Chris Lisle – Lighting and Production designer with over 20 years of national and international touring experience. The owner of Chris Lisle Lighting Design (CLLD) a concert production (lighting, set, video) design company serving national touring acts, corporate events, and special events. He also handles the production management of events of any scale – from clubs to festivals to stadiums!
It is interesting to me to look back on my 22 years in the live production industry and realize how much the various production elements have started to mesh together. When I first started doing concert lighting, video production (if used at all) was nothing more than a couple of flown screens used for IMAG. As the 90’s pushed on, we started seeing projection used as part of the “look” of the show followed closely by touring LED – VersaTubes, tiles, bars, etc – everything started moving really fast at that point. Video became a popular production tool for live events, not just used for IMAG anymore, but also for “eye candy”, custom content, and to really drive a lot of the look and feel of a performance. With this came what I would call “creative collision”. The video directors and content producers had their vision, and us lighting designers had ours. It took several years and the incorporation of lighting-driven video media servers, but we are all finally starting to get along! A lot of us also changed our titles from “Lighting Designer” to “Production Designer” as this made us feel more in control! 🙂
So now we all have to play together nicely. How do we do this? As we start to plan out a tour, we have meetings. A LOT of meetings. I sit down with Managers, Artist, Production Managers, Video Directors, Content Creators, etc. As the Production Designer I am typically in charge of the overall look of the stage – lights, video, set, scenic, etc. By the time we are at this meeting, I will have plots and renderings showing my vision for that tour or show. We then discuss the artist desires and expectations – looks, feels, colors, vibe, mood, shapes, speeds. We discuss the set list and decide which songs we want to do new custom content for, which ones we will use stock content, and which ones we don’t use video at all (remember that sometimes less is more). As we talk about the content that we will be making or using, I will typically lay out a road map of the color palette for each song. I have always been a fan of very solid and bold looks color wise. You will rarely see any of my shows where there are more than two colors at any given time. I will give my input into color palette and speed of content, but a lot of times that is where I stop. The content creators are good at what they do and I have found it best to give them “broad strokes” ideas and then see where our direction and their vision takes them. At that point we typically over weeks (or months) start to see proofs and samples of the content until finally we end up with a final approved product.
Then comes the fun stuff. My two favorite parts of what I do: putting the design on paper and programming. Programming is the time when the vision comes to life. Where all of these parts and pieces that you have been pulling together for weeks and months come to life. We go song by song and put together the show. I will typically start programming a song by playing back the content (via lighting controlled media server) and then program lights around that. The beauty of the lighting department driving the media server comes in many forms: the ability to control start times, speed, effects, and to even adjust color. We push through and do each song – trying to make sure the each is unique in their own right and that the shows never looks the same from song to song. We head into rehearsals and run the show (sometimes once, sometimes fifty times). We make tweaks and changes based on artist and management input, and then put the show on the road.
It definitely took a little bit of time for the lighting and video worlds to come together in a friendly manner, but I feel like it has done so quite nicely. As the tools we use in live production constantly change and evolve, I feel like these areas will continue to mesh as well. We all have the same ultimate goal – to put out the best show possible!
Here at TripleWide Media we want to help with the planning of your Christmas events and show you the power of environmental projection. That’s why we’re doing Transform Your Christmas all month long. With video content, projection technology, multiscreen processors and a bit of creativity, it’s never been easier to transform your events into spectacular gatherings. Our hope is that you get to connect people… impact lives and spread some holiday joy.
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