The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Learn lighting?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    Hello guys. So I'm a high-school techie. I'm one of the top in the class, though I'm trying to learn more. I've found my tech. program and theatre (both under funded) to be quite constraining. While I think my teachers are great; we hardly have time to learn anything. So basically I'm coming here for some advice. I'd really like to expand my lighting and sound horizons. In terms of sound, I know where the on button is on our board, and the gain, and... that's about it. In terms of lights, I know a fair amount of basic stuff. But I'd like to take it to the next level. I also need to solidify, my current knowledge of lights etc. So guys, any thoughts here?
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,778
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Welcome aboard and Congrates on finding your way here. I'm betting you'll get a lot of suggestions pretty quick. Where are you located ? I ask ,simply because, if your'e in the middle of North Dakota, two days hard ride from the nearest telephone, it's going to make a huge difference on where folks are going to steer you.
    I got lucky at your age a community theatre was opening up in our town so I was able to augment my education by working there, < working implies I got paid maybe I should say Volunteering> I read, and read, took as many classes as I could then moved to a big city ASAP. Where I could be exposed to as much and as many different disciplines as possible.
    Hope that helps. Good luck !
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,061
    Likes Received:
    655
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    I second what Van said about reading. Especially if the theatre program at your school doesn't have too many classes in what you want, get your hands on as many books on stagecraft, lighting and sound as you can. Somewhere on the forums here (don't remember exactly where) Ship has posted a a pretty good list of books on most subjects. Make sure you have a copy of "The Backstage Handbook" and then start looking for textbooks and such on the subjects you are interested in. The PLSN/FOH bookshelf site: https://www.plsnbookshelf.com/catalog/ is a very good place to start looking for books.
     
  4. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Provo, Utah, United States
    I was exactly in the same position, and still sort-of am.

    I read all of the manuals to everything online.
    I also read this glossary http://www.theatrecrafts.com/glossary/glossary.shtml which helped me understand what the manuals talk about, and to understand a lot of the words used here.
    The light board manuals have a lot of junk that I just skipped over, because it was way too technical for me. (stuff for much more technical situations)
    But, the mixer manual should be pretty easy, and helps a lot.
    Also, reading the manuals to the light fixtures, and microphones, also help a lot. Read a lot of those. It will make you happy.

    Also, check out some books at your library. Some book stores may also have some good material, and there are some lists of good book recomendations on this site.
    This one's a doozy.http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4506

    This discussion also has some good websites, and talks about how other techs on here started out.http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4301

    Some other good websites are
    http://www.dmx512-online.com/
    http://www.audiodirectory.nl/

    Wikipedia doesn't help much, but there are some minor efforts to improve it. It can still give you some good information.

    You can also search discussions on this site. I have found a lot of cool information that has been talked about in the last few years.
    Also, ask a lot of questions. The other people on here are awesome, and can answer just about any question you can think of.

    Happy learning. :mrgreen:
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,467
    Likes Received:
    2,456
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    1) What city are you in? Perhaps there is someone around her e you can work with.

    2) I preach the gospel of community theater around here a lot. Go find a community theater in your city and volunteer. I guarantee there's somebody desperate for help who can teach you a lot about tech. You might have to start out with some pretty lame jobs on set construction because that is their biggest need. However establish that you are a hard worker and eager to learn, get to know their light and sound people, and you are in for a ride.

    3) Read books!! Check out a thread in the General Advice section titled "Book List". Ship's put together a rather overwhelming reading list. To get you started let me recommend two books. First an easy to read book to introduce you to the basics: Technical Theater for Non-technical People by Drew Campbel (I use it as the text for my college intro to tech theater class). Secondly, a commonly used college text book: "Designing with Light" by Michael Gillette.
    Search your local library, see if you can get access to your local college library, search used bookstores both in person and on line, amazon books, or just browse the PLSN bookshelf

    Icewolf suggested "The backstage handbook". I agree it is a book that every tech needs to have, but be aware that it's a reference guide, not a teaching tool. It's a book you will go back to over and over for years to find a formula or to get the correct gauge of wire, but it won't teach you about how to work on a crew back stage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  6. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Charlotte
    I had an "Assistant Lighting Designer" for my last show (a professional production at one of the bigger theaters in the area) that was a high school student. She asked the producer and director to learn more (and they asked me if I minded) she joined the staff. She did not get paid, but did get a great deal of hands on learning in design and electrics, and got to put asst. LD on her resume.

    I think that almost any theatre, especially at the community level, would be happy to let you learn and actually welcome you with open arms.

    I will second the above comment, what city are you looking to work in. I am sure we will be able to help you out somehow.


    oh.... and about books. Books are a GREAT source of info. Try to go to the bookstore and look at them before you buy them. If you need pictures/drawings/etc, make sure that the book you choose has these. I have a LD book that has at most 12 illustrations in it. I have a hard time talking about a light plot and design and not have an illustration to look at.
     
