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.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Extending the Life of Your Fog Machine

Barbizon's Boston office sent out a recent email that struck us a really useful.  No doubt a lot of you know this already, but for those of you who don't here's some great information about extending the life of your foggers.

"For the most part foggers and hazers are pretty simple devices; a heater, a pump and a control board. If there is not any output at all and it isn’t the pump or the control board, most of the time it is a dirty nozzle at the end of the heater.

Manufacturers recommend leaving the foggers on for 30-60min after each use so that it can burn off any unused fluid, however if you are like most everyone else then you don’t do this regularly.  What begins to occur are builds up concentrated gunk reminiscent of dried toothpaste inside the fogger. After it clogs you can sort of clean it, in a limited way and only at first. The cleaning fluids are good for preventing build up but they do almost nothing to undo buildup.

Eventually a new clean heating element will be needed and a heating elements with installation often cost 75% of what a new fogger would.

The take away from this technical bulletin, remind customers that they can extend the life of their machines by remembering to leave their foggers on for 30min after each use. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Training the Next Gen of Lighting People

There's a great organization called the Technical Artisans Collective or TAC.

They are a group of professional entertainment technical artists who teach project-based education that bridges math and sciences with humanities through the crafts of technical theatre. We work with school communities to augment their academic and artistic programs through teaching residencies, assemblies, all-day community workshops, mentoring, vocational training, and providing a downloadable online curricula for teachers to access and use.

Their goal is to augment schools’ academic and artistic education through applied hands-on curriculum that aims to engage students in their studies physically, emotionally and intellectually. TAC lessons are inter-disciplinary experiences that employ kinesthetic aesthetic learning techniques. They work with schools to develop curriculum that is specific to your needs in the program areas of: Academic Reinforcement, Theatrical Support, Girls’ Technology and Leadership Education, Apprenticeships and Community Events.

Recently Barbizon's New York offices participated in an event called Controlling Light that was developed with Barbizon Lighting Company & 4Wall Entertainment Lighting with additional help from Electronic Theatre Controls as a workshop for teens in programming a lighting (ETC Ion) console so they can tell stories with light.

Teens learn the history of controlling light; to set-up and control ellipsoidals (lekos), LEDs and moving lights; to use an Ion console and translate that to their own consoles; and to paint stories with light. At the end the day by designing and cuing the greek myth Persephone.

Below is a great video of the events of the day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Visit Barbizon at the LDI Show in Las Vegas Nov 19-23.

Later this week the entertainment lighting industry will converge on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Annual LDI Show.
The 27th annual LDI combines six days of professional training, three days on the show floor, and a new Electronic Dance Music component that embraces the world’s hottest musical phenomenon.

It's not too late to get a free VIP Expo pass you can use the link: (it fills in the code for you) or use the VIP code E195.

We'll have team members from across the country to talk with you about all your lighting needs and upcoming projects.

Stop by Booth 2375 and say hello - we'll be fully stocked with the blue and yellow M&M's to give you a little chocolate boost to see the rest of the show floor!
If you can't attend the show keep up with it via our social media outlets above or search this hashtag #LDI2014.

Lighting the Top of the Tallest Building in North America: ONE World Trade Center
Lighting One WRCAs a part of the LDI Lighting Summit, Saturday afternoon from 3:30-5:00 in room N111 the team of manufacturers, engineers, and Barbizon's integrators who brought htem all together to light the One World Trade Center spire will be walking attendees through the process, technology, and challenges it took to light the spire of the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

The technical aspects of this project alone are reason to drop in and check it out.

Finding replacement data projector lamps just got easier with Barbizon.
Barbizon Data Projector LampsData projectors are finding their ways into pretty much every part of our production spaces. Because they are being used more and more lamps are having to be changed more often.

Our customers have asked for easier ways to determine which is the right replacement lamp for their projector and we listened.

Later this week and being shown at LDI will be a new replacement projector lamp cross-reference engine so you can be certain that you are getting the right lamp for your projector the first time. 

It works much like our fixture lamp lookup does now, but this section will have almost 8000 projectors and associated lamps. 

You can call your local Barbizon office and they can help you or you can check it out for yourself online at -

KETRA replacement LED lamps might just be the high CRI lamp you've been looking for.
Ketra’s engineers, designers and optics experts developed the entire Ketra system from the ground up – from the custom LED control microprocessor and emitter within each of our products to the full library of curated lighting content. Every detail has been carefully considered and thoughtfully designed, resulting in ground-breaking technology that changes the way lighting is implemented.

Ketra products work cohesively to deliver the highest quality rendering of light to the exact specifications of each user. With fully tunable LED lamps, the full spectrum of hue and saturation exists within every product.
Ketra's products will be on display in our booth for you to see for yourself!

These lamps look like carbon filament but there actually LED!
We showed these Design-o-Lux LED lamps at a recent show and so many people thought they were standard carbon filament lamps we decided to bring them to LDI to show along with the other array of replacement LED lamps we sell.
DesignoLux's 360 Vintage™ brings LED technology to squirrel-cage filament Edison bulbs, popular in open-fixture bar and restaurant applications.

These lamps feature the DesignoLux 360™ Simufilament™ light engine, based on A/C LED technology with traditional incandescent manufacturing methods, allows for a nostalgic amber glow that fills the room much more efficiently than Edison himself could have imagined.  We'll have these in the booth at LDI for you to check out and be amazed like we were.

Project Management Conundrum? Sit in the PLASA Biz Ed Session on Thursday 11/20
The PLASA Biz Ed Committee has set up a great class on Thursday you might want to consider.   Turning Chaos into order: Five Approaches to Project Management

Our industry is characterized by complex time-lines and deliverables, but there are as many definitions of project management as there are project managers (Including Barbizon's own Mark Fink). In this session, we have assembled an elite panel of professionals that each has made a career out of turning chaos into order. If you aspire to follow their path or simply want to elevate your company's approach to this skill set, you won't want to miss this session.

Moderated by: Tom Stimson of Stimson Group, LLC. The pane is set to include:
$50 for Plasa Members and $80 got non-members - More info on the PLASA Website.