the 9 square grid


It seems like many of the people here are a fan of the 9 square and one warm/one cool light per square method. I already made one post asking about the warm/cool part of the theory but now I have a question about the 9 square part.

So when a director wants you to split the stage into left and right halves what do you do? I realize it's not hard to light the stage this way but I don't know how it is possible while using the mcandless theory. How do you divide 9 squares into halves?

I ask because this is the third play that i've worked on where the director wanted to split the stage into halves and every time they ask me this I just end up ditching the mcandless method and using two elipsoidals per half (just talking about front lighting right now, and for a 30ft wide stage)

so what do you do in this situation? Divide the stage into a grid of 12?

btw, this is all just out of curiosity to see what other techies do.


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mcandless is a fine place to start when you're considering the basics of light design. When you want to grasp the concepts and the application, etc. But in the real world, you design to the shows needs. You bring to it an understanding of light design, but you design to the show.
Do you really think there are a bunch of light designers with a stack of photocopied grids?
Of course, it's a totally usable and valid theory, but there is no practicle sense in coming to every design with that as your starting point.
Sure, an LD will use the idea in the design, but only because it works, not because it's the holy grail. What I mean is pehaps they'll use 4 squares if the nearest hang points are 150' away (amphitheater).
I can only speak for myself, of course, and those I've worked with, but you only bring that method to design when you need to. You do what works. That method is a way of making a design efficient, in my mind, but if it doesn't work, why the heck would you use it?
Go ahead and split up the stage in two, the mcandless method is a guide for understanding the nature of light design, but it certainly isn't a rule.

EDIT: ok, i sort of had communication constepation, I found a better way of saying it:
There is however a systematic approach that was proposed by Stanley McCandless
it's systematic. Mccandless didn't invent anything, he just packaged it very nicely, and first I might add.
If a teacher is insisting you use it, no matter what, they are wrong. I think they definitely should teach it first and force you to understand it, but only to gain an understanding of the nature of designing. Once you've tackled it, move on and experiment.

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