Blond training moments with Robe
Tuesday, 14 April 2020
robe-blond-trainingBlond training gets the thumbs up from Lucky Lewele
South Africa - Blond Productions, based in Midrand, Johannesburg, a rental company specialising in the TV and film sector, like everyone, is grappling to survive under a national lockdown in which productions and businesses have shut down completely.
Blond’s owner and MD Christiaan Ballot has retained all his full-time staff and wants to look after everyone as best as possible, which is challenging given the scenario, involving some creative thinking to try and make “the best” out of a grave situation.
Something that immediately sprung to the minds of Ballot and Blond’s head of show lighting Ryan Lombard was to utilise the enforced ‘down’ time to engage the staff in various technical training.
“While we all wish this was over, it has presented the perfect opportunity to do all those things we never get time for around the office,” Ballot declared.
Lombard adds: “Training and education on the kit are always on our ‘To Do’ list and although it’s also always high on the agenda, as a busy company, availability for both me and the crew is a big obstacle as we are almost always out on site somewhere working on active productions.”
So, Blond has turned the lockdown into a time asset with everyone stuck at home and only connected via the internet. Lombard is presenting the lighting sessions.
The primary focus so far has been on lighting equipment and console education, and they train on a grandMA2 with the two full-time lighting department staff – Donavon Blomerus, and Lucky Lewele – each taking a grandMA OnPC home for the duration.
Blond purchased some new Robe Esprite LED profiles – with the transferable engine – in January, which went straight onto lighting the South African and Ghanaian editions of Family Feud in Johannesburg.
However, they are so new that not all the crew in lighting operations has yet had the opportunity to work with them or even sus them out.
“This is an awesome chance to learn all about these new fixtures and find their true potential, even though it’s via a virtual platform,” says Ballot, who believes that every lighting technician should know each fixture “inside out” before taking them on a show.
Lombard has put together a teaching agenda that starts with the key topic of Lighting Profile Creation.
“Knowing how to build a custom fixture in the library is a skill people often don’t acquire because the personality is either in your lighting library or there’s someone in the company creating and distributing them so the knowledge stays with that one person.”
Once created, another mission is to ensure that all understand how to use the ‘custom’ fixture as there are numerous pros / cons to knowing how to make / edit fixture profiles on the fly.
As Robe is Blond’s main moving light brand – with around 250 in rental stock – they take DMX protocol date from the Robe manuals and recreate the fixtures from scratch.
“Knowing the proper capabilities and functions of the lights is essential,” explains Lombard. “For example, being aware of the fact that a Robe MiniPointe has two prism wheels, and by keeping one static and rotating the second … we can create cool effects that open up a world of creative options – things like that are important.”
He also highlights how to position and angle fixtures in different production scenarios – from a TV show environment to a corporate event.
(Jim Evans)

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