Hot Take: Lighting at events

April 10, 2018 3:57 PM

Lighting events like the Artichoke-produced Lumiere, are bringing art into our everyday lives, so we asked some experts how to get lighting right

Amelia Kosminsky,
Lighting technician, Lumiere

In terms of creative lighting tips: Keep it simple, there's magic in simplicity. And always keep in mind the story that you're trying to tell as it's very easy I find to get caught up in the cleverness of the technology.

I've always had an interest in light and nature, from watching raindrops run along car windows and refracting, through to light rays in a forest.

In my early twenties, I began working as a photographer and looking at the use of light, both man-made and natural and how we react to it. Currently I'm studying Video Design for Live Performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and looking at the collaborative nature between light and video projection.

I once designed a dress out of tungsten light rope and cable ties called Let Her Shine' which was shown in Lumiere Durham 2009 and then again in Riz Ahmed (Riz Mc)'s live album launch for Microscope' in 2011.

I've also worked as production assistant for QED Productions on Lumiere Durham' helping set up the seven video installations in the festival. I'm constantly learning by working alongside others who are real experts in their field. What they have always taught me is the power of collaboration, teamwork and constant openness towards new ideas and new technologies.

Jim Dugan
Production manager, Unusual Rigging

We work with a variety of spaces, from museums and West End theatres, to big capital projects. Our long theatrical experience, respecting the artwork and props, gave us a lot of knowledge for handling outdoor lighting installations that, like Lumiere, are becoming popular in cities as well as festival sites.

Once we have the artist's brief, we look into Health & Safety. Working and height, outdoors, brings in certain requirements. We then work out the structural engineering calculations.

Often we are using nature and structures together to create the desired effect. This can require fencing, outdoor power sources, banners, rigging, projection and sound.

Production-wise, we have a small and close-knit team. Many of the same faces appear on site. The people on the ground understand lighting inside out, and know each others roles intimately.

We often try to use lighting and sound off the shelf, as it's easy to control the variables and easier to setup.

Different spaces require unique products. Outdoor requires weather proof speakers and lighting, and there will be sound restrictions, and bespoke technology to serve the requirements of the space.

It's often about balancing vision and budget.

Tom Hall

Editor