public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:34 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 5:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 537
Location: New Orleans, LA
As I am aware that we have a Lighting Designer on board, I am very curious about what kind of career preparation a lighting designer has to go through. Can we get some enlightenment on this from our esteemed colleague?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 12:52 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Good question. I hope Salzberg, LMCtech or BabsLights will jump on this!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 8:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Oh, Lord, where to start?

You've opened the door for my perennial rant about the state of lighting design education in America.

Most university theatre programs in this country are turning out what I call "tech jocks"; they know all the technical information, but aren't being taught the art. They're being taught:

Photometrics (how to calculate how bright and how wide the light from a given fixture will be at a given distance)

The types and properties of various lighting fixtures. This is both a progressive and a cumulative process: progressive because the technology is continually changing (although it tends to have a spurt every 10 years or so) and cumulative because there are still a lot of really old fixtures out there -- I regularly work with new, modern fixtures and with 30-year-old (or older) technology, often on the same show.

The mechanics of color mixing, without, necessarily, more than a cursory glance at the psychology of color.

In addition to the above, here's....

...What they should be being taught:

Principles of composition. These are the same for all design forms, including visual arts and choreography, and include unity, harmony, balance, contrast, proportion, and emphasis.

Art and music history. It's annoying to see a production of Fiddler on the Roof when the set and lighting designers are obviously totally unfamiliar with the work of Marc Chagall.

Script and movement analysis -- how to look at choreography and text and glean lighting ideas. I once saw a dance that was full of water images...and was lit in yellow. Yuch.

Use of metaphor.

How to work and play well with others. The late Gilbert Hemsley called this the "Pistacchio Nut Theaory of Lighting".

...And (the most important):

How to work organically. Every element of the physical production should somehow be based on the source material -- the choreography and/or text. Nothing annoys me more than a young designer who tells me, "I've got this great idea and I'm going to use it on my next show." I always ask, "How do you know? How do you know it'll be appropriate?" I usually receive, in reply, a blank look.

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I feel better now.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 9:29 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 537
Location: New Orleans, LA
It sounds, from what you've written, as though mechanics are prized above aesthetics. Extraordinary the parallels, aren't they? Would there seem to be any back-to-basic values movements in the profession brewing out there?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 9:56 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Originally posted by librarian:
It sounds, from what you've written, as though mechanics are prized above aesthetics.
In many cases, yes. In others, it's self-expression being valued to the expense of collaboration (both are important).

Quote:
Would there seem to be any back-to-basic values movements in the profession brewing out there?
I can't speak for anyone else, but for myself it's not so much a case of going "back" to basics as it is of never having left them.

Most lighting design texts teach that there are 4 functions of stage lighting: visibility, mood, plausibility, and composition. I teach (when I'm teaching) two others: reinforcement (of themes, imagery, and focus), punctuation, and revelation of form.

The relative importance of these 7 functions changes from piece to piece (and often within a piece) but almost always, the two most important are visibility and reinforcement. These, to me, are the basics.

<small>[ 11-20-2002, 11:38: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 12:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 717
Location: California
Jeff, how can I intern with you?? :)

I love the art of lighting design. I'm 45 years old, been around the block, undertand about 'grunt' work, so I won't give you(too)much trouble.

The info you've presented is right on and invaluable.

Best,
DH


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:34 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Well, the next time I'm working in northern California, I'll take you up on that.

Of course, if you haven't yet, you might first want to read our previous thread on interning:

On Becoming an Intern

<small>[ 11-20-2002, 15:35: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 5:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
I knew I'd leave out important things....

Design students should study history. Many plays -- and quite a few dances -- are set in specific periods; others are inescapably the products of their time (Arthur Miller's The Crucible and Kurt Jooss's The Green Table come to mind).

They should study the other design disciplines. As a matter of fact, each design student should design an actual production in each discipline (although I pity the dancer or actor who has to go onstage in a costume I designed).

Business. Many designers wind up being self-employed freelancers. Business courses would be good.

There are times when I feel that a course in Abnormal Psychology would have been helpful, too.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Salzberg wrote:

Quote:
There are times when I feel that a course in Abnormal Psychology would have been helpful, too.
LOL! Lately, I'm feeling I need a course in it, especially having to deal with stay-at-home (read: jobless) board and committee members who have too much time on their hands!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 12:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: SF CA
This is advice from a dancer, be nice and love your lighting designer, without him you are in the dark.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 12:25 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
But lighting designers, beware of Lucy. I quote her:

Quote:
Once during a performance of Rodeo I took an entire light boom on stage with me. It had caught on a rip in my costume. I could not understand what was preventing me from making my enterance in the Hoedown, so I pulled with all my might and heard the loudest crash of glass. I guess I was alot stronger than I thought. I had been asking them to fix that loose hem, needless to say they got right to it.
More in the Anxious Moments? thread.

PS - Why do you think she's called Lucy? ;)


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucy:
This is advice from a dancer, be nice and love your lighting designer, without him you are in the dark.
I was once joking with a dancer friend, who made some sort of wisecrack. In a mock stern voice, I cautioned him to be careful, to which he replied, "What are you gonna do, turn off the lights on me?"

Me: I have something I can do that's much worse than turning off the lights too soon.

Him: What?

Me: I can leave them on too long.

<small>[ 11-21-2002, 02:01: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Lucy, that never should have happened. The boom should have been counterweighted (or screwed down) at the bottom and tied to the grid at the top.

Quote:
But lighting designers, beware of Lucy
I ain't afeerd of her; see my comment in the post above this one.

Quote:
PS - Why do you think she's called Lucy?
Because "Linus" was already taken?

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Ooh, Salzberg, you can be so cruel! Which reminds me, when a certain ex-SFB principal pulled a... well, "Lucia Lacarra"... by remaining on stage to receive applause even after the lighting was dimmed on her, the spotlight didn't come back up for what seemed like an eternity. But when it came back on, there she was, in the same spot, milking the applause.

I'll Lucy answer the questions about the boom and her name!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Lighting Designers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Originally posted by Azlan:
Ooh, Salzberg, you can be so cruel!
Consider it "tough love".

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group