Greatest Stage on Earth: “Rule #1”

What is Lighting Rule #1?  Always light the talent. It doesn’t matter how flashy your show is if the talent is in the dark. What is Lighting Rule #2?  Rule #1 applies to your show too.

Whether you’re lighting a corporate meeting, a rock concert or a church pulpit; your client has to be visible.  This is especially important in the HOW market and the interaction it creates with the congregation (the audience).

The preacher at most house’s of worship (HOW) has the goal of connecting on a personal (and to some degree emotional) level with the congregation.  To facilitate this, he must be properly lit.  The goal is to create an imposing, but not frightening, image that will help him to inspire his audience.  The best way I have found to accomplish this is to fall back on the McCandless Method.

The McCandless Method stated simply is to light your subject from opposing angles with a warm color and a cool color.  This magnifies the natural shapes of the face and increases the depth that the eye sees.  In its most basic form, it can be accomplished with two leko’s: One gelled Lux 302 and one Lux 53 (my defaults, you can pick any warm and any cool).  The more color you add, the more dramatic the look will be.  If all you have is PAR can’s you can still get it done, just buy narrow lamps next time around.

The addition of a dark blue or purple back light can also drastically increase the presence of the talent on stage.  It will fill in the shadows and give tone where there was none.  It’s one of the first tricks you learn in theatre. In the best of all worlds, use the same method to cover the entire stage. It’s the same design 80 to 90% of professional theatre’s use every day.

OK.  So what’s Rule #1?  Always light the talent! Remember this and the rest of the gig will be a breeze.  Mess it up, and it doesn’t matter if you have the best light show in the world, you’ve missed the target.

Coming next time: How to use color to set an emotional tone.