Friday, June 26, 2015

Can't Attend ETC's CUE Conference - Check out Keynote & Speaker Sessions Live & Archived Online
A lot of our customers are working this summer and sadly unable to make the pilgrimage to Madison, WI for Electronic Theatre Controls' CUE Conference, but ETC and Lighting and Sound America are live streaming and making the Keynote and Master class sessions available on-demand.

Here's a rundown of the events.

Fred Foster Starting His Keynote Address at CUE 2015
Welcome and keynote address
Fred Foster, founder and CEO of Electronic Theatre Controls

Friday, June 26th, at 8:15am CDT (13:15 GMT / 14:15 BST / 15:15 CEST / )

Keynote – “Power Struggle”
Presented by Josh Allen, lighting designer, Theatre Consultants Collaborative

Saturday, June 27th, at 8:15am CDT (13:15 GMT / 14:15 BST / 15:15 CEST / ) 

Master Class – “Live Music Programming for Eos”
Presented by Patrick Boozer, lighting designer

Saturday, June 27th, at 1:00pm CDT (18:00 GMT / 19:00 BST / 20:00 CEST / )

Keynote – “56 Years, 82 Countries, 6 Continents, 350 Ballets: The Life of an American Repertory Lighting Plot”
Presented by Al Crawford, lighting designer and founder of Arc3design

Saturday, June 27th, at 7:30pm CDT (Sunday, June 28th, at 00:30 GMT / 01:30 BST / 02:30 CEST / )

Master Class– “The Art of Light: Breaking the Barriers of Lighting Design”
Presented by Al Crawford, lighting designer and founder of Arc3design

Sunday, June 28th, at 8:15am CDT (13:15 GMT / 14:15 BST / 15:15 CEST / )

Friday, June 12, 2015

An Amazing Lightshow Courtesy Mother Nature

Synchronous fireflies produce light in their lanterns, the pale area of the abdomen visible on the underside of the insect above.
As lighting people we create, execute, and see amazing things all the time.  But there's one synchronized light show that is just amazing that requires no electricity - not even the northern lights can boast that!

Every year sometime between mid-May and mid-June Mother Nature produces this show year the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Once it starts it sells out instantle for appx two weeks.  No cables, generators, control desks or even wireless DMX.

The artist for this show ist not a hipster band from Brookyn, it's Photinus Carolinus or synchronous fireflies.

Here's more from the website:

"Their light patterns are part of their mating display. Each species of firefly has a characteristic flash pattern that helps its male and female individuals recognize each other. Most species produce a greenish-yellow light; one species has a bluish light. The males fly and flash and the usually stationary females respond with a flash. Peak flashing for synchronous fireflies in the park is normally within a two-week period in late May to mid-June.
The production of light by living organisms is called bioluminescence. Fireflies are a good example of an organism that bioluminesces, but there are others as well, such as certain species of fungus, fish, shrimp, jellyfish, plankton, glowworms, gnats, snails, and springtails.

Bioluminescence involves highly efficient chemical reactions that result in the release of particles of light with little or no emission of heat. Fireflies combine the chemical luciferin and oxygen with the enzyme luciferase in their lanterns (part of their abdomens) to make light. The light produced is referred to as a "cold" light, with nearly 100% of the energy given off as light. In contrast, the energy produced by an incandescent light bulb is approximately 10% light and 90% heat.

No one is sure why the fireflies flash synchronously. Competition between males may be one reason: they all want to be the first to flash. Or perhaps if the males all flash together they have a better chance of being noticed, and the females can make better comparisons.
The fireflies do not always flash in unison. They may flash in waves across hillsides, and at other times will flash randomly. Synchrony occurs in short bursts that end with abrupt periods of darkness.

Timing of the Display
The mating season lasts for approximately two weeks each year. The dates that the fireflies begin to display varies from year to year-scientists haven't figured out why, but it depends at least in part on temperature and soil moisture. It's impossible to predict in advance exactly when the insects will begin flashing each year.

As the season begins, a few insects start flashing, then more join the display as the days pass. They reach a "peak" when the greatest number of insects are displaying. After peak, the numbers gradually decline each day until the mating season is over. Since 1993, this peak date has occurred at various times from the third week of May to the third week in June.

During the two week long mating season, the quality of individual nightly displays can be affected by environmental factors. On misty, drippy evenings following rainfall, the insects may not readily display. Cool temperatures, below 50ยบ Fahrenheit, will also shut down the display for the night. Moon phase has been observed to affect the timing of nightly displays-on nights with a bright moon, the insects may begin flashing a bit later than usual."

Here's a video of it in action. 

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.