Six questions with Sergiu Ardelean, Lighting Designer for the Romanian National Television Society.
1. How did you get into this field?
When I was little I was thinking of becoming a movie director. Born and raised with music around me, I often talked with my father, who is a composer, about how I’ll be directing movies and he will do the film score. Time passed and I got more and more passionate about image and photography. So at the end of high school I decided to study film and TV image. In the final year I got hired at the Romanian National Television Society as cameraman and moved on as lighting director as soon as I got my degree. Since then I did all kinds of shows, and I still remained connected to music as I enjoy working on entertainment, concerts, music shows, etc.
2. What do you think is the next big thing in the lighting industry?
I am still a tungsten fan, but LEDs have already begun the revolution. And with the possibility of selecting the dimming curves on them, and the fact that they are very close of rendering the full color spectrum at various color temperatures that is suitable for rendering good flesh tones on video, it is a big thing in progress. Still I won’t choose them for key lighting for now. But with low power consumption that enabled manufacturers to put LED fixtures on batteries and wireless DMX, continuing increase of output intensity, the road is open ahead. Of course until someone thinks of something else—like usable wireless electricity?
3. Do you have a favorite fixture (and why)?
My favorite fixture would be the CHAUVET Professional Nexus 4×4. It is versatile, powerful, good-looking and eye candy. Some could make a whole set only by using them [like the Nexus 4×4 arrays that were used for Bruno Mars’ performance during the Billboard Music Awards]. It could be light, it could be video, it could be everything you would like it to be. So, I am a fan!
4. What has been your favorite design/project?
I have done a lot of everything, from simple two-person talking shows to big entertainments setups and music festivals. Every single one of them was treated with the same attention, and every one of them was special because I faced different challenges that had to be addressed. Even if it is a season show with a standard plot, something eventually comes up. Of course I have some projects that I am proud of, like the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest from 2009, the International Music Festival Golden Stag also in 2009, Star Factory (a Romanian/ Moldavian coproduction, season 3) in 2012, and a project of three major shows celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Romanian National Television Society. I am still learning and await new challenges, so I always look forward to bigger, more complicated and more interesting shows.
5. What was the biggest unforeseen obstacle that you’ve faced in one of your designs, and how did you overcome it?
I always think that having a backup plan is show saving. I learned to light a show with everything that could spark a light. Not enough moving heads? We’ll use something else or whatever we can find, and use them in a creative way so the show still looks good. It works pretty well up to a point to use your imagination, put it to work and play around with scarce resources. Limited choice of fixtures made me develop an alternate thinking of how to light a show. This and the fact that I am surrounded by very well trained professionals, who under my assistance are planning very careful each detail, I have eliminated so far the “unforeseen” factor from my shows. I always make production trips on location because I like to know exactly what to expect about power, rigging points, etc. That unless the power fails and we have no backup due to limited budget (only happened once though…). On the other hand, when the producer says, “whatever you need,” well … No comment! I wish that to all of you!
6. Complete this thought: A show without light is like…walking on the dark side of the moon—barren and dark…