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Talkin' trash & flash

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Grog12, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    EDIT by DL: The first posts have been moved from http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/10911-lighting-cirques-mystere.html, to keep that one focused on Mystere, and start a new thread for this topic.

    Yeah...all the reasons you put forth are why I find him to be flashy and trashy. Maybe showy is a better word.

    But you have proved my point Derek. The original poster talked about how much Vegas is about "Hey look what we can afford."

    Which by your own admission is how Lafortune designs. He is (was) not restricted by budget or space limitations. A "ooh I can put a light here approach" if you will. Along with no script comes no (light) plot. The fact of the matter is Lafortune himself has admitted that he's not someone young designers should talk to because of his unique approach.

    Given his unlimted budget and creation proscess...I find that more flashy and trashy. Spectacular? Yes. But more eye candy than thought out. Lafortune is a fantastic designer by all means. But I find Mystere just as flashy as Ka.

    That being said I like Mystere...better than most other Cirque or Dragon shows I've seen. They funny thing about Mystere is that they built the space more like a tent then they did a theatre which is evident when you tour backstage.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2009
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I guess we don't agree on the definitions of "flash and trash" or even "showy". That, or you hate the lighting for all Las Vegas shows in general, because their budgets are too large. It's difficult for me to cite examples of shows with bad lighting without offending a friend or colleague.

    I consider myself fairly good at flash and trash, and don't even consider it to be an insult. In the proper circumstance, such as running lights for a band I've never heard of, with a non-existent set-list, I'm to first to ballyhoo, rainbow-chase, and random-strobe all the fixtures (except during ballads, 'cause everyone knows those are always supposed to be congo-blue).
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    So everyone: What is your definition of "Flash and Trash" lighting?

    The term may have been coined by a very prominent concert Lighting Designer, whom I won't name. At least that's where I first heard it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I think you and I both know at least one person in common that we could cite for bad lighting. And you know who I'm talking about.

    And you may misunderstand me a bit. Big budgets don't always make for flash and trash. But Cirque...well hell thats what Cirque is. They're larger than life. They're a cirques (god why can't I spell that word anymore?) in both name and technique. Yes they are a grand circus and are larger than most if not all circuses. But that's what they do.

    Flash and trash and showy are not nessecarily bad things. In the original thread, the OP is the one who made that made it seem like flash and trash is bad.

    I'm just saying that Cirque has been and always will be flash and trash lighting...whether Luc is doing it or his assistant who took over is doing it. Good? Yes...Dazziling? Yes.
    Meh not really. Big flashy toys that help enhance the mood? Yes.

    Here let me show you a difference in my own humble opinion.

    Broadway's Phantom of the Opera vs The Strips Phantom. The 90 minute version is flashy and trashy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Again, what "Big flashy toys" are you talking about?

    One of my favorite lighting moments in Mystere is the MicroEllipses from the footlight position reflecting off the silver pipes of the "boy in the box." A simple effect practically anyone could achieve.
    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGGWgenb2KY&feature=related[/media]Fast-Forward to 2:34. (Also note the tissue act, except here done with leather straps.)
     
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I went to Luc's keynote speech at USITT '05 and enjoyed it. There's one simple fundamental nugget of wisdom that I really took home: that every light must have a purpose, a reason for being other than "the magic formulas say to put lights here, here, and here". It's closely tied to the "ooh, I can put a light there to do this" approach, but I've never been that lucky, to be able to put up too many lights.
     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    How bout the 14 movers within the first 35 seconds of the video? For when the show was built originally that's pretty **** flashy.
     
  8. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    When I was in school, what we called "flash and trash" you guys call "busking", so that is my definition of flash and trash.

    You arrive at a space with 100+ movers and have an hour until the show. What do you do? Flash and trash.

    I can appreciate both. There is a time and a place for both a well thought out design and what we would call flash and trash.

    You can do well thought out theater designs with 50 movers and you can do flash and trash with Source 4 ERS's and PARs. It is not the instruments that define the style, but the style that defines the style.

    Mike
     
  9. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    "Flash and Trash" is sometimes just what they want. I did 3 different shows a few months ago (for the same client) with 2 dress rehearsals and less than 30 minutes of setup time. I just had about 20 FX subs, cyc colors, fernel washes, and the SW. Layered the subs live for most of it (since I never saw costumes before hand) and they loved it! (I thought it was a really attrocious 'design', but hey its their show and I couldn't do anything else with the time given.) I even had a few parents (this was one of those school of dance shows) tell me it was the best lighting they'd ever had at a show. I really don't want to see the lighting from the past shows :).
     
