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Lighting "Thriller" with 150+ people dancing to it.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Wallab, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. Wallab

    Wallab Member

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    Hi everybody, the names Ben. I am a high school student and i am the Sound and Lighting Designer at my high school currently. We have our annual variety show coming up in 2 weeks and i have got ideas how to light all the acts except for the final one....Thriller.

    The act is of all our kids that are in choir (about 150) dancing and sing thriller on stage. In the past our school has not had good lighting, and this year i really want to impress the people to come to the show. I have pretty buying power so any ideas you have would be awesome!

    I want the beginning to be back lit so you can only see the kids outlines.
     
  2. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    What fixutres do you have already? What is hung, what do you have in your inventory. What kind of lighting positions do you have?

    BTW...this thread will probably be move to lighting shortly.
     
  3. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure someone will say this eventually, but since it's your design, we can help you along, but ultimately it is your show so you should let your creativity help you along.

    Also, be careful not to get in over your head! Buying extra equipment won't help you if you don't know how to use it or if you don't have time to make it all work!

    Also, talk to the director and the choreographer, as it is their show too and maybe they will have some ideas!
     
  4. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    Ah, Thriller. I was fortunate enough to light Thriller just this past summer. It was definitely some of the most fun I've ever had designing, mainly because I could go way beyond anything I had done before without it looking bad. I'm also in high school, so I spent a good amount of time listening to the music and watching youtube videos of the song in concert. I am usually against watching videos of a show or scene, because it influences your design and makes you just want to copy that designer, but in this case I felt it was acceptable. However, I used the videos only to gain an initial idea of what kind of lighting I was going to need for the show, then used that concept statement to decide on color and angle and intensity and visibility vs. modeling and everything else.

    Although I'm sure some here disagree with me watching videos of the concerts, I'm inclined to say that it is acceptable in this case, although that's obviously your decision. Just make sure that you never find yourself saying "well that's how XXX did it so that's how it should be." Once you say that, you have ceased to become a designer and are now just someone copying someone elses work and claiming it as their own.

    I also silhouetted the actors for the beginning of the song. As the music started, I added just a little bit of light from the ground row on the cyc, and nothing else. Then I grew with the music until I had a full cyc wash which silhouetted the actors movements. Of course, this only worked because of the choreography used. Your choreographer might have some detailed moves there which would be totally unseen with a silhouette. What worked for my show might not work at all for your show. This board is excellent for learning how to produce a particular effect, but we will generally not design something for you. Come up with a detailed Lighting Concept/Lighting Statement and some specifics, and you'll recieve some more specific help.
     
  5. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    I was just reading this thread last night and today found out that I was going to have to light thriller :grin: Would I be able to pull off the same silhouette effect with scoops instead of a cyc, btw, what's the difference?
     
  6. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    I doubt it.... With the cyc you basically have the light bouncing from all the way up stage. Im assuming that you scoops are mounted over head as down light.

    I cant talk right now so I'll show pictures...

    I'm thinking you want an effect like this, LINK. The orange is coming from the Cyc row and bouncing off th cyc so the actors midstage are in silhouette.

    Link No. 2 There is nothing from the cyc in this picture. The light is coming from 4 Source 4 36 degrees on the second electric (5 to 10 feet behind them) If you scoops are being used as back light, this may be the best you can do.

    I dont have any pics of just straight down light, but I bet you know what that will look like.

    IMO you wont be able to get the complete silhouette effect with lights on an overhead electric.

    You can still make it look really cool with out a cyc. I actually prefer not to use the cyc for anything other than plays. If it were my show, I would use alot of haze for the intro, some dramatic down light specials. (This pic isnt exactly what im talking about, but its close). If you have some PAR's that you could use them. For my last concert I took down the 2 N/C PARs from the 3rd electric (mainly used for work light) and put them onto floor mounts. Pic. I really wish they were bigger.

    Btw. Yes those are real trees in the last 2 pictures, and No, we are not outside.
     
  7. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    Are your scoops being used as something to light the cyc instead of cyc lights or do you just straight up not have a cyc and the scoops are being used as basic down light?

