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Design Issues and Solutions Beauty and the Beast ideas

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by JackMVHS, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. JackMVHS

    JackMVHS Member

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    So I am the lighting designer for my schools production of Beauty and the Beast. This is my first show that I will be LD, but I have put plenty of time, effort and research into theatre lighting. I have read plenty of books, learned the in's and out's of our system (well, how to use it and most of the technical details, but not all), and learned from past students and this website (which ROCKS!), but I need some help.

    I've got a few lighting ideas, but I was wondering if any of you have done Beauty and the Beast and have some tips. Also, since I haven't had a whole lot of experience yet I was wondering if you had any suggested gels or gobos, particularly break-up gobos.

    I would like to use the cyc extensively, if possible.

    Some of my very broad ideas include a early morning color amber sky for the village scene, very dark green gels with break-up gobos and fog/haze/etc. for forest scenes, dark amber or yellow for "elegant" scenes with some light blue, and oranges and browns for the bar scenes. Wow, that was quite a run-on sentence...

    My one detailed idea is the very first scene with the narrator explaining what happened before the show, how prince became a beast. I wanted to make this seem as if it took place in an indeterminate time by using stars and space as a theme. So I made a "star curtain" for the background. During this intro scene actors act out various things that happened in the past. Each part of the scene will be lit by one individual ellipsoidal almost directly above the action, so that none of the scenes and times come together. At any one time in the intro the stars will be on and one ellipsoidal, the ellipsoidal will fade out as another fades in to move to the next "scene" in the intro.
    Does that make sense? Do you like the idea?

    I am just looking for suggestions, particularly in gels and gobos and other tips.

    Thanks
    ~JackMVHS

    EDIT: We have about 50 ellipsoidals, 50 fresnels, 6 cyc lights with 3 lamps each. Nothing DMX unfortunately, but we could rent or purchase a limited amount
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First of all, it sounds like you have lots of good ideas. In general it is CBs policy not to hand out design ideas as it is your design and the ideas should be yours. I think in order to help you, you need to ask more direct questions. If you just ask "What colors should I use?" then you are giving up your design. If you show us a picture and ask "what color would match the red in this sunset?" or "How should I hang lights to get a look like this on my cyc?" then we can be of more help.

    The idea is that you want it to be YOUR design. Go out to your local library and find the section with art books. Flip through and find photos and paintings that evoke the same feelings as you get from the show. Ask yourself what it is about those images that make you feel that way, and then figure out how to create those ideas on stage. It is much easier for us to help you execute an idea (which you seem to have lots of good ones) as opposed to giving you our ideas.
     
  3. JackMVHS

    JackMVHS Member

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    I'm glad you like my ideas, I guess what I'm asking is for feedback on my ideas and possible gel numbers for the colors I described in my original post.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Even this is a difficult question. Why? Because we don't know what the set looks like, what colors it is painted. We don't know what the costumes look like either, and all of that can affect what colors you use.

    Chances are you will want to do something along the lines of RGBA in your cyc lights so you can mix colors on our cyc. But when you look at other systems, for instance a cool back wash, do you want a cold stark color or rich deep blue? One of the best ways to experiment at your desk is with a flashlight and swatchbook, you can try out colors and figure out what give you the right feeling.

    It is hard to do at first, but after you start designing more shows you will probably develop standard techniques. You will find that you like RXX for a backlight PAR wash and something else for your template wash, etc.

    I apologize if it seems like I am dodging your questions or putting them down. I am only trying to spark some creative initiative. It is ok, in fact it is good to experiment. Try out what you think will work, then keep using what does and don't use what doesn't.
     
  5. JackMVHS

    JackMVHS Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, I really do appreciate it, now to dig out that trusty old swatchbook...
     
  6. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Well-Known Member

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    i sympathize with you jack on the complexities of beauty and the beast. i am doing lighting for a community theatre production of it this summer and the possibilities are great for the show. i also agree with icewolf on making the calls yourself on color and patterns. one thing i can suggest is looking at paintings, rather than photographs. these usually have a richer diversity in color and can really help with ideas. also, here is a great site that i got from a friend for color selection: colr.org this site is really great for helping color choices.
    best of luck to you on the show.
     
