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The Theory and Practice of Stage Lighting Gordon Hughes SCDA Workshop – Feb 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The Theory and Practice of Stage Lighting Gordon Hughes SCDA Workshop – Feb 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Theory and Practice of Stage Lighting Gordon Hughes SCDA Workshop – Feb 2010

2 Background These slides were originally used for a workshop at St Serfs Hall given in Feb 2010 for the SCDA. These slides were originally used for a workshop at St Serfs Hall given in Feb 2010 for the SCDA.St Serfs Hall SCDASt Serfs Hall SCDA The workshop was highly practical, and the slides only indicate the structure of the talk, rather than a complete training course. The workshop was highly practical, and the slides only indicate the structure of the talk, rather than a complete training course. After the talk this presentation has been extended to include other useful information in line with the discussions at the workshop. After the talk this presentation has been extended to include other useful information in line with the discussions at the workshop. The dominance of Strand equipment in the presentation reflects the equipment available in Edinburgh Theatres. The dominance of Strand equipment in the presentation reflects the equipment available in Edinburgh Theatres.

3 Contents Introduction Introduction Theory of Stage Lighting Theory of Stage Lighting Coffee Break Coffee Break Lighting Design in General Lighting Design in General Lighting for the SCDA 1-Act Festival Lighting for the SCDA 1-Act Festival Questions and Wrap Up Questions and Wrap Up

4 Introduction Stage Lighting has been around since the beginning of theatre, and used the lighting technologies of the period Stage Lighting has been around since the beginning of theatre, and used the lighting technologies of the period Sun Sun Candles / Fire torches- floats Candles / Fire torches- floats Oil / Paraffin Oil / Paraffin Gas- size of lighting bars Gas- size of lighting bars Electricity Electricity

5 Process Flow for Show Lighting

6 Resources Equipment Equipment Budget (money) Budget (money) Time (design time + theatre time) Time (design time + theatre time)

7 Equipment Resources Theatre lanterns available Theatre lanterns available Lanterns owned by the theatre Lanterns owned by the theatre Group or Personal lanterns available Group or Personal lanterns available Borrowed or Hired lanterns available Borrowed or Hired lanterns available Number of dimmers + control circuits available Number of dimmers + control circuits available Other equipment required Other equipment required Accessories (depending on Lantern) Accessories (depending on Lantern) Coloured Gel Coloured GelGel Rigging equipment Rigging equipment Cabling + Adaptors Cabling + Adaptors

8 Types of Lantern Flood Lights Flood Lights Par Cans (and Birdies) Par Cans (and Birdies) Par Cans (and Birdies) Par Cans (and Birdies) Spot lights Spot lights Soft edge – Fresnel Spots Soft edge – Fresnel SpotsFresnelFresnel Hard edge – Profile Spots (fixed or variable) Hard edge – Profile Spots (fixed or variable)Profile PC Spots and Beam Lights PC Spots and Beam Lights Intelligent Lights – multiple controls per lantern Intelligent Lights – multiple controls per lantern LED based technology LED based technology Moving Head and Moving Mirror Moving Head and Moving Mirror Effects Effects See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_lighting_instrument See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_lighting_instrumenten.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_lighting_instrument

9 Flood Lights Optical system of Lamp + Reflector Optical system of Lamp + Reflector Covers a wide area Covers a wide area Limited control over shape/area covered Limited control over shape/area covered Good for Good for Colour washes Colour washes Lighting cyclorama (from top or bottom) Lighting cyclorama (from top or bottom) Working lights Working lights

10 Examples of Flood Lights Old Strand Patt Patt 60 + Patt 49 Old Strand Patt Patt 60 + Patt 49Patt 137 Patt 60 Patt 49Patt 137 Patt 60 Patt 49 Newer Strand Coda/Nocturn 500/1000 Newer Strand Coda/Nocturn 500/1000Coda/Nocturn 500/1000Coda/Nocturn 500/1000 Grouped together to form Battens for lighting cycloramas or acting area washes Grouped together to form Battens for lighting cycloramas or acting area washes

11 Par Technology Par Technology Appeared during the 1970s when range of sealed lamps with Parabolic Aluminium Reflector were developed. Appeared during the 1970s when range of sealed lamps with Parabolic Aluminium Reflector were developed. Made popular with pop concerts, then started to appear in theatres Made popular with pop concerts, then started to appear in theatres A cross between a flood light and spotlight A cross between a flood light and spotlight Asymmetric bright region Asymmetric bright region Different sizes and powers available Different sizes and powers available

