CCM teaches "disguise" tech to the next generation of lighting and video designers

CCM students learn lighting design and technology skills on leading software and hardware

UC College-Conservatory of Music Professor Sharon Huizinga and Vickie Claiborne, Training Manager for disguise Americas, have been working closely together over the past few years to help video and lighting students learn disguise — a platform that combines leading production software with powerful media server hardware, to empower artists and production houses to tell stories that inspire audiences. This collaboration was recently spotlighted on disguise's website.

Implementing disguise tech into CCM classrooms and performance spaces gives students access to learn and play with leading software and hardware, preparing them to work in the professional world before they graduate. Disguise (formerly d3 Technologies) has been used on the largest and most complicated of projects — creating shows for the likes of Massive Attack and U2, live events, concert touring, theatre, fixed installs and broadcast.

Huizinga incorporated disguise at the start of the pandemic. She tells disguise: “When I came into this program, there was very little media training, it was almost entirely lighting.” She saw the need for media because it was clear that lighting design and technology students will need to be across emerging technologies in the field in order to be prepared for success professionally. “My job as an educator is to put together [a program explaining] what gear is being used professionally, what is important in the world right now, what helps people to be employable walking out of a program.”

Everything disguise-related was taught within the moving light programming class within the BFA and MFA Lighting Design and Technology curriculum at CCM. After moving through fundamentals, creative sequencing and system integration courses taught through the disguise eLearning platform and industry master classes, students gain a solid grasp of the basics. Then, they get a chance to put them into practice during CCM's performance season of plays, musicals, operas and dance productions. During the 2021-22 season, CCM students used disguise to create the projections in Galileo Galilei and The Burials

According to Huizinga, there’s sometimes a gulf between working professionals and students, however, graduates who are creative and talented and who have hands-on training are always in high demand. She works on readying the students for the ‘outside world’ so that the gap between studying and the world of work can be lessened, including inviting industry professionals share the cutting-edge projects they’re working on with students as well as a strong relationship with frame:work’s annual job fair.

Huizinga concludes to disguise: “I think we turn out people who are consummate artists in all senses of the word. Even if they're not interested in being a designer, even if they want to be a master electrician for a Broadway production, or go work for disguise and write code, they're still coming into that situation with a really broad understanding of live events, storytelling, collaborative work environments and co-creation. And that's pretty cool.”

Next Lives Here

At the University of Cincinnati, we realize the impact our teaching, research, artistry and service can have on our community and the world. So, we don’t wait for change to happen. We break boundaries, boldly imagine and create what’s Next. To us, today’s possibilities spark tomorrow’s reality. That’s why we are leading urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact, and that's how we are defining Next for the performing and media arts.

We're about engaging people and ideas - and transforming the world.

We are UC. Welcome to what's Next.

Featured image at the top: A production image from CCM's performance of Galileo Galilei. Photo by Mark Lyons.

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