schools for lighting

koncept

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Mar 6, 2005
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I have a friend who is interested in becoming a lighting designer, i am not sure if that is something you do by gettting a general technical theater degree or something different, so i told her i would ask what you guys think is a good school to do that at. Any sugestions would be great.

Thanks in advance guys
 

Inaki2

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Nov 27, 2003
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Chicago, Illinois
Well, there are schools like Full Sail, which is all rolled into one (sound, light, video and more) or there are lighting design degrees in certain colleges. Depends on what she's looking into.
One offers a very hands on approach, very practical. The other offers a whole lot more theory on lighting design and she'll end up being a true lighting designer, although maybe not as comfortable with the "real world".
 

wolf825

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koncept said:
I have a friend who is interested in becoming a lighting designer, i am not sure if that is something you do by gettting a general technical theater degree or something different, so i told her i would ask what you guys think is a good school to do that at. Any sugestions would be great.

Thanks in advance guys
Many colleges out there--some specialize in departments of theater like lighting, and some do general theater degrees.

Many to check--depending on location and key interest. Try North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA), Also USC and many Universities in New York and Chicago, Wash DC and Maryland..

If she is looking to teach or end up at a university later on in life--she should plan to get no less than a Masters...

-w
 

Inaki2

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Chicago, Illinois
Hands on I think Full Sail is the only one around.
Theory:
City University of New York (New York City College of Technology)
University Of Nevada, Las Vegas
North Carolina School of the Arts
University of Virginia
Carnegie Mellon University
University of California, San Diego
 

jonhirsh

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Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
Hey as i understand it at full sail you become a technician who can fix any problem you are able to set up a huge rig and trouble shoot it. and then you can pull an all nighter and program that show.

That is not what a designer does. iff you wannt to go the route of being a designer you should either get realworld experience by aprenticing with designers. or you can go the Degree route there are many colleges and universtys that offer programs. the one i will be at in sept is www.calarts.edu you can check out here in canada many great schools for design such as the National school of theatre in montreal this is an amazing school for art.


if your freind wants to be a designer full sail should be an affter thought, as a post degree opertunity. if you want affterr your degree you can take just the lighting portion for fun thats like 3 extra months of training.
but rigging a show and programing is not what the designer does, what it does do is gives the designer the expericance of what types of fixtures are out there . I always say the best designers are the ones who know every aspect of every job they are designing for.

sory for the long post as usual
Jon Hirsh
 

Inaki2

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Chicago, Illinois
True, thats why I marked out the difference. My previous degree is in Electroacoustical Design, which was 99% theory and physics. Full Sail is where I get to play with the fun toys :)
 

jonhirsh

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Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
Sory guess i didnt read carfuly enough but ithink the reason i saw it as i did was because you call it hands on which it is but you didnt point out that its hands on programing not design now i understand that people that know about full sail can make the destinction but if you have never seen there literature or understand there concepts then you could be misslead.

some people work better hands on but hands on programing and hands on designing are quite differnt and dont get me wrong i come from a programing backround and hope to do the 3 months at full sail when i graduate to further my knoweldge but to novices the distiction of the two parts of the field are necesary.

JH
 

Inaki2

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Location
Chicago, Illinois
3 months?
Yeah there is some design in Full Sail, but it is mostly aimed at rock. One of the first core classes (the second one actually) is mostly theatrical design, but thats it.
 

Sam_

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Feb 22, 2005
Most of the graduates of the technical theatre department in my school (Ours is kinda unorthodox, we have whole departments for different art areas. Dance, instrumental, vocal, tech, acting, musical theatre, visual, etc. etc.) go to the top schools for design in the nation.

I've heard good things about:

Carnegie Mellon
SUNY purchase
Yale
Calarts
Syracuse
DePaul

More will come to me I'm sure. If your friend wants to be a lighting DESIGNER meaning lots of drawing and light plots, color theory, etc. Then she'll need a full portfolio with all of her best work including plots, concept sketches, channel hookups, etc.

However, if she prefers the physical work and perhaps lightboard operation a specialized school is not nearly as necessarily. I've had lots of friends who enjoy the technical aspects of theatre and they make a good living. All depends on what you want to do.
 

ship

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Illinois
Lots of good schools out there, some are famous like Yale or SUNY purchase and the rest of the top 10 list, others like Ithica in Illinois just have good programs, and graduates from it I have never been short of impressed with.

