Practice makes perfect
Singapore, 19th June 2010
Singapore is preparing itself for two big events less then two months away. On the 9th August it will celebrate the country’s National Day and 5 days later it hosts the opening ceremony of the world’s first Youth Olympic Games. It will use the same venues for both events, so obviously a lot of logistics and planning goes into the preparation. Over the last two days I saw crews already testing and practicing with the lighting, mostly LED, intelligent lights, multi media projections and powerful search beams. While having drinks with friends on the roof terrace bar of the Singapore Cricket Club last night, our attention to the ongoing world cup soccer match was frequently distracted by the swaying of lights and colorful projections that were being tested on the Padang next doors. I must say that I may have been more distracted then others considering lighting is my profession. 🙂
Though still several weeks away, today’s special effects and events lighting is highly technical. Installing the hardware (light fittings) is the easy part. It is the aiming, programming, synchronization and sequencing of the effects that takes a lot of testing and practicing. While a show can be pre programmed in the computer in advance, it still needs a lot of fine tuning on site to assure a good end result. Show and event lighting has permanent deadlines to complete the installation (the show must go on, isn’t it) and there is only one chance to do it right! Hence a lot of practice goes into the preparations.
Commissioning of architectural lighting projects also takes a lot of practice (or experience if you like). Deadlines are also imposed in many commercial projects such as hotels, public transportation, retail, etc. and though it may be of less dramatic impact, commercial venues need deadlines as well so they can take bookings and start accepting (paying) clients. It is our practical experience that is crucial in the final stages of the work and allows the lighting to function properly for operation. But once we leave the scene, the owner/ operator must be able to operate the lights by themselves. They also will have to practice to get to know the workings of the lighting system that we designed for them.