Lighting Inspired By Cronkite

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Architects and lighting designers united last week for Spark, an evening sponsored by the Professional Lighting Designers Association (PLDA) and the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, featuring presentations on the theme of “Inspiration” at the V Lounge in Santa Monica. The Pecha Kucha format, in which 10 speakers are allowed to spend only 20 seconds on each of their 20 slides, shed (ahem..) light on lighting, architecture, and the ways they combine to create space. Speakers ranged from architects to lighting designers to an entrepreneur with an avid interest in lighting rock concerts. Of special interest was the presentation by Kathy Pryzgoda, principal of lightstudioLA, who demonstrated how light creates drama in spaces as disparate as theater sets, television news desks, and on the Muppets. A theatrical designer at heart, Pryzgoda transitioned to television over twenty years ago, and has worked as lighting and production designer for ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings Channel One News, and CNN’s American Morning, among others. Although the jump from theater to news seemed daunting at first, she found inspiration in black-and-white stills of Walter Cronkite.  She was fascinated by the extensive use of contrast in these images which, she said, “helps to bring the talent forward into the picture, thus creating a three dimensional effect on the two dimensional screen.”  Varying shades of black, grey, and white combine to provide additional visual interest.  This “painterly” approach to lighting brings “more dimension to the overall image,” and proves that television can be just as visually compelling as theater.  After studying these images, Pryzgoda says she gained the insight necessary to infuse her television work with as much drama and excitement as she had created in the theater.

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