CMC Spotlight: Q&A Lee Rose


Lee Rose has been designing lighting for concerts, television, and films for over 35 years. His concert lighting includes Yanni specials from the Acropolis, The Taj Mahal, and The Forbidden City as well as filmed concerts like Roy Orbision & Friends: A Black & White Night and Carly Simon's "My Romance." He will be a featured speaker at the first-ever Live Design Concert Master Classes at CenterStaging in Los Angeles, December 11-12, 2010, with Jeff Ravitz, creative consultant. Live Design chats with Lee about his life in the biz:

1) What is your background as a designer?
I started in theatre in the early 70’s, moved into dance, then discovered rock & roll and started doing concert lighting in the mid to late 70’s. I continued on until about 1984 when I’d had enough of being on the road all the time. I first met Jeff Ravitz when I was designing for a two-piece classical rock band called Atlantis Philharmonic in 1974 when we opened for Styx in Chicago.

2) How did you become involved in television lighting?

In 1983-84 Richard Ocean and I were both doing “performance” music video lighting as well as concert “video” shoots. When he wasn’t available, he’d pass it to me and visa versa. He came to me and suggested we start a TV/film lighting design company. At first I wasn’t too into it until he asked if I wanted to be that mid 50’s touring guy, living on the bus, with no family or home. I had a wonderful flash of what I would be like in 20 more years of touring and said, “Yes, let’s give it a try”.

We contacted Dick Clark Productions and pitched them on our lighting the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam. They already had a lighting designer set but they called back the next week and asked if we’d be interested in lighting a “new” award show they were going to shoot at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel. Our first Ocean, Rose & Associates production was in September 1984 with the 1st Annual Black Gold Awards. We then got hired to do New Years Rockin’ Eve and The Golden Globe Awards and we were off and running. My first experience with shooting a large touring show was a Phil Collins show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1985 with Allen Owen as the touring LD. He didn’t get what it was like to work on film so I sent a runner out for the darkest gray sunglasses I could find and had him wear them at rehearsals and the show to get an idea of what the contrast on film would look like. Silly, but it worked.

In 1998 I was asked to join Design Partners, Inc. which was a larger
association of award winning lighting designers and directors of photography
and have been a partner there ever since.

3) What are the biggest challenges in lighting or re-lighting concerts for TV?

• The concept that film and video do not record the same range of contrast that your eyes can see.

• The concept that film and video do not have the flexibility that your eye does to determine what is “white.”

• That most of a video / film shoot is close up shots or medium shots. Wide shots are only used occasionally and that the “pretty picture” that the stage looks like from the FOH desk is not what will be the majority of the shoot.

• That the medium of film or video is inherently 2 dimensional and unless there is always a forground, mid-ground and back-ground, something to define the space, then you will end up with flat looking images.

4) What are the latest tools of the trade in terms of fixtures? Consoles? LEDs?

• In fixtures: More of the same but with brighter beams & more features;

• In consoles: Don’t know, don’t operate them. I’d have to ask my programmers;

• In LED’s: That we seem to be getting closer to a LED Profile. That the manufacturers are “getting it” that a homogenous light output is necessary in a “professional class” fixture. That the problem of flesh tone rendering of the discontinuous sources that LED’s are is something that needs to be addressed beyond the “Film Business.”

5) What will you be discussing at the CMC?

I told Jeff I’m happy to participate in a panel discussing “shooting” concerts and the “issues” involved.

Register for the Concert Master Classes and meet Lee Rose and an A-list of great designers, all in the same room at the same time! And don't miss Backstage Disney Day and Technical Training Day all part of Live Design's All Access LA package.

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