Professionals that act in several segments of the lighting market, from the project to TV
photography, talk about the skills of the lighting designer, the advances in technology and
safety in the Brazilian market.
The technology is advancing, the professionals are improving their stance, there are more possibilities of formal learning nowadays. Lighting is doing good, thank you, but there's still room for improvements. Especially in the safety area. Backstage asked for the opinion of Césio Lima, Elson de Lucas Oliveira, Guilherme Bonfanti, Jamile Tormann, Luiz Nobre, Marcos Olívio, Naldo Bueno and Paulo Cesar Medeiros about the challenges and advances in this market in Brazil.
In any field of work, the most important element is the professional. There's no use in having money or equipment if there is no quality at all. Lighting Productions' LTDA partner, LPL, and photography director from Rede Globo, Césio Lima, started working with lighting by the age of 14, so, in this way, he has seen lots of things go down and perceives a positive movement in the evolution of that professional. "I have the pleasure of working with a lot of good people in every aspect – riggers, electricians, programmers – and the consciousness of the technician has grown a lot. There is a division in the areas. Each one specializes more in one area", explains.
With most of his experience in the theatrical area, Guilherme Bonfanti, which also works as lighting designer of theatres with the groups as TAPA and Teatro da Vertigem – on which he works for more than 20 years – and with the directors Oswaldo Gabrielli and Gabriel Villela -, notices the versatility and involvement of the Brazilian professional with his activity as a positive characteristic; however he says something about informality. "I see lots of people feeling pleasure on being in this place, in wearing black, with their technical shoes, gloves and tools in the hands and a lot of agility and skills on the job. I have worked with excellent professionals in this technical field. However, cleaners become technicians, boyfriend designs lighting maps for the girlfriend, plastic artist friends come to make the lighting and so on. We need to invest in formality, and that's the only way we're going to qualify and be able to make demands", he says.
At this point, it comes another important issue. After all, if the professional have to be good, he must be trained. The architect Jamile Tormann has started working as lighting designer in Porto Alegre, with João Acir de Oliveira. She is a lighting designer with broad knowledge in theatre and music, and also works as a scenic lighting teacher in IPOG (Instituto de Pós-Graduação). "The formal education of a professional can be basically classified in two types: technical and post-graduation. On the technical level it is possible to find more courses in electric-electronic field. On the post-graduate level, Brazil is generating professionals as in countries like Spain, England, Argentina, Sweden, Germany and United States. However, there is a lack of qualified workmanship in the technical level to execute these projects", details the designer.
Workshops provided by manufactures and equipment distributors on lighting companies have been one of the solutions to enhance the technical professional, as well as seminaries in events directed to lighting. Elson de Lucas Oliveira, ProShows' responsible for tech support and Avolites' equipment training, states that besides some good courses, companies are always doing workshops to demonstrate the products and capacitate future users. "The day by day has always been and always will be a great school, but we shouldn't stop searching for new, nonetheless. I believe there's always something we can improve in ourselves. Search for training and courses is always a good thing, because market is going through a big evolution", observes. "Nowadays we have lots of companies that don't care for qualified workmanship, but for the cheapest one. Some technicians do not even look for information about the product", reproves.
Sometimes the lighting companies are the responsible to invest in the improvement of their workers knowledge, as says Naldo Bueno, KN Projetos partner and specialist in lighting designs with LEDs and moving lights. "The investment in new professionals and workers knowledge at the company is becoming more and more common. In each lighting seminary I do, I always ask the reason of their interest in that, and many are in groups of workers from companies that invest in their own professionals", highlights.
This is what happens in LPL. "We also organize workshops. People that are interested can attend from basic workshops until level 3, of everything: rigging, electric and logistics of truck loading. Everybody can make everything. For those that attend the workshops, we improve payments. It isn´t too much, but it improves", details. The same happens in Spectrun Design, of Marcos Olívio. "At Spectrun Design e Iluminação we look for courses for the staff and also receive agents when the company acquires new products", exposes Olívio, that works as photography director for TV shows at televisions stations in Brazil and worked as lighting tech coordinator at Rock in Rio 2011.
Even if the workshops are still pointed out as a good way of knowledge spread, there are still criticizes to informality on lighting professional's formation, like Bonfanti's observation, that coordinates a course in SP Escola de Teatro. "We keep being very informal on teaching and learning. I see lots of workshop initiatives. I insist on the importance of continued education, not these 8, 16 hour workshops. We must invest in graduation. On the course I coordinate the students have two years classes, from Tuesday to Saturday, that last four hour each one. I try to encompass all fields of lighting: theatre, shows, opera, dance, corporative events, architecture, exposition, but I go deeper with theatre. From theatre, the learner has the conditions of transit in any area", evaluates.
Paulo César Medeiros, designer with broad acting in Charles Möeller musicals, supports Bonfanti's critics and believes that, although there are great technical courses in Rio and São Paulo as well, is necessary to formalize education and create a more academic grid. "A meeting between these professionals could be a start. I find the scenic lighting field one of the most ethical. Maybe it is because everyone learned together, drank from the same source", believes Medeiros. "Musicals are the modern opera. They qualify you for everything, as into them there are circus, drama, comedy, music, dance, everything", reinforces.
Considering her own experience, Jamile believes that academic formation is a trump to the professional. "Academic life favors recycling and updating knowledge, exchange of information between professionals of multiple origins, production of touchstones to evaluate new concepts and new technologies", completes. For Luiz Nobre, partner of Confraria da Luz and one of the founders of Abric (Associação Brasileira de Iluminação Cênica), there's still a few courses with an above average credibility. "The main point is still the day to day basis work, handling equipment", opines.
Technological advancements facilitate the life of who is not afraid of going after their objectives, as Jamile points out. "New technologies help as a resource. Each new technology has stimulated the creation of new solutions and new concepts. They have influenced the appearing of new languages and possibilities of public interaction. Technological changes have impelled new ways of looking from the ways of both lighting professional and spectator".
Actually, this is true in many areas of lighting. TV High Definition (HD), for example, could complicate the life of a photography director as this new format details possible flaws in the finishing of a scenery. However, the job of a lighting designer became more precise. "I don't see any disadvantages in HD. For capture it became easier. Before, the scene was hardly reproduced in a trustworthy manner in the vision of the director. Today, if you know how to work with color and lens, it reproduces exactly what he thought. Before, you had to add correction jelly to achieve what you wanted. Today you have all color spectrum in a simple fader slide. Even with high technology, you can make an older lighting concept, as when I recorded in Cirque du Soleil. We used high-end equipment as they were 40s reflectors", celebrates.
It was not only on TV that new technologies helped. Elson de Lucas assures that, because of new tech, his work got better and faster with an incredible precision. "For example, in some consoles we have time code function, or even a simple function to clone the show. This can help in a very effective way. Think about it, not make everything all over again every time, and use the spare time to create new effects for your show and something new in the way of thinking and creating", points out.
According to Bonfanti, digital was an extraordinary change and a highly positive one. "Lighting riggings took an eternity with towers, loose sticks, etc. On my projects for theatre I can't stop thinking, at least, of using moving lights, LEDs and one Avolites being operated in theatre mode. Aesthetically, we've been through a brutal change. The color changed. Blue, red and green are much more saturated than the ones from color filters. You can't reach LED blue with a color filter, it's another depth", details.
Technology also became an ally in big events, optimizing professional time. According to Naldo Bueno, in an event where you use hundreds of intelligent equipment, it is possible to think about effects that would take four hours to be programmed being done in four minutes. "Lamps technology advanced a lot. We have lamps like Phillips Platinum 15R with low consume that deliver us an absurd amount of light, especially the ones used in moving lights", ponders.
Luiz Nobre remembers that, in shows, the arrival of moving lights also turned easy the creation and the economy of many lamps, besides Ground and Q 30, which replaced towers and frameworks. "Only people who rigged this stuff know how complicated it was; so, welcome technology!";
Yes, technology is welcome, but Paulo César Medeiros makes an important reminder: "It is necessary to think of LEDs and moving lights as multiple tools, but not bigger than the emotional vision of the spectacle. We have to control the equipment, and not the other way around", completes.
Even if we are celebrating a sensible evolution in the market of lighting, there still are problems to overcome. Availability and quality of equipment, sometimes, still is a problem, as Elson points out. "Today, due to some copies of consoles and movings, we have lots of companies that say they can attend any technical rider, but that is not true. Happy is who walks with your own equipment, so that way you can always have a 100% equipment".
Luiz Nobre agrees. "As we have a tougher competition, the average companies serve you well. Offer is more satisfying, for sure, but we still have to adapt in certain situations because in some places there's no equipment you ask for the rider, as the old trick from companies owners when you seal a deal, they assure you they've got everything and by the time of the rigging, half the equipment is missing", denounces.
Marcos Olívio reinforces the team of the non-believers. "We still have a big difference among the companies with lots of equipment qualities in the country, especially after the arrival of Chinese equipment, bringing sometimes dubious quality in the results. Today I work specifically in the field of video and music, DVDs and TV shows like Ídolos, or in video clips. For this segment I have managed to bring equipment where I need it".
Guilherme Bonfanti emphasizes another problem, caused by harmful practices in the market: the practice of price below the market. "Getting into the financial matter, how many projects I did lost because the owner of any company that had a budgeting which included the project, rigging, equipment, etc, for a price below that I had charged just for the project!" However, he remembers a benefit brought by American musicals in Brazil. "Foreigner spectacles brought learning in what we fail most: production, planning, scheduling that works and lots of competence. We can even disagree with gender, aesthetics, but never with the quality they are executed and the respect for the audience in them", punctuates.
Brazillian market´s weak point is still safety, even with some improvements. "Even after all the problems we have seen, there are still a lot of people that don't care for safety", affirms Elson. "If you don't have safe work conditions, first of all you have to protect yourself so you don't have an accident; then, you have to look for the producer and explain the situation", enumerates.
