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Lighting Strategy 3/4 with Seachangers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftaper, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    So taking a recent thread in another direction... I'm facing my first plot in the new theater. It's a thrust show and It's my first time to use Seachangers (I've also never designed with scrollers). I've got 12 S4/Seachanger Wash lights (S4 with color mixing and a Fresnel lens) and 8 S4/Seachanger Profile lights (S4 with color mixing and any normal S4 barrel). I'm also designing on paper since I haven't had time to learn Vectorworks... and my computer hasn't arrived yet.

    I think it's pretty clear that I should use the Seachanger Wash lights as down light and back light (if I've got it to spare). For this particular set, I think I may be able to wash the whole stage with 9 of them leaving 3 to spare as upstage back light. If none to spare, I'll use them all for down light.

    As for the 8 profiles I've had a lot of different ideas. The main strategy I've been playing with is one of the techniques discussed in detail in Jackie Staines' "Lighting Techniques for Theater in the round". The idea is to light the stage with a fairly pale wash then come in at an offset angle with your accent color. So for example (assuming upstage is 12:00) I might go with an amber wash at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 and then come in with all the seachanger profiles at like 10:30 or 4:30.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Down Light ?. As in straight top light above the actor ?. Why ?. What use is that kind of light in a dramatic, other then as a specific and very dramatic special. Is this a play or musical ?. Thrust ?, in the round ?, straight prosc. setup ?.

    Back light - yes. I'd use the SeaChanger Wash units for my back area lights.

    I'd keep the SeaChanger Profiles as floating specials, to be focused and used as needed as per the directors last minute requests (or as previously discussed). Thus way all you need to do is focus it and can then adjust color as per the need.

    How many color changers ?. If enough, I'd do a system of area lights with pale tints, and another with the changers, so as to be able to adjust to a different look easily.

    Just some early AM thoughts....

    Steve B.
     
  3. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Steve...he said its thrust buddy. Downlight is the perfect place to put them as its the only angle that will look the same from all 3 sides.

    gaff, me being me...I'd use the profiles with patterns because I like a lot of texture in shows. While the technique you're talking about would certainly work I'd be more inclined to stick with a typical 3 point or 4 point system (see the other thread) and use the profiles as texture or another changing wash. While the system you describe is technically a 3 point system I hate not having a why bother cool in there somewhere to help tone the actor.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Oh Grog, I like the texture idea.

    The show is "Anna in the Tropics" so there's an interesting dance between Florida hot and Russian cool to play with.

    Do a basic 3 point lighting... with cool at 6:00
    Seachanger Washlights for down light
    Put the Seachanger profiles at 6:00 so they can mix with the cool. From there I can wash the full stage in a color changing texture as the mood strikes me.

    Very interesting idea.

    Anybody else? Like I said, this is my first show having this many cool toys so I'm probably way over thinking this.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Two words: Jungle Leaf.

    I agree with keeping the Seachanger profiles as specials, with a RightArm or I-Cue on them.

    I agree with Seachanger Washes as DownLights, which in thrust or arena works as backlight. Another two "systems" of true backlight, with texture, could be useful, for exterior.

    I stand by my post in the other thread about four-point lighting coming from 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30. Nine acting areas times four directions equals 36 fixtures/dimmers. Do you have 36 S4s of any one lens? With TopHats?

    I don't know this play, but when designing the lighting for anything, I've found it useful to discuss, in writing with proper syntax, spelling, and grammar, how I intend to use the Four Controllable Properties and Five Functions of Illumination; to assist the Playwright, Director, and Actors, [and Box Office!] achieve their goals. Some would call this a "Lighting Concept" or "Lighting Statement." This is A "method" for lighting an Arthur Miller play, a pharmaceutical conglomerate's new product launch, a manufacturer's latest concept car, the latest mouse-created performing sensation, or the rock-star who has not had a hit in thirty years.

    An old dead guy from Yale taught me this seventy-six years ago, and another old dead guy from Brandeis refuted the Yalie's achievements in 1974.;) For those who suffer from insomnia, I highly recommend reading Feeling and Form, by aesthetician Suzanne K. Langer. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953); and attempting to define "the space that exists beyond the mirror."

    The objective of man-made lighting has not changed since our first ancestor told a story to the second in front of a fire.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    As a matter of fact I do! I have 48 of the same lens with top hats plus 16 zooms with top hats... so I could actually do 64 instruments at 36 degrees with top hats. 6 point lighting anyone? :cool:
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm really glad you're not a teacher or anything.:twisted: 64÷6=10.67 How many two-thirds of 36°-S4s do you have? Not to mention what I suggested: four-point lighting with two systems of true backlight IS six systems. Adding the Seachanger washes as downlight makes it seven systems. I also suggest you do not try to mix 436s with Zooms set at 36° in the same system; I've never been happy with that. [user]SteveB[/user], I wouldn't make the downlight exactly 90°, unless for true arena staging. In thrust you can go as low as 75° above horizontal, any lower than that and you begin to impact what the audience at the extreme upstage sides of the seating banks perceives as frontlight. Here's a different approach that I see/use everyday: Make everything downlight with saturated colors and use a CTO'ed followspot on the talent. If the audience members on the sides don't like the live view, they can always watch the delay screens. But that's a different genre, I suppose.


