Lighting a speaker

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gerald barkley, Nov 1, 2018.

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  1. gerald barkley

    gerald barkley Member

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    Hi all,

    I am a professor at a small community college where I also sponsor the music club. Our club has several shows during the year in our 200 seat auditorium. As a result I have been dubbed the light and sound tech for the college.

    We are currently working on a proposal to update the lighting and sound to make it more user friendly to other users of the theater. Currently they have to find me to get their lighting set up and then not F it up by changing things.

    So my plan is to use an architectural control to run pre-set scenes for common uses such as a stage right podium speaker, or a center stage performer. This way when the honor society does an induction they can have a scene ready made for them, and when the president wants a staff meeting he can have a preset scene, or any other common use.

    My question is how I should light a single location/speaker? I have read about using the McCandless approach of two fixtures at 45 degrees from the alcove and one from the fly high above and slightly behind. I have the correct fixtures to do this for each scene that we want to make. So what color of gels should I use, or should I just go with white light?

    Currently all fixtures are white light, but nearly all have gel frames.

    Thanks for any help,
    Jerry

    PS: I read the guidelines and fully understand the concept of giving up your creative position in a show, but I am not a lighting designer and I really just need to get a few lights set up well. I always run the music club shows from the control board so that is where my creative position can live!
     
  2. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    What we do for 90% of our clients is straight front wash (from our Catwalks in the house) McCandless is a great resource if you are doing Theater shows but not so much for corporate lighting. A simple white down wash and a simple straight on front wash should be more than enough for a non video taped lighting setup.
     
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  3. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    I always avoid lighting speakers staight on, especially at low angles. Speakers want to see the .crowd and are rarely experienced performers. Low vertical aiming makes them look good but also makes them complain about blinding glare.

    My solution is 60 to 80 degrees to the sides, or 3 lights for wrap around seating, and 30 to 40 degrees from horizontal. Barring that go for lots of fixtures so no single unit is painfull.

    Colors should be as pale as possible with pale bastard Amber as my fav.
     
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  4. gerald barkley

    gerald barkley Member

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    Thank you Duck and Rick for the replies!

    the alcove (catwalk? IDK its the lights up above the audience) is about 30 degrees above horizontal and I could easily send over two fixtures from the far side to a stage right podium position. I could add one or two from center of the alcove and lessen the brightness a bit on each. We have lekos at the ends of the alcove and fresnels in the center, I personally find the fresnels to be more "friendly" when I am performing so I will try to use a mix and keep the lekos dimmed down a bit.

    A down wash from the fly space will be easy.

    Center stage I could use one from each end of the alcove and one from the fly space.

    Regarding speakers wanting to see the audience: I think that's a great point that I had not considered! I will make sure that we have options with and without house lighting (maybe 50% house lights) for those speaker situations.

    Thanks guys, this little bit of experienced help has given me a great leg up on the job. I'll not worry too much about color and focus more on good use of fixtures to keep the comfort level up.

    Cheers,
    Jerry
     
  5. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    When I first read the question, I thought it was about lighting a speaker, as in a speaker box.
    Like how they used to do before IMAX movies, where there would be a video overlay pointing at all the illuminated speaker positions behind the perforated screen.
     
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  6. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member

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  7. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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  8. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  9. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If you have a speaker who is "of a certain age" and doesn't want to admit it, go for straight on front light heavily diffused.
     
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  10. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    If the thread were titled Lighting a Presenter, would you be pondering illuminating Santa Claus?
     
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  12. Lextech

    Lextech Well-Known Member

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    45° or more with two front lights, gel optional. In my experience many speakers bring things to read from, most on paper. To facilitate them being able to read I find a straight down top light or two at a 75° side position is a good idea. Back light is a nice touch as long as you have a reading light since it creates shadows on the lectern.
     
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  13. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member

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  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I occasionally like using Rosco 51 for this purpose. Sometimes amber feels a little too serious. The light lavender of R51 can be a little more friendly feeling.

    One other important issue. Will they be video recording of these presentations? If yes then lighting above 45 degrees may create dark raccoon eyes, depending on the shape of the person's face. You may need to have an additional light that's much closer to horizontal in order to prevent this.... but the speaker will hate it blazing in their eyes.
     
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  15. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Ia 3 point McCandles front light system I like to use R33 and R60 as the left and right 45 degree-ish positions and R51 in the center position as a neutral blend. It's really nice and smooth and yet gives you a lot of flexibility to go warmer into the pink and cooler into the blue. If you have a top in this setup the R51 works well for that too. It's a great happy multipurpose look especially for comedy.

    In a two point lecture sort of situation, R51 for both works pretty well. The Fatherless Amber/R03 can be a little too orange if there's a camera involved and it also can feel a bit harsh. I think cameras take the 51 better and it's a little more happy feeling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  17. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member

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  18. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  19. gerald barkley

    gerald barkley Member

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    To All who contributed:

    Thank you for the helpful and entertaining replies!

    This week I am going to order some of the recommended gel colors and set up some of the recommended schemes and see how I like them. I will take a few pictures and post them.

    Ultimately I hope to have the three primary scenes "permanently" set up and programmed into an architectural control.

    Time to climb the catwalk and measure the gel holders.

    Cheers!
    Jerry
     
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  20. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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