Stage lighting design

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Stage Lighting Design
Edition 2.d – (1997-1999)
Copyright (c) by Bill Williams


1.01 The Joy of Lighting Design
1.02 Evolution of Stage Lighting
1.03 The Lighting Designer
1.04 Objectives of Stage Lighting
1.05 Qualities of Light
1.06 Intensity & Brightness
1.07 Form & Distribution
1.08 Color, Chroma, Hue & Value
1.09Direction & Movement
1.10 The Language of Light

1. Introduction

One of the most rewarding professions today can be that of the lighting designer working in the arts. It can also be one of the most frustrating professions on the planet.
The lighting designer will never stop learning. Every production or project will present new challenges, new obstacles, newhuman dynamics and new problems to solve. There can and should be many failures along the way. This is part of the artistic process. The lighting designer shouldn't hesitate to make as many mistakes as possible - just don't make the same mistake twice.
There is great satisfaction is designing the lighting for a production that fulfills the needs of the playwright and also meets the objectives ofthe director and other designers. There is however far greater satisfaction in knowing that you have succeeded in your goals and objectives and that you have emotionally 'moved' an entire audience through the controlled and planned use of light.
Stage lighting is no longer a matter of simple illumination as it was less than 100 years ago. Today, the lighting designer is expected to be a masterof art, science, history, psychology, communications, politics and sometimes even mind reading.
The stage designer quickly learns that things are not always what they appear to be. A director who asks for 'more light' on an actor, probably doesn't mean that at all. Instead he really just wants 'to see the actor better'. The designer might chose to reduce the lighting contrast around the actor, orsimply ask the actor to tip his head up a bit. Both solutions solve the problem without 'adding more light'. So the lighting designer also has to be a good listener, a careful interpreter and a skilled crafts person.
Ultimately the lighting designer must be an artist! He must understand style, composition, balance, esthetics and human emotions. He must also understand the science of light,optics, vision, the psychology of perception and lighting technology. Using these tools the lighting designer must learn to think, feel and create with his heart.
When it's good lighting design - you alone will know.
When it's bad lighting design - everyone will tell you!

1. Early Stage Lighting

Stage lighting design is probably as old as formalizedtheatre. The early Greeks built their theatres as open air spaces and orientated them in relation to the sun, so as to use natural light for stage lighting. They would present their plays at different times of day, to take advantage of the different types of natural lighting. This type of planning was in essence, early lighting design. The Theatre of Dionysus (Athens, about 330 BC) and the theatreat Epidaurus (finished about 340 BC) are examples of these early public theatre facilities.
Lighting for the theatre developed over the centuries, using both natural sources then artificial sources. The sun, candles, torches oil, gas, electric arc and lime lighting, all have had a place in early stage lighting. During the Renaissance period in Italy, many of the principals of modern lightingdesign, were firmly established.

2. Modern Stage Lighting

Modern stage lighting design began to flourish with the development of the incandescent lamp in the late 1800's. This invention allowed for the development of small, safe, portable lighting fixtures that could be easily placed anywhere around the stage, and then controlled by a remote electrical dimmer system. Previously during the gas...
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