  7. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    You have some good design ideas there, nice job! And with an inventory like that at a high school, you should be able to have lots of fun with this show. I designed BATB last year at my high school and it was a very fun show to design because you could break a lot of rules that you usually can't break. As others have said, gel selection is almost impossible to do over the internet due to too many reasons to list. But for some basic ideas, don't be afraid to use more saturated colors than you normally would. Because it's a Disney show and is obviously more fantasy than realistic, you can throw some saturated or unrealistic colors in that would not usually be found in nature. I used a lot of deep blues and purples and pinks (depending on the scene of course) where I would have traditionally kept it to a less saturated palette.

    For choosing specific gel colors, here's an idea to get you started. Wake up early one morning and sit and watch the sun rise. Take detailed notes on what you see, and bring your swatch book out with you. Then you can use this to get an IDEA of what kind of colors you'll want to use and how to build up the sunrise. I say an idea because you do not have to make your cyc sunrise look exactly like a realistic sunrise that you see outside. You may choose to make it more stylized or use more saturated colors depending on your design concept. Gel selection can be the hardest part of a design, simply because there's so many things to factor in to choosing the right gel. Your post implies that you might have a large budget, so why not try out a number of different gels? Get 3 or 4 different shades of amber and hang each of them to see what you get. Then take whichever you like best.

    My first design experience was with a youth production through a community theatre over the summer. Because of a very generous Head Custodian, I was able to spend 8-10 hours in the theatre 5 days a week for almost the entire summer. I spent the time just refocusing and rehanging and regelling instruments and playing around with color and form and everything. There is no doubt in my mind that this excercise has helped me in my designing more than any single other thing I've done since then. If you have an opportunity to do anything like this, take advantage of it! Experiment with angles, colors, and mixing colors. Triple or quadrouple hang instruments in different colors and mix them up to see what looks good.

    And most importantly, have fun with it!
     
  8. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    This is one thing that has always puzzled me - why do people think that light in a forest is green? Go to a nearby wooded area during the day, preferably a sunny day, and walk under the trees. I bet you anything you like that the light isn't green. Dappled, yes, but not green. Any time I've lit a forest scene, I've tended to use the "daylight blue" gels with breakup gobos. Of course, BaTB being a Disney show, you could probably get away with having it lit green in a forest. But for anything realistic, it's odd!

    That's a decent stock of lights for you to work with. Unless you find that you have a really, really specific need for a moving light or other clever toy, I would concentrate on being creative with your generics and seeing what you can make them do for you. It'll save you time come the plotting session, cause you less trouble (if a generic stops working, you can usually fix it within ten minutes. If a mover stops working, chances are you'll have to replace it because you can't fix it yourself) and give you budget to spend on other things - gel, gobos, hiring a smoke machine or hazer. If you do decide you need them (but don't just get them because you want them), then hire them, don't buy them; that way you can get better gear for less money and if they break, the hire company will bring you a replacement one. If you buy them, then the school will have to maintain them and when you leave, chances are they'll sit in a corner gathering dust because no-one else knows how to use them.

    That sounds like a great, innovative and well thought-out idea. You might want to do some experimentation with angles for your toplight, as if it's completely vertical then you may well find you lose the actors' eyes - although this may be what you want!
     
  9. JackMVHS

    JackMVHS Member

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    You say that everyone associates dark green with forests, this is good, it will create an easy association in the audiences mind's, although I agree, that is not what it naturally looks like. Plus, its a Disney play, I'm looking at over the top and saturated colors.

    Chances are we won't go with any new DMX toys, except maybe a gobo rotator or two.

    Don't worry, it won't be direct toplight, just a high angle!

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  10. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Most of what we do is association. Have you ever been outside at night? It is not really blue. Light in a forest is not really green, but that is what comes to mind.

    In addition, a forest is green. Of course it is the leaves reflecting the green light and absorbing the rest of the spectrum, but it is indeed green. Now if you don't have real trees to roll in (I have done a show with real, live trees onstage for a forest) then you have to use lighting to sell the forest either by projecting green light on to your scenery or (more likely) washing in green and character lighting with a pattern.

    Mike
     

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