Friday, December 30, 2011

'RENT' among top 11 of 2011 according to Fargo Forum

"...the Broadway Lights summer program and its troupe of teens transformed the Stage at Island Park into the tenement setting for the contemporary bohemian musical, Rent. The result was a moving production with a message that still left you humming a few tunes."
– John Lamb
I am so blessed that I was able to work with the talented production team and actors on this production, among many others in the Fargo/Moorhead community.  Fargo/Moorhead is an amazing oasis of art in the upper mid-west, and every show I've had the privilege to work on; RENT, A Dzsungle Könyve, Chicago, Pinafore Pirates, and Cinderella: The World's Favorite Fairytale; all serve to prove that.

Photo Credit: Robby Njos, Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fargo Forum artical about Jim Cermak

IN-FORUM: A final bow: After 40 years, Concordia drama teacher stepping down

I've worked with Jim as a designer on four shows at Concorida and Gooseberry Park Players now. From 122 to designing for Jim on a world premier production Jim has influenced my life in so many ways starting with convincing my parents that being a theatre major was 'acceptable' when I was still deciding which school to go to.  Concordia will sorely miss you Jim.

Monday, October 31, 2011

WYSIWYG vs Reality

Photo of Wait Until Dark taken during photo call:
Wait Until Dark

WYSIWYG rendering made before the set was up or any lights hung.
Wait Until Dark Rendering

Using WYSIWYG to render what a show will look like ahead of time really cuts down on time adding or re-focusing or changing gels in lights.  Of course virtual will never quite be able to predict everything that shows up in reality, but its pretty close.  For Wait Until Dark WYSIWYG allowed me to experiment before I ever got into the space with how shadows would work on stage, as well as show the scenic designer what his wallpaper design might look like with different lighting and contrasts.  It also allowed me to communicate ideas with the director that other photos and/or verbal descriptions just wouldn't have worked for.

This rendering was done in WYSIWYG R26 using the shaded view and not the actual rendering wizard, which seemed to not be different enough to warrant the extra time it takes to complete.  Some shows this won't work on though, such as sets with shiny surfaces, transparent surfaces, mirrors, etc..  With Cinderella: The World's Favorite Fairytale, which I designed this summer, there were mirrors on stage which necessitated using the render wizard (see example here).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Newer Rendering for Wait Until Dark

Here's a teaser of what the lighting design for Wait Until Dark will look like.  I've seen it in rehearsal a few times now, and can tell you that this rendering is really close to what it actually looks like.  Once I'm out of tech I'll post this alongside a photo from the same angle.
Wait Until Dark Rendering

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mercury-Vapor Lamp

For Wait Until Dark, I want to have the effect of mercury-vapor streetlights outside the window, and not the  phosphor coated versions which are more white.  These versions of the lamps are hard to come by today, but they were really prevalent in the 60s. 

Sheds at Night
Mercury-Vapor Lamp on the side of a machinery shed near Bathgate, ND.

My grandparents farm still has one of these lamps in working condition, and fortunately I took a photo of it a while back.  From the photo I was able to come up with a gel combination that would re-create that light.  Combining R364 and R93 produces a very similar color with slight exaggeration of the green.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rough Rendering for Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark

This is an initial rough rendering for Wait Until Dark.  The rendering is done in WYSIWYG and the furniture for the most part is from Google SketchUp's 3D Warehouse (you will notice the fridge from yesterday's post).  I still have work to do on it, but I like the quality of light so far.  I'm looking forward to seeing it realized.

Monday, September 26, 2011

WYSIWYG and Google SketchUp

As I am working on renderings for Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott, I started looking in the library of WYSIWYG R26 and was disappointed by the lack of standard furniture and appliances.  Never fear though: Anything made for Google SketchUp can be imported into WYSIWYG!

Need a retro refrigerator?  How about this one:

This fridge happens to be based on the exact model the theatre has in stock.  Need the door open?  In this one case, not a problem:

Not bad for my first find.  I'm also finding their furniture library to be impressive as well.