    Let's postpone the hardware/fixture-placement discussions until [user]Gafftaper[/user] has provided us with his Lighting Statement/Concept. The fixtures/consoles are merely the tools and toys, not the results. It's not the size, it's what you do with it.

    We all forget this at times, as I suspect it's easier to talk about the equipment than a show's "virtual time and space."
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  9. LD4Life

    LD4Life Active Member

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    Intersting point for pondering: I work mostly in a blackbox house where most shows are staged in one corner with no opportunity for back light. Subsequently, most of my plots do use direct top lighting rather than backlighting. Interestingly enough, I am really beginning to like the top lighting approach rather than backlighting. Call me crazy, but I like the look.
     
  10. sloop

    sloop Member

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    On a design note, don't discount down lighting. it is very useful in dramatic productions and has been used for decades, especially in Europe.

    It can create more of a feeling of enclosure, and can isolate areas. It sculpts the body nicely and can give a wonderful toning for scenic elements all depending on how you use it.

    a few of shots of shows using down light.. Sorry, most are old scans of slides.. not the greatest quality...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    You sir, are forgiven for the early am problems...hell I need more coffee and I've allready had 3 shots of espresso at 9 in the morning.

    Fill for the face comes from the area lights, the downlight is used as brush strokes of toning and getting that halo around the actor to make them pop on stage. In thrust every front light is someone elses back light and visa versa.

    I do agree with Derek, given my druthers I want to put a 4 point system in the air if I'm working in thrust. But if I have too 3 works in a pinch...

    So gaff..what's yer concept?
     
  12. phil000

    phil000 Active Member

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    I have been taught: ...to figure it out?

    I'm really a big fan of the mccandless with dance/rock feel...

    more wild in your back 2 diags (or derek's offset mccandles) and 'saving' or face or fill lights for your fronts when your director is crying about not being able to clearly make out every line/wrinkle/zit on your actor's face.

    But, this is more things that I've discovered for myself using virtual light lab vs. being taught.
     
  13. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    As far as use of the seachangers goes, if you have a right arm to move them around they could make good specials, likewise a template breakup wash could be another good use for them. As far as using the profiles for a system I would tend to keep away from this. After all if you only have enough for one system of light the variety in color would be more or less wasted.

    Our largest space is a 3/4 thrust so I am exposed to a lot of this. The most common approach is 4 systems creating an X across the stage along with typically one or two top light systems. For musicals it seems having one front par fill system with color changers on them is also popular.

    Thinking more on the profiles, I think a template wash would be a better use than on right arms. Afterall just how much use can you get out of a circle in different colors? If you used it in a gobo system could use the color to play with the mood a bit more in my opinion.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Some of you asked about concept. The director wants a very minimal but realistic feel. So I'm going pretty straight forward with just a nice fatherless amber and blue wash... probably use a little chocolate just to annoy Derek. Other than a water effect I won't get to do much with the Seachangers.

    In general I've decided to go with:
    -General wash of lights at 1.5, 4.5, 7.5, and 10.5 alternating amber and blue.
    -Downlight located slightly towards 12:00 using my Seachanger wash lights.
    -Seachanger profiles evenly distributed coming in at 3ish, 6ish, and 9ish with jungle leaf gobos for color changing texture that can counter the Seachanger wash lights in color.

    Should be fun.
     
  15. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    So, I'm late to the party, but here are my thoughts:

    Where I'm at we have 18 SeaChanger Profiles. We've used them alot for side lighting, as well as for back lighting. As sidelight, they have been used for color washes, and, in our current production, as a gradually changing setting sun and night time effect. As backlight, we've used them as general area washes, and as specific specials.

    They also saw use as front color in the dance show in the studio, and will see use again in a few weeks for the dance show on the main stage, likely as sides.

    The only thing I really haven't seen the SeaChangers used for (yet) is as medium to light saturation front light.

    Gafftaper, I think your right on with the idea to use the Profiles as a gobo breakup. A color changing gobo breakup with the capability of a Seachanger could really be a useful system. I myself don't have any of the washes, but it sounds that their use as toplight would be best for you show and within the wishes of the director.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Thanks Gaff brother.

    The Seachanger Washes are pretty nice by the way. The zoom mechanism is to die for. The action is SO smooth with a really nice rubber coated knob... when you touch it says to your fingers... "I'm expensive and REALLY cool". Unfortunately I'm waiting on a delivery of PoE injectors, the Leviton guy to get my non-dims working tomorrow (yet another minor crisis in my theater), and a stack of Edison extension cords to power the Seachangers before I can fire them all up.
     
  17. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Where did you get your edison extension cords? Are they black 14/3 or something more "stage rated"?

    Ocean Optics is a great company. That's the quality you get from a company who works for NASA.
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Lowes has an extension cable that comes in black with a fairly subdued red stripe. Subdued enough that I can get away with them.
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    12/3 SO or better? (For stage use.)
     
  20. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    They are 12/3, I was contemplating a few for the demo rig last week in the local Lowe's.
    I decided that spending a little more to get 12/3 SJOOW was worth it rather than saving some cash and look unprofessional.
     

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