In high school I had the opportunity to design and produce multimedia slide shows. In college I started working at a TV studio and learned how to edit video the old fashioned way; with analog videotape, as computer based editing was still years away from being common.
During college I fell in love with lighting while studying broadcast communications and technical theater, however I continued down the video path.
After college I went to work at an ABC affiliate TV station where I became the production manager.
A few years later I decided that I had stayed in the TV industry long enough and was ready to strike out and work in the concert touring industry as a lighting guy.
After a move to Nashville, Tennessee, I began working as a lighting guy in the Nashville production scene. First there were a few small tours with various Christian artists, then a bunch of lighting for television work, followed by a few arena and stadium tours.
In 2000 I was the lighting designer for the Fernando Ortega “Home” tour and the story of one of the churches we played at really pushed me over the edge and into consulting.
While we were carrying a small lighting rig with us on the tour, it only had a few moving lights. The church that we were playing in had around 40 moving fixtures hanging in the ceiling. I thought that I had hit the jackpot and was going to see if I could use some of their fixtures to augment my show.
When I asked the churches technical director if I could use some of his lighting fixtures he just hung his head and said that he wished he could let me.
Although the church was only a little over a year old, only one of the 40 moving fixtures worked. You see the lighting company that did the design and installation never told the church that they were going to need to service the moving lights on a regular basis.
Since the lights were hanging 50 feet above the floor, over pews, this was a problem. There was no catwalk for access, instead each light was hanging on a short lighting pipe. This meant that the only way to access the lights was to build a 45’ tall scaffolding tower.
Additionally each fixture used a $250 lamp so the total cost to re-lamp the 40 fixtures was $10,000 not including labor and this needed to be done every six to eight months. That’s roughly $30,000 or so a year when you add labor into the equation.
Needless to say after spending about $500,000 on the lighting installation they discovered that they were going to have to spend $30,000 a year in lighting system maintenance.
This church, like many other churches, schools, and theaters, were sold on the merits of the system without having all of the costs and potential issues disclosed to them by the company that built the system.
While on the Fernando Ortega tour we played a myriad of churches and there were two things I heard over and over on the tour. I heard “I wish we could have lighting like you are doing on the tour in our church” and “we spent all this money on our lighting system and it still doesn’t work.” Because of these two repeated statements, Vivid Illumination was born.
So in 2000 I changed the focus of my work and opened Vivid Illumination for business as a lighting design and consulting firm with the goal of helping both amateurs and professionals improve the quality of their presentations through better lighting design, lighting practices, and training.
Over the past ten years we have worked with all types of organizations on all different sizes and types of projects and we plan to continue forward for years to come.
Please contact us if you think there is anything we might be able to help you with.