Educating a Brighter Future, Part 2

frank dankoMy Journey in Lighting
written by guest blogger Frank Danko
[ED: Mr. Danko’s journey began at an early age and in an earlier blog post. Here the journey continues.]

back stageTheatre is everywhere.
My passion for technical theatre continued through college where I studied theatre arts and worked freelance around New York. I ran lights and sound for weddings, mitzvahs, concerts, dance events, corporate events and theatrical productions. It was at this point I learned that I didn’t need to be in a theatre to be a technician. Events took place everywhere from parks, hotels, churches and right on the streets. One day I would be sitting behind the console in a hotel and the next day I would be setting up staging on the streets of NYC. Theatre was everywhere and I learned as many lessons on the job as I had sitting in the classroom.

A career begins.
I decided to pursue my passion for technical theatre because it seemed like a natural transition. I worked in a local theatre for several years, which lead to a position with our local IATSE production rental company who was providing gear for Broadway and Off-Broadway. After joining the organization, I came to find out that we were also providing lighting and audio at local schools. I was immediately interested in this side of the business because of how meaningful my educators were to my journey. I began meeting with teachers, directors and facilities managers to see how I could assist in their production needs. We developed a program where IATSE Technicians would go into schools to do workshops with students on lighting and audio. This program allowed me to help solidify the future of our industry by paving the way for students interested in pursuing a career in technical theatre.Ovation at booth

The education continues.
I am proud and fortunate to teach workshops in the New York area as often as possible and I sit on the board of the NYS Theatre Education Association. I represented CHAUVET® Professional and showed the Ovation™ series at The Hemsley Lighting Programs 9th Annual Lighting Portfolio Review this past March at Lincoln Center. This program honors Gilbert Hemsley, a highly regarded designer who dedicated his life to mentoring and educating young talent in the lighting industry. The Hemsley Lighting Program offers master classes and portfolio reviews by the industry’s leading designers in an effort to foster and educate the future of our industry. I have been fortunate enough to attended USITT numerous times, Broadway Lighting Master Class and was pleased to join the CHAUVET® Professional’s team at the 8th Annual Stage Lighting Super Saturday at LaGuardia School of the Performing Arts this past January.

USITT studentsArt transforms people’s lives!
Theatre is a collaborative art that cannot exist or grow without dedication from those who will follow in our footsteps. At the USITT Stage Expo, CHAUVET® Professional helped to inspire young technicians who walked the floor as I once did. With this in mind, I encourage you to get involved with USITT, EdTA and your local organizations promoting theatre education. Join me in helping us to educate a brighter future. You might just learn something in the process.

Inspired to learn more? Please feel free to contact me at .


LD Profile: Chris Allen

Six questions with Chris Allen of Red Eye Audio and Lighting,

1. How did you get into this field?
I started in theater in high school, as an actor, and picked up some of the tech side just by being there. When a friend of mine and I started a local music event, we needed lights, so since I had the most experience out of the two of us, I was chosen. It turned out to be quite addicting, and here I am almost 10 years later, still at it.

2. What do you think is the next big thing in the lighting industry?
Projection has really taken off in the past few years. I remember doing my first show with projections a couple years ago, and going into it I thought it was very new and dynamic. Three years later, I’m still impressed with what tricks people are pulling with them.

3. Do you have a favorite fixture (and why)?
My SlimPAR™ 64 [wash lights] offer a ton of options and pack quite a punch. They’re small enough to fit almost anywhere, and they are useful in just about any situation.

4. What has been your favorite design/project?
My last project, designing the lights for “Valhella” with The Baltimore Rock Opera Society.  They were amazing people to work with, and they gave me a lot of room to do whatever I wanted. They dared me to dream big and I did. I kept getting compliments that it was the best lighting they’ve ever had. So having lots of creative freedom, a great crew to work along side, and tons of positive feedback made “Valhella” a once in a lifetime kind of show.

5. What was the biggest unforeseen obstacle that you’ve faced in one of your designs, and how did you overcome it?
For one show, I was unsure how to get all the different colors and looks that the director wanted onstage with a limited number of fixtures. Since the set was static and all the action took place in the same areas on stage and all that needed to change was the color, we rented color scrollers. I didn’t know we had the budget to rent them, but apparently we did. They were a bit of a hassle to get to work with the design exactly how I wanted, but in the end they saved the show.

6. Complete this thought: A show without light is like…Dancing in the dark. Sure, the music is still great, but you can’t see the REAL action.

Valhella image courtesy of Heather Keating


Chauvet a Hit at Music Florida 2013 Conference

Chauvet recently traveled to Orlando for the Kempke’s Music Florida 2013 music conference held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. Jeremy Pace, southeast territory manager for CHAUVET® DJ, and Corey Silverman, president of Kor media & lighting, showcased both CHAUVET® Professional and CHAUVET® DJ gear to more than 300 church executives from all over the nation. Among the fixtures on display was CHAUVET® Professional  COLORdash™ Par-Quad 7 PAR-style fixture, powered by seven quad-colored RGBA LEDs projecting a deeply saturated output and any variation of white, without multi-colored shadows.


One-on-One with Stéphane Gressier

Stéphane Gressier is the international sales director at Chauvet and has been a member of the team for almost two years. Read on and get to know a little bit about him.

1. Where are you from?
This is a question I always struggle to respond quickly to. Here is a synopsis: I was born in France, but my first home was Vietnam for 7 years, France for 2 years, Jordan for 2 years, France for 3 years, Venezuela for 7 years, Brazil for 2 years and now the United States where I have established roots between Los Angeles and Miami with my wife and children for the past 21 years.

2. Why Chauvet?
I got to know Chauvet because I purchased a Scorpion™ Storm FX laser from Guitar Center a few years back.  Having been an amateur DJ in my college days, I always kept an interest in sound and lighting trends by doing some gigs here and there.  All this changed when I was given the opportunity to interview with Albert Chauvet in late 2010 and got a glimpse of what Chauvet was about. From then on, I felt I was hit by lighting and the story is still unfolding. I have to say this about Chauvet — the incredible talent our people bring together, along with the drive to succeed, fosters a working environment that feels like a family. We all watch out for one another with the ultimate goal of delivering the best product and support that money can buy to our beloved customers and end users.

3. Where did you work prior to joining the Chauvet team?
I am the former general manager of the U.S. business unit of a Spanish flooring and roofing manufacturer with factories in Spain, the United States and Central and South America.

4. Favorite food?
Vietnamese cuisine — hands down. However, I enjoy the foods of all the countries I have had the opportunity to visit.

5. Favorite type of music?
Any music that generates all types of emotions, whether it’s salsa or merengue when I have a hitch in the hips, movie soundtracks or any modern dancing music.

6. Favorite thing to do outside of work?
Spend time with my family, photography and motorcycling.

7. What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to learn?
People are always surprised to learn that I am Eurasian because it physically does not show. However, if they were to meet any of my late grandmothers, they would say, “WOW!”

8. A show without lights is like…
A show without lights is like hearing without seeing.


LD Interview: Take 5 with Zach Matusow

Lighting Designer for Foster the People Zach Matusow talks one-on-one with our own John Dunn, business development manager for the west coast of the U.S. We previously shared some behind-the-scenes photos of the in-progress interview and facility tour. While Matusow was at Chauvet HQ, our CHAUVET® Professional product development team demonstrated select fixtures like Nexus™ 4×4, Legend™ 230SR Beam and more. The Foster tour featured 40 CHAUVET® Professional fixtures, most notably CHAUVET® Professional COLORado™ Batten 144 Tour. Read the full story here.


CHAUVET® Professional: Imposing Presence at LDI 2012

Sharp beams, suspended truss and mesmerizing video displays acted like a magnet for hundreds of attendees who visited all three booths of CHAUVET® Professional at LDI 2012. Featuring a dominant middle section flanked by two smaller stands, the show carried the creative touch of an amazing team: Lighting Designer Seth Jackson, Co-lighting Designer Nathan W. Scheuer, Programmer Nate Alves, Project Manager Jack Rushen and of the entire CHAUVET® Professional team.

Three helixes added to the dramatic height, one placed at the center of the main booth and two suspended above the secondary CHAUVET® Professional stands. Designed by Jackson and Scheuer, these truss structures acted as unifying elements for all three areas. “The idea was to have a unique shape tying all three booths together,” Jackson said. Each helix was made of curved trussing, carrying three CHAUVET® Professional EPIX™ Strip fixtures placed end-to-end, next to CHAUVET® Professional Legend™ 412 and CHAUVET® Professional Legend™ 412 VW pixel-mapping moving yokes, CHAUVET® Professional Ovation™ F-165WW Fresnel-style luminaires, CHAUVET® Professional Ovation™ E-190WW ellipsoidal-style spot lights, and CHAUVET® Professional COLORado™ 1-Quad Tour wash lights as truss warmers.

“We were asked to unify all of Chauvet’s booths in an elegant manner while fully displaying the versatility and ability of each product,” Scheuer said. “In a show like LDI, where everything has seemingly been tried once, Seth and I wanted something that was simple, as to not distract from the products themselves, but was also intriguing and enticing at any distance.”

At 30-feet in height, the center booth was loaded with CHAUVET® Professional Nexus™ 4×4 eye-candy LED wash lights that stole the show.

“I find the Nexus™ 4×4 to be amazing: the flexibility, the unique look,” Jackson said. “I haven’t seen a product on this floor show that resembles these fixtures. And they’re so easy to address!”

Additionally, CHAUVET® Professional PVP™ S5 and CHAUVET® Professional PVP™ S7 high-resolution video panels, CHAUVET® Professional MVP™ Ta8 Curve modular video panels, CHAUVET® Professional Xeno™ 2500 high-impact strobe lights and CHAUVET® Professional Q-Wash™ 436Z-LED wash lights. CHAUVET® Professional Legend™ 230SR Beam moving head fixtures cut through the air with punchy bright beams from an ACS™, Autonomous Cart System, incorporated into the booth. Parasol Systems of Canada and CHAUVET® Professional partnered to display ACS™, built of independent, motorized and programmable carts that move fixtures on specially designed tracks. ACS™ held eight Legend™ 230SR Beam lights, which were an integral part of the show.

“Once we found out that Parasol Systems was involved, we added the system into the integration,” Jackson said. “It brings great energy because of the motion and there is nothing else in any other booth like it.”

The team programmed 145 cues over 12 minutes for an amazing show, also using wireless DMX. “I definitely think we’re playing with some geometries that no done else is using,” said Programmer Nate Alves. “We had to work with more open, exposed space, and because of that I think we showed the products more than everyone else.”

Some of the challenges the team faced while building the booths were the limitations of the space and trying to fit power, storage, the products all in the allotted footprint of the venue. “However, the most challenging thing from a design aspect was making sure that we were truly showing off Chauvet’s diverse product line while being original,” Scheuer said. “LDI is a visually striking and overwhelming stage to be on, and the desire to bring something new and innovative was the driving force behind our decisions.”

CHAUVET® Professional fixtures displayed:
COLORado™ 1-Quad Tour
COLORado™ 4 IP
COLORdash™ Batten Quad-6
COLORdash™ Par-Quad 7
COLORdash™ Par-Quad 18
EPIX™ Strip
Legend™ 230SR Beam
Legend™ 412
Legend™ 412 VW
MVP™ Ta8 Curve
Nexus™ 4×4

Q-Spot™ 360-LED
Q-Spot™ 460-LED
Q-Wash™ 436Z-LED
Ovation™ F-165WW
Ovation™ E-190WW
Ovation™ C-1280FC
Xeno™ 2500

ILUMINARC® fixtures displayed:
Ilumipanel 40 IP
Ilumiline 21g2 IP
Ilumipod 18g2 IP

Additionally shown, in all three booths, were TRUSST® products.


CHAUVET® Professional on AVNation

Our own Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET® Professional and ILUMINARC®, participates in this lively conversation about lighting and video in the AV world on AVNation.

Join hosts George Tucker and Mike Postupak and additional guests Christian Samuelson of  Xross Point AV and Aaron Medow of NBC Sports.

Listen to the podcast now: The LIVE Life Episode 6: It’s Not Radio.