Technical Production - Lighting

Knowledge of lighting rig/plot: (by rigging we mean putting up the lighting; the plot is the pattern of how and when the lights will be used throughout the piece). You should in your research portfolio show a knowledge and understanding of rigging and how to plot. You should also have a final plot and cued-up script.

Use of colour and different lighting effects: you should use a minimum of four colours/effects and a minimum of eight lanterns to achieve this.

Accurate operation of lighting board during performance: you need to operate the board live.

Creativity in design: you need to demonstrate an understanding of how lighting contributes to the overall performance, i.e.: mood, time, place, etc., being as creative as possible in their design.

Collaborative skills: you should be part of the whole process and understand the importance of your role in the bigger picture. You need to be able to work with others; compromise, and your performance should make a telling contribution to the overall piece.


To be successful

Advice or tips to help you


· Rigging the lights

· Decide where the lights should go as this is your responsibility

· Each performance needs a plan for the lights. Lanterns can be moved to create the best effect for the performance.

· Have a clear drawing to show where each lantern should go

· You are not expected to rig the lights, but you do need to tell someone where each lantern should go. A clear drawing of the position of the lanterns shows that you are aware of the effects you want in your performance.

· Plan the effects that you want your lanterns to create

· No drawing means that you have not planned the effects that you want. Check your plan with the teacher. Are you using 8 lanterns? Can you create 4 different lighting states from the eight lanterns? What are they?


· Plotting the lights

· Understand how the lighting desk works

· It's essential that you spend time with your teacher looking at how the manual desk works. It has 2 sets of faders - Deck A & B and two masters - one for each deck. It also has a grand master. Does your manual desk have any effects like a timed change of cues button or a flash effect? Do you need to use them in your performance?

· Make a list of which lanterns go on which channel

· Decide which lanterns will work on each channel. This will help you create your cues list and give you a sense of development in the performance. This information will also help your presentation.

· Consider what to do if you don't have enough channels

· Do you need to double up or use some grelcos (multi plugs for lights) or aloha packs to ensure that you have enough channels?


· Use of lanterns

· Use at least 8 lanterns

· 8 lanterns is the minimum. If you can't use 8 lanterns then you won't be able to sit this element of the examination.

· Show how different lanterns give different effects

· Try to use different lanterns - spots have different effect to Fresnels, and PAR CANS only shine in one direction. Think of the effects you want your lanterns to achieve on stage.

· Ensure that your lanterns are working correctly

· Lanterns not working will not light the stage correctly. Spare bulbs are handy. A bulb can blow at any time so make sure that you have spares to change before the performance begins.


· Use of lighting desk

· Ensure you can use a manual board

· Ask your teacher to show you how a manual board works.

· Use deck A & B

· There are two decks on a manual board which means you can prepare the next cues without changing the state that is on at present. Make a cues sheet that takes into consideration which deck you will be using.

· Ensure you know about intensity of light

· Each fader has a number 1 - 10. If you think that 10 is 100% then you can work out the percentage of light that you need for each lantern. When you are happy with a state, put it on your cues sheet with a percentage intensity for each lantern.


· Use of colour

· Use 4 different colour effects

· Colours can help create atmospheres. Be specific in your choice of colour for you performance. Basic ideas are that blue can be something cold or night, with green showing envy. Red of course is anger or passion, but yellow could mean friendship. Again, be specific.

· Consider what emotion or atmosphere you need to create

· Deciding on what emotional reaction you want from the audience can help you decide what colour to choose for different aspects of the performance.

· Avoid using too much colour as it can hide facial expressions

· Watch the intensity of your light. Consider that you might need to add some front of house facial lights to help show the facial expressions of your performance. Also watch shadows on stage because these can also hide the performers' facial expressions. Your job is to enhance what is happening on stage, not distract from it.


· Use of lighting effects

· Decide whether to use Gobos

· Gobos are metal disks with shapes cut out of them; shapes such as windows and trees that you can place inside a spotlight and create an effect on stage. You can also add a colour to help with the atmosphere.

· Consider whether to use an animation disk or MAC lights

· An animation disk sits at the front of a spot and is a motorised gobo. So your gobo will rotate, creating an effect on stage. A MAC lantern is a computer light which you can programme to move and has internal gobos and colour to add effect to your performance. Your teacher will have to teach you how to programme one of these and they do not always work on a manual board - you might need a computer board.

· Remember that projections can be used as lights

· You can use projections over the actor as a lighting effect, especially if they are wearing a light-coloured costume.


· Research into the style of lighting

· Watch similar productions to see what effects you could create.

· You need to do a presentation before the performance, so if you can show some research into similar uses of lights or lighting effects, it will show how creative you are.

· Research different timings for lighting effects

· By knowing the atmosphere that you are trying to create you will be able to feel the speed that the lights need to change. You might go to blackout first or you could even crossfade. You might just point some lights in specific areas to focus the action on stage. So researching different timings for lighting effects will be useful.

· Remember that lighting does more than light up an acting area

· Yes, lights light up the acting area, but they also create the atmosphere and focus the audience's attention. What do you want the audience to feel? Where do you want the audience to focus their attention? Your lighting design will help with that.


· Timing of cues

· Ensure that all cues/lighting effects happen on time

· The timing depends on the atmosphere that you are trying to create. So a slow crossfade will help the audience consider what has just happened on stage.

· You could ruin a performance by not putting your cues up at the right time. A performer could be waiting for a lighting cue which does not arrive and then he/she does not come on stage. Remember you are part of the team to make a successful performance.