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Design Issues and Solutions Dance Recital Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by nagarsa1, May 19, 2009.

  1. nagarsa1

    nagarsa1 Member

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    Hey Folks,

    Like some others on here, I am doing the lighting for my daughter's dance recital. I am cool on what to use for front, onstage, and cyc light. However, I am not sure what instruments to use for side-light. I have S4 19's, 50's, and PARnels at my disposal. Which would you recommend? I'm guessing not 19's. Also would it be better to do 2 positions on each side with 3 lights each, or 3 positions with 2 lights each? Can I do 3 positions with 2 lights each (shins, mids) and then end hang an instrument on a batten directly above the boom to get the head? Any thoughts? Thanks.

  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Brooklyn, NY
    We don't use booms for the little kids recitals, as they bounce off the things in our very limited wing space, thus we use our flying ladders.

    If you had a decent angle from the pipe ends I'd use that for side washes, but if the angle sucks and you have the room, then go to booms.

    I'd do the 50 degree S4's in a pink at head high, with a ParNel in a blue, also in a head high. I avoid shins for kids, again as they knock the crap out of them (and they're knees as well).

    I would then maybe hang the S4/19's as pipe ends with a breakup template in a L201 or such, focuses as a cross shot to center line for bottom of beam. Useful for the moody ballet numbers and solo's.

    Steve B.
    030366 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    I have to echo the advice about avoiding booms if you can because they WILL get run into by young dancers. They make for beautiful sidelight, but instruments on the pipe ends will look good too and don't bruise knees and faces.

    As to your original question about what fixtures to use... My answer may well be 'all of them.' To do a sidelight system from the pipe end you may want the 50's making the near shot (almost straight down) and the 19's for a long shot to the far side of the stage.... and perhaps fill in with a 36 or the parnels for a medium shot...

    To figure out what fixtures you need to use to accomplish even coverage from a given setup you want to draw a front elevation of the stage. If you've never done any design drafting before, don't worry, this isn't a difficult thing to do. I'm attaching a couple of quick examples I had laying around... one shows the difference between pipe-end sidelight and constant-angle sidelight and the other shows how my various boom systems worked for a dance show.

    To draw this, you just need to know the basic dimensions at play in your space... proscenium height and width, what trim the electrics will be at, where the booms would be placed, etc. You draw all of this out in some scale... 1/4"=1' or 1/2"=1' being typical for this sort of thing, but if your space is small, you've got lots of paper, or you just find it easier to do the conversions this way, you can use 1"=1' just as well. If you need more basic info about drawing in scale, feel free to ask.

    Once all these known distances are sketched in, you can use a protractor to draw the beam spread of your various available fixtures onto tracing paper or clear acetate... then slide the little tracing paper beams around your paper until you've got the stage covered in a way you want. This will tell you what kind of fixture you need and where it needs to be placed. Nobody ever needs to see this elevation, so mark it up, try new ideas, and make liberal notes all over it until you're happy and convinced that you're going to cover the stage in an interesting way.

    About booms - head, mid, or shin refers to where the light is hung (or which part of your body gets bruised by it) not the part of the dancer it lights. It's generally the idea that the light fills as much of the playing space as it can... which means that the beam of a shin usually 'skims' right above the floor so as much of the light is pointed up as is possible.... conversely a head high is usually focussed so that the top of the beam shoots straight across the stage at headhigh and the rest of the beam spreads out below this... so you get as much light on the dancer as possible... my boom elevation attached shows this idea on the right side of the image.

    If I were in your situation and wanted to use the booms as you described, I would go with 3 lanes of light with 2 lights each probably (unless I had an artistic reason to need three lights in 2 lanes) because most stages need more than 2 booms to cover all the way up and downstage. The 2 lights I chose would most likely be a shin, in a pale tint, focussed to skim just over the floor (useful to 'lift dancers up, by lighting their body but leaving the floor dark) and a light placed as high as was safely possible on the boom for general sidelight. I would place this light as high as possible and point it slightly down (personally, I would stand 2/3rds of the stage away from this fixture and have it tipped down till it just hit my head) so that it would pass over one dancers head and hit the next one to some degree - if 'head highs' are actually 'head high' then one dancer completely blocks the next in line.

    Hope my 2-cents helps a little! Ask for clarification if I left anything vague!

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design

    Attached Files:

  4. MSLD

    MSLD Active Member

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    Van Wert, OH
    To minimize the amount of booms you use do an upstage tree with all 50's and a downstage tree with 50's on both sides. that will give you more than enough coverage at that point

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