Welcome to the Learn Stage Lighting Podcast and in today’s episode, Troy and I will be discussing how do you create a truly unforgettable environment with lighting?
When reflecting on past events, there are some that really stand out in my memory and that’s what we’re going to unpack today. What made those events so special and unique from lighting perspective?
Main Segment (0:17)
How Do you Get Started?
David: A question I wanted to get started with is when you are hired, how do you look at a stage and the venue you are working with?
Troy: The first piece I look at is how to compliment the venue with lighting and that’s where I get started. This could even include what type of event is it and what does the audience expects.
David: On a smaller scale when lighting a band for example, what would you do in a setup that wasn’t able to use any overhead lighting?
Troy: So, on a small scale I would first start with is the front wash and backwash. But to add more to it, I like to use side wash and even some upwash on the floor behind the artist.
This gives the opportunity to reduce your front and back wash but with the side and upwash you can still see the artist while creating a very cool look to the stage.
Going Beyond Lighting the Stage
David: While the stage lighting and setup are very important, you can create a unique show by lighting entryways and parts of the venue that might not necessarily be the stage. But in a way compliments the venue without overpowering it.
Troy: Absolutely, there are a lot of things you can do like lighting the pathways, entryways, and so on.
David: You’ve mentioned there are some instances that you only use some of the lights and not always going to the full.
Troy: Yes, I get to work with a lot of bands and the first thing I like to do is to listen to their music and get a feel of what emotions the music brings. Sometimes, it’s totally cool to start with song one on all cylinders. But there are some bands that we can build up the lights as we go along.
It’s saving some of those lights for later on the show and making a huge impact on the stage. Deducting the lights in certain songs can be used as good lighting and enhancing the lights for more impactful lighting.
Taking the Time to Prepare
David: You may have seen 21 Pilots, their lighting gets used in many examples of ways to use unique lighting. What do you think are some differences between those who design lights to go with the music versus those who create unique lighting.
Troy: It’s easier said than done especially with all of the tools sitting in front of you. But to me, it’s all about intentions which come along with preparation and practice.
Practice running your lights along with the band and that’s always a great way to make adjustments.
David: That’s a great point. While as you know there are last-minute jobs that come in and there’s just not enough time however, there are some instances that you have the opportunity to take the time to think through the audience, the experience, and the lighting.
Troy: For you, what do you think makes a great lighting experience?
David: Yeah, so for me I was thinking more about the environment surrounding the stage. Ways to go beyond the stage and create an experience for the audience.
Using lights for the stage but using some of those lights to light the pathway, the entryway, and other parts of the venue that would compliment the stage.
Troy: Also, you can work with some really awesome people who know exactly what they want and what they’re hoping to see.
Those people are really fun to work with and you hope that they like your ideas and together you can create a good show.
David: Ultimately, it comes down to knowing what is expected and taking the time to practice, and making the absolute most of it.
Working with a Small Stage
David: A topic we’re covering on Youtube is working with smaller venues and stages. From your perspective what do you look for when creating lighting for a smaller stage?
Troy: I try not to look at it as a small stage but instead take what I would use for a big production and reduce the equipment to use that for a smaller venue.
I think of the stage as a frame and consider the different ways to make the lighting great for that frame. There are some really cool ways to even do some custom LED strips that would work for a smaller stage.
David: Absolutely, there are some really cool things you can do with a smaller stage and something I try to remind people is that you don’t need bigger and brighter lights to light a smaller venue.
Thank you for joining us today and Troy we appreciate you coming on the podcast to help bring some different perspective.
We’ll see you guys in a couple of weeks!