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Light - Vivid Color or not?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by lieperjp, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Central Wisconsin
    For the LD's out there - how often is key light (or whatever term you use to describe the light that lights the actor's faces) a vivid, bright color - such as a bright red, yellow, green, or blue? (Think super saturated gels here) I've had the personal preference that the light that falls on the actors faces and upper body should be a whiter light or light gel color, and the fill light could be the super saturated color... looking for your opinions. The reason I ask is because I've been flipping through some pictures online of lighting design and I notice that at times there seems to be no natural color light to fall on the features of the actor.
  2. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Rhode Island
    I can't say I've ever designed with a saturated key light---I have done very-saturated blue fills, and very saturated backlights.

    However, not to say for a certain scene---I haven't used the designated fill light as the key light (i.e. nighttime we use the blue fill to light the stage) At which point the amber becomes a low fill light.
  3. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Stouffville, Ontario
    I like seeing faces (as do most audiences) so in a situation where I need saturated colour, I prefer to key with a lighter colour and fill with the saturated colour. That being said, all the actor has to do is face the other way and that design concept falls to crap until they turn back. As to using ALL saturated, I would only do it in isolated cases for a couple reasons: It tends to darken the stage more than I want. The audience can't hear what they can't see. And extended use of saturated colour induces 'colour fatigue' in the audience (it literally makes them more tired) and it loses its impact after a while. Plus, if you use a lighter colour with a saturated colour, it looks more saturated because of the contrast.
    My $.02
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Screw gun for hire
    I have a personal vendetta against flat saturated washes as front key....and I can't tell you how many spaces I've been in that that is all they have for color. Grrrrrr

    That said, sure, it could be used, perhaps for such things as musicals, dance pieces, etc,

    But as for "normal" lighting in a straight acting scene? Very rarely would I say that it is done AND looks good. It's similar in concept I think to the use of green light on stage.
  5. thatactorguy

    thatactorguy Active Member

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    Murray, KY
    I usually use R33 (No Color Pink) for lighting the actors, and fill with other colors to break the monotony of single color lighting. R33 does a nice job of bringing out skintone without looking too pink, imho. Even in a darker-themed show like Jeckyll & Hyde or Sweeney, the major playing areas need to be lit so the audience can see- dare I say recognize?- the actors, and the fill will be whatever makes the mood more appropriate for the scene.

    I remember a discussion not too terribly long ago about pink vs. amber; this was before I joined, but I remember thinking in my head how I preferred pink, as amber- if the wrong one is used- makes actors look jaundiced. For the right show, it's great, but I generally avoid it...

    I concur with the comment about using too dark gels and how they make the audience tired more quickly, which pulls their attention from the show. The first time you see lighting like that, it blows you away with how cool it is, but then the actors step on the stage and all is lost...
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Seattle, Washington

    Theater lighting is pastels from the front a little more saturation from the sides and down light, and stronger saturation still from the rear.

    Rock and Roll lighting is generally all saturated color on stage with white followspots.

    and yes... there are MANY times when you break these rules for a specific effect or feele.

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