Getting The Lighting Right

Getting The Lighting Right

What Does Lighting Add Anyway?

Getting the lighting right can make an enormous difference to a performance. At its most basic, it allows us to illuminate the performers, whilst giving us the control to hide stuff we don‟t want the audience to see. But there‟s so much more to it than that. By merely changing from one coloured wash to another, you can instantly change the location and time of day without moving a single piece of set. It goes further, with variation in the colour and lighting angles, you can enhance the drama of a scene by suggesting motives, emotion and intention. Lighting is a subtle art at its best, the audience should be completely unaware of its presence, despite it constantly guiding the audience on where to look, and what to think.

Anatomy Of A Lighting Rig

Just like anything else, a typical lighting rig is made up of many different parts, all working together to make a cohesive whole. There are many different types of luminaires, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some luminaires are there to provide the vital job of illuminating the stage. Others are there to help provide that extra visual flourish that makes the difference between a flat stage, and one that‟s visually interesting and emotive. In our typical setup here, we‟re going to look at the major components: the front light, the back light, the beam lights, the specials, and the gobo breakups. We‟re going to look at their purpose, and the lamp choices that go along with each task.

For the luminaires covering the overall stage wash, it is common practice to divide the stage up into discrete areas. Areas overlap somewhat with each other (to provide one cohesive wash should they all be up at the same time) and are generally 3-5m in diameter each. For this typical stage, we have allowed for six areas of light in two rows of three.

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