LD Profile: Thomas Aratanha Fonseca

Posted on October 6, 2011

Six Questions with Thomas Aratanha Fonseca
Lighting Designer and Account Manager for Kor Media & Lighting

1. How did you get into this field?
I started as an actor studying at Uni-Rio in Brazil. When it came time for everyone to leave the theater so the stagehands could have the stage, I just wanted to stay. I loved being in the theater and ended up doing a little bit of everything. I started designing small productions for friends and before I knew it I had completely shifted my focus towards lighting.

2. What do you think is the next big thing in the lighting industry?
Because my focus is more in theatrical lighting, I would have to say an LED that could replace the  ETC Source4. A fixture that is equivalent to a 575-watt or a 750-watt lamp and is quiet. Color temperature of LEDs is getting better and better. I think every theater, church, or production company would buy a fixture like it in a heartbeat.

3. Do you have a favorite fixture (and why)?
I’ve worked quite a bit with the Colorado 1-Tri Tour. It’s great for backwash because of its tri-lensing as well as for incredible color mixing. Although it’s only a one-watt LED, it has great output and works perfectly for the theaters (where I mostly work) that have a trim of 21′ or less. Also, I’ve been truly impressed  by the Clay Paky Sharpy. It has an incredible output and it looks great.

4. What has been your favorite design/project?
One of my favorite designs would have to be working for YoungArts and being part of the alumni show. We had to put together a show that included artists from all different backgrounds. There were performers such as, a ballet dancer and a visual artist, a classical cellist and a pop singer, or a film maker and a jazz sax player. If that wasn’t enough, we only had a week to create it from scratch, tech it, and perform it. It was a great experience.

5. What was the biggest unforeseen obstacle that you’ve faced in one of your designs, and how did you overcome it?
I suffered every lighting designer’s nightmare. After finishing lighting and teching a full performance, I came back the next day for a dress rehearsal and was told the board lost ALL my cues. I went crazy of course and almost killed my programmer, but the end everyone said that the cues looked better the second time around.

6. Complete this thought: A show without light is like…A snail without a shell… SLIMY!!