Light Design for Nutcracker

Tim Ardner

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Location
York PA
I have a light plot for a Nutcracker production. I was wondering if there are any other low budget suggestions to improve the plot. I apologize for it not being to scale, but I can't get into the venue until setup/ rehearsal day. Everything is owned by the venue except for the par64s on the 3rd electric, which are being rented. The par38s on the 2nd electric are owned by the performing company putting on the show, and can use them since they own them. They have 300 watt lamps in them. Also, booms are NOT in the show budget. The venue doesn't own booms, and they would have to be rented, as well as the lights to go on them. so that's out of the question. Any suggestions with operating the lights, btw the console is a Strand Lighting basic palette. Our budget is tight so nothing expensive please. Also the balcony rail is used to light Clara's throne house right of the stage, so those will have to stay.
 

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JChenault

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Jan 5, 2009
Location
seattle, wa USA
After a quick glance. The first thing I would would be to get some side light in the form of shin busters. Ie a unit sitting on the floor bolted to a plywood base. What kind - depends on the inventory. But for my two cents this would be more important than the extra back light.

Second thing I would do would be to get some side light from the pipe ends,
 
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Tim Ardner

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Nov 15, 2015
Location
York PA
I moved two of the 1st electric ERS Lights to the pipe ends. I also took two of the blue backlight ERS lights on the 2nd electric and moved them to the pipe ends as well. Shin Busters will not work, there are too many little kids in the production that may burn themselves. Plus they need the wings open for dancers to enter/ exit, and the stage is not that big. I also heard that there is no gel in the ground row lights. I was planning for there to be red, blue, green, and amber, but since there is no gel, We will have to buy some gel. I changed the colors since we will have to buy it anyway. We might not be renting. but moving around the lights we already have for use.
 

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MNicolai

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Sarasota, FL
Give up the R26 down wash for something more interesting and versatile. You won't find yourself in many scenes that require full red. If I didn't think you needed the amber, I'd go so far as to say I'd like to see something green there. A nice green or a teal/cyan gives a lot more depth to the more fantastical segments of the show.

I'd also say you should give up the R80 for a blue less saturated. There are number of scenes in Nutcracker where you want it to be a cool white, which you can't get out of R80. R80 just doesn't have enough output.

Think my first Nutcracker design I ever did I used R26/R80 and then I swore never again. When I looked at my show file I noticed R80 was on in every scene at full. That was because it was so dim you could hardly tell if it was on or off and I desperately needed the blue hue on-stage so it ended up always being on.

I also noticed the R26/24/whatever-it-was only ever cracked 40% because it was too overpowering and I've only found one scene in the show deserving of that deep of a red. I would've been better served with a deep pink or something pastel or basically anything other than R26.

OF COURSE,

I would be remissed if I didn't say that analyzing light plots is the lowest form of design criticism. You can't know how well a lighting design will jive with a production until you've seen the costumes and set and how the designer integrates the lights into the overall visual experience. Therefore I must qualify my criticisms by saying that, in my experience, those colors did not work for me based on how I designed the show but your mileage may vary.


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BobHealey

Active Member
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Aug 6, 2011
Location
Troy, NY
Give up the R26 down wash for something more interesting and versatile. You won't find yourself in many scenes that require full red. If I didn't think you needed the amber, I'd go so far as to say I'd like to see something green there. A nice green or a teal/cyan gives a lot more depth to the more fantastical segments of the show.

I'd also say you should give up the R80 for a blue less saturated. There are number of scenes in Nutcracker where you want it to be a cool white, which you can't get out of R80. R80 just doesn't have enough output.

Think my first Nutcracker design I ever did I used R26/R80 and then I swore never again. When I looked at my show file I noticed R80 was on in every scene at full. That was because it was so dim you could hardly tell if it was on or off and I desperately needed the blue hue on-stage so it ended up always being on.

I also noticed the R26/24/whatever-it-was only ever cracked 40% because it was too overpowering and I've only found one scene in the show deserving of that deep of a red. I would've been better served with a deep pink or something pastel or basically anything other than R26.

OF COURSE,

I would be remissed if I didn't say that analyzing light plots is the lowest form of design criticism. You can't know how well a lighting design will jive with a production until you've seen the costumes and set and how the designer integrates the lights into the overall visual experience. Therefore I must qualify my criticisms by saying that, in my experience, those colors did not work for me based on how I designed the show but your mileage may vary.


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Going off of this, if you think you need the saturated colors, what about moving some of them over to the scoop pile? Or dropping something more basic in there, so you can leave the saturated colors on fixtures with better punch. If the scoops are there and occupying dimmers, use them!
 

Tim Ardner

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Location
York PA
Give up the R26 down wash for something more interesting and versatile. You won't find yourself in many scenes that require full red. If I didn't think you needed the amber, I'd go so far as to say I'd like to see something green there. A nice green or a teal/cyan gives a lot more depth to the more fantastical segments of the show.

I'd also say you should give up the R80 for a blue less saturated. There are number of scenes in Nutcracker where you want it to be a cool white, which you can't get out of R80. R80 just doesn't have enough output.

Think my first Nutcracker design I ever did I used R26/R80 and then I swore never again. When I looked at my show file I noticed R80 was on in every scene at full. That was because it was so dim you could hardly tell if it was on or off and I desperately needed the blue hue on-stage so it ended up always being on.

I also noticed the R26/24/whatever-it-was only ever cracked 40% because it was too overpowering and I've only found one scene in the show deserving of that deep of a red. I would've been better served with a deep pink or something pastel or basically anything other than R26.

OF COURSE,

I would be remissed if I didn't say that analyzing light plots is the lowest form of design criticism. You can't know how well a lighting design will jive with a production until you've seen the costumes and set and how the designer integrates the lights into the overall visual experience. Therefore I must qualify my criticisms by saying that, in my experience, those colors did not work for me based on how I designed the show but your mileage may vary.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Going off of this, if you think you need the saturated colors, what about moving some of them over to the scoop pile? Or dropping something more basic in there, so you can leave the saturated colors on fixtures with better punch. If the scoops are there and occupying dimmers, use them!
The scoops are staying white. That would be way too much gel to color them. The lamp wattage on both the scoops and fresnels is 750. It won't be any brighter, probably dimmer because there are more fresnels and cyc lights than scoops. We have 8 scoops total. We have ten lights per color (11 for blue, there is one extra cyc light for blue)
 
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Tim Ardner

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Location
York PA
Give up the R26 down wash for something more interesting and versatile. You won't find yourself in many scenes that require full red. If I didn't think you needed the amber, I'd go so far as to say I'd like to see something green there. A nice green or a teal/cyan gives a lot more depth to the more fantastical segments of the show.

I'd also say you should give up the R80 for a blue less saturated. There are number of scenes in Nutcracker where you want it to be a cool white, which you can't get out of R80. R80 just doesn't have enough output.

Think my first Nutcracker design I ever did I used R26/R80 and then I swore never again. When I looked at my show file I noticed R80 was on in every scene at full. That was because it was so dim you could hardly tell if it was on or off and I desperately needed the blue hue on-stage so it ended up always being on.

I also noticed the R26/24/whatever-it-was only ever cracked 40% because it was too overpowering and I've only found one scene in the show deserving of that deep of a red. I would've been better served with a deep pink or something pastel or basically anything other than R26.

OF COURSE,

I would be remissed if I didn't say that analyzing light plots is the lowest form of design criticism. You can't know how well a lighting design will jive with a production until you've seen the costumes and set and how the designer integrates the lights into the overall visual experience. Therefore I must qualify my criticisms by saying that, in my experience, those colors did not work for me based on how I designed the show but your mileage may vary.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The blue might be R68, It is whatever the venue has in there. I am also considering mixing the red and blue to make purple.
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Location
Denver, CO
As John was getting at, in general dance lighting is all about side light. That angle of light reveals and emphasizes the shape and form of the dancer's bodies. Some of my favorite dance lighting is shin busters only on an otherwise dark stage. Makes it all about the dancing. (I wouldn't recommend this look for Nutcracker specifically.)

So, if you can't have booms and you can't have shin busters, I would concentrate as much inventory as you can on high sides / pipe ends. Shoot them across to the far side of the stage. Keep these in low-saturated colors, and use more saturation in the backlight, which is mostly lighting the floor.

Since there's kids in the show you'll need some frontlight because parents need to see faces. For professional dance, I almost never use it.

DSC01524.JPG
 

venuetech

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Departed Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Location
AK,
Color is easy to change so if you can you may want to have on hand alternate color choices.
If you have booms or busters those colors can be quickly changed during the performance.
If you have falling snow you may need somthing to highlight that.
 

Tim Ardner

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Location
York PA
We do have falling snow during the snow scene. shin busters are not an option, too many little kids that can burn themselves. There are two ellipsoidals near the center of the 1st electric. Haven't found a use for them yet. Maybe those can moved to the pipe ends for a 2nd color.