Episode 157 THE NEXT LEVEL with ZACHARY OXMAN Discussing RAY THOMPSON, Lighting Design, and the Choreography of Emotion

In this episode of The Next Level, Andy Kushner and guest co-host, Zachary Oxman, discuss key topics from last week’s interview with Ray Thompson. Zack is a true artist and creative who has quite a story as a sculptor and how his work ties in to what Ray does.

Welcome to another episode of The Next Level, in which I have a guest co-host, and the two of us talk about my recent interview of the week. This week we discuss lighting pioneer, Ray Thompson who is an icon in the event and lux wedding industry.

As an artist and creative, Ray has a lot to add to how powerful of an impact lighting can make. This is a fun episode to talk about because Ray is the founder of Images by Lighting and a true innovator in the field of lighting design. His award-winning team create emotional environments for events including lux weddings, major film events, and lighting designs for superstar musical artists.

Show Highlights:

  • [02:49] Zack finds it fascinating that Ray creates works of art through the manipulation of light.
  • [03:16] Zack realizes how important it is to display his work under the right light and the right setting. It completely changes everything,
  • [04:06] Ray does a lot of jobs for Colin Cowie where he first does a walk through and then goes home and imagines it in his mind.
  • [04:51] Anything we see is the effect of light that gives us our perception of that experience. It’s an incredibly powerful tool for an artist and planner/designer to use.
  • [05:15] Ray uses light as a pointer to create emotional artwork.
  • [05:36] His is the choreography of emotion. He uses color to elicits emotions from the clients.
  • [06:35] Artists have to distill down the story they are sharing to apply their light with it.
  • [07:51] Finding a collaborative way to bring the people along on the journey is like being a conductor.
  • [09:27]  Ray shares his favorite design advice which is being involved with the event producer as early as possible.
  • [12:54] We look at what’s to be done and maximizing on a budget, creating quality with what you have to work with.
  • [13:36] If you don’t pay yourself enough to be in business then you won’t be in business very long.
  • [13:57] The importance of talking about every aspect of production, before getting to the locations to start working, is part of loving and embracing the business aspect.
  • [15:48] Andy brings up a book, Rocket Fuel, which discusses how the “visionary” is the creative who comes up with the ideas. It’s the “integrator’s” responsibility to execute.
  • [16:54] Ray’s team also has post meetings to discuss anything that went right or wrong during the production experience and to discuss if there can be more efficient solutions.


The Wedding Biz Website

The Wedding Biz Instagram

The Wedding Biz Facebook

Images By Lighting

Images by Lighting

Images by Lighting on Instagram

Images by Lighting on Facebook

@images_lighting on Twitter

This Week’s Guest Co-Host

Zac Oxman

Zachary Oxman on Instagram

Zachary Oxman Facebook Page

Last Week’s Guest Co-Host

THE NEXT LEVEL: ANDREA EPPOLITO: Celebrating the Greatest Luxury of All


Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business

Brett Culp Interview on The Wedding Biz


Colin Cowie’s Interview On The Wedding Biz:

Colin Cowie: Part 1 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

Colin Cowie: Part 2 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

David Beahm’s Interview On The Wedding Biz:

David Beahm: Risk & Synchronicity

SPONSOR LINKSKushner Entertainment www.kushnerentertainment.com

Episode 156 RAY THOMPSON: Lighting Design & The Choreography Of Emotion

Lighting designer and owner of Images by Lighting Ray Thompson is here today to talk about storytelling with lighting for events and designing lighting for lux weddings. He has over 30 years of experience and an amazing passion for creative design.

He also pioneered the modern event lighting industry. His company has created the lighting for events at major corporations like Adobe, Taco Bell, Gillette, NFL Super Bowl and many more. He has also been involved in premieres and events for major movies and entertainers like HBO, DreamWorks Pictures, Disney/Buena Vista, Elton John and more.

In this episode, Ray shares how he got started and was able to transition his passion into a career and an award-winning company. He also talks about the evolution of lighting, changes in technology, tools smaller designers can use to create amazing lighting, how he finds inspiration and more.

Show Highlights:

[00:15] Ray Thompson is one of the true icons in the industry for what he does with lighting design.

[00:34] Lighting is critical to telling a story no matter what you’re doing.

[00:49] Many years ago, Ray began lecturing and educating people about lighting and what can be done with lighting and where events were going.

[01:28] When Ray was a kid, he was always good with science and math. His dad owned a vending machine company, and Ray had access to the broken machines, so he would create lighting installations in his bedroom.

[01:59] He would even sequence lights to music. He wasn’t sure how to make a career out of this, so he went into electrical engineering.

[02:55] He moved to LA and was an electrical engineer for Hughes Aircraft.

[03:11] While working at Hughes Aircraft, Ray had created some lighting sculptures in his apartment, which a well-known event professional saw and he tells the story of how that led to building a clientele.

[04:01] Ray shares how one of his first big breaks came from Allan Carr.

[05:26] Once props and scenery became decorations for parties, lighting also became a natural element.

[06:19] Lighting is a dance from the moment you enter an event. Light creates an experience and storyline through color, texture, and intensity.

[07:47] Ray is very spiritual. He loves color and the study of chakra and color on your being.

[11:36] Ray directs the events, and lights can be used to create total theater for events.

[14:33] We discuss Ray’s concept of the relation between lighting and “the choreography of emotion.”

[16:31] Ray likes to be involved early on in the design process and discusses why.

[16:56] We learn the behind the scenes process behind a project from proposal to end design.  

[22:41] Messaging for brands like Tesla involves a unique lighting design approach for a product reveal.

[23:38] Ray tells the story behind designing the lighting for the wedding for a king in Dubai.

[27:09] We get to hear about lighting projects such as the Governor’s Ball for the Emmys, the Oscars Green Room, the Super Bowl, and studio and movie premieres.

[31:00] He has worked with very high-end entertainers from Elton John to Katy Perry.

[32:19] Ray shares his secrets for production efficiency and profitability that he’s learned over the years.

[35:11] Ray shares how lighting technology has evolved since he began in the industry.

[38:49] LED screens will get cheaper and cheaper for video walls.

[39:24] Ray reveals the best way for industry professionals to work with lighting designers.

[40:22] Battery packed pin spots and battery packed uplights are great cost-effective and simple ways for planners and designers to notch things up a level.

[41:07] Going to concerts is inspiration and relaxation for Ray. He also gets inspired by the very creative producers that he works with.

[42:42] Andy thought the video screens and the lighting at the Ed Sheeran concert were amazing.

[43:42] Ray loves what he does.




The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz

The Wedding Biz on Instagram

The Wedding Biz on Facebook

Images By Lighting

Images by Lighting

Images by Lighting on Instagram

Images by Lighting on Facebook

@images_lighting on Twitter

Mentioned By Ray

Freedom Par by Chauvet

FUEL Lighting Systems

Alan Carr

Colin Cowie & His Interview On The Wedding Biz:

Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Colin Cowie: Part 1 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

Colin Cowie: Part 2 Creating Groundbreaking Luxury Experiences

David Beahm & His Interview On The Wedding Biz:

David Beahm

David Beahm: Risk & Synchronicity


This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment www.kushnerentertainment.com.