The 30th Annual Lighting Dimensions International (LDI) Convention was held last week in Las Vegas during which 14,000 members of the production community, working in a wide range of international live and broadcast venues convene to connect design, tech and production to the live experience.

Several members of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama community attended the Convention including second year MFA Lighting Design students Shawn Nielson and John Mitchell. Nielson and Mitchell were one of three teams selected as finalists in the National Collegiate Lighting Show Programming Competition—winning all expenses paid trip to the convention.

In the finals Nielson and Mitchell programmed a pre-visualization of their lighting cues for the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, to be executed on sponsor company, High End Lighting’s, large lighting rig on the Convention floor.  The competition was strong, but Nielson and Mitchell emerged victorious, winning he grand prize of a Road Hog 4 lighting board for the School of Drama, as well as an ETC Student Nomad software package and dongle.

“Being able to make it to the stage of Vegas out of the nationwide talent, let alone the talent of my fellow students at Carnegie Mellon, is a testament to our hard work and guidance and support from the faculty,” Nielson said. “I’m excited to see what opportunities this may bring for future endeavors.”

The event attracted a huge crowd of lighting professionals to the competition area. Associate Professor of Lighting Todd Brown and Associate Professor of Lighting Rob Thomson were watching along with many School of Drama alumni.

Alumnus Pat Hayes, who along with Alex Stevens, won the first National Collegiate Lighting Show Programming Competition, was one of the four professional judges for the event.

I will admit it was nerve wracking knowing our work was on display before many respected names in the industry as well being the face of the School of Drama,” Nielson shared. “I feel John and I were able to create a design that captivated the crowd and even had them cheering in places.”