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Lighting Placement help


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I work in a School, and have recently been given the task of looking after the Lighting in our main hall/performance space. The stage is a fairly large size (approx 10m x 7m), and I have a small number of fixtures available to me. What I would like to achieve would be to be able to have a nice Wash of light with 4 zones. It would also be nice to try and have some colour washes. We also have a 4k projector which we use to project onto the rear wall of the stage.


The fixtures I have available to me are:

  • 4 x Source 4 Profiles
  • 4 x Prelude profiles
  • 6 x par 64
  • 4 x coda floods
  • 10 x Strand Fresnels (4 with barn doors, 4 with gel holders)
  • Cyc bar

I have done a lot of reading and research into the basics of stage lighting, and have a better understanding now, than when I first started. My ideas would be as follows:


  • 4 x Source 4 profiles in a FOH position, all on the same side, to cover 4 areas of the stage.
  • 2 x Fresnels FOH on the opposite side to provide some fill light.
  • 2 x Fresnels at the back of the stage to provide a backlight.

That is as far as I got really, and then started to thinkg about using the other fixtures to try and create some colour washes.


Does anyone have any other ideas of what they would do with the available fixtures?






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Your initial ideas sound like video/tv lighting which is commonly key/fill/backlight. At the basic level stage lighting is normally equal from each side and you only start with backlight when you have managed to cover all the areas with front light. So you would probably split your profiles 2 of each type on each side, maybe with some fresnels depending on how far away your FOH positions are.


Can you post some photos of the space? or describe where the lighting bars are?

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Thanks for your feedback so far. As I said, I am new to this, so it sounds like I am going in the wrong direction completely!!


Here is a plan of the space showing the lighting bars. To give you an idea of scale, the bars around 7m high, and the first set of FOH bars are about 7m from the front of the stage.



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If this venue is Hans Price Academy in W-S-M, there are a few of us here on the forum based nearby and perhaps it might be worth seeing if one of us could stop by for half an hour to discuss the best way forward. Sounds like you've already learned quite a lot and are maybe just looking for confirmation that your ideas will work. PM me if you wish.
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Looks like a nice venue, and there will no doubt be lots of opinions as there is no one "correct" way to light it.

The main thing is you should be trying to light every point on the stage from at least 2 angles.

So I'd be putting the Source 4's 2 either side on the FOH bar nearest the stage, covering the left/right sides of the stage so each side is lit from both ends of the bar (i.e. Left/right/left/right)

The preludes could be used for specials (lectern spot from 2 sides) or to light additional areas

Use the fresnels mostly on stage. Maybe a couple out front to fill.


Use the pars for colours, either from behind (deep colour backlight can be effective) or out front. Obviously you can't set the beam angle on the pars so they can give quite patchy lighting unless you can get them in the right place.



edit: If someone on BR is close and can advise in person that's even better.

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Tim's right - if there are members who'll come in take the offer. Otherwise I'd put all the profiles on the FOH bar you could then light the four areas by the usual method of light from two angles. It's worth bearing in mind that the first aim is to make the action visible and this is the best way to do this. Every book will give you the basic guidance - from McCandless onwards. That leaves four ways on the front bar. Use these for four of the fresnels for fill and wash. I'd agree with Tim's suggestion of using the rest on the stage. In reality in small instalations like this there will be limited scope for specials etc. I hope without any confidence I have to say that the panels shown behind the T60 are not one of those lockable acoustic room dividers? If it is you will have masking problems. Also source, if you can, barn doors for all the fresnels and enough colour frames for at least two per lantern.
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Yes, as others have posted, stage lighting should generally be at least approximately symmetrical with similar numbers and types of lanterns on each side of the stage. In contrast to most film or TV lighting when a significantly greater intensity is required from one side.


I would not routinely put lanterns of one type to the left, and a different type to the right, and if this WAS exceptionally needed for a particular production, I would restore a symmetrical arrangement afterwards.






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Hi All,


Thanks for your kind offers of help and advice.


