Excellent Books on Lighting Design?

drawstuf99

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Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Hey,
What are some good books on Lighting Design. My lighting design friend who has done tons of shows says that "The Magic of Light" by Jean Rosenthal is really good and I've heard good reviews - so I'm in the process of actually finding a copy because it's out of print. Amazon has some used ones, so I'd like to get one from them.

Any other books that you guys like? I'm more interested in lighting for staged plays and musicals, but concert lighting would also be good!

Everything that Amazon seems to have seems to be stuff like "Lighting for Dummies" or something like that - nothing too serious. And the bookstores 'round here don't have much on lighting or any tech theatre stuff.

Thanks again guys!
Andrew
 

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Shelley writes a good book, Gillete also has a good book on design.... Jones has some good insights... if you want to know anything about control get John Huningtons book....
 
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mbandgeek

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Stage lighting really isn't something that you can learn from a book, it requires years of practice. Once you set the light to "the perfect look" for a scene, it is really cool. i have only had "the perfect look" once, and i didn't read any books on it either.
 

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mbandgeek said:
Stage lighting really isn't something that you can learn from a book, it requires years of practice. Once you set the light to "the perfect look" for a scene, it is really cool. i have only had "the perfect look" once, and i didn't read any books on it either.
yes that is true, but these books not only teach about design, but how to implement what you have in researched (both photo and non)and what the script requires (both spelled out and dramaticly) on stage... they also delve into how to actually communicate a design to electricians, directors, and fellow designers.... also if design was just picked up peopel would not spend 7 years of their lives trying to figure it out....
 

drawstuf99

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Feb 5, 2006
Yes, I've learned most of my design from experience and basic theory communicated to me thru lighting designer friends of mine and actually DOING it.

I'd like to read a book or two that are good just to learn about basics and ideas and stuff. Yes, its picked up, but there is an element of research too.
 

mbandgeek

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Apr 1, 2006
Location
North Carolina
All that i really have to know is as follows

Sunset- Red and blue
Sunrise- Orange and blue
Midday- Orange and little red(for color in faces)
Night- Blue and Slight orange (Gobos are also handy in this)

All others i just modify one of the above to get the right look.
 

soundlight

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I must second the reccomendation for the Shelley book...I have it and it is great!
 

ship

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Just finished adding the last six months worth of new book titles listed on the PLSN newsletter to my book list. IT's 69 pages long of single spaced 10pt text. Granted the reviews of the books in question take up most of the space. I personally run on a six star system (books from the gods having six stars) for reviewing them also so as to help narrow down what's of interest verses just noted to exist.

I will Send it by way of PM. Too long to post given it covers all aspects of theater and at times one listed in the general theater given it covers say light and sound, or one listed in electrics because it covers both design and basics in lighting technology, such books might have interest for design concepts also but given their broad nature cannot be listed strictly as a book on design. I also can't post it because it's often using direct quotes from the reviewer I don't have permission to be posting. Anyone wishing for the book list of what I am aware of so far just send me a PM request for it. Been collecting up this list of books about 15 years now so as one might expect, there is a lot of titles in our field listed.
 
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ship

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Also in my rating system, I have bought and read a few titles since I entered them but not changed the rating or type of listing - read or not yet.

I differ from mbandgeek, Craig is going to blow your mind some day!!! Much less Rosenthal's white light theory is an astounding concept. Bought my copy and it's worth any cost given I passed on it's first publication at much less a price - Dooh! Watch the movie "West Side Story" than look at it's credits for lighting design. There is more to design than X color for Y type of scene. This ain't carpentry, it's art.

Some notes on buying books - and books is the way to go, the internet provides at best basic knowledge but for short attention spans.

You do not get the knowledge within them by osmosis, you must get thru even the most dry of these manuals to learn from them and gain expertise from them. For instance, I am still trying to get thru the NEC. On my first sitting, I managed to get thru grounding. I read thru the sections on theater and assembly hall electrics, and many other important parts, but until I have read and understand the entire book, I do not propose to be an expert, nor am I ready to go for my licence.
In many cases, what is said in these books will not stick in your memory until you need and are ready to know by practical experience in the field. If however you read the literature before hand, going back over it later and really learning it will be a lot easier. It should also pop details into your head about which you should know, and reinforce what you think you should know while doing it.

Hmm, this designer I'm focusing lights for wants a even lime light foot light effect. This is how he or she is doing it and what gel they are using for it. Yep you learn from doing work for others, but on the other hand, thought I read in a book somewhere another concept for doing this... now where have I read this... That's a good thing when it comes to your own design and while practical experience is good, that reference library is needed to record other people's thoughts and concepts that are also good if not at times better.

On the whole, where idea, tech and design books are concerned, this list is not the know all end all a good eye for art and image, and in buying a book - even on a photography type of book by specific artist... a quick read thru of some of its pages will tell how good the book is, much less the pictures will tell you about your own interest in using the concepts. If it glosses over a lot of the info you already know, and does not go into much detail, the book is probably substandard to what you need. If the pictures do not inspire you they never will.

For choosing a book, leaf thru some of the pages, read a chapter. What it says if it keeps your ineterest is worth buying. On the other hand if it's saying stuff you pattently are opposed to, stating stuff way to basic to retain your ineterest in etc. it probably is not worth your money.
 

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