December 28, 2017

Focus Lighting is Lighting Up the Times Square Ball

Christine Hope, lead designer for the Times Square Ball's lighting, gives us a sneak peek into what to expect at this New Year's Eve Ball Drop!

by New York Spaces

Time Square Ball by Focus Lighting
Times Square Ball.

Christine Hope, a principal at Focus Lighting and the lead designer for the Times Square Ball's lighting, gives us a sneak peek into what to expect at this New Year's Eve Ball Drop!

Time Square Blal
Times Square Ball.

NYS: We are so excited Focus Lighting is taking care of lighting the Time's Square Ball!

Christine Hope: We're excited to have taken part in such an iconic project!

NYS: How did that come about?

Christine Hope: Five different firms were solicited and interviewed for the project. In the end we were chosen for our creative ideas and technical prowess.

NYS: What changes did you make to the ball?

Christine Hope: Our collective goal with the 100th anniversary redesign was to make the ball appear more like it was made from crystal. To achieve that we completely revised the lighting approach. Before we were involved, there was a center core of colored light bulbs that created an inner glow. We helped design an LED board that sat directly behind the crystal, to keep the color crisp and vibrant. We also introduced a mirrored divider that sits between the crystal and the LEDs, allowing us to create intricate patterns of light.

NYS: How did you work with Waterford to create patterns?

Times Square Ball
Times Square Ball.

Christine Hope: Based on our experiments, having light refract through cuts on the back of the crystal panels created a lot more sparkle than having a smooth back with only the pattern cut on the front. We went back and forth with many sketches and patterns, developing a pattern that increase the overall sparkle while enhancing but not obscuring the signature Waterford design.

NYS: What can we expect to see in terms of the lighting program?

Christine Hope: From 6:00 p.m. until 11:59 p.m., the ball will display a series of different lighting looks. At the top of every hour a unique "show" will run and repeat every 15 min. In between, a series of our favorite looks will fill in. Of course, at midnight, the final New Years countdown show will run.

NYS: Can you give us an idea of what some of your favorite looks are that will be displayed?

Times Square Ball
Times Square Ball.

Christine Hope: Some of the unique shows that will be played are "International Celebration" which features flags of the world as a welcome gesture to all the guests who flock to Times Square, and "The Four Seasons" which walks through colors and images inspired by the seasonal changes of New York City.

NYS: How did you group the lighting concepts?

Christine Hope: We started the shows off slowly, and as the night goes on, each new look builds in color and intensity, matching the energy of the crowd as midnight approaches.

NYS: How often do they change?

Christine Hope: Each hour features a "mini-show" that repeats 4 times (every 15 minutes) and lasts about 5 minutes. Between those shows are a series of different looks—some static images, some kinetic—that last 30 seconds to one minute each and are played at random. The idea is that every time someone glances up at the ball, they are seeing something unique and special.

Times Square Ball
Times Square Ball.

NYS: What will the final look be?

Christine Hope: The final look is a show called "Diamonds in the Sky". This show epitomizes our collective vision of making the ball appear like the sparkling, high-quality cut crystal that it is. The patterns are intricate and the colors are vibrant jewel tones of sapphire, emerald and ruby. The show ends in a classic "Diamond" look—a bright white iridescent glow for the last 10 second countdown.

NYS: What was your favorite part about designing the lighting for the New Year's Ball?

Christine Hope: Is it such an iconic thing, as a New Yorker it was truly an honor and privilege to work on this project. Everyone involved has had such a positive energy around just creating the most beautiful thing we can, which was a wonderful experience. But my favorite part over the years has been gathering with friends and family to watch the show and celebrate the New Year!

Times Square Ball
Times Square Ball.
Times Square Ball
Times Square Ball.

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