Earlier this year Rhino Colorado completed two carefully prepared Lighting Basics classes that were led by Joey Magno and assisted by J Blain and Louie Gutierrez. Joey is Rhino CO’s Head Lighting Technician for NBA basketball, NHL hockey, and NLL lacrosse at Ball Arena and has a store of knowledge and expertise for planning and executing lighting training courses. J and Louie are, respectively, Rhino CO’s Safety Coordinator/Production Manager and Production Manager. 

The classes consisted of an 85-slide classroom presentation followed by a hands-on lighting workshop. Together they provided a valuable learning opportunity for the Lighting Basics students as well as a smaller cohort of followspot operators. 

In preparation for the classes, J mocked up a lighting plot, which enabled the trainees to read and hang circuit plots in a real-world manner. There was, additionally, a large emphasis on acclimating the trainees to work at height safely, with a focus on ladders, scissor lifts, and Genie-type powered lifts. “Our focus was to provide the trainees with the knowledge, terminology, and hands-on experience they could take immediately to the job site,” said Joey.

The classes were planned to include employees from RCO’s pool of newer stagehands (1 to 3 years of tenure) based on the volume of hours worked in the past few months. Their attendance or call-off histories were also taken into account, as well as their interest in the lighting field. Decreasing class size was also prioritized to maximize the instructor-to-student ratio for both sessions, with eight in the first class and four in the second.

About the trainees’ Joey told us, “It was very motivating for me to see the engagement from the trainees and their eagerness to learn more. I feel the training experience promotes success, strength, and camaraderie within the group that will carry over to the job setting for them.”

The result of all the pre-course planning was concentrated sets of engaged and eager learners. The in-person, classroom instruction portion therefore flowed smoothly and allowed more time for the hands-on work in the shop where the trainees got busy hanging, circuiting, and patching intelligent and conventional fixtures, DMX addressing them, and then checking that their work was accurate on Rhino’s GrandMA2 console. 

Reflecting on the experience, Joey said that “the classes have been able to provide more integrity within the company and on job sites, providing the clients with a knowledgeable workforce as well as social engagement and cohesion for our employees.”

Well done and thank you to all of the trainees and Joey, Louie, and J for helping lead (and light!) the way at Rhino Colorado, as well as for their assistance in preparing this blog post.