CCM Lighting Design and Technology student Devaka Walpola recently traveled to the Live Design International Conference in Las Vegas to compete as one of three finalists in one of the top academic lighting competitions in the world.

Devaka Walpola

Devaka Walpola.

Walpola, who is in his third year at CCM, was selected as a finalist in the 2017 HOG Factor National Collegiate Lighting Show Programing Competition. As a finalist, he had the opportunity to present an original lighting design live at the international conference on November 17.

“HOG Factor is the number one academic lighting competition worldwide as we speak,” says CCM Lighting Professor Jim Gage. “To be selected as a finalist from the hundreds of submissions is quite the accomplishment.”

Now in its fourth year, the HOG Factor Competition is presented annually by High End Systems, a cutting edge company for lighting technology. The three finalists receive awards that are given to the university where the student is enrolled. In 2014, CCM students entered a similar competition and CCM was awarded a $40,000 lighting console.

Walpola first found out about the competition through CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Mark Williams. He then spent around 18 hours designing a light show for the song, “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers featuring Daya and submitted his design to High End Systems.

He progressed to the final round of the HOG Factor Competition in Las Vegas, where he had the opportunity to plan and present a lighting design for The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charles Daniels Band.

“For the competition, I was given a virtual lighting rig and had to program a lighting show on my computer and then translate it to a real world live event in Vegas in front of a crowd of industry leaders,” Walpola says.

Walpola is the master electrician on three CCM productions this year. His studies at CCM have taught him techniques that he’s used to set up lighting and sound for events like Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Electric Zoo in New York. This summer, he spent a few months in Milwaukee working for Clearwing, an audio and visual production company that focuses on live entertainment.

“CCM has a great professional network for getting me where I need to go to start my career in the professional world,” Walpola says. “This is the best jump-start to my career that I could ask for. I was very excited to be able to go to Vegas and program this show for people who could be my employers some day.”

About Live Design International
Since 1988, Live Design International (LDI) has been the leading tradeshow and conference for live design professionals from all around the globe. LDI hosts over 13,000 attendees working in theatre, concerts, clubs, theme parks and houses of worship, as well as a wide range of international live and broadcast venues. Attendees from more than 80 countries come to LDI to see the latest gear in action, refresh their knowledge, and replenish their creativity. More than 350 companies exhibit, providing live demos and the opportunity for face-to-face discussions about the cutting-edge gear they debut exclusively to LDI attendees.

About High End Systems
At High End Systems Inc., we innovate and create the lighting products and control systems that illuminate some of the world’s biggest artists on the largest stages, as well as film and television studios, cruise ships, corporate events, theme parks, churches, restaurants and retail spaces. Now entering our fourth decade, we’re one of the world’s largest entertainment lighting manufacturers, a pioneer in new digital lighting technology and producer of the industry-preferred lighting controller technology. We attribute our success to staying in touch with the needs of the entertainment lighting community. Product research and development at our Austin, TX headquarters is an ongoing collaboration between in-house engineers and lighting professionals in the field. This collaboration is largely to thank for our status as a major industry innovator and intellectual property holder. We’re not only keeping pace with industry developments – we’re guiding them. We’re constantly pushing the creative and technological envelope to meet customer needs and stay ahead of the curve. As members of the entertainment community, we know reliability is paramount. We maintain rigorous manufacturing standards, while providing industry-leading customer support services. Welcome to the High End Systems community. We’re your source for lighting solutions.

Story by CCM graduate student Jonathan Dellinger.


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