    If it is being used to light the cyc, here are the basic differences. Scoops fall under the ERF (Ellipsoidal Reflector Floodlight) category. With their ellipsoidal reflector, they do not get very good even coverage on the cyc. Depending on the angle being used and how many are there, it can create an uneven wash on the cyc. The actual cyc lights however usually have an assymetrical reflector. This shape directs all of the light directly down from the instrument giving you a fairly even wash across the entire cyc. In ideal situations, you have Cyc units hung up above as well as a groundrow.
     
  8. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    I'm not sure if you know this, but a cyc isn't a lighting instrument - its a white or very light blue full-stage drop hung all the way upstage which can be lit with different colors to show mood, location, atmosphere, etc. A scoop is a large lighting instrument.

    So is the question now, "can I light my cyc with scoops?" This depends on a lot of things, including the size of your stage, the number of scoops you have, the number of colors you'll need on the cyc, and the distance from the hanging location to the cyc. While not ideal, I have seen shows use scoops to light the cyc and it seemed to work fine. The only issue you might have is that the light on the bottom of the cyc will be less than the light on the top. But you should be able to lessen this problem by being careful where on the cyc you focus the scoops. I'd recommend that you try it out yourself to see what you can get. Space your scoops evenly along an electric pipe and focus them towards a cyc. Then see how even or uneven the wash is. You may need to experiment with distance from the cyc, trim height, etc.

    Unfortunately, using down or back light will never be able to match the effect that you would get from a true silhouette against the cyc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just something different, and you may decide that you actually prefer using backlight or something. Silhouetting against a cyc works because the light is only on the cyc, with nothing at all on the actors. This causes their outlines to block light from the cyc, which shows just their shapes. Once you go to down or back light, you are actually putting light on the actors, which will illuminate them differently. Again, neither is necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what you want to do.
     
  9. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    I was just terribly confused about what a cyc was. I don't have a cyc (which I understand to be sort of like a white sheet at the back of the stage that is back lit to show different colors). Last year when we did fiddler on the roof, we had 3 what I'm guessing were 2 ft scoops pointed at the back drop labeled on the board cyc. I thought that scoop and cyc were interchangeable. What I'm looking to do is have the scoops mounted pointing towards the audience from above to create the silhouette effect, would that work?

    PS, there really ought to be a glossary entry describing what a cyc is.
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    Cyc is an shortened form of cyclorama, which IS a glossary entry.
    To add to the confusion, some erroneously refer to cyclights as cycs, which is not helped by the fact that the manufacturers call them FarCyc™ or SkyCyc™.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Prior to the widespread use of FarCycs and other assymetric reflector fixtures, compartmentalized borderlights and scoops were widely used to light cycs and other backdrops.

    A true silhouette involves lighting only the background, with no lighting hitting the performers, so only their black outlines are seen. Link#1, (ignoring the downstage performers who are frontlit).

    Lights hung upstage and pointing downstage are backlights, which is an entirely different effect. Link#2.

    Neither is more valid than the other, and while the two are not entirely mutually exclusive, they can work at cross purposes. A silhouette creates a two-dimensional object as only the outline is shown; whereas backlight reinforces plasticity and sesne of depth by "pushing" the performers away from the background toward the audience.

    Many dance pieces are cued so that the lights build thusly:
    Q1: Cyc lits up, performers in silhouette
    Q2: Add backlights to bring the performers forward
    Q3: Add sidelights to reveal more form
    Q4: Add frontlight (sparingly) for visibility and to eliminate the horrid "dancer face" (that line of shadow running down the middle of the body).
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  11. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    Alright, thank you for the clarification. Then I just have this one last question. Would it be plausible to light the performers with a few scoops from behind and get a silhouette effect?
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    From theFreeDictionary.com:
    silhouette:
    2.
    An outline that appears dark against a light background.

    So the answer is no.
     
  13. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Re: Lighting %26quot%3BThriller%26quot%3B with 150+ people dancing to it.

    ****, thanks. Sometimes, I do indeed need things spelled out :mrgreen:
     
  14. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    Re: Lighting Thriller with 150+ people dancing to it.

    There is an entry for Cyclorama in the glossary. I copied the text and created a new entry for Cyc.

    This next tidbit is on topic only because it's about "Thriller." (Senior Team dudes please forgive me for posting an audio link in the lighting forum) Something I found that I call 64-Channels of A' Capella. If you watch it in full screen mode it's like a visual 64-track recording.

    Enjoy.....

    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008

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