Lighting & Projection

Some of the LED tape we experimented with All the info about all the LED tape we could get our hands on 

here is an entire segment of the LED realm that, while small in form factor, can be quite mighty in its impact on designs across the lighting world: LED tape. 

Many of you may be asking, “What’s the big deal? I can order LED tape from any generic eBay or Amazon store for super cheap when I want to light up my house for the holidays!” Granted, anyone can go buy some cheap LED tape direct off the Internet, but as professionals, we should turn to tried and true solutions with product support behind them. As this technology has progressed and matured, there are now many professional-grade options in the LED tape arena that are capable of being implemented in large-scale scenarios, and industry-standard manufacturers are diving into the game to make products that can be trusted to perform on a level expected of any moving light. 

Read more: The Great LED Tape Round-Up

Lighting & Projection

Strip and Cyc lights take center stage in this Buyers GuideAll the details you need on the new lighting workhorses

Strip lights and cyc lights are some of the oldest theatrical light fixtures. From the days of lining the downstage edge of a theater with 100 candles placed behind glass lenses cut out from the bottom of bottles, these fixtures have been illuminating actors as well as scenery for centuries. Companies came up with alternative methods of lighting cycloramas through various reflectors and light sources. Nowadays most of them are made with LED light sources. To top it off, designers have turned to strip lights as a major source of eye candy. As you will see here, we have all kinds of ways to use these fixtures, from foot lights to illuminating cycs to thrilling audiences on live shows. There’s surely something here that you will find useful.  

Read more: Strip Lights and Cyc Lights

Special Effects

Chauvet Professional’s Vesuvio fogger uses lights and quick dissipating fluid for a cryo-like effect. How do you keep supplying special effects to an audience that’s seen everything? 

I wouldn’t go so far as to call today’s audiences jaded—but they have seen a lot. Advances in stagecraft combined with a media-saturated digital world where literally everything is possible means it takes a lot to wow an audience today. To keep things special, effects companies have to keep innovating, experimenting and developing new techniques, tricks and technology. Here’s how special effects companies are staying ahead of the curve and making sure you can still wow your audience. 

Read more: Daily Specials!


The cast of Fun Home at Circle in the Square, with scenic design by David Zinn.Tony-nominated scenic designer David Zinn talks about taking Fun Home from the proscenium to the round for its Broadway debut

Tony-nominated scenic designer David Zinn has worked on some sizable Broadway shows including The Last Ship and Violet (by the way, he’s also a Tony-nominated costume designer), but the recent musical Fun Home, which has racked up 12 Tony nominations, including one for his set design, is a more intimate story told in the round at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Inspired by Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of the same name, it traces the journey of the gay cartoonist as she comes to terms with her sexuality and also learns about her stern father’s own closeted life. The story unfolds during different periods of her life with three different actresses playing the central character, from her childhood experiences in her father’s funeral home (hence the title) through her college years of self discovery and into her adult life.

Read more: Scaling Down for Broadway


The stage in the Han Show TheatreTheatre Projects, Mark Fisher and Franco Dragone Helped Shape a Unique Attraction in Wuhan, China 

It seems the designers of the new water-based Han Show, in Wuhan, China, have things a bit backwards. Instead of brainstorming on the conceptual basics of a theatrical show and securing the proper venue for it, the leading designers of the production have gotten support from Dalian Wanda Group, a large Chinese commercial property developer and cinema operator that constructed an entire theatre for the specific purpose of housing The Han Show.

Read more: The Han Show Theatre


Mary Poppins at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, mixed on a new DiGiCo SD9TToday’s theatres have many options. What’s right for yours?

The pressure to provide a quality theatre-going experience to patrons who have a lot of entertainment options continues. Increasingly, theatre management is making sure not only the talent is on the stage, but also the tools are in the toolbox. This includes upgrading audio, and the demand on components that can work well in beautiful, old but sometimes acoustically challenged spaces is higher than ever. The good news is there is a near embarrassment of riches in terms of options as SD learned in doing a survey of recent audio upgrades. 

Read more: The Many Facades of Audio Installs

Gear Review

The Green Go Beltpack, the heart of the Green Go systemA close look at the Green Go digital comm system

From high school shows to the latest Broadway mega-musical, party line comm systems allow for vital communication for daily operations. Designers and production staff rely on an expanded system during tech. While analog options have existed for some time, the possibilities have exploded as established manufacturers introduced digital systems and new companies brought their own options to market. 

One of those options is Green Go, a digital party line system that upends a lot of the ways digital comm systems work. Its manufacturer, ELC Lighting, has teamed up with a new U.S. distributor, Nova Lume. We took it as an opportunity to re-visit the system and see how it might fit into theatre. 

Read more: Ready Digital Comm, Go…

Answer Box

Left to right: Kristin Chenowith, Peter Gallagher, Mark Linn-Baker, Michael McGrath, Mary Louise Wilson and Andy Karl—all in a Drawing Room car in On the Twentieth CenturyThe lights for the signature train in On the Twentieth Century weren’t powered by coal.

The Broadway revival of On The Twentieth Century has been chugging along full steam ahead thanks to the strong chemistry and performances of leads Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher and an impressive train set piece that dominates the stage. But while lighting designer Don Holder and his team help make the whole thing look as breezy as a train ride through the country, lighting the interior of the car was much trickier than it seems. An integral component in lighting the train interior was the use of DMX wireless through an RC4 transceiver.

Read more: Riding the Wireless Rails

Sound Design

Getting ready to perform Stratify, directed by Katie Shook, at HDTS 2013Kari Rae Seekins finds balance in an audio career that combines deep inventiveness with high-end commercial work.

It took Kari Rae Seekins almost five years to make her way to southern California from her hometown outside Portland, Maine, but in retrospect, the wait was worth it. Seekins is a Los Angeles-based sound designer and artist, with a unusually wide set of interests related to sound and music. Some of those interests are financially rewarding and some are creatively rewarding, but all are products of her trajectory from college, through graduate school, and into the diverse stewpot that is the LA Sound Scene. 

Read more: Art & Commerce

Company 411

The Mega Systems teamUnity in the Lone Star State 

When Mega Systems started in 2000, the owners, who are also brothers, Miguel, Elio, Guillermo and Arturo, dreamed of bringing innovative, quality products to the entertainment industry. Treating everyone in the business like family was purely an outgrowth of how they worked together. Each of the brothers possess unique skills which they use to lead the company’s six departments. Arturo heads sales; Miguel runs purchasing and R&D; Elio manages service; and Guillermo oversees accounting and marketing—and their diverse strengths have allowed them to flourish. Guillermo shared with us the secrets of running a family business, as well as how it’s led them to introduce more than 100 new products in 15 years. 

Read more: Mega Systems

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