Robert Dickinson

Lighting Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Robert Dickinson describes his first impressions of television production, when, at Marineland in Palos Verdes, CA, he saw the filming of a Beverly Hillbillies episode. He speaks about working at a film rental company and getting a break when gaffer Doug Pantak got him into the union, and into the world of lighting design. He acknowledges his first job - a nine-month stint at Universal Studios as an electrician (lamp operator) on Banacek, and talks of being in demand by DPs and gaffers who requested him. Dickinson comments on the musical-variety specials he worked on, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and his lighting design work for the series Solid Gold. He discusses becoming the go-to guy for Marty Pasetta's various productions through the 1980s, starting with the 55th Annual Academy Awards, and working with Don Mischer on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on December 15, 2008.

"I have a tendency to take risks. I don't key light in a predictable manner; I do it in an appropriate manner."

Highlights
Robert Dickinson on the difficulties of filming Frank Sinatra
02:08
Robert Dickinson on the thrill of a live show
00:28
Robert Dickinson on how winning an Emmy changed his career
00:52
Robert Dickinson on his inspiration for lighting Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
01:19
Robert Dickinson on the highlight of his career
02:43
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on helping with stage crew in high school; on deciding to be a DP; on the film/television industry in the 1970s
On working in lighting on Baracek; on becoming staff gaffer at Academy Lighting; on lighting Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
On lighting design for Solid Gold and winning his first Emmy; on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards; on the hectic pace of his life

Chapter 2

On lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast; on starting his own company - Full Flood, Inc. and lighting major award shows
On working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics; on working with David Copperfield and on talk shows; on various DNCs and Inaugural Balls
On his current projects; on how his career has affected his personal life; on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
On the highlight of his career; on regrets and advice to aspiring lighting directors; on his style and the future
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Robert Dickinson on working with production designer Roy Christopher on the 1983 Academy Awards
02:14
Robert Dickinson on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast
05:05
Robert Dickinson on lighting all but 4 Academy Awards ceremonies since 1983
04:56
Robert Dickinson on lighting The Academy Awards one year and trying to make it monochromatic
01:01

Banacek

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Robert Dickinson on being a lamp operator for Banacek
03:33

Batman

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Robert Dickinson on being in awe watching episodes of Batman being filmed
01:17

Beverly Hillbillies, The

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Robert Dickinson on being in awe watching a special of The Beverly Hillbillies being taped
00:46

Democratic National Convention

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Robert Dickinson on lighting several Democratic National Conventions and inaugural balls
05:08

Grammys, The

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design and rehearsal for The Grammys
01:39
Robert Dickinson on lighting Kanye Wesy at The Grammys
01:15

MTV Video Music Awards

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Robert Dickinson on working on the first MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)
01:25

Olympics

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Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics
05:35
Robert Dickinson on the highlight of his career - the Athens Olympics and 1984 Olympics
02:43

Solid Gold

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design and winning an Emmy for Solid Gold
20:11

Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, The

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design for The Tonight Show with Conan O' Brien
01:16
Topics

Barack Obama

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Robert Dickinson on lighting Clinton's second inaugural ball and 4 events for Obama's inauguration
04:40

Bill Clinton

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Robert Dickinson on lighting Clinton's second inaugural ball and 4 events for Obama's inauguration
00:28

Emmy Awards

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Robert Dickinson on his first Emmy win for lighting on Solid Gold
01:36
Robert Dickinson on how winning an Emmy changed his career
00:52

Technological Innovation

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Robert Dickinson on new lighting technology used for the Atlanta Olympics
03:20
Robert Dickinson on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
02:40
Professions

Lighting Designer

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Robert Dickinson on the role of a lighting designer
00:25
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
01:09
Robert Dickinson on drawing blueprints for lighting design
01:48
Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Solid Gold
00:51

Lighting Director

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Robert Dickinson on lighting for specific celebrities/individuals
04:02
Robert Dickinson on the next big thing in lighting and how television lighting has changed
02:40
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Robert Dickinson on light design and winning an Emmy for Solid Gold
20:11

Sports

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Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympics
05:35
People

Chevy Chase

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Robert Dickinson on Chevy Chase's late night talk show
00:20

Roy Christopher

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Robert Dickinson on working with production designer Roy Christopher on the 1983 Academy Awards
02:14
Robert Dickinson on lighting the 1983 Academy Awards - his first live broadcast
00:54

David Copperfield

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Robert Dickinson on working with David Copperfield on television specials
05:08

Ellen DeGeneres

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres' talk shows
00:26

Monty Hall

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Robert Dickinson on working on a special with Monty Hall - Lights, Camera, Monty
01:00

Arsenio Hall

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Robert Dickinson on working with Arsenio Hall and designing his talk show
00:34

Don Mischer

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Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer
01:26
Robert Dickinson on working with producer/director Don Mischer on the Atlanta Olympics
05:35

Conan O'Brien

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design for The Tonight Show Starring Conan O' Brien
01:16

Rosie O'Donnell

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Robert Dickinson on lighting design for Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres' talk shows
00:52

Dolly Parton

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Robert Dickinson on Dolly Parton appearing on Solid Gold
01:36

Marty Pasetta

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Robert Dickinson on becoming director/producer Marty Pasetta's go-to guy
00:52

George Schlatter

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Robert Dickinson on lighting a special with The Rat Pack and Liza Minnelli
02:58

Frank Sinatra

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Robert Dickinson on lighting a special with The Rat Pack and Liza Minnelli
02:58

Gary Smith

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Robert Dickinson on working with Gary Smith
00:37

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