12 Examples of Par Lights Par 64 – 1000W Par 64 – 1000W Par 56 – 500W Par 56 – 500W Par 16 – Birdie Par 16 – Birdie All lamp sizes available with different beam angles All lamp sizes available with different beam angles Now available with LED based white lamps Now available with LED based white lamps

13 Soft Edge Spot Lights Addition of a low quality lens Addition of a low quality lens Light gives a bright area and a spill area Light gives a bright area and a spill area Control over area covered by moving lamp position relative to the lens Control over area covered by moving lamp position relative to the lens Bright area can be shaped by barn doors Bright area can be shaped by barn doors Used for general lighting Used for general lighting In larger theatres also used with wide angle beams like flood lights In larger theatres also used with wide angle beams like flood lights

14 Examples of Soft Edge Spots Old Stand : Patt 123, Patt 223, Patt 743 Old Stand : Patt 123, Patt 223, Patt 743Patt 123Patt 223, Patt 743Patt 123Patt 223, Patt 743 Newer Strand : Patt 803 Newer Strand : Patt 803Patt 803Patt 803 Recent Strand : Prelude F, Cantata F, Recent Strand : Prelude F, Cantata F,Prelude FCantata FPrelude FCantata F (also Quartet F, Harmony F, Alto F, etc.) Quartet FHarmony FAlto FQuartet FHarmony FAlto F Many others makes including CCT Focus Spot range Many others makes including CCT Focus Spot range

15 Hard edge Spot Lights Profile spotlights Profile spotlights Better optical system to give a well focused beam Better optical system to give a well focused beam With multiple lenses can give variable beam With multiple lenses can give variable beam Accessories such as Iris or Gobo or shutters Accessories such as Iris or Gobo or shuttersGobo Used for: Used for: Highlighting action Highlighting action Projection of gobos Projection of gobos Follow Spots Follow Spots

16 Examples of Hard Edge Spots Old Strand: Patt 23, Patt 264, Patt 764 Old Strand: Patt 23, Patt 264, Patt 764 Newer Stand: Prelude, Cantata, Alto, etc. Newer Stand: Prelude, Cantata, Alto, etc.PreludeCantataAltoPreludeCantataAlto Prelude 16/30 + Prelude 28/40 at St Serfs Recent Strand: SL range Recent Strand: SL rangeSL rangeSL range (fixed and variable beam models (e.g. CHT)) ETC Source 4 – more modern profile range ETC Source 4 – more modern profile range ETC Source 4 ETC Source 4

17 Other types of Spotlight PC Spotlights use a Prism-Convex lens and can offer a wider range of beam angles. The Festival theatre has some, as well as a number of schools, but they are not common. PC Spotlights use a Prism-Convex lens and can offer a wider range of beam angles. The Festival theatre has some, as well as a number of schools, but they are not common. Beamlight or Pageant lanterns give a very intense soft edged beam of light. Adam House Theatre has some old Patt 58 ones. Beamlight or Pageant lanterns give a very intense soft edged beam of light. Adam House Theatre has some old Patt 58 ones.Patt 58Patt 58

18 Intelligent Lights - LEDs Allows colour change control + flashing Allows colour change control + flashing Many options available for number of control channels used Many options available for number of control channels used E.g. E.g. 1 – Red Intensity 1 – Red Intensity 2 – Green Intensity 2 – Green Intensity 3 – Blue Intensity 3 – Blue Intensity 4 – Preset colour settings 4 – Preset colour settings 5 – Strobe Control 5 – Strobe Control 6 – Sound to Light control 6 – Sound to Light control

19 Intelligent Lights - Movers Moving Head Moving Head Moving Mirror Moving Mirror Come in soft and hard edge versions Come in soft and hard edge versions All use multiple control channels All use multiple control channels

20 Lighting Effects Mirror Balls Mirror Balls Fire Flickers Fire Flickers UV Tubes and UV Spots UV Tubes and UV Spots Disco Lights Disco Lights Practical Lights (e.g. Standard Lamps) Practical Lights (e.g. Standard Lamps)

