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Articles May-June 2021

Pursuing the Pro Audio Trail

In conversation with Caroline Moss and Sue Gould

PT got in touch with the Pro AVL Asia magazine core team of Editor - Caroline Moss and Sales Director - Sue Gould, who between them boast of over three decades of experience in the pro audio industry..... read more

NJSM Marks a Milestone in the Business of Sound

From Rental Company to manufacturer and innovator, Nixon Johnny has guided and grown NJSM from a two-person company to a fifty-person company, continuing to expand into virtual events with NJSM Virtual Studio..... read more

Tech Savvy Environment for T-Systems

Eyte Technologies installs high-tech AV Solution at T-System’s Experience Center facilitating brand value and delivering superior customer experience..... read more

Conversations with SudeepAudio

Sudeep Audio, one of India’s first pro audio web store selling studio software and equipment online commenced its YouTube Channel, ConverSAtions, in 2011 to share the journey of Indian Sound Engineers..... read more

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God Said - ‘Let there be light’ and suddenly we could all “See Stuff”.In all its subtlety, we saw colours in many shades, we saw curves and appreciated their geometry. The world was colourful and fun. Years ago, some smart guys figured out how to light up the night; first with flame and after many years of burning themselves, with electricity and a filament. The lines between day and night divided by spectacular sunrises and sunsets blurred.

Lights were used to attract, call attention to stuff. Luminous Fixtures are now active participants in the world clamouring for attention and distraction. Neon Signboards in impossible proportions cast odd glows over entire neighbourhoods. Light pollution became a thing town planners began to consider as complaints mounted. ‘How much was too much?’

In our Theater World of artificially darkened spaces, all kinds of instruments and ideas were played with, to create an ‘atmosphere’. Sometimes to replicate reality and sometimes to alter our sense of reality beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations.

On stage, we struggled to recreate natural looking twilight or long shadows, to make a scene more real. The Rock Music Guys used every trick they could think up to let fans see the hallucinationary effects conjured up not just by the music in our minds - but right up there on stage.

Lighting and our approach to it became more sophisticated. Specialties took root. I met a guy who specialised in designing lighting only for Bridges; another for Medical Theatres, a third for Malls. Malls? Yup, you heard me right - he had a computer model to show how effective lighting increased sales across the malls. In the altered shopping habits, I wonder what the future of that specialty is? Then the juggernaut hit us - LED.

We grew up depending on tiny diodes built into things to indicate if they were switched on - on our TV’s, in our kitchens, in our cars. Useful, but who gave them a second thought. Until some smart geeks figured out that those tiny blips could be combined to create mayhem in the Lighting world. Over time their collective research has dealt with all the challenges of visual fatigue, low luminosity, inability to focus light and so on....

The world allowed them this space due to its very low cost to maintain. Today LED is everywhere. It has replaced almost every other source of light. Even the purists who could not wrap their heads around the technology’s limitations grudgingly accept its inevitability.

So change has come in. Let’s embrace it and figure out how to make the best use of it.

Up to this point - Artificial Lights basically, fell into two distinct categories - Display & Directional (My terms). Display lights forced our attention to its source, like neon, or marquee bulbs etc. Directional light were everything else - they pointed us in the direction we wanted to go, from our car headlights, to streetlights, to our garden lights and on into our bedrooms.

Today the same LED lights with tiny adaptations can do both things. Their versatility open to be harnessed by any application we can think up for them. In our industry, all of us have seen surprising ways that LED enabled installations have captured our sight, if not our imaginations.

We all saw the blue cast of empty computer or TV screens casting ghostly glows in our homes. The doomsday guys would have us believe that this glow causes fatigue and bad health. Technology did not withdraw, but stood up and adapted.

Today those same doomsayers who are saving the planet are demanding we install the adapted TV Screen to our streetlights and homes to ‘Save Our Planet’. That was a quick turnaround. Both sides amply supported by science and fact. Don’t blame you for thinking if some manipulation and skewing of science has happened here.

All this only to illustrate that LED is an amazingly adaptive technology. If somebody says some nasty things here, chances are he will have to deal with a red face sooner or later as his ‘Reservations’ have been overturned - and often made into advantages.

Now - in my opinion, our success as Lighting Designers depends on how we perceive our projects through our audience’s eyes. Very often, we are brought down to earth when what we feel was an important breakthrough - our audiences met with a huge yawn. To make up for the disappointment, our reputations are solidified by something audiences latch onto that we feel were ordinary ideas.

It is important to take a step back and see our work through our audience’s eyes. Today’s audiences are demanding of Visual excitement. They want to SEE the lighting. When we went to lighting school our teachers would shudder if we ever committed the cardinal sin of ‘Showing’ the lighting. It was a huge NO NO. Lighting was supposed to be subtle. Only Queen & the Rolling Stones - those uncouth heathens with that electronic noise were forgiven for being Loud and Brash. Good sense would prevail. But at 76 Mr. Jagger fathered a child and continues to Rock. Another myth destroyed and a legend created.

The New Order was here. Subtle was out. Moving Lights were the new Standard. The bigger the better. Even Brighter, Even Better. At some point the Larger Stadium Concerts consumed more electricity than City neighbourhoods.

This set a new standard in Entertainment. As our culture matured into pleasure seeking people looking for greater diversion and bigger thrills, this new look was adopted by many commercial ventures, all vying to add entertainment into their mix. Hotels, Shopping Malls, sometimes, entire streets converted into light emitting hubs as they tried to dazzle up some new business. Nightclubs, Theme parks, exhibition centres all hurriedly re tooled to attract business.

What started as a ‘SPOTTY’ technology due to the distance between each diode in the older panels - some 6 millimetres separating the matrix, quickly bunched up so that today LED screens from even a few feet cheat our eyes into believing that its one seamless picture. Not Just the diodes, even the panels began to take on newer avatars. The earlier Metal Black Box into which each diode was embedded (in tiles of more manageable sizes) was made easier to transport and assemble with the use of innovative material.

At one time creating curves and rounds looked like a huge breakthrough, until those Chinese geniuses started folding and rolling and opening LED screens like they were made out of paper.

Today the possibilities seem limitless. Creative people leaped in with so many dazzling applications of this technology. Advertising, Nightclubs, Hotels, Malls and leisure centres.

LED and the accompanying computer processing that allows you to control millions of pixels in real time has made all of these experiences louder, brighter and flung them even harder in your face. You wonder if people will ever tire of this heightened stimulus? To the LED guys it does not matter. Cause you will need your LED enabled car starters (NO keys anymore) to find your cars parked in LED lit parking bays. Your LED panelled car cabins will remind you how to start the car, the LED dashboard screen will guide you safely out of the garage, LED headlights will light the road. Other LED panels will help you select the music you want, the address you need to point towards, and set the car air-conditioning system. Under LED streetlights, you arrive safely home. Your day done, you review the LED lights settings on each gadget to confirm that they are set to welcome you the next morning (today’s kitchens look like Control Centres). You hit the goodnight switch, and through the window come the LED glow of some neighbourhood activity that will stay buzzing past your bedtime.

You asked for it. You got it buddy. Quit complaining and stay awake to figure out newer and more innovative ways to make a living off the technology. Me? I did all this at the crack of dawn today. I wrote this on my LED Monitor, finding the keys on my keyboard with a soft LED glow, so that my wife wont wake up and yell at me. Good Morning! To a life that does not sleep.