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Consultation lighting for an auditorium


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#1 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 10:36 PM

I'm being offered a project to design the lighting for a small auditorium. The client wants to be able to decently capture any lectures/lessons/events they may have in that space. They don't have a huge budget, so I'm thinking I have to transpose whatever knowledge I have of film lighting for stage lighting (as far as technicals are concerned) I've been DPing for a couple of years now, but I have never been tasked with a project like this. I wanted to ask advice from anyone who has had experience doing something like this. How should I begin? What lighting units are more appropriate for this setting? What are other things I should research on concerning the set up that I would not have learned from being a DP on a film set? I know the questions are rather general..I also need to know what the right questions to ask are! :)

Thanks in advance for the helpful advice! :)
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#2 Rob Vogt

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 02:41 AM

Is this going to be a permanent fixture... If so I would look into truss rod support and use Lekos and Par cans hook them up to a DMX controller in the projection room (or some area that's not obtrusive to the audience but you can still see the whole stage.)
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#3 Karel Bata

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:17 AM

This really is 'how long is a piece of string?' Suppose someone asked what you needed to light a film..?

What's needed is a plan of the auditorium with indications of where potential lighting positions are, and some idea of the budget. Do you have the option of adding new lighting supports? Do you need flexibility? Such as will you want the option of hiring in extra lights for events?

I also wonder whether the sound needs looking at.

With stage lighting the ideal is to divide the stage into units, with each unit lit by two front light sources. Each light source arrives on stage from an angle roughly 45 degrees from the stage floor, and are seperated 45 degrees either side of “straight on”. Other lighting angles such as backlight and sidelight fill in, giving the actors on stage some form. Warm and cold colours are projected from opposite sides to create key and fill that can be balanced depending on the scene. These latter lanterns can cover the whole stage. You can forget about avoiding multiple shadows! The basic layout for each stage unit is a bit like this:

Posted Image

but with the frontal angles a lot less severe!

There's a nice guide to lanterns here

I did what you're doing at my old college, using experience I had from working in theatre before, and found myself in the 3D Art workshop learning how to arc weld so's I could turn scaffolding bars into lighting supports - you really do need those angles.

Maybe what you're doing's a lot more basic, but the same basic principles apply. You may find that organising backlight's a pig, but I'm sure you know that even one at a bad angle is better than nothing - just avoid getting it in the audience's eyes!

Good luck! ;)
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#4 Micah Fernandez

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:09 PM

The lighting fixtures will definitely be permanent, perhaps renting additional units for bigger events like concerts. It doesn't have to be as complex as stage lighting for theater productions, though the principles Karel mentioned definition inform my design. A good peg would be a video lecture such as what you'd find on TED.com.(like this for example) I'll also need to reacquaint myself with theater lights. :)

Thanks for the posts. They definitely helped point me into the right direction. I shall be updating/asking more questions as I learn more about the project. Thanks again!

Edited by Micah Fernandez, 02 June 2010 - 09:13 PM.

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New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

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Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly