ALI quizzes top Lighting Designers

February 27, 2012

Artistic Licence Integration MD, Wayne Howell, coordinated a lively and informative Lighting Panel discussion at the recent Dynamic Events Conference held at the RAI, Amsterdam. This new conference is aimed at the use of lighting, sound, video technology and staging in large scale entertainment and sporting environments.


Distinguished lighting designers Durham Marenghi, Paul Collison, Koert Vermeulen and David Eversfield took centre stage to discuss the challenges faced in the production of such events. With a series of thought-provoking questions, moderator Wayne Howell steered the content towards topics likely to appeal to a diverse audience.


Kicking off the discussions was the biggest budget item – the Olympics, and the inevitable comparison between London 2012 and Beijing’s legendary opening ceremony. The panellists pondered the question of how far London’s £80 million would stretch, and whether it is ever possible to stay on budget with such events.

Howell pointed out that, hand-in-hand with such major events, comes a large carbon footprint – should we even be doing them at all? Vermeulen artfully side-stepped this thorny issue with a tongue-in-cheek observation – one more spectator at a live event means one less couch potato!

The session also covered key questions relating to the technical implementation of large scale events. Eversfield, who worked on the Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Celebration, stressed the importance of understanding the details of the network technology one is using. This was agreed to be particularly applicable when radio links are involved, with a general view that they are best avoided if possible!

Also in the technical arena, the panellists discussed the use of pre-visualisation tools to aid complex designs. Various views were expressed, with Marenghi finding such technology to be essential, while Vermeulen cautioned that it could lead to unrealistic client expectations.

On the topic of people and personalities, Howell asked a question that raised many a knowing smile. Sharing a platform with some of the top names in the game, in a room filled with fish both big and small, he enquired as to the relationship between the lighting designer and the board operator – in particular, whether a good board op is part of the creative process. The answer, overwhelmingly, was ‘yes’, undoubtedly giving a happy glow to some of the audience members in that profession!

Wrapping up the discussions, Howell invited the participants to share with the audience their ‘worst-ever’ professional moments, a question that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Cue tales of dodgy equipment, miscommunication and general pre-curtain panic – but happy endings were also celebrated, no more so than in Everfield’s close encounter with a Christmas tree and a crashing helicopter, where no-one was seriously injured.
The full programme of the Dynamic Events conference will be reviewed in the March/April issue of mondo*dr and the March issue of TPi.

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