21 Process Flow for Show Lighting

22 Requirements Read the Script Read the Script Discuss with Director Discuss with Director Discuss with Designers (esp Set Design) Discuss with Designers (esp Set Design) Results of Research into time or location Results of Research into time or location

23 Constraints Limited Number of Circuits Limited Number of Circuits Limited Number of Lanterns Limited Number of Lanterns Limited Power available (per dimmer) Limited Power available (per dimmer) Limited Power available (total) Limited Power available (total) Limited Budget Limited Budget Limited (unrealistic) time schedules Limited (unrealistic) time schedules Communications Issues Communications Issues

24 Outputs from Design Process Lighting Synopsis – what effects and moods are required during the show Lighting Synopsis – what effects and moods are required during the show Lighting Plan – Lighting Plan – what lanterns are required what lanterns are required where are the put where are the put what will they do what will they do what colour will they be what colour will they be what accessories are required what accessories are required

25 Making the plan a reality Physical/Engineering Physical/Engineering Rig – mount on the rig (2 mounts/lantern) Rig – mount on the rig (2 mounts/lantern) Cable – connect each lantern to a dimmer Cable – connect each lantern to a dimmer Colour – Add colour and other accessories Colour – Add colour and other accessories Artistic – likely to need input from director Artistic – likely to need input from director Focus – Make each light point as required Focus – Make each light point as required Plot – record all states required for by show Plot – record all states required for by show

26 Effect of Angle of light The angle at which the light points towards the actor or the stage will affect the mood created by the lighting (examples in reference books) The angle at which the light points towards the actor or the stage will affect the mood created by the lighting (examples in reference books) Beware of actors facing downwards where all the lighting is from above, e.g. most raised stages where audience look upwards Beware of actors facing downwards where all the lighting is from above, e.g. most raised stages where audience look upwards Remember to consider where the spill from the light will fall (examples of effects from the recent drama festival) Remember to consider where the spill from the light will fall (examples of effects from the recent drama festival)

27 General Lighting Idea of Splitting the stage into areas and lighting each area with one or two spotlights depending on resource. Idea of Splitting the stage into areas and lighting each area with one or two spotlights depending on resource. 9 Areas (3 x 3) typically used at St Serfs for SCDA Drama festivals. 9 Areas (3 x 3) typically used at St Serfs for SCDA Drama festivals. Floods or Pars to produce colour washes Floods or Pars to produce colour washes

28 Specials A special is any light which is used for a special purpose, usually a special effect, in other words that is not part of the general lighting. E.g. A special is any light which is used for a special purpose, usually a special effect, in other words that is not part of the general lighting. E.g. Highlighting actors or items of set Highlighting actors or items of set Projecting images such as gobos Projecting images such as gobos

29 Historical Bibliography 1930s 1930s C H Ridge and F S Aldred: Stage Lighting Principles and Practice, Pitman 1935 C H Ridge and F S Aldred: Stage Lighting Principles and Practice, Pitman s 1950s S Selden and F S Sellman: Stage Scenery and Lighting, Harrap S Selden and F S Sellman: Stage Scenery and Lighting, Harrap 1960s 1960s F Bentham: The Art Of Stage Lighting, Pitman, 1968 (2 nd ed 1976) F Bentham: The Art Of Stage Lighting, Pitman, 1968 (2 nd ed 1976) 1970s 1970s R Pilbrow: Stage Lighting, Studio Vista, 1970 R Pilbrow: Stage Lighting, Studio Vista, 1970 F Reid: The Stage Lighting Handbook, Pitman, 1976 (2 nd ed 1980s) F Reid: The Stage Lighting Handbook, Pitman, 1976 (2 nd ed 1980s) 1980s 1980s T Streader and J A Williams: Create Your Own Stage Lighting, Bell & Hyman, 1985 T Streader and J A Williams: Create Your Own Stage Lighting, Bell & Hyman, 1985

30 Other Information on line Wikipedia: Stage_lighting_instrument Wikipedia: Stage_lighting_instrument Wikipedia: Stage_lighting_instrument Wikipedia: Stage_lighting_instrument The Strand Archive The Strand Archive The Strand Archive The Strand Archive Beware that some on-line resources use American terminology which does sometimes differ from European terms. Beware that some on-line resources use American terminology which does sometimes differ from European terms.


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