News & Press Releases
Jim Tetlow on a career that has ranged from cruise ships to Presidential debates
One of the industry’s most accomplished lighting designers, Jim Tetlow has enjoyed an extraordinarily diverse career that spans television, live events, and theatre consulting. He’s an entrepreneur too, having started Nautilus Entertainment Design, which serves a variety of markets. Earlier in the year, he spoke to Sonny Sonnenfeld about the many aspects of his life in lighting design.
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At InfoComm 2011, PRO AV & ARCHITECT magazines and InfoComm International, the leading nonprofit association serving the professional AV communications industry worldwide, announced Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED) recipient of the Best Corporate AV Project in the fourth annual PRO AV Spotlight Awards for their work on Qualcomm 25th Anniversary Museum.
The awards were held June 16th at InfoComm 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Awards were given in fifteen categories for various types of A/V projects. A panel of PRO AV, ARCHITECT and ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING editors, contributors and A/V systems integrators and consultants judged the entries.
NED provided lighting design and A/V system design for the Qualcomm Museum including over 16 large format interactive video kiosks and an integrated control system. The museum was designed to celebrate the 25 years of technological advancements of the company. Guests are invited to interactively explore the history as well as the future possibilities of Qualcomm technology.
The "Historical Timeline" display area contains what the team referred to as Wave Walls. Each of the eight Wave Walls was designed to house a combination of video tiles and Qualcomm historical artifacts. The highlight of the "Future Area" contains a flush mounted, curved video wall thirteen feet wide by four feet high.
In this in-depth article, "L&SI Looks at Entertainment on the High Seas," Jim Tetlow is interviewed as one of the key consultants for Carnival Cruises in the design and installation of entertainment systems for their ships. Please take a look.
Alan Edwards, principal audio designer at NED discusses his cruise ship work and his use of the SymNet DSP units. Please take a look.
Jim Tetlow and Nautilus Entertainment Design were mentioned in this article from Cast Software in their bi-monthly publication, "The Plan" regarding NED's design work for the Costa Crociere. Please download.
SAN DIEGO, CA, March 4-- With the grand opening of the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK on February 9th, a massive three-year project came to completion for the lighting and audio/video consulting firm Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED). NED was charged with all interior lighting and audio/video design including the installation supervision and commissioning of those components.
Owned and operated by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the resort is a much-needed addition to the very successful original casino resort. Designed by the architectural firm WorthGroup, NED worked closely with their Vice President of Design, Brian Hamlin to create elements that spoke of the Choctaw Nation and their relationship with their past but interpreted with a modern flair.
For lighting, NED and the architectural firm designed close to 200 custom chandeliers and lighting features for the building. The most striking are three video chandeliers composed of 4 x 4 foot boxes containing LED panels. These chandeliers display video images through their crystal-encrusted exterior to set the mood and ambiance for the elevator lobby.
A hallmark of NED design is to give the owner great versatility with the lighting and audio/video systems. The Choctaw audio/video system allows employees the flexibility to select what video and/or audio feeds are appropriate at any time for their clientele. The digital signage system, consisting of 42 different channels of streaming content offers the ability to change feeds to any of the facility’s 190 displays. Guests can request their choice of program on any of the 24 video monitors located in the gambling table areas. Programming choices can also be made in the spa depending on the client's mood. The most flexibility is offered in the Diamondback Cabaret Lounge. A live feed of the performance can be sent not only to the large side screen in the lounge, but also to the numerous monitors throughout the casino and ancillary spaces.
An interesting challenge occurred concerning the architectural lighting of the gaming floor. “The casino ceiling consists of undulating tiles at various elevations designed to organically flow into wall structures. A wide variety of lighting fixtures and mounting techniques needed to be invented in order to place the lights where required,” commented Denis McCubbin, project manager/designer for NED.
NED is now in the planning stages with the WorthGroup for the renovation of the original Durant Choctaw casino that will include all lighting and audio/visual design services.
SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 14/ The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is the premiere event for the car manufacturers to show-off their new product models and generate a buzz for consumers. However, at NAIAS 2009 there is a necessary resolve to cut back on some of the extravagance from previous years. Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED) was again called upon by GM to light their press events and car displays. This year, Chrysler also requested their services to light their press event. Both looked to NED to cut cost but not production value or excitement.
"Certainly this is a tough period for the auto industry,” said Jim Tetlow, lead lighting designer. “We have been under a lot of pressure to do more with less money. However, these exhibits and press events are important for the manufacturers as they want the world to see their new products as they are proud of the new technology and innovations."
For GM’s first press event, it was a road rally and parade of vehicles driving the whole 400 foot length of the GM exhibit. GM employees lined the path with signs of support for their company as 17 current and future cars and crossovers drove past them to be presented on the turntables onstage. The staging was simple but elegant with multi-color lighting pools and a clean, sharp focus on the vehicles. GM kept their big surprise for last. The Cadillac Converj, a battery powered luxury concept car was the pièce de résistance of the event. The second GM press event was the announcement that GM will be building a new battery manufacturing facility in Michigan to provide the power systems for the Chevy Volt electric car and the future electric cars under development.
NED staff designer Kurt Doemelt was the onsite lighting director for the GM press events produced by C4 Communications of Birmingham, Michigan, with media content from Aquila Production from New York City.
This is the third year that NED has designed the lighting for the entire GM exhibit. With almost 100 vehicles on display, approximately 1,600 fixtures were used to cover the 112,400 sq. ft. area, twice the size of a football field. While there were extensive budget limitations for this year’s exhibit, GM made it clear that it was a high priority that the lighting of their cars and trucks should not be compromised.
NED staff designer Don Hill and associate designer Tristan Gates designed the exhibit lighting.
The Chrysler press event was also located inside their exhibit. A 90 foot wide scrim was the backdrop for the presentation. Behind the scrim were over 100 orange electric extension cords that were hung from the same truss as the scrim. These cords were side lit, independent of the scrim and provided a backdrop alluding to the new all electric products being introduced.
A total of three EV cars were introduced, two of which were revealed by silk covers being whisked away on cue to a flurry of strobe lights. Center stage, the Dodge Circuit EV was first revealed, followed on the right turntable by the Jeep Patriot EV, with finally the Chrysler 200C EV concept car was driven out onto the left turntable to loud applause.
This is the first time that NED has done the Detroit press events for Chrysler, but they have been doing many other press events and announcement shows for the car manufacturer since 1987. The production company was Kaleidoscope productions of New York and San Francisco, and the onsite lighting director was Patrick Schulz.
Immediately on the heels of the NAIAS, NED will be in quick turnaround as they make plans to light the thirteen events of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Balls and Dinners. [Download Press Kit]
SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 6/ Jim Tetlow and Nautilus Entertainment Design have been selected as lighting designers for the 2009 inaugural balls and candlelight dinners at the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C..
The general service contractor for the events is Hargrove Inc. As part of the Hargrove technical team, Nautilus will be working with technical director Larry Estrin and sound designer Kelly Epperson.
The project includes 13 events in 10 different locations around Washington, D.C.
Tetlow is a veteran when it comes to Presidential Inaugurations. Since 1981 he has been contracted for three previous induction festivities. This year is the second time he has served as principal lighting designer for all of the balls and dinners. This will be the sixth Inauguration for Larry Estrin.
By Allan T. Duffin
"... The advantages of digital technology include "improved quality of audio and video, increased flexibility, and simplification of technical systems at the operator level," says Jim Tetlow, owner and principal consultant of Nautilus Entertainment Design, Inc., in La Jolla, Calif. The company helps create lighting, audio, video and special effects systems for theatres and other entertainment facilities like cruise ships, Las Vegas hotels, and even the Senate and House chambers in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C." [Read the Article at the Dramabiz Magazine's Website]
SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 16/ -- Bombers, jet fighters, helicopters, missiles, a Mercury space capsule and other substantial artifacts are strategically placed throughout a museum the length of one and a half football fields. There is an installation schedule interrupted by a twenty-mile move from Stanton Island to Pier 86 in Midtown Manhattan. A hard deadline is set due to a week’s worth of special events attended by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, military brass and celebrities. Those were a few of the challenges Nautilus Entertainment Design encountered when they were contracted to work with LightSource and Display Dynamics to provide lighting and control system designs for the refurbished Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.
