Eduardo Pampin Interview

Eduardo Pampin runs Pampin Luces, an Argentinian company that has over 30 years of experience working in lighting, from research to the supply of lighting equipment for important presentations such as “The Wall Live”, where scenes were filmed for the future audiovisual production. Pampin Luces was there. They have also been working for over seven years, since they first met up in New York, with Fuerzabruta, the successful theater group that tours the world’s major venues. Pampin Luces is there too.

The company carries out different types of work, such as illumination for the heavyweights of Argentina’s music industry, which has led to the use of the phrase “pampinesca lightning school”, when someone refers to a lighting design.
In this interview, Eduardo kindly tells us how he first began to work with lighting in his parents’ home, and shares aspects of his work with us. How did you start working on lighting?

Eduardo Pampin: From when I was really very young, at home with my parents. I started to make changes to the lighting of living room and other sectors, manufacturing controls that allowed me to choose different scenes (turning on/off lights on furniture, paintings) and create different comfortable environments.
Later, at about 16, I started working with a friend at parties and assisting with the technical part for small school bands in institutions such as YMCA, among others.
A few years later, I was working on the lighting at underground gigs for groups that started up in Buenos Aires after 1983.
I then began doing the lighting for groups like “Los Twist”, “Viudas e hijas de Rock and Roll, and the mythical band “Sumo”, among others. At this time I was studying Physics at the University of Buenos Aires, alternating with artwork at the weekends.And working with lighting companies in Buenos Aires, I felt the need to have specific equipment because suppliers did not satisfy my creativity (they continually complained for various reasons).
A few years later, I had a recognizable style, the shows where I worked got really positive feedback from the press. I remember one in particular of a theater troupe precursor of Fuerzabruta and De la Guarda, named Black Organization. The journalist wrote: “… a prodigy of light psychopathy, the lighting not only shakes when it’s turned it on but also when it’s turned off….”. (1984, HUMOR magazine, Argentina). What services does Pampin Lights offer?

Eduardo Pampin: Pampin Luces was founded and developed to meet high standard creative solutions. As my passion is lighting, our priority is to have high performance equipment.
We were the first organization in Argentina to use digital multiplex dimmer controls; we were the first to bring in Clay Paky equipment and MA consoles, to use dichroic filters, etc.
Today, Pampin Luces has a stock of high quality, live-events oriented equipment with top brands such as Clay Paky, Robe, Martin, Selecon Pacific, ETC, MA, ADB, etc..
We have over 200 top-brand moving heads plus a full assortment of conventional luminaires.
Our technicians have grown and formed with guidelines for excellence and have consistent training specific to the high-tech equipment we handle today, allowing us to meet any challenge that comes our way.
Pampin Luces services range from development and lighting design for events & shows (as we’ve been doing for 20 years with Charly Garcia, Animal Tour Soda Stereo, De La Guarda, Fuerzabruta, etc.), as well as the development of architectural lighting design, and the supply and installation of equipment for shows.

In recent years, we have done many aerial lighting jobs, large releases or public festivals (Fiesta de la nieve; Fiesta de la vendimia; Fiesta del mar, national and city government events, etc.). We are currently the only conpany in Argentina that has aerial lighting equipment of high quality (leading brands) such as Alpha Beam 1500 or Sharpy and WiFi (DMX and Artnet) that allows us to cover large areas.
On the other hand, we have mounted lights in different places such as Chicago, Mexico, Caracas, Roundhouse (London), Lisbon, with Fuerzabruta world tours. How do you create a lighting design?

Eduardo Pampin: I immerse myself in the aesthetics and begin to dream. After having some ideas, I begin to analyze the needs of the picture: how to see, how to compensate, how to hide. Then obviously, I go back again and again to balance production ideas, resources and FX costs. Then, I emphasize the idea and discourse, do some calculations and solve the space, etc.
Actually, for me it’s hard to close a design; I constantly want to add details, movements. Of course, the process is different if the event is ephemeral or if it will have a continuity, for example, Fuerzabruta has been performing in New York for seven years now; there we always keep adjusting things to make it more attractive. What was the show that brought you the biggest challenge? Why?

Eduardo Pampin: It was probably “El desfile del Bicentenario”, a parade held in Buenos Aires as part of the celebrations of the bicentenary of the Revolución del 25 de mayo de 1810 in Argentina. There we worked on different milestones in the history of Argentina in its first 200 years. So Fuerzabruta production created about 20 carriages that circulated through the avenues of Buenos Aires, all with autonomous and mobile equipment, each one with a different but consistent theme. The results and the public’s response filled us with satisfaction, which is what drives us: emotion and audience reaction.

pampin3 What do you have as a reference for your work?

Eduardo Pampin: My references are everything I see, study and live. Normally, I do not remember who did this or that but I always feed on everything I see. What are the challenges facing a light technician to work for TV and for a live show?

Eduardo Pampin: I generally prefer live shows; I feel them more; the public, their expressions, the orgasmics of live shows; this is how I see it.
In films or on TV, time and feelings are different, with another type of intensity. Concerning technical issues, the difference is basically in the contrast as the naked eye handles things much better than cameras. Do you work exclusively with an artist?

Eduardo Pampin: No, since childhood I realized that it did not work. There’s always an artist or an artistic proposal where we have our heart, something or somebody that excites us.
At this time, my artistic design escape is Fuerzabruta, a show made up of a group of people with whom we share growth and work together at different stages. There is always a “main artist” but not exclusive. In a new job, with someone you haven’t worked with before, how do you start your job? Would you look at previous presentations?

Eduardo Pampin: I go to rehearsals; I care about the band, its aesthetics and style of the leaders of the group. I recognize stage movement; points of care and begin to exchange details with set designers, costume designers, technical directors, art directors. Generally, if I can find a leader or group leader, I try to understand what they want, what they need, and in this way, I strengthen the bond and tune in to the sound from the image.

“Normally, I do not remember who did this or that but I always feed on everything I see.” Is it usual to speak to an artist and discuss what she/he wants for each part of the show?

Eduardo Pampin: It depends. Musicians generally hear, they do not see much. They usually ask a few things that you have to translate and develop. This is different when we work for a theater or architectural design; here the director (architect) has clearer goals. How do you adapt the design of lights during a tour, according to the different locations of the presentations?

Eduardo Pampin: It is always necessary to make adjustments for reasons of space or equipment. Always keep basic design guidelines, making the aggression, subtlety and aesthetics maintained as much as possible. Sometimes, an adaptation can be more effective than the original development. Are your designs fully programmed, or do you improvise?

Eduardo Pampin: It depends. I like live shows; however I have some running fully programmed in SMPTE timecode, and some where there are programs that are triggered live, and others that are 100% manual.
When I started doing shows, consoles just had few resources, and at that time, my work was constant improvisation; while now, the number of parameters affecting a show means you always need a programming base. During the show, do you maintain communication with the producer for possible changes, for example, according to the state of the public?

Eduardo Pampin: Yes, for me the most important feature is the public; we must conquer them and make them grow. I have to make them feel good about what they are experiencing. What can you say about the visual aspect of the performance of “The Wall” in Argentina?

Eduardo Pampin: Precisely for these presentations we used Sharpy luminaires during live DVD recording to complete the equipment that they brought on tour.
The show has a very good visual appearance and it’s a good example of a programmed show. The theme (“down”) is out of time, today things are more “up”. From your experience, what are the advantages / disadvantages of LED lights?

Eduardo Pampin: They are beginning to have competitive performance with simulation of inertia, multichips, only now for instance. We are very happy with Robe luminaries; we actually have a really good stock of Robin 1200 and PAR4ce. These devices give a mixture of color, power and color rendering that respond to our needs perfectly. In fact, it took us a long time to introduce LED PAR to the company because I hated LEDs cake with thousands of shades and lousy generation that the cheaper versions had.

“…the most important feature is the public; we must conquer them and make them grow.” What consoles do you use in your work? Why do you chose them?

Eduardo Pampin: MA. Why do I chose them? When I bought the first moving heads I needed a console to move them. I was in Rimini at a trade show on lighting (which I think no longer exists), there I contacted some console manufacturers. At that time, the first WholeHog appeared on the market, which was huge and also had a giant rack. I loved the Celco Gold, but it had no development for moving heads. I always remember that people from MA offered to lend me a Scancommander to try to see if I liked it (but being from Argentina, South America, I had very little access to one). I brought a console to Buenos Aires; it was brand new and had some software issues; and the upgrade soon appeared (at that time in EPROMs). It was the first console that entered the region. From that time, I specified it in all raiders for Charly García, Fito Paéz, Soda Stereo, and it became very popular in Argentina and Latin America.
The logic of the console – of course we now talk about Granma Series – is excellent or at least it can be adapted very well, the mechanical quality is also excellent.
Today our stock is mainly GrandMA Series 2 consoles for intelligent light management.

pampin1 What advice can you give someone who aspires to become a lighting designer?

Eduardo Pampin: Never stop learning. Things in our world are continuously developing at really high speed. Be aware of how the system works helps to understand it and use it the most effective way. Never stop looking. Imagine the scene as a living painting, the light always has an important effect on the feeling of the person watching.


Images from Pampin luces website.
Más información

Fabio García
ZioGiorgio Network

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