30 Under 30: Stefan Zubovic, Architectural Lighting Programmer

In celebration of LDI’s 30th anniversary—1988-2018—Live Design gives a shout out to 30 Under 30: thirty young movers and shakers who are changing paradigms, looking at things from new angles, and rapidly rising to the forefront of their field. From scenic, lighting, projection, and costume designers to technicians and programmers, as well as those who work for manufacturers, production companies, or rental shops, our 30 Under 30 are the harbingers of tomorrow.

Disney's World of Color inspired Stefan Zubovic to enter the world of entertainment design. Now, he is a multimedia show designer and programmer based in Vancouver, Canada. With a background in entertainment and theatrical design, he specializes in developing theatrical spectacles, installations, and experiences that combine storytelling, art, and technology. Zubovic has developed multimedia shows for Olympic stadiums, museums, buildings, public spaces, landmarks, theatres, and attractions.

Name: Stefan Zubovic

Age: 21 

City, State of residence: Vancouver, BC

Position/title: Architectural Lighting Programmer and Show Designer

Employer (if not freelance): Eos Lightmedia Corporation

Current project(s): I have just returned from collaborating on the programming of a spectacle at Museo Del Acero, a steel museum in Monterrey, Mexico. The show demonstrated the process of the creation of steel through the use of lighting, pyro, automation, and special effects!

Most notable achievements: Performing the daily show design and programming of several lighting displays on Vancouver landmarks including BC Place Stadium’s roof lighting. BC Place served as the Olympic Stadium for the 2010 Winter Games and is also the city’s largest building. Its roof features over 1,700 LED panels, over 400 LED spots, and over 500 ‘twinkle lights.’ I was fortunate to be able to develop shows for various holidays, sporting events, charities, social causes, concerts, and events. 

When I started in this industry: I got started in the industry in early 2011.

How I got into this industry: When I was 13, I watched World of Color, a nighttime water show produced by Disney Creative Entertainment. The show blew me away, and I immediately knew that I wanted to have a career in spectacle. A year later, I decided to jump into the entertainment world by creating my own adaptation of the show. So I spent a year teaching myself about lighting, video, show control, and fountains. I also wrote to various manufacturers and asked them to sponsor the show by providing the gear needed to build a musical fountain. I built the show in a 10' x 15' pool with custom LED water fountains, which were choreographed to a musical score and video projection on a water screen. The creation of the show served as a catalyst in my career allowing me to pursue the development of other multimedia shows and installations. When I was 17, I began architectural lighting programming by successfully pitching to design a Halloween lighting display on the LED roof facade of BC Place Stadium.

Influences: The vast spectacles produced by Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment served as my earliest influence and strongest inspiration. I would meticulously watch all of their shows and attempt to absorb all of the creative and technical techniques that they employed in their projects. I am also heavily influenced by the work of other spectacle and live entertainment creators, such as Cirque du Soleil, Balich Worldwide Shows, and Es Devlin.

Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Don’t go to theatre school.”

Best advice I’ve ever heard: “You don’t have to do everything all at once.” - In reference to lighting programming.

Telus Garden LED Display

My favorite thing about the production industry: The ability to have your work connect with thousands of people across countries!

Favorite design/programming/technical trick: Using negative space and selectively turning on fixtures to create texture.

Plans for the future: My dream has always been to be a creative director for large scale spectacles and ceremonies. Moving forward with my career, I am planning to continue to do show design but to also begin slowly shifting my focus into direction and producing by gaining the skills and experiences necessary to be a successful creative director.

Other interests/side gigs: I love travelling and hold deep interest in anything aerospace. 

Awards, honors: A speaker at the 2014 TEDx Kids BC conference.

Website if applicable: www.stefanzubovic.com

Check out Live Design/LDI's other 30 Under 30: