I am new help


I just got in to my high school and i am in the tech class and I have wonted to do lights for a long time so what is some things to know to be good at lights i know some but not that much.


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Senior Team
Premium Member
What kind of space do you have, what kind of lights, what kind of positions, how many dimmers, etc.... If you give us a little info about what you are able to do we might be able to give you some tidbits, but not everything you will need to know. If you can formulate some questions we can definitely help you. If you don't mind reading (and you really don't have a choice) do a search on here or amazon for lighting books and pick up a few of those.


I dont know but my old school is doing a play and they have asked me to help them.They are doing beuty and the beast. what is a good why to do the transformation and the rous thing
What do you need to know. Are you the lead LD or just the assistant. What kind of plans or ideas do you need. Are we helping you with the whole show or just a part that you are stuck on. It is ok to be new and you are we to ask question so ask. I have not done that yet but do know some who have. I have been an LD on and off for about three years. So ask a question.

Here what i think you have

25 pars can
15 lekeos
100 dimmers or more
A spot light
no fly sytem
please add or change anything here



Well-Known Member
If your fresh at this, I suggest you look through some of the basics. In that regard, here are some helpful websites I found:

good basic website about lights, dimmers, and such

Wikipedias entry on Stage Lighting

Another site of basics, more extremely basic color theory

Page includes links to information about power and color theory (and make sure you have a grasp of power to avoid overloading dimmers and circucts

Start there. We really can not help you with any specific questions until we know more specifics about your show. For instance, I would suggest that for the beast transformation you take the beast, fly him up over the stage and have a massive moving light move into the audience. At that moment he would drop his outer outfit revealing his prince costume.

Of course, unless you have a multi-million dollar budget, thats not going to happen.

Good luck, and enjoy it. My advice would be to read up on electrical theory (at least the basics of it) and then go out and plug things in and turn things on and try to make a cool look. Its art, have fun with it.



Active Member
Read, read, read. Scour the forum. Find a word you dont know, google it, or ask us. Youll start to learn a lot real quick.


Active Member
I agree.. lots of dimmers in American High-Schools it seems! Down here in Australia and even in Singapore we have like 2 racks of 12 channels! Well, where I am thats all we have! Its appauling! haha

If you're new at lighting, when I started, I just had a try of a few things. Start simple, and build up as you get more confident at what you do, what you know, what you can do with what you have, who you work with, and what you feel comfortable doing. You won't become the worlds greatest lighting designer over night, so give it some time. Make Beauty and the Beast a starting point, whether you are the LD or just the assistant. Give you input, feed back, and ask questions! You only learn by asking others!

Good luck!


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Why do all you people have so many dimmers in a high school?!

Schools in the States tend to be able to get money to upgrade infrastructure so they remodel and put in a whole ton of dimmers. Unfortunately they often aren't able to spend money on instruments. So it's not unusual for a school to have 100 dimmers and a dozen 6" fresnels and some 6X9 360Q's trying to light the stage from 40 feet away. It's all about how the fund raising levies are written when they go to vote.

Also these days most of the expense is in the labor of the electrician installing the dimmers and not in the dimmers themselves.
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Back to the original question. You might start by finding out what the lighting inventory is at your school. What kind of control console you have. Things like that and then post some questions about how you can use your equipment better.

Oh and that lighting 101 website Soundlight posted is a great place to start.
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Active Member
Just a note on the dimmers bit. Be sure to look at your RACK of dimmers as opposed to your CH numbers on pockets and electrics...etc. Our school has 96 plugins, but really like, 85 or so dimmers. It's wierd, when you get up to 83 they start skipping around and leaving gaps where there is no dimmer for a selected channel.


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A great way to get to know your space is to diagram out where every circuit is. If your in a big school theater there can be some weird numbering systems. Things repeat in weird ways. As Drawstuf said things get skipped. The highschool I taught at had 110 dimmers. About 90 of them were circuited throughout the space. Another 10 were setup for the houselights. The last 10 didn't seem to be plugged into anything.

Odds are there isn't a good electrical blueprint of your theater. So ask the maintenance people for a copy of the blueprints for the space and trace them. Then fill in your circuiting. Step one to good lighting design is having a nice full size scale drawing of the space to work with.
to who ever start this

All this advice seem to be totally off your topic.

