‘World of Dance’ Emmys exclusive: Lighting designer Oscar Dominguez on challenge of creating a ‘show in the round’

In an exclusive video shown for the first time on Gold Derby, “World of Dance” executive producer and superstar judge Jennifer Lopez introduces lighting designer Oscar Dominguez. Often working in tandem with production design, the show is nothing without Dominguez’ work. Watch the video above for a look at what goes on behind the scenes with the lighting department on “World of Dance.”

“Doing a show in the round is a challenge,” admits Dominguez. “Also lighting for in excess of 15 or 16 cameras is also something that can be a lot of fun. The production design, lighting design and the director all have to be this beautiful, synchronized team.”

From a technical standpoint, Dominguez points out the various schools of thought and disciplines in lighting. “Getting a strong back light and having it come back around to the rear camera and not being overexposed takes a lot of time and finesse. As we assemble it from a dry block date, to a rehearsal date, to the dress rehearsal, to when we actually shoot is a pretty remarkable arc.”

SEE ‘World of Dance’ Emmys exclusive: Showrunners Kris Curry & Matilda Zoltowski on dancers and ‘phenomenal’ Jennifer Lopez

What viewers may be more familiar with are the images that appear onscreen behind the dancers. “We’re very heavy into pixel mapping,” explains Dominguez. “A lot of LEDs that you’ll see above the video screen are actually lights and video. That’s one of the things that I love because you can run a piece of content through media servers and get an interesting look along with continuing the story.”

Getting to know the dancers throughout the season also impacts the lighting choices Dominguez makes. “As we get to know the dancers, we get a feel for what their aesthetics are and as we learn from each other that enables us to tailor the look to that artist. We will get creative or thematic treatments so the lighting design reflects that — whether it’s a stormy night or they’re out in the dessert or in a club or whatever it may be. Those are the things that all come together to craft and get on the screen.”

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