The Essex-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the USS Intrepid was first launched in 1943, served in three wars as well as a recovery ship for the Mercury and Gemini space programs. The Intrepid, decommissioned in 1974, was opened in 1982 as a museum in New York City. Closed in 2006, it was first towed to Bayonne, New Jersey for 23 months of repair, then to Staten Island for refurbishment and finally back to its home at Pier 86 in October, 2008.
For Nautilus lighting designer Don Hill the biggest challenge was working within a hull that is over 60 years old.
“The Intrepid was refitted several times over the course of its active duty. One look at the ceiling of the hanger decks revealed a confusing mixture of old and new, active and inactive systems for HVAC, electrical, plumbing, etc,” stated Hill. “There were no reflected ceiling plans available so the work was based on our initial site survey, many emails and phone conversations and lots of dead reckoning during installation. Also considering the size of the exhibit space, approximately 48,000 sq. ft. extending the entire length of the ship, the guessing game was raised exponentially.”
To light the exhibits of aircraft and other artifacts, NED designed a pipe grid hanging on regular intervals throughout the space with a broad distribution of dimmable circuits ensures that the lighting can be readily adapted as exhibits are changed over time. A variety of conventional theatrical-style fixtures were used to be consistent with the museum’s existing inventory of ETC S4 Jrs, AR111 spot lights, PAR 38s and PAR 56s. The new dimmers are two ETC Sensor SR48 Dimmer Racks with dual 2.4k dimmer modules. They are used in conjunction with existing Strand and ETC Smartpack dimmers, all controlled with a Pharos lighting controller.
The 280-foot long exhibit display cases were a particular challenge. Sealed to protect artifacts from dust and moisture, the only access was in the removal of a 200-pound glass pane. To solve several problems, a conventional low-voltage track light system with high-output Bruck Ledra LED MR-16 lamps was used. The advantages were less heat, longer lamp life (35,000 hours versus halogens 2,000 hours) and no UV radiation which was perfect for lighting museum artifacts prone to fading or deterioration.
For Nautilus’s Brian Pratt, the designer of the master control system of all the museum elements, specifying an AMX system was the key in giving flexibility to the museum for straightforward ease-of-use while allowing ample expansion capability for the addition of exhibits in the future.
“The major challenges on this project were the large number of different systems and content providers and the very tight time-frame,” stated Pratt. “Flexibility and simplicity were required due to changes and refinements of other designers’ systems and the need for it to be operated by museum staff. With the flexibility of the AMX control system and great support from our installer and programmers at BlueWater Technologies, we were able to adapt to system changes as they occurred. Home Run Electric was great in getting the systems up and running which is no small task when working with wiring on a WWII aircraft carrier.”
The AMX system controls the ETC Pharos lighting control system, an Alcorn McBride Video Bin-loop (which provides all the video and audio playback on ten different LCD screens including two video projectors) sixty different relays and contactors which provides power and control to different interactive exhibit kiosks and displays, the audio system plus a show that runs every half-hour.
“The system allows the exhibition department to set up presets using a touch screen to individually pick and choose combinations of museum components to be in “on” or “off” mode and to set various lighting conditions,” Pratt continued. “This way they can set up the usual operational presets; open, cleaning, closed and for special events. The system also provides the ability to perform manual overrides so when a VIP is getting a tour of the museum, each show, exhibit or kiosk can be individually started just when the VIP arrives.”
