Featuring leading practitioners of the art, craft, and business of entertainment lighting, we serve the need for user-driven information in the hope of creating a forum for sincere, unscripted community interaction.
Jeff Croiter Pt 2: How to make lighting and influence people
57:45Jeff Croiter is back on the show! This time, we discussed the musical Bandstand – Jeff explained what he did, why and how he did it, and how his design supported the show’s messages and concepts. He also went into great detail on his design for Freestyle Love Supreme, including the show’s structure, how the programming and playback worked, and how he cued a show that could go seemingly anywhere on any day.Jeff also spoke about some of his other projects, as well as his thoughts on things he hopes for in the business going forward, including what we need for effective color control on moving lights, LED units, and other color changing fixtures.Visit Jeff’s site for more photos and more info. Thanks for downloading and listening!Jeff also spoke about some of his other projects, as well as his thoughts on things he hopes for in the business going forward, including what we need for effective color control on moving lights, LED units, and other color changing fixtures.
Jeff Croiter Pt 1: making magic with light
59:46Jeff Croiter has had quite a career thus far. While best known for his Broadway lighting designs, his work on theater, dance, and opera has been seen from coast to coast in the United States as well as internationally and on broadcast television. He has been recognized with Tony, Hewes Design, and Suzi Bass awards and nominations for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel, Ovation, Irne, and Audelco awards. This past Spring, Jeff joined us for an in-depth discussion of some of his best-known projects.In this episode, we spoke at length about his work on the beloved Peter And The Starcatcher, incuding the process he used, how the relationships he’d previously formed helped him, and how the show came together. Jeff outlined how he delivered a stunning design for Starz’s Flesh and Bone miniseries, where he lit a dance performance to be captured on film as well as handling lighting for scenes around the theater. We also discussed his work with Penn And Teller, and how he manages the Las Vegas show from New York.Jeff will be back to discuss more of his work on the next episode. In the meantime, visit his website to see photos of his work on these and other shows. Thanks for downloading and listening!
Jeff McCrum Pt 2: Theater renovation, construction, and improvement
1:03:13Jeff McCrum of Fisher Dachs Associates is back with us for more discussion about how new venues are built, how old venues are renovated, and what theatrical consultants do.We discussed some of his key projects as a theatrical consultant: renovation of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre aka The Muny, the construction of a new venue for BlueBarn Theatre in Omaha, and his work on the Tribute In Light at the World Trade Center.We also discussed the software used in his end of the business, how the theatrical consulting process works, and how the desire for a beautiful space can conflict with the utility needs of artists that will use it – as well as how those situations can be resolved.Thanks for downloading and listening!
Jeff McCrum Pt 1: how to make a venue from scratch
59:25How does a new venue go from concept to completion? Who asks the key questions and makes the decisions that the venue’s utility hinges on? When a lighting position has no realistic way to access it or the houselights don’t dim, what happened during that venue’s design process? Jeff McCrum of Fisher Dachs Associates is here to answer those questions, and many more.Jeff handles Stage lighting systems design at FDA, and has extensive experience as a theatrical consultant, architectural lighting designer, project manager, and theatrical lighting designer. Before working at FDA, he worked with architectural lighting firm Fisher Marantz Stone on projects like JFK’s jetBlue Terminal 5, which we discussed in depth on this episode. We also discussed the theatrical consulting process and his career leading up to FMS.We will discuss some of Jeff’s other major projects on the next episode, including his work on the MUNY in St. Louis and the BlueBarn theater in Omaha. Thanks for downloading and listening!
Elizabeth Harper Pt 2: on being inspired, and inspiring others
53:09We are back for more with LA-based theatrical lighting designer Elizabeth Harper! This time we got to get into the details of her work on the world premiere of Kemp Powers’ Little Black Shadows at South Coast Rep, and the West Coast run of Sarah Jones’ Sell / Buy / Date at the Geffen Playhouse. We discussed what she’s done to teach her lighting design students at the University of Southern California remotely during the pandemic, and how the situation helped both her and her students see the most essential elements required to make their statements with light. We also discussed her work on the finale of HBO’s Silicon Valley, which included lighting a theatrical corporate event for camera.You can visit Elizabeth’s home on the web at eharperdesign.com/ to see more info on many of the shows she’s lit. We also discussed her interest in Catholic mysticism and how it applies to storytelling and theater; you can learn more about her research and publications on the subject at All The Saints You Should Know.Thanks for downloading and listening!
Elizabeth Harper Pt. 1: in Los Angeles, the play's the thing
51:44Elizabeth Harper chooses to do great work that she can be proud of, to focus on important new plays, and do it all in L.A. Her love for art and for the creation of vital theater has fueled a career the speaks for itself, including numerous world premieres including Julia Cho’s Office Hour and Michael Mitnick’s Mysterious Circumstances, along with new works by Eliza Clark, Lucy Alibar, Kemp Powers, Kimber Lee, Shelia Callaghan, Gregory Moss, Jeffrey Hatcher and The 1491s. She has also worked with artists from Billy Porter to Teller and Kristen Chenoweth to Alfred Molina.We discussed her introduction to theater and how she learned it could be a way to make money, when she discovered it could be a career, and finally found out just how deep the rabbit hole could go. She broke down her work on several key productions: Office Hour, which required the lighting to be completely real, including balancing realistic interior and exterior sources; Quack, which had what appeared to be a unit set, but actually changed several times throughout the show to reinforce the action of the play and what was happening to the characters, and Mysterious Circumstances, a stunning adventure thriller with noir and detective flourishes. Elizabeth also laid out the LA theater scene for us, how it works, and who the companies to watch are.We’ll be back with her next time to discuss shows she’s helped move to the west coast, her work on TV and film, and more. Thanks for listening!
Bill Berner Pt. 2: the serious business of lighting comedy
1:02:57Bill is back on the show with even more information about how he creates lighting for television, how the TV business works, and the protocols he works under on set during the pandemic. His nearly 40 years of experience on camera, first as a lighting designer and then as a director of photography, gives him insight into and informed opinions about nearly every aspect of the job.After a multi-camera show finishes shooting, the DP’s job isn’t done until they have worked with the colorist to shade, adjust, recolor, and in some cases reframe shots. Bill walked us through the process, and has given us some of the documents he provided to the colorist on The Crew to illustrate his notes.We discussed the safety protocols that his latest project The Crew – and any other project shooting under SAG-AFTRA rules – is required to follow, how they affected the workflow, and what people entering a set under these conditions need to know. Bill told us about his work on Disney’s Girl Meets World, and explained how he created two amazing outdoor scenes (a night rooftop party and a night campfire scene) indoors on a stage. He also told us about working in corporate theater, including the challenges he faced lighting stages as rear projection video screens became major scenic elements.Thanks for downloading and listening!
Bill Berner Pt. 1: 40 years behind the camera
1:08:37There are few people who know more about lighting for television than Bill Berner. Over the course of a nearly 40 year career, he’s lit countless series and episodes of celebrated television, and picked up six Daytime Emmy Awards and 11 nominations. He shares a nomination for Sesame Street and a win for Between The Lions with previous podcast guest Mitchell Bogard and his credits span from corporate theater to TV Funhouse to Cosby to a slate of Disney sitcoms.Today, Bill is a Director of Photography working almost exclusively on multi-camera sitcoms. His latest project is The Crew on Netflix, which released its first season the same day this episode was posted. We discussed the show in-depth, with Bill explaining his approach, his fixture and grip choices, the schedule by week and by season, and how he deploys his team. We also discussed his early career and how that led to him forming Berner & Brill Lighting Design with Steve Brill, why he departed the company, why he chose to transition from an LD role to a DP role, and the continuum of job titles and responsibilities he’s held.Come back next time for the second half of the interview! Thanks for downloading and listening!
Susan Rose Pt. 2: Cruise ships, installations, and programming, oh my!
1:12:25The Squintress has returned, and we are thrilled to have her back on the podcast!This time, we discussed her extensive experience handling lighting on cruise ships, including how shows are set up and what the wide range of entertainment types and venues on these ships requires.We talked about her work on the Disney Spectacle Of Dancing Lights, how she pushed the Wholehog II system to the absolute limit while programming it, and the solutions she used to solve problems on that and other installations.We also discussed her philosophies on show structure, desk layout, and education, and even got to talk about her TV show In My Shoes, which she hosts with Ronda Smalling!You can lean more about Susan at her website, and watch her Lighting Workshop 101 Martin Learning Session. Thanks for downloading and listening!
Jason Badger Pt 2: Lighting Everywhere Else
55:17Jason Badger is back on the show! We talked about his work as projections programmer on a stunning production of Ring Cycle at the Los Angeles Opera, the curtain shows he’s created at the El Capitan Theater, how DMX based fountain control works, and what inspired him to get so deeply under the hood on lighting control software.We also continued our discussion about lighting for theme parks, this time discussing area development in detail, with examples from Galaxy’s Edge and Cars Land. We wrapped up by discussing how World Of Color at California Adventure works, a massively complicated project that included fountains with their own built-in lights and integration with the surrounding rides and attractions.Thanks for downloading and listening!