Playing with PAR56s & gels -- suggestions?

peaeri

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Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Location
Vermont
Hi all --

First, let me thank you for this great forum! I was directed to it by someone I know and it really rocks!

I composed and played live original music for a recent production of Humble Boy and, during the long intervals where I had nothing to do, I started looking up at the stage lights. I gradually became fascinated by the amazing amount of artistic expression that could be achieved with light--it really is an amazing medium.

A friend suggested I get some PAR56s and a few gels to "play with". So that's what I did. I got the following:
- 4 X PAR56s (300w)
- 2 X 9-foot stands
- a 4-channel dimmer
A bunch of Rosco gels:
- 02 Bastard Amber
- 33 No Color Pink
- 60 No Color Blue
- 12 Straw
- 25 Orange Red
- 36 Medium Pink
- 46 Magenta
- 54 Special Lavender
- 61 Mist Blue
- 67 Light Sky Blue
- 68 Perry Sky Blue
- 85 Deep Blue

So, with all this, can you suggest some interesting setups (positioning and gel selections) to try out? I'd like to see how I could re-create, say,
- a sunset scene?
- a bright daylight scene?
- a nice sky effect on a cyclorama?
- a dusk scene?
...anything else that might be interesting or surprising?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

josh88

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Honestly this is right out of a lighting design class. Try looking up something like that, off the top of my head I know there are resources out there. The key like you seem to already know is just playing until you find something you like. A simple method is light from the left and right at 45 degrees and then a key fill light/ top wash try doing colors in all of them, some of them, none. Just get a feel for how you "paint" with light and try not to wash people out haha

I suppose the next question then is what do you hope to do with this experience. What are you wanting to learn or go into after having bought these, want to be a board op? Designer? Start up your own lighting rental? What's your goal?

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peaeri

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Location
Vermont
I suppose the next question then is what do you hope to do with this experience. What are you wanting to learn or go into after having bought these, want to be a board op? Designer? Start up your own lighting rental? What's your goal?
Definitely design! I'd like to eventually be able to do lighting designs around town on small productions at a semi-pro level.
I've already read and tested out what I read about the McCandless method (R02 on one side, R60 on the other, with R33 as a back-light). Now I'd like to get to know more designs that might be considered standard on which I can try variations. Something like: "Try X straight on and Y at 45 degrees you'll get a great sunset effect...". Otherwise, I'm really just putting random gels in and getting crazy effects I don't know how to use. Does that make sense?
 

peaeri

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Location
Vermont
Here's something I tried the other day: Remember those old blue/red glasses used for 3D? Well, if you put two gels in your PAR56s that are close to the ones in the 3D glasses, you get a kind of screwy 3D effect on any object or person the light shines on when viewed through the 3D glasses. That was lots of fun--but not very useful, I suppose. Who knows, maybe it could start a whole new trend: 3D theatre! :cool:
 
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kicknargel

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Aug 10, 2009
Location
Denver, CO
I would dig through this forum for threads on "how do I create a [whatever] effect". There will be as many answers as replies (there's no right way). Set up the suggestions described and see what you like.

I also suggest (for real) getting yourself a nice, um, adult inflatable companion. You need something in the shape and color of a person to throw light on, and that's the cheapest, most portable solution. Also a good conversation starter when the actors show up at the tail end of your cuing session.
 

josh88

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Here's what I was thinking of earlier. There is some decent stuff in here for a beginner, you could walk yourself through at your own pace or skip over stuff you already know and covers a lot of the basics of lights and controllers etc.

Free Lesson Plans
 

shiben

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Jun 25, 2009
Location
Chicago, IL
So, with all this, can you suggest some interesting setups (positioning and gel selections) to try out? I'd like to see how I could re-create, say,
- a sunset scene?
- a bright daylight scene?
- a nice sky effect on a cyclorama?
- a dusk scene?
...anything else that might be interesting or surprising?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Alright! Welcome to the wonderful world of designing lights. This is where the fun of the art form comes in. Making a night scene is great. However. When I make a night scene, I am not just trying to make it look like a night environment. I am also trying to tell some of the story of the show with my night scene.

For example, an night scene from Hamlet, where the ghost appears, looks far different than a romantic night scene from Romeo and Juliet on the balcony where Juliet is looking for a stalker on her grounds/Romeo. Both might even use similar colors (a deep blue) but the red content of said blue, along with the colors used to highlight the action, and even the textures used to break up the wash will be different, and thus without a single actor on stage, the audience knows what kind of night this is. Further, is the night scene in a house, or outside? Is there a moon? Is it summer or winter? If its winter, is there snow? If so, how heavy is it? How many artificial light sources are in the area (is it in a city like West Side Story, or is in the middle of nowhere like Evil Dead?) Are there many trees? All of these will determine how the night scene, which seems pretty basic when you look at it, gets put together. I once designed for a show where the night scene also had to cover some sets moving, so the only light in the whole thing was a PAR EA NSP in R74 and a PAR 20 in R02 in a footlight position, motivated by the lamp the character was reading by. I have also done night scenes with 20 S4s with templates in AP2000, 20 fresnels with various deep blues, and a dozen more S4s with L165?, sort of a moonlit blue, all to create a cold, creepy night. Bright daylight can be done much the same way, depending on what you are looking for in the scene. The story being told by the actors ought be, in my mind, reflected in how the day scene progresses.

All that to say, the whole reason the art is cool is not that you can replicate natural environments with your lights. Realistically, anyone with enough time and effort could do that, and no one would get paid to design anything. The real art of the whole thing is telling a story with the lights that you are using, and in my mind, thats the whole point of lighting design for theater.

One way you can build up a whole set of design ideas and looks is to start clipping photos from your pintrest, the DA photography section and magazine subscriptions. I like to write down a quick bit on the page I paste it onto about what I think the mood of the photo is, and maybe 3 things it makes me feel. Then, when I want to make something feel that way, I have some research photos to look at to get ideas of where to place my lights and what colors to make them.

Also, +1 to Nick on the blow up adult companion front. I personally steal dress forms and foam wig head things from costumes, but thats because most of my design work is in places that have that sort of stuff around, and its the theater so a blow up doll is really not terribly odd (I know of at least one show on the road now that has them as props) but does make for a good time if you are trying to move it to a different focus point when the actors walk in. I think I would probably spray mine in something to make it flat, but I dont know what as I dont own one. But seriously, it is so critical to have some sort of body on the deck so as you can tell what the lights look like on a body, not the floor which can be really deceptive, and tells you not one bit if you can see the actors face at all.

And for something interesting/surprising. The most powerful look I have every created, and maybe ever will, used 1 light with no color, no diffusion, and no accessories. Also, it was pointed straight down. Actor is looking for a place to hide the scroll, crossed to his spike, as the guard walks in, lights cut to black and the single spot is up, actor turns from the audience and eats the scroll. We got edible paper so it was crunchy too, excellent. Anyhow, then the word was in him and stuff happened and lights came back on. But in that moment, you could hear not a single breath being taken, and the whole production design, the music, and the acting came together to show a moment that held power for everyone. Thats the best part of lighting design, IMO, when it all works together and holds and audience spellbound.
 

Kelite

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Sep 23, 2005
Location
Fort Wayne IN, USA
Peaeri,

You could get some great ideas by browsing the Apollo Playbooks found online-
http://downloads.goapollo.com/Apollo Playbook 2.pdf This particular playbook covers Arsenic & Old Lace, The Odd Couple, The Miracle Worker, and Death of a Salesman-

Again, these playbooks are meant to be used as guides and are not intended to replace the LD's sense of imagination-
 

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