To minimize accidents, Césio hire people exclusively pledged to take care of the safety of his staff. "We hire people to tell everyone to do things right, and I learned that a lot in Globo. Accidents do happen, but you can't sleep well if you work wrong. However I see companies out there that don't have money to invest in safety measures", tells. By the eyes of Luiz Nobre there's also a lot to do regarding safety. "We have to put in the minds of rigging technicians, that it is their life that are in risk, and in the minds of company owners that nothing worth more than a life, that working with lighting is the same that working with life and not death", emphasizes Luiz.
According to Bonfati, the field of big events and festivals is the one ahead in this issue. "In the field of big events and shows, it progressed more (than theatre). We are still an undeveloped country in certain sectors and we only take care of safety when we are told to do so. I think we can count in fingers how many technicians are well equipped", estimates.
Marcos Olívio has an optimistic vision on the subject. For him, it got a lot better, but there's still room for improvements. "This consciousness is being applied by the majority of companies. This makes professionals integrate safety equipment into their day to day basis. Places where events happen also require the use of equipment in this area. In some, we have safety brigades that inspect it. Cancel a show for the lack of conditions maybe isn't the lighting professional responsibility, but warn the event production team about what's happening or the difficulty found for a joint decision and a technical evaluation of a competent professional", defends.
Naldo Bueno has already seen rigging be interrupted because of safety problems and warns that there are more stage structural problems made by companies without ART (Work Risk Analysis) supply. "The professional doesn´t know if a place or structure is able to receive a certain amount of people pushing a fence, or if a stage or stadium ceiling structure is in conditions to support the weight of equipments about to be hung. But many already have knowledge and conditions to say: ´no, I won't rig this here´. In 2011, the engineer responsible for Ginásio do Ibirapuera, in São Paulo, almost canceled Sade's performance and didn't authorized lighting rigging in the gym ceiling. It was needed to rig an extra structure, coming out the floor, to set all equipment. Only after that he authorized the event", tells.
Paulo Cesar Medeiros thinks technicians´ lives must be above any work or tight schedule. "Nowadays, many theatres, especially in São Paulo, require individual safety equipment, but it's still far from becoming a rule among technicians", considers.
The designer is partner in lighting Productions LTDA (LPL), and lighting designer. He started setting shows with musicians like Moraes Moreira and Milton Nascimento and today is director of photography in Rede Globo.
Elson de Lucas Oliveira
Elson is Pro Shows' responsible for tech support and Avolites equipment training. For seven years he's been working with events, besides working as a lighting designer, specially for bands. Now his jobs don't let him dedicate full time to a band but, eventually, He works as substitute tech for artists like Luiza Possi, Tulipa Ruiz and Daniel Boaventura. He also gave technical support or worked as programmer in festivals like Lolapalloza 2013, Planeta Atlântida and Curitiba Country Festival, among others.
Guilherme Bonfanti has broad experience as a lighting designer in theatre with groups like TAPA, Teatro da Vertigem – which he's been working for more than 20 years – and with directors Oswaldo Gabrielli and Gabriel Villela, among others. He also works in operas, ballets and music shows, where he already worked with bands like Titãs, Otto and Marina Lima. Besides acting as lighting designer, he coordinates SP Escola de Teatro lighting course.
As an architect, Jamile started to work with lighting in Porto Alegre with João Acir de Oliveira. She's lighting designer with broad experience in theatre – with directors like Wolf Maia, Aderbal Freire Filho – and music, with Ed Motta, Cassia Eller and others. She is founder of entities linked with professional lighting, and also works as a scenic lighting teacher in IPOG (Instituto de Pós-Graduação). She also collaborated as columnist for Revista Backstage.
For 28 years Luiz Nobre has been acting in the lighting area for theatre, dancing, show and expositions. He is partner of company Confraria da Luz and one of the founders of Abric (Associação Brasileira de Iluminação Cênica. In Curitiba – her base of operations – he is one of the producers for Manhãs Iluminadas, an international theatre technology encounter which happens during Curitiba's Theatre Festival.
Worked in shows for a long time. Today he is Spectrun Design partner along with Danny Nolan and Ludmila Machado. For the company, Marcos Olívio works in lighting projects or as photography director in TV shows like Ídolos and Got Talent, DVD recordings and video clips.
KN Projetos partner, specialist in lighting projects with LEDs and moving lights, Naldo acts as designer in many important events like Copacabana's Reveillón (2008 and 2011), TIM Festival (2003 and 2008) and many others.
Paulo César Medeiros
With professional acting the '80s, graduated in theatre direction in UniRio, in Rio de Janeiro, Paulo César has broad experience in Charles Möeller and Cláudio Botelho musicals. He is a constant partner in the jobs of Bibi Ferreira, Márcio Vianna and Gilberto Gawronski. He also made musical shows with Maria Bethânia, Raphael Rabello and others.