Now that you are aware of five properties of light that you observed in the Properties of Natural Light in the first section of this workshop, and how they interact to create a natural picture or scene, you will be able to use these properties of light using artificial light sources, such as theatre lights, to be a more creative and effective theatre lighting designer, as you use the artificial sources of light in the theatre, to create a scene.
The direction that natural light comes from is dependent on your location, such as Northern. or Southern hemisphere, or if you are outdoors or indoors. If there are suitable rigging points for your theatre lights, you will be able to rig the theatre light so the light comes from the desired direction to recreate the desired scene.
In drama lighting the direction of lighting determines the effect that light or illumination has on the actor. This helps reveal form, shape, atmosphere, mood. Light is not usually visible, nature uses dust and water vapour such as fog, mist and rain to reveal light.
Haze is often used on a stage to reveal the beams of light to give them a dimension.
The intensity of natural light is dependent on a lot of factors such as primary light source, attenuation material of media between the light source and you.
The intensity of conventional lights is usually controlled with a dimmer, when you dim the light, you change the colour temperature. Discharge light sources use a mechanical shutter assembly as the discharge light source has to remain at full brightness, so does not affect colour temperature, but there may be some halo distortion on the fringe of the beam. LED lights use a pulse width modulation dimmer, which may be seen as an interference pattern when viewed using a video or television.
It is useful to be aware of the light source.
Light Intensity is also affected by the lens and the light source, the two main types are Peaked and Flat.
Factors affecting Intensity with moving head profiles are the insertion of a gobo into the light path, which reduces the amount of light and inserting a colour filter, darker colours such as a saturated blue have lower light output than a yellow or straw colour.
In nature, the Shape of a light beam is affected by solid objects blocking the light beam or path.
The shape of an artificial light beam is affected by the lens, any element inserted in the light path such as a shutter, gobo, prism, frost filter or mirror. The sharpness of the shape is affected by focus, which can be manual or motorised.
Colour is what helps determine Mood, Atmosphere, Scene or Setting, Visibility. Choosing a colour can be difficult, so Colour filter or Gel manufacturers provide resources such as Lee Filters The Art of Light http://www.theatrelightingworkshops.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/LEE-Art-of-Light-Brochure-2012.pdf or Rosco Guide to Colour Filters https://us.rosco.com/sites/default/files/content/resource/2016-08/RoscoUKColourFilterGuide10.pdf .
The books provide data on the colour filers and suggested uses.
You can also download Apps for colour filters, but most do not have suggested uses.
Lee filters also have Mood Boards that show suggested complementary colour to help suggest a mood.
In nature, movement of light occurs when the wind moves leaves of a tree, which changes the dapple pattern on the ground underneath the tree.
For conventional lighting, Movement can be achieved by an actor moving through a static light beam that has a gobo in it. As an example, if a leaf breakup gobo is used, the patches of light on the actor look similar to if they were walking underneath a tree. Effect wheels and prisms were developed for conventional lighting to provide controlled movement of the light beam.
Discharge profiles and their modern derivatives use rotating gobo wheels, rotating prisms and effects wheels to produce movement of the light beam.
Page updated 7 March 2023