beginner lighting tech tips needed!


i've been assigned the lovely job of light director or whatever it's to be called, for a play i'm helping with. i'm just wondering if you guys have any good beginner tips or things that i might need to know while i do this. i've got my friend helping me out and he's been doing lighting for years, so it's not like i'm in a jam to get things done or anything, but i'm just curious to see what you guys can offer me for advice. i'm more of an sound tech for live rock band performances.. haha.

thanks a ton!
Read the script make mood in pencil then think what colors repersent the mood the best. Also take where the action is on stage into actount, no reason to light hte whole thing when the only actions is DSC.

It would also help to know where the lights are and what kind they have. When indoubt just 3 nice washes will work for most anything a white/skin tone (R33) a blue and a red will do about 70% of shows.
I bed to differ, a plain what stage that never changes is boring. THe lighting can be a very important 'actor' in the play be it a silent one. This years musical was west side story and as the sharks and the jets start talking about the ruble the lighting faded from 'shop light' to 'red wash' then an instant restore once they got broken up, also during the rumble we used next to no front light and marginal top light and hit them from the sides making some very intresting shadows and also making it less obvoise where the knife struck.

This was my first show too but I had a very good teacher. What play is it chancers are some one has read it/done it and can give you some heads up.
i dont think simon was suggesting that a white wash of the stage is all you should do, but it is easy to get carried away and over do it. lighting effects should not be over done, because even though we like to add to the show noticably, and we appreciate good lighting, it can be overwhelming to the audience if the lighting changes too drastically too often.
thanks for all your suggestions. we did colors and focusing last night and so far so good. the play we're putting on is "a funny thing happened on the way to the forum" .. i love it and i've ran the light console for my (ex)boyfriend at his school for a night with him. it was fun so i'm familiar with the play and all. my friend brian and i set cues last night and tonight is our final night to practice then it's showtime friday!
well right now, we did it all simple.. we used rosco 02s for our center wash or whatever.. and rosco 33s & 60s for most of the rest of the lights. we only have like 16 lights set up total but we're thinking of getting some tiny ones to mount and conceal on the set for get rid of some shadows. tonight is our last nite to do any of that stuff really. kinda wish i had longer so i could learn more.. ah well.
The power of a super subtle lighting change can often be way more powerful then a sudden drastic change. We had a dress rehersal for "The Open Window" today, and all the teachers jaws were to ground when they realized every time they looked out the window the sky was a slightly different color, going from day, to sunset, to night, ending in a really spooky night ending. They were not able to see the lighting change at any one instant, but mentally it made natural sense, and the play was much more realistic because of it.

My point, subtle lighting changes can make a huge difference in the realism of the play.
good tip! thanks a bunch! we made some revisions on cues tonight and it;s working out so well! i'm so proud of this play! haha
I agree that subtle lighting changes are great for some shows, but I recently designed for Les Miserables, and there was nothing suble about it. My point is that some shows ask for dramatic changes in lighting. I'm not saying that you're wrong. The thing with Les Mis was, it went to different locations constantly, and the show and set relied heavily on the lighting to make these suggestions. I also learned something very valuable from this show. Sometimes, when it comes to color, less is more. I used dozens of ellipsoidals from the electrics angled down in different degrees, crossing each other and stuff like that. They were very symmetrical with the positions, gobos and colors. The basic colors I used were just Light Bastard Amber (R02), and No Color Blue (R60). The result was very crisp lines in mid air where the amber and blue either ran parallel to each other. (the haze ran constantly for this show). I also took the 6 3-cell cyc lights and distributed them among the first 3 electrics to create 3 color washes, since this show cannot use a cyc. Most of the gobos in this show couldn't even be seen by the audience. What I wanted them to see was the razor-sharp lighting beams, which closely resembled multiple static intelligent lights. We ended up using almost all 192 dimmers, programming about 225 cues total, and a tech-in lasting from 12:00 noon till 3:00 am, when we wrote our final cue. Fun. definately a highlight of my career.
it seems we have a few people who have shows this weekend (including me) so even though it has absolutely nothing to do with this thread, Good Luck evereone!
Hehe, ya it seems that way... (oh ya, I had better stop reading these forums and get ready to go!!!) Have fun everyone!

JBTW, I do understand completely what Les that sometimes bold lighting can be the way to go too. What it really comes down to is the play that you are doing. This is where siting in on a rehersal or two, well before "tech-week" or the like, to find out the mood of the play can really help when planing the lighting. What ever you end up doing, have fun!

Ok, now i am really going to be late..... (good thing it only means i will beat the rest of the crew there by 50 min instead of an hour :) )
just got back from lx boarding my show.


We had a massive problem on the catwalk which resulted in a light batten being shaken quite severely. WE had 6 OLD Prelude 240/60's on it, ALL of which slowly tilted down and pointed right at the audience.

Can i just say thank god for soft patching and patch isolation, otherwise we would have had a very irritated audience. As it was we had a dark stage, but what can you do?!?
my show is first weekend in December...not here QUITE yet! :) it's very good actually, because, well all of our lighting (16 lights, all pars) are DYS lamped, three were out when we tried to do a final focus, now another one is out...I'm worried. Am I going to lose lots of lights during this show?? The show can't really go without most of my lights....I am wondering how I can plan a backup, because one whole act runs, rightnow, on three lights, but when I get those lamps in, Iwill haev four on it. (it's an act infront of te curtain, small area, 3 lights covers it, but if I lose one or two of those lights I'm in a mell of a hess) ....
ok, why dont you rent some lights, most of our lights are pretty crappy, they work but are not great so we have tons of rented source 4s and stuff for our show. if u have the budget bring in at least a couple more lights to keep from ending up in a "mell of a hess"
I only do lighting for my school so I'm no where near as experienced as everyone here, but I have a lil bit of advice that always helps me: Sometimes things go haywire and there is little you can do about it. Keep a level head, remember your cues and most of the time you're fine. And as for designing, I always find that if you just make a lot of little changes during a boring scene it makes that much more of a difference.

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