What do you need. Please be exacte.

you needs ideas or thought on what.

lighting or special effect or rapid change.

There many ideas and many solution but i need you to reply to this so i can help you out. trust it wont require you fly an actor, or rent a moving lighting. Go and think simple.


thank you that helped so much o and we have got how to have the transformation to work and it look cool we put a ers on the best and then have some fog and you cant see then the best gets off and the him all cool flys up and then comes dowen and it looks so cool thank you for the www they helped =>


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Premium Member
Few ideas off the top of my head if of help:

Doesn’t matter what gear you have or what type of theater or anything else at this point. With time you will learn such things. It’s not baseball cards in stating the RBI’s of some player, it’s more the concepts learned, the fun had with friends and the magic made. Don’t worry about how many Lekos and what brand of them there is, don’t worry about what light board is in use or how many dimmers you have. Just have fun in learning say the color code in designating one length of cable over another and all other little details like that. Have fun in seeing something you plugged in and focused, than gelled in now lighting an actor on stage. That kind of thing. Have fun in being part of a crew that kicked butt. As it were.

-Never do nothing without instruction and full instruction of that lessen.
-Never touch anything - even lean against anything without being told it’s ok or to do so. What you touch could become fouled up and or fall over or get dangerous.
-Ask all questions that come to mind no matter what it is or simple it might seem of your understanding, but ask at the proper time. Before, yes, during - depending on it’s importance or safety, after always but while not focused upon another task. Asking questions of understanding what is going on say during the focus while the person instructing you is also attempting to listen to directions from the Lighting Designer would for instance be a bad time to ask. During a quiet moment before or after such instruction however would be tactfully better. On the other hand, asking a question such as shouldn’t that screw be tightened down during the focus directions, and while the person with you is focusing, that’s important potentially. So would “isn’t that plug supposed to be plugged in all the way,” or “is that cord supposed to have wires sticking out of the plug?” Safety questions are show or work stoppers and important to ask immediately. Use your judgement on importance and trust in that gut feeling about stuff you don’t know or question.
-Always have your work - all of it inspected by the supervisor who told you to preform the task or those other supervisor that person approved of inspecting it. Continue having your work inspected - no matter if tightening a bolt sufficiently or programming a cue, inspected until told that it’s sufficient in quality and no longer need it inspected. Do not just ask anyone to inspect your gear unless told all others can inspect it.
-Don’t climb anything without proper instruction, approval and supervision in doing so. This includes even a simple ladder and or even grabbing a milk crate to stand upon.
Cite all you note that does not seem right or correct, question all you don’t understand - never be afraid to learn, but again tactfully. Good to be asking questions and even follow up questions but at times there is not time to answer them fully - don’t be afraid of the brush off, ask again later. Point is for you to learn but learn correctly and everything you might assume is in question. Never assume.
-Buy and read lots of books on stage lighting and electrical wiring. Start with the book on stage lighting, page thru it first and even look at the pictures. If it does not inspire, and or is totally over your head, it will bore you and you most likely will put it aside. Possibly at this point a better book to start reading would be a general stage tech book that has a chapter or three on lighting, some on carpentry, some on sound etc. The basic concepts will be taught in such a book without getting overly complex or detailed about stuff that you might not need to know yet thus might get overloaded in learning. Finish it and than go for the stage lighting text book or ten.
-Don’t give up. You will in this first show probably be given the lest of glamorous jobs and at best be only on a crew of people and often the “go-fer.” All put in their time in grade and have to master even going for the gear before they can run the show as it were. In going for the gear it’s time to learn what the gear is. Once you learn what the gear is, than you learn how to use it... etc. You start small, short of this you miss a lot of the steps between. Patience and perservierence, stick with it even if it is not so much fun on the first show. Gonna take at least a year of productions to get a handle on what becomes more fun. Have fun, socialize with like interest people - don’t screw around, and learn.
-On tools, bring a Crescent Wrench / C-Wrench / Adjustable wrench with you, perhaps some leather work gloves and after that what’s required. Don’t loan out your tools, and if you have to borrow any no matter if from the shop or from someone else, as soon as that tool you use you are done with, it goes back into the hand of the person you borrowed it from. End of the day, it goes back even if not done. Not your tool, consider it theft if it is not in it’s owner’s hands at all times other than when you are actively using it and that’s a fair reminder to not leave stuff or loose stuff you did not pay for. Damage it, tell that person. Damage any gear - even ding it, tell a supervisor. Better to know than be afraid of being caught. Never help yourself to shop or someone else’s tools. Even if told you can help your self, never do so without telling the owner of the tools you have and what specifically you have each time. When stuff comes up missing, all get suspected except the one that ensures that the owner of the tool was informed about it’s use and return each time. Have respect for other’s tools even the shop tools, consider it as if it’s your math text book. You paid for it, while you might loan it out, you paid for it and will eventually need it again. Those borrowing it had at best if they have respect for you return it as soon as they are done, much less return it in the condition they borrowed it in and if not tell you. Same type of thing with tools and equipment.
-Stay busy. When not busy, ask for stuff to do. Never too good to sweep a floor. Never too good to do anything on stage - being on stage is the pleasure of it - other stuff will follow. Your intent is not to be entertained by being there, that will be a part of what you are doing and most often follow hard work. Instead your intent is to help in the production. Sitting around, playing with stuff don’t get that task done.
-Work hard, learn lots. Have goals in mind and known of where you wish to get or what you will want to get to the level of doing. A lot easer to gauge where a person is or keep them in mind for doing something when one knows what one wants to do. One of my assistants wants to go out and do shows. She wants to also learn fall protection. Never knew this, thought she only wanted a more or less 9:5 job and wasn’t interested in shows. Want to run the follow spot or even become that person at the top of the ladder in doing the focus? The person matching up the un-labeled gels and filing them? Mention it. Run the light board - patience and remember that there are only so many people that get the chance per year.
-Politics back stage. Stay away from them as much as possible. All political parties as it were when new are your friends or should become - this includes actors etc. Take no sides, be friendly but neutral to all forms of dislike and or alignment. Often the bad seeds of the group will be most active initially in seeking membership. Be nice, find friends in all but do not yet commit to any one group’s politics. You are not there for politics and new friends are abound in places you don’t know yet. Don’t be aloof but also don’t per say give your life history as it were either.


As I was told by a good friend of mine when I asked for his sage advice as I was first starting out: A great way to learn about how electricity works is to go to the library and find a children's book about it. Don't feel embarrassed or silly, it's a great way to gain a basic understanding of electricity, which lays the groundwork for learning the more complicated stuff.
Try http://www.theatrecrafts.com/

I've got 36 brand new LSC dimmers here and a maXim control board plus a mix of Profiles, Fresnels, PCs and floods that do an amazing job of lighting our stage.

Oops - in American - ellipsoidals, fresnels, pebble-convexes (great lights...don't find them out of the UK/Oz), assymmetrical/symmetrical floods.

Oh and PARs.

Couldn't be happier with the flexibility and we have movers control too.

Oops another topic I have sent off...


Active Member
What SHIP has said is absolutely great!! I work at a High School working with students in technical theater. While it is great and important to have new people join the tech crew, there is not always time while you are trying to get a show up (get all the tech stuff done before the show opens) to always give "the great answer". Because of that, often times a question that you ask may not get the answer that you need or the depth that the person would like to give you if they had the time. Be patient. Ask the same question again, perhaps try coming at it from a slight different angle, or at a different or better time.

If this (tech) is truly what you want/love to do get on stage when the tech crew is working. If you can make every tech call, do that, no matter if you think that you only get the crappy jobs. If you show interest and aptitude, your turn will come, sooner than later. More time spent with others doing tech will increase your knowledge.

As others have said, read. I know that might not be what you want or like to do, but if you are serious about tech, it will really help you. Plus, if the reading is about something that you really like, it seems easier than doing it for actual class homework.

Also, do not fall into the trap of techs, run crew/stage hands, actors, etc. all being in seperate groups or cliques. While it is true without us, actors would be just talking in the dark, it is also true that without the others, there would be no reason for us to do what we do either!!

The fact that you found this group and are asking questions is a good sign! Do not be afraid to start new threads as other questions or thoughts come up. On the same thought, do not be afraid to bring your 2 cents worth into threads either. No matter what our experiences are, we all have something to learn from one another. If we stop learning, what is the reason for being? I've been at this for more than 20 years, and I still learn something from my students every show!!!!


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