What do Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Apollo mission control, and lighting designers have in common? The convergence happened before the pandemic, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out a promotional video had been made and posted on Youtube. It can be hard to see the results of our work, as so much of it goes into private homes. Public projects like escape rooms on cruise ships are not that easy to visit, either, especially right now. The video above made it possible to take a nostalgic trip…to the moon.
It doesn’t mention the lighting, and that’s okay with me. We’re not supposed to get the attention. We’re supposed to make the experience better, not be the experience.
In late 2019 I could be found aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the first of its class that currently holds the title of world’s largest cruise ship. This was not a pleasure cruise, however, but an intense week of installation, programming, and testing while the ship was undergoing a $100m + revitalization in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain. I was living on board with 4000 other contractors furiously working to get the ship back to sea.
My wingman was Adam, a 10-year veteran of live entertainment and television lighting. I came up with fanciful ideas but had no idea how to program the complex systems that would make those ideas happen repeatedly and reliably for the next ten years as the ship traversed the globe. I needed Adam for that part, and he did so with his usual easy manner and awesome skills. He integrated the lighting design into several layers of control systems and made the lights come on, literally.
Barely one year later, Adam and many of his peers were forced to the sidelines when COVID-19 put the live entertainment industry in endless shutdown. Theaters, arenas, opera houses, concert venues, clubs, cruise ships, conferences, trade shows…large gatherings of nearly every kind were shut down and many are still looking for jobs as a result. We were fortunate to be in need of talented help, and we currently have several team members “sheltering in place” with us. Adam led the charge and is now an incredibly valuable member of our team. Ray, a production designer from television, joined soon thereafter. Grant came over from live experience design and Will joined us when his production management position at the Kennedy Center disappeared.
Now we’re working together to design projects across the hemisphere, bringing talent and experience together to craft unique solutions for our clients. The distance between mission control and your dining room table is closer than you think.
Good for you David! Sounds like an incredible team.