  10. VegasLites

    VegasLites Member

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    My definition of "Flash and Trash" - Light movement for light sake not action sake. Strobes, color rolls, sweeps thought the house. These are all things I associate with "Flash and Trash". Cues done because you can't stand to sit in a cue longer than 1 minute. Not a lot of forethought. Just action. Everyone knows how to use an effects engine.

    My perfect comparison for going from subtle to "Flash & Trash" - the old lighting design for "Le Reve" to the new Fisher/Eisenhauer "Le Reve" oy vey...


    My Luc 2 cents-
    As someone who has worked very closely on a show with Mr. La Fortune, I have to say his designs are the least flash and trash I have ever seen. His decisions are over wrought, double thought and double hung. I have been a human color scroller because he couldn't choose a color without seeing it. It is an expensive way of designing. You don't buy fixtures that you know you are going to use, you buy them so they are in the building when the designer comes in and says "I had a dream last night and it looked like a park. Make it look like a park!" Then you spend hours doing what he thinks he wants and he returns to say..."it didn't look like that in my dream". Luc was dragged kicking and screaming into the moving light world. Ka was the first show of his to have more than 20 moving lights in it. Zumanity had 6. Mystere originally had a few and was upgraded to more...And when he uses them it is rare for them to move while lit.
    Cirque does not have unlimited budgets. They have large budgets. I and I mean LARGE. 1 to 3 million large depending on the show. And you should see the operating budgets. But even Cirque realizes it can't function like that anymore. Luc no longer designs new shows, or even for Cirque at all. They got tired of the "Process" and it's effect on employees. If you would like to understand the process, that's a whole other post....The new designers are required to walk into the door plot in hand. Every decision is screened and re-screened. The budgets are still large by any other show standard don't get me wrong but now they are required to be used in a better fashion.
     
  11. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Interesting Vegas. To me your definition of "flash and trash" is just rock and roll.

    It is interesting to me how we try to have discussions without knowing what each other are really talking about. If you said flash and trash to me I would not think of what you are talking about. *lol*

    That being said I had heard these stories about La Fortune's process before and although I love his results my professors taught us that designing like that is a way to end up unemployed very quickly.

    Mike
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Respectively, in that order?:twisted: Sometimes there's only so much an LD can do, if the "script" is lacking. A show much further south proves that (among other things).:evil:
     
  13. VegasLites

    VegasLites Member

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    I don't think Rock and Roll is flash and trash. If strobing, color rolls and blinding the audience is done effectively with music I am all for it. I just think it is F & T, when the intention is to do everything the light can do, just because it can. Not thought out, unsupported cueing is the easiest way to slide over into F & T. It doesn't even have to be moving lights....

    My "Le Reve" comments really come from the point of view of looking forward to a couple of very famous LD's coming in and creating a work of art and ending up with a "Look at all the money I made them spend" piece of garbage. You are correct there is only so much an LD can do...but if they give you 3 million dollars you better make it look like you intended to do it that way:)
    Sorry I might have gone off topic....
    Bitter, bitter bitter....
     
  14. Jby007

    Jby007 Member

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    Having 14 Moving lights pan in to a point to back light a key performer is not flash and trash.

    Mystere is the best lit show in las vegas there is not a single movment out of place.

    What do you mean when you say Flash and trash>

    Most people think flash and trash means constant bumping, ballyhoo, colors chasing, and strobes continously.

    Mystere has none of that.

    Jeffrey
     
  15. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I hear you Vegas I don't like that either, but if I use your definition you are saying that flash and trash (which I like when it is used properly) is synonymous with overcuing (which I always hate). To me those are two different things. But I guess it depends on where you learned the vernacular.

    Mike
     
  16. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    My definition of F&T is this: design for the purpose of seeing the light, most commonly associated with rock 'n' roll productions. F&T is still a design, and if you have a good operator/designer, it can look quite good. It isn't easy to make F&T look really good. I would say the name comes from older, more traditional designers in that the style does use a lot of intensity shifts and is being used without the intent of lighting a subject. F&T has been around longer than scrollers and movers.

