The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Design Issues and Solutions Uninviting Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by soundman1024, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver
    I'm looking for a bit of lighting design advice here. This is the first time I've done any designing, and I'm not even the designer technically--but the designer knows less than I do. I'm helping out with a production of Fool for Love by Sam Shepherd. The show will be presented in a small venue. (seats for under 100) The acting will take place on the floor from wall to wall with the audience on both sides of the performance area. The performance area is probably about 20' by 10'. Here's a little picture just to make sure it's clear.

    ----------------
    ----audience----
    ----audience----
    acting.......space
    acting.......space
    ----audience----
    ----audience----
    ----------------


    Lights will be hung about 12-15 feet high, and can be positioned virtually anywhere such that they aim straight down at a 0° angle above the acting space all the way out to a 70° throw towards the audience on the opposing side. The biggest constraint in terms of positioning is that the acting space goes to the wall on each side.

    ---

    The task I'm looking for help with is developing a lighting plot in which nothing is inviting and there is an atmosphere of tension. The acting area is to be a hotel room. I've got the following ideas in my head, please tell me if I'm on the right track, or if I'm going to need some serious re-direction.

    1) I'm thinking about a three-point setup with some extra cool fill. I would be looking to use 3 frensel-style fixtures (or just something with a fairly wide angle and hopefully soft light), one by the wall centered above the acting area, then two a few feet from opposing corners of the room to create a triange. See the L positions I added.


    ----------------
    ----audience---L
    ----audience----
    acting.......space
    Lacting......space
    ----audience----
    ----audience---L
    ----------------

    I'm looking to compliment that with two lights that have blue gels to make a pentagon shape. Think about where the u on audience is. The motivation for this is to make sure the ungelled lights aren't too warm and inviting, and to provide possibly needed fill light. With the audience all around I do have concerns with shadows.


    2) Idea two is a bit less ironed out, but basically just find some place to put some lights that gives sufficient lighting for the room, then in the corners of the room put some lights with blue gels. This is a bit of a McCandless motivated idea in terms of position, but I'm thinking the warm gel that McCandless calls for wouldn't fit as a)being in a hotel room there's no reason to emulate the sun b)a warm gel is often associated with pleasing--not what I'm looking to create. I've considered suggesting 3 blue lights and 1 super-saturated red to try to emphasize the tension.


    ---

    Does it sound like I'm on the right track? Does idea one or two sound better--or another idea that I didn't have?


    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    89
    Occupation:
    truck driver
    Location:
    perth W Australia
    As it's a hotel room how about a practical overhead light or even a fluoro?
    The problem I see with your plan is the probability that you are going to blind your audience, I would suggest lighting from each end of the acting area so as not to blind the audience and use the prac as justification for the light and fill with your fresnels in different pastel colours.Please no red.
     
  3. Sony

    Sony Active Member

    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    96
    Occupation:
    Freelance Electrician/Rigger
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    The second idea would be better and is generally referred to as a "Double McCandless" design or sometimes even a "4-point system". However I would not go with 3 blue lights and one red...there are much better ways of getting tension out of a scene. You can still use a warm gel...but I would recommend instead of using your normal amber, shift it to an amber that is more towards the red side of the spectrum but not a lot...subtlety works well.

    One of the best ways to convey tension is by separation, instead of lighting the whole stage have a couple pools of light that the actors who are at odds with each other move around in and face each other but never in the same pool (unless of course they are like face to face) and try to tell the director to base the blocking on this if that is what he/she wants.

    Sharp focus and sharp angled shutter cuts also work well, as well as also odd shapes made out of light such as non-regular trapazoids and such. If you want vibrant colors then try and keep it in your downlight and off the actors faces unless you need it for dramatic effect. Maybe have your downlight as Leko's with really vibrant reds and casting shapes on the floor in pools of light or highlighting something on stage.

    Just some idea's of what I would do.
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    The main thing for me when I do uninviting/tension is high angles (the higher the better) and sharp, in focus instruments. But looking at this for too long can just be annoying, not tension filled.

    Do not use red/blue on opposite sides unless you are going for a very ugly look. If you have to do Red and Blue and mix then do overheads. Otherwise just choose the color you want (I don't see red unless you are in Hell, just kidding, there is a time and place for red but you have to be very careful with it, just like straw and pale green).

    Just my thoughts.

    Mike
     
  5. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver
    Thanks all! I think I'm going to suggest a 4 point setup with a pool of light near the door on the set. Usually there is tension by the door.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,447
    Likes Received:
    1,849
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Stupid sound people... always inviting the lighting crew to a party and then telling them they can't come...

    You might want to play with light greens and R99. I have seen some great stuff done in this way.
     
  7. lazor

    lazor Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I just had to put in that I agree with the R99. I've used it in some great scenes that needed to be not quite right. It's something to defiantly play with. Color can do fantastic things in an audience's mind.

    Sarah
    Theater Manager/ Lighting Designer
     
  8. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Pale greens can be fun when used sparingly. Good call.

    Mike
     
  9. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver
    Well, the show happened a while ago. I finally remembered that I promised some show pictures. I'll quickly tell the tale of how it all went first.

    It started off on the wrong foot when the LD showed up for dry tech about a half hour late. I had my sound system set up already (it's a black box theatre, nothing is installed) and was gaff taping down my last cables when he got there. I asked him if he needed any help with anything. He didn't really answer. The dude showed up to dry tech without a light plot.
    After the director let him know that he wasn't going to be hanging or focusing any lights without a plot he set out make a light plot. The problem with that was he didn't know how to make one. I haven't made one before, but I got him started. After he took his time carefully detailing where all the pipes are located relative to the acting space he threw some lights onto his plot and showed it to me asking me what I thought. I asked him where he was pointing the lights. Back to the drawing board.
    We eventually ended up with the space lit in 3 4 point systems, 2 warms, 2 cools per area. All of those lights were rather small frensels, but I don't know the exact size. We used one ellipsoidal for a special on the old man. We also used 2 scoops with deep blue gels for moonlight. The show had a pretty good run -- and a perfect run technically. As far as show drama goes, this show was pretty extraordinary. Leads in jail, foreman of the show for years got fired, breakups, engagements, far more things than I would feel like typing out. There was a different crisis (and by that I don't mean minor things, I mean things like the blocking for the end of the show can't be done yet because the set isn't built and we open in 2 days kind of crisis) every day starting 5 days out from opening night, and ending 3 days into the 4 day run.

    As promised, photos from the show. First link here is to a few unedited straight out of camera jpgs that have obviously been taken during rehearsal.
    Picasa Web Albums - soundman1024 - Fool for Love...

    And here are the photos I added to my flickr account that have had quite a bit of post processing. I would have just linked to these, but with all the editing doesn't make it too easy to tell what the actual lighting was like.
    Flickr: soundman1024's stuff tagged with foolforlove

    Thanks again to all who helped out with this. The lighting we ended up with worked out very well in the end, and I don't think the same could have been said without the help from the people here. Much appreciated all!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice