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Opticshock shows us the light

Opticshock shows us the light
Opticshock does lighting, but not as you know it. Owner David Eversfield takes us inside the layers of complexity.

Opticshock does lighting, but not as you know it. Owner David Eversfield takes us inside the layers of complexity.

Entertainment industry insiders know just how much work goes on behind the scenes of any production. That’s particularly true for Opticshock, which designs lighting and visual projections for live entertainment. It did the citywide lighting installation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and has directed high-tech shows at everything from the Commonwealth Games to Shihad concerts, the Vodafone NZ Music Awards to Glastonbury, the Deaf Olympics to the World Of Wearable Art and NZ Opera. It’s a gig that’s taken owner David Eversfield all around the world.

Rugby World Cup fireworks Art in the Dark 2009 APRA Silver Scrolls Telecom tree

How did you get started doing this?

My involvement with entertainment lighting started pretty much doing amateur theatre when I was about five years old. It was a passion, or a hobby, that slowly turned into being more of a career. There would have been times I was doing shows for amateur dramatic societies or school shows and eventually that continued to grow to the point that I was starting to get paid for doing those.

What’s the best part of the job?

A really cool part of the job is getting access to places that normally other people don’t get access to. Around Auckland city we were putting lights on top of buildings for the celebration of the Rugby World Cup. It’s actually quite a stunning city when you get to see it above street level. That was pretty special stuff. The interest of getting into strange places has continued in other parts of the world as well. I’ve been inside huge cathedrals while they’re being built, backstage at theatres, on the side of stage at music festivals.

What else did you do for the Rugby World Cup opening night?

There was the main show happening inside the stadium and Auckland City wanted to extend participation of the show across the whole city. We built a custom lighting system of search lights placed across the rooftops that were synchronised to a piece of music by Don McGlashan and also to the fireworks. It was a synchronised fireworks and light show to fill in a few minutes just after the performance in the stadium and before the game started.

Tell us about the Telecom tree?

I’ve always really enjoyed the little theatre shows. There’s a high level of collaboration, a team comes together to make them happen. Other little pet projects? It’s nice to be able to push technology or rather create new solutions, novel solutions for creative ideas. The Telecom tree was one of those.

What’s the biggest project you’ve done?

I’m really keen on live audiences, audiences that are actually experiencing something right there rather than having to watch it on TV or have it recorded. A live audience event might be something like a Glastonbury music festival or you might end up with 120,000-180,000 people in one place getting to watch a show.

Any favourite projects?

I’ve always really enjoyed the little theatre shows. There’s a high level of collaboration, a team comes together to make them happen. Other little pet projects? It’s nice to be able to push technology or rather create new solutions, novel solutions for creative ideas. The Telecom tree was one of those.

Any trends you’re seeing?

Traditionally lighting has been a huge consumer of power. People are now having to look at alternative ways to produce light or in fact energy efficient ways of producing light. That’s helping drive technology and means LED technology has become very popular.

I think we’re going to start seeing some hybrid lighting fixtures that will actually harvest power during the day or harvest energy and store it in some way during the day and release that at night as light so that the fixtures are kind of energy neutral in terms of their demand on the grid. Where that becomes interesting for entertainment lighting is that some of these lights are inside a theatre. It’s hard to get them exposed to daylight and charge up but might work for larger outside installations, if you’re doing installations across a city, or a sculpture.

What are you working on now?

Opening a studio in Hong Kong to be kind of closer to clients in that area of the world. It seems Asia is still galloping along in terms of the economy and doesn’t seem to be suffering as much from the recession as other parts of the world seem to be.