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# of lamps to light a single person

Discussion in 'Question of the Day' started by dvsDave, Mar 16, 2019 at 7:56 PM.

  1. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    DC Metro Area
    How many lamps would you suggest to light one person standing stationary in one area?
    • Assume you have a boundless inventory of hanging positions and fixtures of various focal lengths and beam spreads with both incandescent and LED sources.
    • Your inventory DOES NOT include any movers or arc sources.
    • Expound upon the considerations and reasons for your choices.
    • For bonus points: What if the lone person is a dancer rather than an actor??
    Many thanks to @RonHebbard for this question. He will also be judging this question.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 11:51 PM
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  2. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    College Student
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    I feel like the real answer is "it depends on the look you're going for" :p

    Seriously though, assuming we're talking about the general zones for the stage, I'd go two lamps for each zone, preferably from opposing angles to make sure they (emphasis on their face) is lit while minimizing shadows. Two also means there is at least *A* light when one inevitably fails five minutes before show. For most scenarios, I also might want a second pair of lights in the same zone in a cold gel.

    I suppose that makes my tally four. Two warm, two cold, each set getting shots from as far apart an angle as reasonable.

    That being said, if the emphasis of the scene / number is on one person, perhaps a follow-spot or two following the target?

    (The Text was edited to be bright red after I posted... Am I considered not-a-beginner enough? Sorry!)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:37 AM
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  3. cdiamondz

    cdiamondz Active Member

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    I generally try to get 2 fixtures at opposing angles, LED lights help as far as color goes so I dont usually worry about gels (my inventory is quite literally 75% LED). I sometimes get a 3rd fixture straight on to help control color when using the two opposing fixtures to light each side of the actor with different colors, it also helps with intensity because my fixtures aren't as bright as I would like them.
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  4. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    How much thermal energy can be concentrated on that location so the performer might perform a perfect Joan of Arc impersonation? ALL of it!

    Otherwise are we going for art or illumination?
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  5. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

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    Eastern Victoria Australia
    anywhere from one to 5. This is so dependent on the look you want. but generally ideally I would like 2 45deg from the front and same back light with a top light just for fun.
    But there are many combos so no incorrect answers here.

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  6. Ravenbar

    Ravenbar Member

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    My preference is to use lights from 4 directions.

    (1) n/c straight on from the front.
    (2) at 45 degrees to the actor, gelled warm and cool color, for shadow fill
    (1) backlight in what I've always thought as a neutral color(I know such a thing doesn't exist), i.e. darker green, violet, deep red.

    If their a dancer, I get to use lots of color and forget the n/c light from the front.
    RonHebbard likes this.
  7. JimOC_1

    JimOC_1 Member

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    Have never worked with unlimited power, control, inventory, and positions. It’s not easy to look past current limitations with clear preferences for answering the questions.

    75% Of effort is to get a good Left and Right front of house coverage for clarity/contrast/depth. NC Pink and NC Blue, but have recently tried Less’s R54 Lavender for the NCB, and think it works better/more flattering at the HS. Also run L/R blue for evening/night (and a school color as an event warmer). Having the inventory and control for L/R color would be fun to work with. Backlight has been limited by power to a straight on bright amber (occasionally no-gel looks). Almost always flattering, yet more subtle or cartoonish as needed. Again, having inventory for L/R color would be fun. So that adds up to a basic five .

    Straight on FOH LED color is a recent addition for events and we are just starting the learning curve. Those may be worth more if moved around to the back, but numbers and beam spread are limiting. Have never worked out top lighting but keep trying. Have never done dance, but for a recent talent show we pulled down LEDs for side lighting and that will take a ton more work to understand. Have avoided spotlights until the schools do a better job with the basics.

    So many questions, such limited time........
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 12:09 PM
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