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The Lighting Designer

The Lighting Designer (LD for short) is a much coveted position. You probably think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not. Really.

The Process

1. The LD meets with the rest of the production team during production meetings to determine the overall design concept of the show.

2. Then the LD does research with their ALDs to gather inspiration for the design.

3. For the first several weeks a show is in rehearsal the LD attends design runs and works with the director to determine the nature of the design. During design runs, you should take notes on the blocking, keeping in mind if you will want any specials for specific moments in the show.

4. The LD then usually makes a light plot, which a program such as Vectorworks (free student download HERE) can greatly help with (some LDs prefer a less organized method of hanging lights on the fly without a light plot, which is not recommended). If you do make a light plot, print it out before you begin hanging lights. If you ask Ben a few days in advance, he can print it on large paper for you. Then, starting the Monday before tech (can be good to start a bit earlier too), the LD comes into the space when the cast is not rehearsing (11pm-2am is a prime time for light hangs) with an electrics crew to achieve the following before tech:

–Hang the lights

–Cable the lights to dimmers in the space. Make sure you mark on your plot which dimmer each light is plugged into.

–Focus the lights (also involves dropping colored gels into the lights)

Make sure you coordinate with the PM when you will be in the space so you don’t end up with the set designer trying to paint stuff while you need it dark in the space.

During paper tech, which is usually the Friday before a show opens, the LD works with the SM and Director (and Sound Designer) to mark exactly where in the script each light cue will go. This isn’t set in stone, but the more specific you are, the smoother dry tech will be. Before dry tech, the LD should make sure they have done the following things:

1. Patched all the dimmers into channels on the lights board

2. Set up a tech table with the lights board and monitor

3. Printed a copy of the Channel Hook-up. Email Ben for a blank Channel Hook-up.

During dry tech, the light designer works with the director to program cues into the light board. By the end of dry tech, you need to have every cue in the show programmed. ASMs act as stand-ins for actors during dry tech, so you can see what the lights look like on people.

Wet tech the next day involves adjusting and fine tuning the cues to the presence of the actors. It is also a chance for the SM to get a chance to call the cues and get a feeling for their timing. You typically run wet tech “cue-to-cue,” meaning you jump from light cue to light cue, running the transitions.

The LD should be present at every run during tech week to take notes and further adjust cues.

The LD job is a very time consuming position for a little less than two weeks, but extremely rewarding. You get to pick pretty colors! And program special effects into the light board! It rocks, believe you me.

Useful LDing links
PW's light inventory and other light information

Want to be contacted to LD a show? Email expressing your interest.

If would like to know more about LDing or have any questions, email Ben.


lighting_designer.txt · Last modified: 2014/04/30 12:41 by bchesler
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