LD Profile: David Ayala

Posted on April 3, 2012

Six questions with David Ayala, lighting designer, director and programmer for grand-scale TV shows and concerts in various countries, with almost two decades of experience in the lighting industry.


1. How did you get into this field?
I have started working in the lighting industry about 18 years ago, in my native country of Venezuela. I have always been influenced and surrounded by music. Back in the day, some friends and I set up a mobile DJ company, that people used to call ‘minitecas.’ We did musical animation with sound and lighting for weddings, quinceañeras and various events. Later on I transitioned to the lighting industry when I started programming and installing lights in discos in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela. I was passionate about my job, so the public and customers started noticing my work. One day a big lighting company invited me to work for them. I took advantage of this opportunity and worked on growing professionally and prepared myself to face a complex industry that also brought plenty of satisfactions to me. While being involved in a lot of big events, shows, conferences and other activities, from 2003 to 2005 I have worked in collaboration with the department of lighting for the TV station Venevision, designing, programming and operating automatic lighting for Miss Venezuela, a popular show in the entire world. In 2005 I started designing the lighting for the tours of Olga Tañón—famous singer of merengue from Puerto Rico—and this is how I pretty much started my international career.  While traveling with different artists, in 2007 I was invited to Puerto Rico to be part of the lighting crew for the TV show “Objetivo Fama” (“Goal: Fame”). I worked for this show for three seasons as lighting and video servers programmer, and when the seasons were over I established myself in Puerto Rico, where I live now with my family. The same year, in 2007, I had my big chance, when I was called to be the lighting designer for the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. Since then until 2010 I was part of the crew for UNIVISION Network, which did shows like Premio Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud and Latin Grammy Awards among others. In various occasions I have worked with famous lighting designer Carlos Colina.

2. What do you think is the next big thing in the lighting industry?
I have been witnessing for some years now the fusion of lighting and video, and I think this merger is still evolving. Each year we will see something new and we will have better designs, where the lights, video and other visual elements combine in harmony. I am very satisfied with this shift, and with the fact that the industry is seeing a change from big crews to smaller ones, but with great potential. The development of LED lights is also something worth noting, and the overall goal of achieving more power while thinking ‘green.’ Imagine that now we have the power of a 1,500-watt light from LED lights, with brighter and sharper colors.

3. Do you have a favorite fixture (and why)?
I love the Q-Wash 560Z-LED from CHAUVET. I am very impressed with its colors, its zoom and low power consumption. I was convinced of its performance during the concert of Gilberto Santa Rosa at the Center for Bellas Artes in Puerto Rico, when I used other CHAUVET lights, such as Q-Wash 260-LED, COLORado 3p IP, and COLORado Batten 72 Tour fixtures, all provided by rental company Musique Xpress Lighting, which has supported my projects a lot.

4. What has been your favorite design/project?
Working for Puerto Rico Idol has been a tremendous experience for me. For this show I have worked from the very beginning, since it was just in the concept stages. I was the designer and director of lighting and I have also programmed the lights with the video crew. I used as base for my design 10 SparkliteLED Drape backdrops from CHAUVET. With these drapes I have managed to build my background and the most important layer of my design for the television set. The drapes were my base for color and furthermore, they played an important role in the scenography. Currently, I am very excited because we have confirmed a second season for Puerto Rico Idol and I know I can count again on the SparkliteLED Drape, and on other CHAUVET products. I have also had the opportunity to work on big tours of big budgets, like the tour of Natalia Jimenez, Daddy Yankee, and the one of reggaeton singers Wisin and Yandel. I have also enjoyed working as lighting director for the TV recording of Yanni’s new DVD, which took place at El Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Puerto Rico. For this project I have used other CHAUVET lights, like COLORado 1 IP, COLORado Range IP, COLORado Ridge IP and COLORado 3p IP, all from rental company Musique Xpress Lighting.

5. What was the biggest unforeseen obstacle that you’ve faced in one of your designs, and how did you overcome it?
In this industry, you always have obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles is the ‘human’ one, because there will always be a struggle with the competition. I have managed to overcome these types of obstacles through my work, heritage, proving myself and showing my potential. Some technical obstacles are accidents, which can occur when you less expect it. Also, in this industry the time factor is also an obstacle that we always have to take into account. A perfect show is the one that has been rehearsed lot, that the staff has put a lot of time into and has been allowed certain freedom while working on it.

6. Complete this thought: A show without light is like…
…a forest without the moon.