  7. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    Grr. I typed up a long message, but when I hit post, it didn't post, and I couldn't go back, so I lost it all. Just my luck. I'll try and quickly write a condensed version.

    I live in Philadelphia, PA. I'll be 16 this summer. Entering Junior year in high-school. I won't get my license until september. Now that you know about my circumstances, I'll let you know what I'm looking for. I'd like to intern or something at a theatre over the summer. It seems like a fairly daunting task. I assume I'll be too young for most theatres. I really want to expand my knowledge and experience. I'm not in this for money, though I won't refuse it if it comes with the territory. Ahhh, I forgot what else I was going to say here, so that's it for now.

    Someone mentioned classes at my school. I hope you weren't referring to theatre classes. We have two: Drama, Tech. Theatre.

    I take both classes. I am by no means an actor. I take drama to try and gain the perspective of the actor for my tech. work and SM and ASM work. Tech. Theatre is mainly building sets. There are a variety of other jobs, but most of the time is making wood smaller, then painting it. I take every opportunity to help out at events, concerts, etc. at school. And, once again, I forgot what I was going to say. If you have anymore questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

    Edit: I've already picked up and skimmed through two lighting design books.

    A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting (Paperback)
    by Steven Louis Shelley (Author)

    Stage Lighting Revealed: A Design and Execution Handbook (Paperback)
    by Glen Cunningham (Author)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,655
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    PA & NJ
    Wow...you live in a good place for theater compared to my rural town with zilch. I had to travel half an hour to get to "free work." You should be able to find a few of places in Philly that'd take you for volunteer work.

    Of course, it does take over a half an hour just to get from one side to the other of Philly...
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    Haha, yea. It'll take me 20-30 minutes to get there, if I can get a ride. There is always the train...
     
  10. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,655
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    PA & NJ
    That to. And it's even usually on schedule, within 5 minutes (except for a few of the runs). (I've used it to get around when I make switches between plane/train/bus to get to/from college @ Bucknell).
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,467
    Likes Received:
    2,456
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Just another thought to inspire you... back in my High School teaching days, a junior student of mine decided to call up a local concert lighting and sound house to see if she could get a tour. It was only a half mile from her house. She got her tour, impressed them with her knowledge and attitude, and within a year was running sound at dance clubs, raves, even the county fair. The year after she graduated she went on tour running sound for a band. There are a lot of people out there who are very willing to help young folks who have the right attitude.

    Summer internships are going to be harder to find. Most theaters run their season fall-spring and take the summer off. Summer's you typically find things like summer children's theater, fringe theater festivals, and Shakespeare in the park.
     
  12. KaR356i

    KaR356i Member

    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Missouri, usually
    About the internship...that may be hard to find for the summer if you're looking for semi-professional theatres. However, community theatre can be a great stepping stone, especially getting into the technical side of things. There must be community theatres in the Philly area! Do a search online, or look in the yellow pages of the phone book. Ask your tech teacher, even your acting teacher, he/she may know of a theatre, or know someone who knows someone that may be able to at least get you in the door for a tour! That's how it usually works:) Then just start calling and asking. If you are offering to work for free, (volunteer and intern sometimes mean the same thing) you will certainly find some places to welcome you and teach you everything they can!!!

    Good luck to you! If you keep that 'I want to learn' attitude, it'll get you very far!
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,778
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Well I don't know the East Coast for squat, but knowing that you are in a really big urban area really helps. here's some things to look into.
    As mentioned , Community theatre is a great place to get your feet wet. In Philly call around to a bunch of professional , even smaller "store-front" theatres. I know our theatre has an "education-outreach director" she works closely with local schools and gets interns for us. An internship is a great place to learn. You'll get a bunchof crappy jobs at first but you'll also get a chance to make contacts and learn a lot. Many Professional theatres also have "acredited" internships, that is, they have conections with local colleges and offer internships that also accrue college credit. At 16 your'e just on the edge of most internships, usually much younger than that and the insurance and liabilty issues get to be such a headache that most places wouldn't bother with you. < not you specifically, just you as in an age group> . Now that we have a location on you, you can bet the suggestions are going to start pouring in.


    p.s. I know what you mean about writing a long post then hitting the send button just to find your wireless card kicked off somewhere in the middle.....Arrrrgh !
     
  14. FamousLastWords

    FamousLastWords Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are plenty of internships for summer stock (mostly opera and shakespere) but unfortunatly, most (if not all) require time spent in college [either Weston Playhouse or Williamstown Theatre Festival require the completion of 2 years of college, i believe]. But i agree, community theatre (community college theatre as well) are great options.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice