Historical research on stage lighting

derekleffew

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In looking to help [user]TimMiller[/user] in this thread, I once again came across this great site, and was again amazed at the historical material available online. Lighting names of the past, and present, of which one should be aware: Skirpan, Bentham, Goddard, Gilbreath, Callihan. Foster. Cunningham. [user]Gafftapegreenia[/user], I believe there is a paper here for your Lighting Design class, perhaps extra credit. I'd be glad to proofread it for you. Go nuts.:dance:
 

RiffRaff54

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If you're doing a historical paper on stage lighting don't forget to look up were stage lighting really began during the Renaissance. They had a whole formalize system of indicating when the play was starting along with a different ways of dimming a candle and/or oil lamp. Not to mention using dyes in the oil so you got colored light.
 

gafftaper

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derekleffew

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If you're doing a historical paper on stage lighting don't forget to look up were stage lighting really began during the Renaissance. They had a whole formalize system of indicating when the play was starting along with a different ways of dimming a candle and/or oil lamp. Not to mention using dyes in the oil so you got colored light.
Good point, but a little before my time.;) Here's a link to The Stage Lighting Museum, in Israel.
 

soundlight

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sloop

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You are looking at the history of lighting, but only technology? Look at the designers/authors from the past that have made lighting what it is. Machinery is nice, but it takes a designer to make a show.

I was lucky enough to train under Lee Watson(co-founder of the USITT, editor for years of Lighting Dimensions magazine, Broadway designer, CBS lighting designer... etc.) It's unfortunate that much of the history and development of design styles is kind of falling by the wayside. The emphasis is seems to be strong in looking at the technology standpoint.

Doing research on just the tech side is fine, but if you want a comprehensive study, don't forget the designers that provided the path to where we are now.

You guys have mentioned equipment from way back--1990... LOL. I USE equipment a lot older than that. If you want tech history, look up salt water dimmers, plate resistance dimmers, etc... now THAT is old technology.
 

derekleffew

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Hey sloop haven't seen you for awhile. Welcome back. Your point is well-taken, but the internet has much more information on the equipment than the people, particularly the designers. We talked about Lee (Watson) before, even some of our eldest members didn't know who he was.

And for the record, I recently bought Theatrical Lighting Practice, Joel E. Rubin and Leland H. Watson. Theatre Arts Books, 1954. It's scant--142 pages. But most of the design philosophies are still valid, even in this day and age of LEDs, Media Servers, Moving Lights, and other technologies not even dreamed about then.

So here are some designers' surnames with which every lighting student should be familiar, in no particular order, although if gafftapegreenia or soundlight or other college student would like to put them in chronological order, and add first names, I'd give them extra credit.;) Some of the below are more well-known as educators/textbook authors than as designers, but you must know before you can teach, in my opinion. Some are still designing today, and some died 400 years ago.

Mielziner
Bay
Holder
Serlio
Musser
Sabbatini
McCandless
Bel Geddes
Bellman
Emmons
Svoboda
Watson
Clark-Kelly
Hemsley
Fingerhut
Feder
Rosen-Holmes
Fuchs
Kaczorowski
Benthem
Pilbrow
Hersey
Billington
Gillette
Fisher
Rosenthal
Essig
Skelton
Cohen
Smith

(Tried to make it an even 30, sorry for any exclusions. I'm a little rusty on 1750-1900)


That's probably enough. Once first names are added and in chronological order, this will go into the wiki, so do your best.

SteveB, STEVETERRY, sloop, others: how many of the above have you worked for/with? For me, it's 7, I think. I've heard 4 others speak, I think.

edit: What, what do mean mean "unable to connect"?? NOOOOOOooooooo.
 
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sloop

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Hey sloop haven't seen you for awhile. Welcome back. Your point is well-taken, but the internet has much more information on the equipment than the people, particularly the designers. We talked about Lee (Watson) before, even some of our eldest members didn't know who he was.

And for the record, I recently bought Theatrical Lighting Practice, Joel E. Rubin and Leland H. Watson. Theatre Arts Books, 1954. It's scant--142 pages. But most of the design philosophies are still valid, even in this day and age of LEDs, Media Servers, Moving Lights, and other technologies not even dreamed about then.

So here are some designers' surnames with which every lighting student should be familiar, in no particular order, although if gafftapegreenia or soundlight or other college student would like to put them in chronological order, and add first names, I'd give them extra credit.;) Some of the below are more well-known as educators/textbook authors than as designers, but you must know before you can teach, in my opinion. Some are still designing today, and some died 400 years ago.

Mielziner
Bay
Holder
Serlio
Musser
Sabbatini
McCandless
Bel Geddes
Bellman
Emmons
Svoboda
Watson
Clark-Kelly
Hemsley
Fingerhut
Feder
Rosen-Holmes
Fuchs
Kaczorowski
Benthem
Pilbrow
Hersey
Billington
Gillette
Fisher
Rosenthal
Essig
Skelton
Cohen
Smith

(Tried to make it an even 30, sorry for any exclusions. I'm a little rusty on 1750-1900)


That's probably enough. Once first names are added and in chronological order, this will go into the wiki, so do your best.

SteveB, STEVETERRY, sloop, others: how many of the above have you worked for/with? For me, it's 7, I think. I've heard 4 others speak, I think.

edit: What, what do mean mean "unable to connect"?? NOOOOOOooooooo.
Excellent list!!! I would have to think long and hard to get them all in order!! Yes, there is a definite lack of info but I found some on the designers with google searches. It really way beyond the scope of a forum to cover it. I just hope the schools give a solid historical background. When you see the progression of design, it really helps give a feel for how a good light design is developed.

To all you students. Keep up the good work. It's a tough industry but very rewarding when you hear that magical clapping of hands at the end of opening night.
 

derekleffew

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...I just hope the schools give a solid historical background. When you see the progression of design, it really helps give a feel for how a good light design is developed. ...
How about it, college students? Are you learning who these people are?

Once the kids are done, sloop and I can get together and grade/correct the list. And possibly add some annotations..."First to use a memory console on Broadway," "designed over 100 shows for Hal Prince," "X was an assistant to Y, who learned from Z," etc.

If only I had completed that MFA, I'd be teaching somewhere...
 

derekleffew

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We'll save those for part two of the final exam, ship. For now let's concentrate on Part One. But yes, shame on me for adding some of the more current ones and forsaking those three.:( But I did the list quickly, from memory, and only looked up the spelling of one name, then the site died, and I almost lost the list...

Have I scared off all the college students? Where are you?
 

Charc

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Jules Fisher and J. Michael Gilette ring a bell. If what I heard is correct, the LD I worked at with the shakes in the park organization is ALDing with one of those big names, I can't remember who though, but I distinctly remember the name being familiar.
 

gafftapegreenia

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Ok, Derek, I'm getting to the list, I just got a lot to do this week, give me a few days, thou shalt not be disappointed.
 

gafftapegreenia

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Oh snap, time to stay up late.
 

derekleffew

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And without Jones we wouldn't have that color we all love...Roscolux #59!!!;)


edit: An attempt to confuse the players, mixing Indigo Jones with Robert Edmund Jones.
 
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