Six questions with Chris Allen of Red Eye Audio and Lighting,
1. How did you get into this field?
I started in theater in high school, as an actor, and picked up some of the tech side just by being there. When a friend of mine and I started a local music event, we needed lights, so since I had the most experience out of the two of us, I was chosen. It turned out to be quite addicting, and here I am almost 10 years later, still at it.
2. What do you think is the next big thing in the lighting industry?
Projection has really taken off in the past few years. I remember doing my first show with projections a couple years ago, and going into it I thought it was very new and dynamic. Three years later, I’m still impressed with what tricks people are pulling with them.
3. Do you have a favorite fixture (and why)?
My SlimPAR 64 [wash lights] offer a ton of options and pack quite a punch. They’re small enough to fit almost anywhere, and they are useful in just about any situation.
4. What has been your favorite design/project?
My last project, designing the lights for “Valhella” with The Baltimore Rock Opera Society. They were amazing people to work with, and they gave me a lot of room to do whatever I wanted. They dared me to dream big and I did. I kept getting compliments that it was the best lighting they’ve ever had. So having lots of creative freedom, a great crew to work along side, and tons of positive feedback made “Valhella” a once in a lifetime kind of show.
5. What was the biggest unforeseen obstacle that you’ve faced in one of your designs, and how did you overcome it?
For one show, I was unsure how to get all the different colors and looks that the director wanted onstage with a limited number of fixtures. Since the set was static and all the action took place in the same areas on stage and all that needed to change was the color, we rented color scrollers. I didn’t know we had the budget to rent them, but apparently we did. They were a bit of a hassle to get to work with the design exactly how I wanted, but in the end they saved the show.
6. Complete this thought: A show without light is like…Dancing in the dark. Sure, the music is still great, but you can’t see the REAL action.
Valhella image courtesy of Heather Keating