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Topic: Pdf or books about theatre lighting
Message: Posted by: magicodine (Sep 11, 2014 09:10AM)

do you know of any pdf, book or resource I could have a look at to find out more about lighting in theaters?


Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Sep 15, 2014 11:26AM)
Unfortunately, a lot of the more recent material on stage lighting seems to be geared towards the equipment itself, instead of how to use it to create drama. There are any number of "lighting designers" out there who know how to hang and control the stuff, and how to use the latest toys, but, from their work, you have to wonder if they know anything about theatrical lighting. It's sad, but it's a reality. I know -- I'm a set designer and have worked with a number of these folks.

For me, the best book ever was Jean Rosenthal's "The Magic of Light," which is about the theory, but applied to the real world. Jean was a top lighting designer back in the 50s and 60s. Also, the chapter on lighting in Robert Edmond Jones' "The Dramatic Imagination" is also excellent as far as applying theory to the real world.

There are some good books on amazon, but you want to be careful to choose what you're really interested in -- the equipment itself or how to design theatrical lighting. Read the descriptions and reviews carefully. Then you can do what I do sometimes -- request the book from your local library. That way, if I really like it, I buy it; otherwise not. European theatrical design has been way ahead of American design for decades, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were books on your side of the pond which are not available here.
Message: Posted by: magicodine (Sep 15, 2014 12:37PM)
Thank you so much!!!! great advice!
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Sep 15, 2014 02:23PM)
If you want a quick, cheap (read: free) intro to stage lighting, check out my three articles on it here in the Café, in the Buffet section, under "Notes from a Designer's Logbook." Enjoy!
Message: Posted by: chmara (Sep 15, 2014 04:06PM)
The library theater section should have some -- or be able to swaoo them in. ALSO TRY THE LOCAL JR. COLLEGE OR COLLEGE THEATER DEPARTMERNT. Once you know the basics -- tying them to illusions becomes daily easy with some thought. Remember too, lights can be used to hide as much as they reveal -- even shining some into the audiences eyes,
Message: Posted by: AndrewSherwin (Nov 23, 2014 12:01PM)
I bought the following book a number of years ago, when I was directing a play (non-magical) in the West End of London... I figured that with a fairly prestigious setting, I might as well try and understand how I wanted to get my ideas across.

For the, the book was an exceptionally good read. It didn't get too bogged down in technicalities (DMX etc), but did give me a sound understanding of achieving fairly good lighting architecture. Therefore, a good book for somebody with minimal knowledge of light and light design!

Message: Posted by: magicodine (Nov 23, 2014 01:36PM)
Message: Posted by: chmara (Nov 23, 2014 06:33PM)
I feel compelled to suggest that with all the changes in lighting technology swapping the ease of handling with LEDs and movable (automated) lighting instruments with that of older incandescent stage lighting professional (heavy) equipment, you expect, for first class results, to have to pay for and use several generations of expensive LED instruments, or use less expensive "old fashioned" incandescent specialty luminaris (pin spots, LEKOs and zoom spots) and an inexpensive duplex control system if you must have results today and not wait.

Otherwise - get a good DMX board and controllers (not cheap) and only get the best and brightest (accent on brightest) LED instruments you can. Build your theatrical lighting effects into your show as you can afford them. This recommendation is based upon years of fooling with lights on the road, running into power feed problems, blown fuses, supplying my own grids and stands and setting up in weird places. It includes buying (and using) reconditioned used equipment from New york's Broadway Theaters along with hundreds and hundreds of feet of properly rated electrical cords and cables, as well asthousands of feet of gaffers tape.

Then, I would suggest, as the new brighter color balanced LEDs drop in price and come on line a lot of power supply problems will be solved and DMX as a movable light controller standard becomes much less buggy and problematic than in years past, make a transition from old stuff.

A number of computer control programs to interface with your lighting board and audio cue system also exist now and can hone the look of lighting technical expertise. I have seen none of the computer systems however, that are scalable taking into account proscenium length, light height and position, especially for movable spotlights and lighting intensity setting. At present resets still are manual in these programs.

Having said that - I would warn against using cheap DJ style lighting unless you only expect to use it in small venues and never expect to get professional brightness from the instruments. Or, become a DJ only covering a dance floor.