Four Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2009 shows were primped and preened to perfection as Tinc Design & Productions provided production support and labor for each of them. Working amidst tight budgets and unconventional venues required quick, on-target thinking for production manager Ryan Kirk and guest designer Seth Bernstein.
"We used similar equipment for each production (February 14th, 15th, 19th, and 20th)," reflects Kirk. "That saved money and time. Because Seth was involved in all four shows, he was able to tailor his designs around budget and feasibility to make the design stronger."
Other challenges surfaced in these smaller venues. With a lack of conventional rigging points and very little power, Tinc's preproduction process focused on safely realizing the designer's goals. "Seth was very clear about what he needed and we had to work out the safest way to accomplish it given the space. This required a lot of dialogue and an amalgamation of equipment and ideas to arrive at a solution which preserved Seth's intentions while working with the realities of a particular venue." Kirk insists that despite any limitations, Tinc was still afforded a lot of choice and creative say in making each show unique.
The goal for the four dates was to use lights that were able to spawn good pictures and foster good theatrics. This ideology fit LD Seth Bernstein's film and television background nicely.
"The first two shows were presentations, really built around a set," explains Bernstein. "There are no walks. The models stand around, and editors view the collection as their photographers take pictures." He points out that for such types of shows, the designers typically use the set to bolster the statement about the collection. Bernstein approaches it like a photo shoot and thus designs lighting that creates contrast and appeals to the camera with a flair for theatrics - lighting the set pieces, implementing more sculptural light on the models.
For the two runway shows, Bernstein and team use an unconventional approach to a more traditional show. The clothing designers were using lots of black, which requires much more illumination. He continues: "It just so happened that these two shows had a skylight." So HMIs were the obvious choice due to their brightness and high color temperature. "That was a really nice effect. Instead of fighting natural daylight, we used it as an element."
Bernstein maintains that, typically, a fashion designer has to do a runway show and then a look book shoot. The Tinc crew was able to deliver both. "A lot of lighting designers," he concedes, "have adverse relationships with photographers, but we really tried to be on the same team with them. We gave them lighting tests and really communicated, which resulted in some high quality photographs that are ready to go for print advertising and web use."
Kirk concludes by saying that the suppliers at Scharff Weisberg, "Did an amazing job. Due to budget constraints, we went back and forth on gear revisions trying to make the order as cost effective as possible." SW's staff worked with Tinc for weeks, helping them to get it right, and even made personal trips to deliver additional equipment. "They make me feel like I am their only client." Kirk goes on to give accolades to the venues, "The folks at Drive-In Studios, Openhouse Gallery, and Milk Gallery were immensely helpful and professional. It was a pleasure working with everyone during this hectic but rewarding week."
According to Bernstein, it was a pleasure to have shared the philosophy, with Kirk and Tinc's Lance Darcy, that thorough preproduction and planning are an essential part of the process. He sums it up: "Anticipation can save you from a lot of headaches."
About Tinc Design & Productions
Tinc Design & Productions is a full-service staging, lighting, video and audio company dedicated to the performance and special events markets. Tinc's staff and dedicated freelance personnel encompass the worlds of engineering, rigging, programming, design, drafting, lighting, audio and live/mediated motion and still images. Project after project, and with over 50 years of combined experience, they offer a comprehensive and sophisticated range of services unmatched anywhere else. For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.tincproductions.com.