is to bring something of that to museums – not just to illuminate the objects but to employ a level of interpretation in the design,” said Cisterne. “I had used Gantom fixtures previously on some smaller projects and been impressed. They are well-built, which gives confidence to put them into a project that needs to exist for 20 years or more and at the same time the fixture is as flexible as that found in a theatre. The color-ability of the Gantom DMX range and the direct-ability of the Precision range just outdoes anything else on the market at that size and price mark.”

The new diorama lighting uses 120 Gantom DMX Dynamic White Flood and 120 Gantom DMX RGBW Flood fixtures. The display cases use over 1000 Gantom Precision Z Spot and Flood fixtures ranging from 3000K to 4000K with custom glass-top mounts designed to conceal the fixtures.

Roughly half the lighting fixtures on the project were manufactured by Gantom, and all of the Gantom units were installed by Cisterne’s team. ODG and BUILT were the main contractors for the electrical install. “Using DMX native fixtures made this a complete and versatile system, and made integration a breeze,” said Cisterne.

Compactness and versatility
Gantom’s Precision Z fixtures afforded Cisterne the flexibility he sought for the display cases. “They made it possible to give each displayed item an individual focus that best defines its shape, colors and place in the story,” he said. “The cases range in size as do the objects on display, and the types of material range from metal to paper to fabric prints and wooden artifact.” The compactness of the fixtures provided an additional benefit of saving space.

“The units reduced the overall size of cavities required above cases,” said Cisterne, “and the variance in beam angle was very useful for getting light into the right places inside the cases. The very narrow units are great for shooting a spot far down onto a small object or text at the base of a case and the wide floods are brilliant for washing a background. The units dim really well and the color temperature remains at low brightness. This is especially useful when lighting a paper object next to a metal one.”

For the beloved dioramas the selected Gantom fixtures supplied the range Cisterne required to meet the design challenge – to “give them a new vibrancy” and fulfill guest expectations. “The dioramas are well known and treasured by visitors internationally,” he said. “It was essential for me to get these right. The Gantom fixtures enabled us to focus and color a theatrical scene for each that has reference to place and time of day, and conveys the mood of the imagery. Two of the dioramas have digital backdrops that cycle through a timed sequence. The Gantom fixtures allowed us to create dynamic lighting effects for those scenes.”

Collaboration and innovation
To realize the lighting design vision required extensive collaboration between Cisterne and CMD, the Museum, Barbizon and the display case manufacturer, Designcraft. “Working with CMD for more than 10 years, we have developed a distinctive design style,” said Cisterne. “I was directed by their designers and asked to add additional ideas.” Part of Cisterne’s process is to fully learn the needs of the end user. “The team of technicians who will inherit the system – in this case, at the Australian War Memorial – will have an influence on my choices, as I find this to best aid the design for its long future.”

Australian War Memorial
Design: Cunningham Martyn Design
Showcases: Designcraft
Lighting: Benjamin Cisterne Design
Lighting Integrator: Barbizon Lighting
Photography: John Gollings
Said Cisterne, “I needed to mount the Precision Z fixtures above glass in a way that I used to do with older MR16 fixtures. I drew up a new mount for the Precision range, and Barbizon and Gantom had it prototyped and eventually built for the project. This is the kind of interaction we desire, as designers collaborating with suppliers and manufacturers.” The new custom glass top display case mount is now part of Gantom’s standard product line.

Barbizon developed and manufactured locally a cowling for the new mount, as well as a rail clip for mounting the fixtures to a rail system. These collaborations resulted in specifications and prototypes for custom plug-and-play cabling and mounting accessories that were then manufactured by Gantom. “We turned the Gantom range of fixtures into a full-fledged museum and gallery lighting system,” said Lewis.

“It was an honor to be a part of this amazing project and to work with designers and system integrators who understand the technology and were able to give us a well-defined set of requirements,” said Gan. “What drives us at Gantom is seeing our products and efforts enabling the creative genius of designers and being a part of the magic they create.”

For more pictures showing Gantom products at AWM click here

Monday, February 09, 2015

A Sad Day for the Barbizon Family.

Barbizon Lighting mourns the passing of our friend and colleague, Bob Hoffman, who lost his battle with cancer over the weekend.  Bob worked with us for eight years, most recently serving as the Systems Manager for our Atlanta location.  Our customers and associates came to rely on his extensive knowledge of theatrical technologies and enjoyed Bob’s generous, casual working style.

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Mary, their children and his family during this difficult time.