    My opinion is that Cirque shows are not F&T, but dance lighting. As with dance, it is crucial to light the performer in a way to make them stand out against a large performance space. F&T fills the space with light, or more recently, large projections. One of the great things about many of the Vegas shows, Cirque productions in particular, is that the designers are able to put lights in many more places than we traditionally have in a standard theater. Take a production like KA, since they don't have a stage to get in the way, they have a lot of opportunities to light from below. I would have loved that when I was designing dance (my favorite type of show to light). Anymore, it is difficult to get anyone to even allow foot lights anymore. Touring B'way shows at least have their own deck which they can imbed some lighting elements (candles in Phantom, etc).

    That said, where F&T used to be a derogatory term (it still might be in some examples), I consider it a style that can be done well or like garbage.
     
  17. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    Wow, I seemed to spark an entire debate without realizing it. I guess a little explanation of my definition is in order.

    I have a theater background: I was the entire tech department in high school, went to college for it (thanks for that expensive piece of paper), etc etc. So, I guess I prefer things more dramatic and to show purpose and follow the action. Living in Vegas, a large majority of my work is with corporate events where they want to "see their money's worth" in the design. This also means I'm usually thrown a plot that someone else put together to make the numbers work. So this most often is flying by the seat of your pants design, and make them wiggle and strobe and dance because "ooo look at the lights, the company must be doing really well." I try my best to still make looks that aren't corny and that I feel isn't just exploiting the abilities and cost of the lights.

    I guess the most extreme example was the job I had the worst client response from: A Bellydancers Convention. I was hired on last minute, and was not told ANYTHING by ANYONE about what they were looking for. The day of, the only people I heard anything from were the dancers when they were dropping off the music to the sound op. I took a listen to each track and created fitting looks. The dancers LOVED the design. The client came up to me in the middle of the show pissed as hell (I didn't need the translator to understand that) wanting the lights to be ballyhooing and strobing even for the acts with slow soft music. I didn't do well to compensate because I had the board set up as stacks for songs and not for on-the-fly...plus, it was REALLY hard to change it to looks that were so out-of-whack with the action. Where the lighting detracts from the show instead of adding to/supporting it.

    Many of the corporate events have large name bands perform, so I definitely have to do Rock and Roll lighting without set lists. This is where I program much more "showy", and would really hate if I didn't have any movers or haze because both are fitting in this respect, and sweeps into the audience and bumping the 8-lites support the music and get the crowd going.

    The flash and trash element would probably come more into play for the Dance Party section of a corporate event where there is just a dj and a dance floor and I just make a 4 cue stacks: color, gobo, movement, and effect; and just autofollow them all with weird ass delay times... then walk away from the board to enjoy the open bar, so that I don't have to explain to people that I can't play a song they are requesting because my board doesn't make much noise.

    I hope that explains my idea of flash and trash... I kind of rambled on for a bit there.
     
  18. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I'll use an anecdote for my example of flash and trash.

    I graduated high school in the spring of '07. I went to the spring '08 production of Grease to support my friends and see how tech was faring. As soon as I got there alot of people I knew kept hyping up how that had "intelligent lights" in this show and "how awesome it looked. In reality the school had paid rent for SEVEN intelligent lights, 3 moving heads and 4 scanners. The scanners had been hung incorrectly, so that the mirrors were either hitting the ceiling or corners, and the moving heads were in less than ideal positions. Anyway, the big dance number comes up, the movers come on, and wouldn't you know, they are simply running them in audio auto. God......I wanted to cry/vomit/smack someone. If that was the effect they wanted a few American DJ units could have done it, better. Of course everyone though it was the greatest thing ever, and were so proud that they had "intelligent lighting". Of course after the show everyone comes running up asking "What did you think wasn't the lighting awesome?", it was all I could do to keep my answer to "you have so much to learn".

    THAT, is flash and trash.

    And remember, "intelligent lights" are only as smart as those who program them.
     
  19. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    See I just call that poor use of equipment.

    Also, that is why there are no "intelligent lights" just "moving lights".

    Mike
     
  20. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Been there. They like the movement, color scroll, etc. I spent several years working in an Arabian nightclub one month. And worse, the "band" had no clue about how stage monitors work, so the stage volume was louder than the house volume. Often, the engineer would kill the house for a few seconds to prove the point. They went through 3 different sound engineers in a month, all of whom quit. I used to do work for a Russian nightclub as well. Same thing. They like lots of movement. If you can find videos of Tiesto in concert you'll see the same thing. Movement for movement's sake. But if you can find the one where he's in the circular stage (yes, I said in) the led floor in that is pretty cool.

    Flash and trash is, to me, based on a lack of programming time. The programmer is just doing "something" because it's better than "nothing."
     

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