STAGE LIGHTING DESIGN PRINCIPLE AND PROCESS
Functions of Stage Light • Visibility: “ If you can’t see ‘em, you can’t hear ‘em” • Selective Focus: Allowing the audience to see only what they are supposed to see. • Modeling: Revealing the three-dimensional form • Mood: • Composition through the use of the “four qualities of light” (Intensity, Color, Movement, and Distribution). • Mood is the most difficult and misused function of stage light in that it can overpower the other functions (there should be a balance). • Contains the designers’ visual concept and interpretation.
Traditional (MacCandless) Method • Goal/Objective: general and even illumination of the principle acting areas of the stage. • Division of acting areas into lighting areas.
Traditional (MacCandless) Method • Five light sources per lighting area. • Overlapping of beams to compensate for instrument characteristics. • Blending of complimentary colors to achieve white light (early process before quartz light).
Traditional (MacCandless) Method • Four steps towards completion of design: • 1. General Illumination of the Acting Area • 2. Use of Color Washes for fill and mood • 3. Use of Specials to focus on specific moments as dictated by the script and rehearsal. • 4. Illumination of off-stage or secondary acting areas to compliment the action of the play.
Traditional (MacCandless) Method • A few more tips: • Lighting areas are generally 8-10 feet in diameter. • Odd number of areas are used downstage to prevent dark areas.
Traditional (MacCandless) Method • Ideal angles are 45 degrees above the horizon line and 45 degrees either side of center.
Motivational (Natural) Approach • Developing the Lighting Plan(s): • use “Lighting Sources” (practical and implied) in the stage setting to establish the quality of the light for the Lighting Plan (intensity, color, movement, distribution). • Placement of “Lighting Sources” in relation to how the actor is using the stage setting is important in developing the Lighting Plan. • “Lighting Sources” should in-turn appear to influence the movement of the actors. • Remember: In life behavior is influenced by light…therefore you plan, to appear natural, should reflect human behavior.
Motivational (Natural) Approach • Continuing to Develop the Lighting Design: • Layering Lighting Plans to accommodate shifts in mood and composition, or time or place. • Overlapping Lighting Plans from different scenes, looks, locales, etc. • Use of KEY, FILL, BACK, RIM and TOP lights to accomplish the Lighting Plan
The Principle Differences • The difference between the two approaches is that the “Motivational (Natural) Approach begins with natural sources and expands to fill the acting space. The Method Approach begins with a general illumination and expands to meet the specific needs of the action of the play. • The Natural Approach offers a more effective composition as it’s based on practical and implied sources. • Both approaches can work on the film location as well.