To import these files into WYSIWYG is easy.  First download the file from the Google 3D Warehouse and then just go to the file menu, click on merge, switch the file format you're looking for to SketchUp, find your file and merge.  Follow the on screen instructions, and the object will now be in your file.  I find it useful to first make the object into a group so it moves in unison, and then rotate and move it into place.

In case you ever need to light the outside of a building, as long as it has been added to the 3D Warehouse, you can import those as well.  Just be prepared for your system to work very slowly and save often.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CSU Ballroom and Dataton Watchout

I now work for the Centennial Student Union on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato.  The ballroom is currently undergoing renovation, and as part of that renovation 17 projectors are being installed for seamless projection around the entire room, to be controlled by Dataton WATCHOUT.  I'm looking forward to learning and working with this exciting technology when the ballroom comes back online next month.

From the Dataton website:
Dataton WATCHOUT multi-display production and playback system lets you orchestrate stills, animations, graphics, video, sound and live feeds in a single impressive show across multiple display areas, soft-edge or scattered. WATCHOUT is fully scalable, software-based and requires no proprietary hardware.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy Summer

Since the start of summer, I have worked on four lighting designs, some of them larger in scale than others.  First out of the gate was Fiddler on the Roof produced by Moorhead Community Education.  After that, Cinderella: The World's Greatest Fairytale produced by Gooseberry Park Players.  Gooseberry was followed shortly by RENT produced by FMCT Broadway Lights at The Stage at Island Park, and last but not least, Chicago, produced by Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead opened this weekend.  Now its back to Minnesota State University, Mankato to work on Wait Until Dark among other coursework.  Here's a photo review of the summer:





Cinderella: The World's Favorite Fairytale

Cinderella: The World's Favorite Fairytale

Cinderella: The World's Favorite Fairytale

Friday, September 9, 2011



Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead's production of Chicago opened last night at The Stage at Island Park (formerly Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre).  These photos were taken after four days of bringing the show from a bare stage to a final product.  Thanks to everyone that helped make this project go smoothly.




To see more photos, click here

Monday, July 4, 2011

RENT and more Cinderella ^4 Renderings

Its the 4th of July and that means I'm that much closer to opening day of Cinderella ^4 at Gooseberry Park Players and RENT at The Stage at Island Park (formerly Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre)/Broadway Lights.  The first production meeting for RENT was on Friday, and I now have three weeks to complete the lighting design before Adam Pascal performs on the stage.

Back at Gooseberry Park Players, the lighting rentals, along with gel, lamps and gobos are arriving tomorrow.  Almost all the cabling is in place, the truss and booms are all in place, and adapters have been secured.  This weekend I have done a few more renderings to see how the lighting would work with the large mirrors in the set, along with a the mirror ball requested by the director.

Cinderella ^4 Renderings

Cinderella ^4 Renderings

In addition to these two projects, rehearsals are underway for Music-Theatre Fargo Moorhead's production of Chicago, and design work should be coming together soon.  Last week I completed an impromptu, last minute lighting design for Moorhead Community Education's production of Fiddler on the Roof Jr. as well.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

RENT and first Cinderella x4 Production Meeting

I am excited to announce that I am designing RENT at The Stage at Island park (formerly Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre).  The initial design concepts are very intriguing, and I look forward to joining the talented production team.

Also today was the first production meeting for Goosberry Park Players of Cinderella x4.  The design ideas presented include resurrecting an erector set of a truss last seen in Concordia College's Memorial Auditorium in the early '90s (think schedule 80 bolt color) and polished aluminium PAR 64s.

But for now, it is my last "weekend" of the summer and I'm in Grand Forks so I will keep this post short.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer theatre is about to pick up!