The displays were by Display Dynamics (http://www.disdyn.com/ ) and the lighting and labor vendor was LightSource (http://www.lightsourceinc.com/ ). [Download Press Kit]
SAN DIEGO, CA, October 31 –The lighting of the 2008 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates proved to be another challenge-packed assignment for Jim Tetlow of Nautilus Entertainment Design with four different locations, three different staging formats and for the first time, the debates were broadcast in high-definition. Produced by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, this is the third Presidential election in a row that Tetlow has been tapped as Lighting Designer.
All debate venues were located at universities chosen through a several year process by the Commission. The debates are typically staged in a field house or gymnasium; however the Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi was the setting for this year’s first Presidential Debate. Although one would think that it would be easier to stage the debate in a theatre, this site proved to be a bigger challenge than the others due to the lack of rigging points over the apron and the audience.
“Ultimately, the debates are like classic ‘talking head’ interview shows, where you use portrait lighting for each speaker,” says Tetlow. “In a television studio, this typically means using some sort of soft fill light, whether they are halogen, fluorescent or LED sources. However, what makes the debates unique is creating portrait lighting from 55 feet way instead of the typical 8 to 10 feet in a broadcast studio. It’s the wide shot that defines the height and distance of the lighting fixtures and, in the case of the debates, that means a wide shot of the set, which was over 40 feet wide. To work at these long distances, ETC Source 4 ellipsoidals were used for the portrait lighting of the candidates and the moderator, while more general stage lighting for the candidate’s entrances was done with Arri 5Kw fresnels, and PAR 64s. The background of the candidates’ close-up shot was a lightbox of text from the Constitution.”
All of the venues had their own special challenges based on the debate formats—podium-style (where the candidates had lecterns as their home base), a town hall-style (that allowed the candidates to walk freely around the set and speak directly with the live studio audience), and a large interview-style desk (where the candidates and moderator were seated). “One of the advantages of portrait lighting,” Tetlow states, “is that it allows the lighting designer the flexibility to independently balance the lighting of each candidate, the moderator and the set.” This worked well for all of the debates except the "Town Hall" meeting, which was staged in the round. It was impossible to isolate the candidates as they continually moved around the stage and were surrounded by a live studio audience. The solution was to create an evenly illuminated, 360 degree environment in which the candidates could work comfortably.” [Download Press Kit]
How do you light a televised car reveal for a sunny, daylight premiere when your only chance to focus and tech is during a dark and rainy rehearsal? That was the challenge for Jim Tetlow, of Nautilus Entertainment Design, as Lighting Designer of the much-anticipated Chevy Volt car premiere. The event took place in the 40,000 sq. ft. Wintergarden Atrium of the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, which features a full glass back wall and a transparent glass ceiling looking out on the Detroit River and the bright, morning sun.
On the morning of September 16, 2008, General Motors launched its next 100 years by unveiling the production version of the Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that delivers up to 40 miles of gasoline-and emissions-free driving, with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles. Introduced in a short speech by GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, the Volt was revealed when the video screen separated in half and General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz drove the car downstage and onto a turntable to the standing ovation of employees, guests and press. The entire presentation was produced by the Detroit office of Jack Morton Worldwide.
Tetlow remarked that in addition to introducing a new vehicle and technology to the world it was also the celebration GM’s 100th anniversary and a glimpse of where the next century might take them. “This was definitely a moment of anticipation not only for GM but for all of Detroit and car enthusiasts everywhere,” Tetlow said. “This one-hour satellite telecast was fed live to GM facilities around the world and included live segments from GM facilities in six other countries. In addition to GM’s Wintergarden Atrium, the venue for the live event, we designed the lighting for three additional locations throughout the Renaissance Center.”