I take on board all of you points, and have got a better idea of what I am going to do:


  • 4 source 4's (2 either side) on FOH bar to give 2 zones on stage (left and right)
  • 2 Fresnel's on the FOH bar to provide some extra fill
  • The preludes are going to be used for lectern spot and centre spot on stage.
  • A couple (??) of Fresnels used for backlight

That then leaves me with all 6 Pars, 4 floods, 6 Fresnels.


What would people recommend I do with these? Can I use the floods to provide some colour wash as well as the pars and the other fresnels? And what positions would people recommend to get a nice wash of a few colours?


Thanks for all your help so far!






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Typically the coda floods could be used to light a back drop for a school play / concert so as a default position they might be best rigged one bar down from where that would be hung. They would be of limited use as wash lights as you have little control over the area they illuminate. Off topic for someone in your position I would suggest looking at the website http://www.onstagelighting.co.uk/ if you haven't seen it already.
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Sounds good so far

You'll need to use the other fresnels on the stage bars to light the mid and rear part of the stage properly, again trying to cover each part of the stage from 2 sides - the profiles from FOH will only cover the front part of the stage due to the vertical angle. I wouldn't try for backlight at first as I think you'll need all the fresnels to cover the stage properly.

I would also use the floods as vertical light on the stage for "non theatrical" stuff such as music concerts and speech days etc.


I'd use the pars for colours as they have a nice intense beam - I'd put them on the outer ends of the stage bars pointing across the stage. You have probably only got enough for 2 colours, I'd go for a cool (blue) and a warm (amber) but don't get anything too deep or you will lose all the light.


This is what lighting guru Francis Reid called a "square one" rig which gives you a good starting point for all types of event. You can modify it as necessary for special events, then set it back to "square one" afterwards so when they suddenly decide to have an event in the hall the lighting will be in a suitable state to be used.

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Thanks so much. Things are starting to make more sense now!!


We don't really use any backdrops, as we have a pretty decent projector that we use to project backgrounds onto the back wall of the stage, which is actually very effective!


Okay, so with the fresnels, you would use them in pairs lighting from the 2 angles again. Im thinking to use the bars nearest to the front, and then the middle set of bars.

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Okay, so with the fresnels, you would use them in pairs lighting from the 2 angles again. Im thinking to use the bars nearest to the front, and then the middle set of bars.


Yes, on the first stage bar (usually called no.1 bar) I'd go par warm, par cool, fres1, flood,fres2,fres1,flood,fres2,par cool,par warm

So the fres1 lights would light the left side of the stage and the fres2 lights would light the right side hopefully without a dark patch in the middle.


Then same on the middle bar.


Your drawing says these were only 8 circuit bars and that's 10 lamps so you would normally use 15A splitters and extension cables to pair up lights which are lighting the same area. You may or may not have these available.

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So what Tim is saying is that you need to make a detailed inventory before you start so you can check if your thoughts are feasible - a BR visitor can help here as well:


  • What lenses are fitted on the profiles (which dictate how large or small the beams will be)?
  • What models of Fresnel have you got?
  • Have you got lamps (bulbs) in everything + some spares? Are the right lamps fitted in everything now?
  • Do they have all the necessary accessories? Gel frame for each one, 4 x shutters for each profile and barndoor for each Fresnel.
  • Do the lanterns have a power plug which matches the sockets on the bars?
  • What lamps are in the parcans (which dictate the bean size) - you can tell this by looking at them: the most common being 1kW MFL which looks like an old car headlamp).
  • How many dimmers are there?
  • What lighting control do you have?
  • What loose cabling extensions and adapters have you got?
  • What gel stock do you have?
  • How do you access the lighting bars for rigging and focusing?

If the lanterns belong to this venue, and weren't just moved here from somewhere else, then you should be OK although some of the lanterns are much earlier than the drawing suggests the venue might be?


The more you know about the venue the easier it will be to get it right first time. Things which are missing you should be able to raise as a business case for the school to provide.


Good luck. Take up offers of help especially someone physically coming to the venue to have a look.

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