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Lighting Tutorials

Designers on color and gobos.

Angle And Texture Of The Lighting Helped Tell The Story - And Differentiate Between Two Worlds
Kate Leahy

"The play, The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde has been described as both 'achingly beautiful and incredibly violent.' When I lit the show for a production at the University of Texas, I wanted to support both extremes when needed. The design enhanced the beauty of the violence and let us see the ugly cracks in the beauty."

See how Kate Leahy did it

Telling The Story By Changing The Colors On The Cyc
Alesanndro Carletti

The opera is set in a modern, floating harem called the "Palace." The boat could rotate 360 degrees giving the public many different view points. It was almost inevitable that we used the PVC cyclorama to suggest the psychological states of the characters and the time of day while following the music, libretto and the stage direction. The cyclorama lighting changed constantly and in order to illuminate it I used several different types of luminaires, HMI, Incandescent, all high output because the PVC cyclorama was very large. It was a great challenge to reproduce the colours on the cyclorama that I had envisioned. Many of the colours that I used were very saturated because the opera is a satire and presents strongly contrasting characters.

See how Alesanndro Carletti did it

 
HMI Lekos, Incandescent Sources, Rosco Gels And Gobos, Dimmable Fluorescents And More...
Japhy Weideman

The set for the opera "Bluebeard's Castle consists of seven secret doors of light, each symbolizing a dark secret for King Bluebeard's past. Each of the doors are opened and closed during the one-act opera. The designers' challenge is to provide a rich environment that seamlessly shifted color and depth with the opening of each of the doors.

See how Japhy Weideman did it

 
Daylight Throughout The Show - What Colors Would You Use
For "No Color" Lighting?

David Warfel

David Warfel's lighting for "Misalliance" needed to create a bright afternoon in an English country house. Sounds like "no color lighting" should be the answer.

But great designers make thoughtful and subtle color choices. Warfel's rationale and six different Rosco colors in what might have been a "no color" scheme resulted in captivating visual images.

See how David Warfel did it

 
Using Color To Create Two Worlds
Declan Randall

A new opera, "Winnie", tells the story of Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela.

The opera, which premiered in Pretoria, South Africa, tells this complex story through music, libretto, settings...and light. The lighting designer, Declan Randall, helped create the world of Winnie Mandela testifying at the government's commission (The "Now" World) and the world of her memories (The "Past" World).

See how Declan Randall did it

 
What Roscolux Color Can Do For Dance Programs
Susan Hamburger

Lighting dance programs requires designers to sculpt the dancers' bodies, evoke varying moods, deal with varying costume colors and skin tones and, most of all, help tell the story.

That's why Susan Hamburger's color choices for the remarkable Urban Bush Women dance company offer a condensed Master Class for lighting the dance.

Take this Master Class and see how Hamburger's thoughtful analysis lead to breathtaking lighting design.

See how Susan Hamburger did it

 
Five Hours, Five Directors, Five Styles How Do you Light It?
Sarah Sidman

Sarah Sidman has faced many challenges when lighting for projects in London's West End, or the Sydney Opera House or Moscow's Taganka Theatre or several Off-Broadway venues in New York.

But "The Lily's Revenge", a five act, five hour production with five different directors was unique. In Sidman's words: "the lighting style and particularly the color selections had to be flexible enough to reflect all the different choices that went into building this complex show, act by act, as the Lily takes his journey."

See how Sarah Sidman did it

 
How Color Helps To Tell An Epic Story
Marcus Doshi

Color has many functions on stage. One of them is to help tell a story. Marcus Doshi used an ingenious selection of Roscolux and E-Colour to tell an epic Cambodian dance story to an American audience. The color choices and the stage pictures they created, along with Doshi's commentary, are worth a look.

See how Marcus Doshi did it

 
Splashy Or Classy?
Herrick Goldman

Transforming Venue With Color, Gobos And Projectors. See how to use lighting to design your event.

See how Herrick Goldman did it

 
Combining LED Fixtures And Rosco Color In A Spectacular Production
Thomas Hase

Many productions nowadays use some combination of LED fixtures, PAR cans, lekos, moving lights and other lighting instruments. The challenge for the designers is not so much the quantity of the light, but the quality of the light, particularly the color.

See how Thomas Hase did it

 
Film Noir Lighting In The Theatre
Traci Klainer

A limited off-Broadway budget dictated using spotlights and striplights as the basic building blocks for lighting the play. But the imaginative use of carefully selected Roscolux colors advanced the action and helped tell the story effectively.

Here Klainer describes how she and the rest of the creative team generated noir-like stage images for the Off-Broadway play "The Asphalt Kiss."

See how Traci Klainer did it

 
Lighting Aerialists, Puppets And The Sahara Desert
Jeffrey salzberg

The lead of the piece is a puppet, The Pilot, who, having crash-landed in the Sahara at the dawn of aviation in the 1920s, struggles to survive. Flashbacks to happier days featuring the two aerialists offer consolation and inspiration before his eventual rescue by Bedouins. The 90-minute show required 150 lighting cues.

Here Salzberg describes the color he used in specific situations and what he was trying to achieve.

See how Jeffrey Salzberg did it

 
Creating Rooms, Locales, Moods and Textures With Gobos
Herrick Goldman

An off-Broadway musical presented an unusual challenge to the creative team. It had to take the audience through 18 songs and 37 different locales in about 90 minutes. All this on an off-Broadway size stage and off-Broadway size budget!

Herrick Goldman's imaginative use of standard and custom gobos helped accomplish this remarkable feat - and offered the audience a dazzling array of stage pictures.

See how Herrick Goldman did it

 
Using Color To Create An Uncomfortable Atmosphere
Keith Parham

Lighting designers are not usually asked to create an uncomfortable atmosphere on their stages, let alone provide a sickly hue to he actors.

But that was exactly what Keith Parham needed to do in the key scenes of The Adding Machine: A Musical. His thoughtful use of color kept the audience - and the actors - in tune with the shifting moods of this Off-Broadway hit.

See how Keith Parham did it

 
Using Color and Gobos In Event Lighting
Al Crawford

When you produce events for the same attendees in the same venue, an imaginative use of color and gobos can make each event brilliant in its own unique way. Lighting designer Al Crawford succeeded in doing just that for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre...and the venue was a tent! Crawford also has some important things to say about how and why he chose these expendables for the results he wanted.

See how Al Crawford did it

 
Using Color and Design To Create Location
Thom Weaver

Color is often used to help provide a sense of the play's location. That's what lighting designer Thom Weaver did for a production of "Villa American". He also has some important things to say about how he used Roscolux and Rosco gobos effectively on a cyc.

See how Thom Weaver did it

 
Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell
Ben Stanton

The Cyc was made of white, crumpled notebook paper and lighting designer Ben Stanton needed to use that surface to evoke a time of day, or a part of the country or support the emotional energy of the text for "Spalding Grey".

Stanton used the directionality of the fixtures, plus an artful combination of color and gobos to get it all done.

See how Ben Stanton did it

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