This one-hour event required a full week for load-in, installation and rehearsal. Lighting equipment for the reveal included 60 Vari*Lites®, a mixture of VL3500TM Spot and Wash Luminaires. The color balance and lighting levels were balanced for exterior daylight in anticipation of a sunny day. The design also had to balance to the “live” LED screen that was in many of the shots. Tetlow commented, “Unfortunately, we had dark and stormy weather for several days preceding the event. The lighting on the car and the executives looked fine in rehearsal, but in contrast everything else was dark. Fortunately, for the morning of the show we had a clear bright day and the lighting levels we had set on the stage balanced to the bright sunlight illuminating the background.” [Download Press Kit]
After designing entertainment systems for 26 cruise ships in the past 14 years, San Diego-based Nautilus Entertainment Design (NED) has recently completed work on three Carnival Corporation & plc ships within a few months of each other, providing designs as well as commissioning and inspection services for all entertainment and broadcast systems. [Read More] [Download Press Kit]
Cunard's newest ocean liner, the Queen Victoria, is a massive ship that spans 12 expansive decks and boasts some of the most luxurious and modern facilities ever to sail the open seas. The magnificent liner features a multi-story grand lobby, numerous ambient restaurants, lounges, a casino and state-of-the-art theatres, many of which are equipped with self-powered Meyer Sound systems designed by San Diego-based Nautilus Entertainment Design . . . [Read More]
Two Digidesign® VENUE live sound systems set sail recently on Cunard’s newest state-of-the-art international vessel, the Queen Victoria. The majestic ocean liner’s twelve decks are replete with some of the most luxurious and modern accoutrements on water, including a grand, multilevel lobby, casino, restaurants, and two theaters.
Nautilus Entertainment Design Inc. of San Diego provided the audio and video designs for the ship’s 30 individual entertainment venues, which range from intimate lounges, fitness centers, and recreational areas to the palatial Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room ballroom. [Read More]
The RSA Show was held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center on February 6th-9th ...[Read More]
Looks are deceiving; this project looks like a permanent architectural installation, but it's actually the Hewlett-Packard stand at ITU Hong Kong in December 2006. With approximately 9150 square feet of space, the ground floor housed an exhibit of HP products and technology, while upstairs had extensive conference rooms and a hospitality cafe. The design team opted for an approach that would make visitors feel they were in an actual architectural environment, not on a trade show floor. The conference rooms were generous; there were seven with seating capacity of 10 and three with capacity for six. The hospitality area seated over 40 people for refreshments. The space supported a fully functional kitchen, 17 reception desks, a VIP reception desk with coat check space and a fully integrated air conditioning system...[Read More]
On June 30, Costa Concordia was delivered by Fincantieri at the Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Large in all senses, the Costa Concordia is 112,000 tons with total guest capacity of 3,780. She is the largest cruise ship in the Costa fleet - and the largest of any line operating in the Mediterranean... [Read More]
The presidential election kicked into high gear on September 29th with the start of the first presidential debate in Florida. NED's TV lighting design veteran Jim Tetlow and his team Denis McCubbin and Kurt Doemelt were on hand to assure the venue was ready for the exacting standards of prime time viewing.
With only a handful of days between each scheduled debate, the production team was challenged with turning a convocation center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, a gymnasium at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, an athletic complex at Washington University in Saint Louis and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theatre at Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona into four pristine television environments.
NED's Jim Tetlow brings the extensive background in live-to-air television that producers have come to rely on. Tetlow lit the 2000 Presidential Debates, and has been a repeat designer for the Republican and Democratic Conventions over the last decade. He has also been responsible for lighting the NBC Broadcast Facilities at the Summer Olympics, Singapore's Jubilee New Year's show, and a wide variety of television specials, series, concerts and special events.
SD Tribune Article
Archi-Tech magazine and the International Communications Industries Association named Nautilus Entertainment Design as a 2004 AV award winner for our work on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Illuminations Auditorium. NED provided entertainment facility design, including lighting, audio, video, rigging and special effects for over forty spaces on Queen Mary 2, the world's largest passenger vessel. Queen Mary 2 gained immediate attention from the press and the public when Alstom Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard delivered the ship to Cunard in December of 2003 (see links below). NED's project manager for the Queen Mary 2 local entertainment systems is Bill Havens, based in NED's New York office. Queen Mary 2 will be followed in 2004 by Cunard's Queen Victoria.
Cunard's QM2 website
LiveDesign: "Smooth Sailing on the QM2"