Innitial design meetings are happening for both the Gooseberry Park Players' production of Cinderella ^4 and Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead's production of Chicago at The Stage at Island Park.  After a rather empty schedule in May, my next few weeks are pretty full.  Look for blog posts to pick up as the summer gets into full gear, including some more exciting news soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Research for Cinderella- Glee Style

The preliminary (i.e. subject to change) song list for the Gooseberry Park Players production of Cinderella^4 has been released.  It includes music ranging from More Than Words by Extreme to You're My Best Friend by Queen to Today Was a Fairytale by Taylor Swift.  It wouldn't be complete without some Ke$ha We R Who We R.  Since the show breaks into fully produced performances of pop songs, much like in Glee, I have the challenge of lighting a wide variety of styles of music.  I'm starting out by collecting photos of what the original tours actually looked like.  Katy Perry, for example, has strips of vanity light bulbs in one of her tours.  Michael Buble has florescent lights in different colors hanging vertically over the stage.  Queen, of course, has a wall of PAR cans behind them.  Now to try to figure out which ideas to incorporate and which ideas to scrap.  More on that later....

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I had to drive to North Mankato for a package today, but I'm not complaining.  I have been using a student version of WYSIWYG Report R21 for the past few years now, but I couldn't do any rendering and finally my license expired.  Today in the mail, I received my dongle and CD of WYSIWYG Design R26:


ETC Source Four Fresnel

I know, I know... Fresnels are outdated, clunky, inefficient, and whatnot.  But, deep down inside, you have to admit they still hold a place in your heart.  Which is why we still are using 30-40 year old fixtures alongside brand new Source Fours.  USHIO had made some progress in modernizing the Fresnel by introducing a lamp that mimicked the intensity and color temperature of the HPL, but today a fresh breath of life has been breathed into the Fresnel.  ETC announced that they are introducing the Source Four Fresnel, which will use the HPL lamp and a modernized glass version of the old Fresnel reflector.  On ETC's promotional material for the fixture it states "Your lighting rig is now complete."  I agree, no rig is complete without a few Fresnels.  I don't know how long it will be before I see one of these, but I'm excited that they're finally available.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Frozen Sound Design

The major sound effect in Frozen is the sound of ice cracking.  As I'm researching it, I am pondering how to make this sound read to the audience like ice cracking.  Take a listen.  To me it sounds like Star Wars without the visual, but it is an actual field recording of ice by Andreas Bick, a German Composer and Soundartist.

Frozen, part of the studio season at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will be my second realized sound design.  More posts will follow the show!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jim Cermak retiring in May 2012 after 40 years.

It was just announced that Jim Cermak, Director of Theatre at Concordia College, is retiring in May 2012 after 40 years in his position at Concordia College.  I have had the pleasure of working with Jim on three shows so far (Pinafore Pirates, Godspell, and A Dzsungle Könyve), and I look forward to working with Jim again this summer for Gooseberry Park Players production of Cinderella x4.  Jim has been a great mentor and educator, and I'm sure I speak for everyone that he will be sorely missed in the Concordia Theatre Department and wish him the best in his retirement.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Photos Featured on JimOnLight's blog

Check out JimOnLight's Sunday Flickr Group Photo Pool post from this week.  It features a photo from Gooseberry Park Players' A Dzsungel Könyve and Concordia College's Godspell, along with some great photos from other contributers to the pool.  Check it out!

Photo Teaser

Here are some photos of my most recent work to hold you over until May:
The Jungle Book (A Dszungel Konyve)
Gooseberry Park Players production of A Dzsungel Könyve (The Jungle Book)

Evil Dead: The Musical
Minnesota State University, Mankato production of Evil Dead: The Musical

Concordia College Theatre production of Godspell

The Pinafore Pirates
Gooseberry Park Players production of The Pinafore Pirates

GreenLight Designs

So, this blog will seem a little sparse for a while, but come May, it will be full of wonderful information about projects I am working on, my design process, lighting tools I find helpful (or not) and photos of my designs as they come to fruition.  For now, while I'm busy wrapping up my semester at Minnesota State University, Mankato, you can check out my website at, my flickr page at, or my Facebook Page.