Let The Games Begin!

Stage Lighting grows in to the Ceremonies – from Sun to LED’s. On Feb 7, 2014, top athletes from nations around the world will take part in the opening ceremonies of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. While the details of the Opening Ceremony are kept secret in the weeks ahead of the event, one thing is certain if the trend continues, it will be bigger and more extravagant and likely even more well lit than the previous Olympic ceremony!

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The first Winter Olympic games were held in Chamonix, France where there were approximately10,000 spectators throughout the 11 day event. The opening ceremony featured athletes holding their flag and standing in a circle reciting the Olympic pledge.





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The Squaw Valley, CA games were the first to be televised and probably the first to set the bar for dazzle. Walt Disney headed up the committee responsible for the Opening Ceremony which featured 3,000 performers, fireworks and the release of thousands of homing pigeons representing doves of peace.








                   1968                                              1976                                               1988

            Grenoble, France                               Innsbruck, Austria                                   Calgary, Canada

During the years after the first televised Olympics, attendance for rose dramatically as did the broadcast viewership, but the opening ceremonies were generally held outdoors, lit primarily by the sun!


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Albertville’s 1992 Winter Olympic was the last to be held in the same year as the Summer Olympics, but it appears to be the first to utilize the lighting technology to add visibility to a night event.





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 Only two years later at the 1994 Olympics, lighting was used even more dramatically, elevating the opening ceremony to a new level of artistic display.





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Salt Lake City, Utah

Modern trussing and lighting for pure visual elements began to become the norm.

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 Turin, Italy’s Winter Olympic events didn’t disappoint the nearly 2 billion people watching world wide on high-def TV! The lighting system from Space Cannon used over 24,000 channels of DMX Control.

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Vancouver, Canada

Fireworks and stage lighting become partners in visual elements.


Production Design has become a full partner in the ceremonies by this point.

Although we’ve been talking about the Winter Olympics, the spectacle that was London’s 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony needed a nod when you look at the following figures:

15,000 sq. meters of staging    12,956 props which a 100 times more props than you would find in a broadway musical  A million watt PA system using more than 500 speakers and 50 tons of associated sound gear    Lighting which was made up of 1,100 automated lams, 1,000 conventional lamps, 500 LED fixtures and 32 follow spots!

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We can’t wait to see what the 22nd Winter Olympic Games has to bring!




Using Gobos to Enhance your Church Service

Do you love transforming your church for Christmas services? What is more fun to walk into a space that you expect to look as it always and instead find holiday scenery in it! You can spend thousands of dollars on greenery and poinsettias; they will look gorgeous but they will also cost you a whole lot of money. You have to water them, vacuum after them, and they need to be “spruced up” pretty consistently (pun intended).


Now imagine walking into your sanctuary that usually has blank walls and instead finding unexpected Christmas-themed delights such as projected stained glass windows, snowflakes, Christmas wreathes, candles, snow or stars.  This is not only possible but is easy to do using a simple and inexpensive tool called a gobo.


A gobo is a metal or glass stencil that goes inside of a theatrical ellipsoidal light (Don’t know what that is?  Just call us – we’ll help!).  It blocks some light and lets other light through to allow you to project a specific image.  They are an inexpensive and fast way of creating the scenery in your building.


If you want to project multiple colors then you need glass gobos, but if you want white or one color (using a sheet of gel) then a metal gobo is perfectly appropriate.  You can also make your own design for a custom gobo.


Holidays and projected scenery is a perfect match! Take a moment to click here and look at a wonderful assortment of pre-made Holiday Gobo Choices or design your own by clicking here.


If you need help with your gobos, getting the ellipsoidals to project the gobos, or just have some additional questions about how to transform your space, please call our advisors at (904) 683-5553 or simply email them at advisor@stagelightingstore.com .  Send them some digital photos of your space and they will be happy to offer advice on how to “Holiday up” your area!

We also have a video about using a gobo in an ellipsoidal. Check it out:

How to Make Snow

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the show is so delightful, and since we’ve paid for orchestra seats… Let it snow!   Let it Snow!   Let it snow!

While many hope for a White Christmas and that the stars will align to give us the right temperature and humidity level to give us a nice dusting of snow for the holiday, on stage we have to make it happen on cue each and every time.

Generally there are three ways of doing it. The first is small plastic pieces of snow falling from the grid. Some use a snow bag to accomplish this. A snow bag is a piece of fabric tied onto two fly pipes that are about two feet apart. You are creating a cradle to hold the plastic snow. On the top part of the upstage side you will cut a bunch of slits that the snow can fall out of. Then when you want it to snow you raise and lower the pipe with the side of the cradle that has the holes in it and shake it up and down. The snow will fall however hard or soft that you shake the pipe up and down.


Another way to do it is to have a snow barrel/cradle. It is a long tubular object that has the snow inside of it, so that when you roll it around and around the snow then falls out of those holes.


The easiest way to do it is to use a snow machine that shoots out soap bubbles that from a distance look like snow. Aside from being easy, it’s also convenient for clean up because the bubbles dissolve themselves. The downside is that the snow machines sound like very loud vacuum cleaners. The trick in using those would be to have a scene that needs snow, and also a whole lot of loud music covering it.


(Please sing in your head)
…and when we finally say good night, in the lobby of the theatre that we’re at. How we’ll comment on how the snow, made the effect of the night!

If you need help making a decision about a snow machine, feel free to send us your questions at advisor@stagelightingstore.com.

Happy Holidays