Speaking of DePaul, I was reading in PLSN that they recieved a large grant from Martin including moving lights and training. Over the years I have met many people from the program especially from the acting side of it. They in tech were while not trained in excess were certainly compitent, but this was a few years ago.


This would be as opposed to what ever school High End supports in ?Texas, or no doubt a college ETC supports in Wisconson, and a college in Arazona with a Full Sail like tech production program but with a ?BA or BFA. I know also the place I work is starting to work a lot with the local university at our new shop, but it's going to be years before results show up in the program having any real changes.

Other Schools as a constant running post, there is lots of them and lots of past posts about them here, on the net or in published guides, and posts on how to choose a school that's right for you.

I'm from Illinois State University along with a few others at the shop, it was right for me but with all schools what's right for one person might not be right for another person. ISU as opposed to U of I Champaign, was always considered a more backwater program and school. Than again with U of I as premere in the state, there is tales about fighting to get classes you need. This also as opposed to SIU in past posts that while certain teachers from the program are or in retiring were very well respected, it's program was still less than desired it would seem for the student that went there.
 

soundman

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Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
I was talking with the LD for wisconsin singers two years ago when they came to our school. FYI WS is a group fo kids from UW-Madison that go around the state and do a high energy song review with dancing and a full band. But I stray, She said that they were some times used as a testing ground for ECT great because when you get out you will be one of the few that knows the gear but bad because its your head when it locks up mid show. I do now know to what level they got things and regretfully I did not get in to the program.
 

Drmafreek

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Mar 12, 2004
Location
New Wilmington, PA
I believe that if you want to design, you should have a basic knowledge of theatre as a whole. A general technical theatre degree is a great start. From there you can assist or appentice a lighting designer or go to grad school for your MFA. I've worked with too many designers in all areas who don't understand the other areas of design. They tend to be the hardest people to work with.

On a side note, Ship, didn't realize you're from ISU. I work at Illinois Shakes Festival during the summer. Great place to work, and their grad program turns out some pretty respectable people.
 

Inaki2

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Nov 27, 2003
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Yeah that is true. I just happen to have worked so much I don't need (and probably couldn't take) classes on thatre and working with other departments. I'm by no means the know-all end-all about it, but I can get my way along any production.
Still its all true, a technical degree is not a design degree. I evaluated it, but to be honest I couldn't see myself spending 4 more years in college, I already have 3, this will be mi 4th, its enough.
 

Lupus

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Aug 17, 2005
Location
Somewhere in Australia
Are they restricted to studying in the states or are they willing to go abroad? Australia offers a particularly complete course in lighting design (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) and although they only take about a dozen student per year they would be keen to have a student from overseas join the team.
 

MSwan

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Jun 18, 2005
Location
NYC, USA
If you want a 4 year degree (BFA in this case) and you want to get lighting theory and get to assist and design on shows then you should check out North Carolina School of the Arts http://www.ncarts.edu/ncsaprod/designandproduction/
You spend your first year getting to know all the areas of theatrethen your other 3 years you focus on your chosen specality. In the lighting track you will work the following positions: first year - carpenter, electrician, and stitcher; second year - Assistant Master Electrician, Master Electrician, and possibly Assistant Lighting Designer for drama or dance workshops; third year - assist 1 or 2 shows, design 1 or 2 shows, and possibly be Production Electrician for a show; your final year will be like your third year show wise except you will be in bigger spaces. You will proably only be a Production Electrician once between the third and fourth year but if you want to be a designer it won't matter anyway. The program will have you doing real designs that you get to see on stage and work with other designers on as well as doing a lot of theoretical designs that you will never see on stage merely discuss in class. The school has 4 spaces that it does shows in, it keeps the spaces full most of the time and each show only goes into a space for 2 to 3 weeks, so during the course of a year there are plenty of shows to go around.

Just my 2 cents worth. I think NCSA is a great school (I went there so I may be baised). It is a state school so its not super expensive, it has all the performing arts so you get to work on traditional theatre, dance and opera. It is solely an arts school (so if you want frats, and a football team its not for you).