3rd Edition

A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting

ISBN 9780415812009
Published October 25, 2013 by Routledge
588 Pages

USD $64.95

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Book Description

Combining theory and application, A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting provides a comprehensive analysis of lighting systems along with examples and illustrations of the technical tools and methods used in the industry.

An entertaining and educational read, author Steven Louis Shelley draws from his 35+ years of diverse experience to explain how to get the job done along with real-life examples of projects from start to finish. Learn why some techniques are successful while others fail with 'Shelley's Notes' and 'Shelley's Soapbox,' all with a humor that guides you through complex problems and concepts.

Highlights include:

-Over 100 new topics, including analysis and application of the three categories of collaboration; a detailed examination of production meetings and one-on-one meetings; and meeting checklists with management and the creative team.

-Over 50 new illustrations, including Shelley's Periodic Table of Fundamental Lighting Systems; groundplans, sections, and front elevations that illustrate basic system wash configurations for each direction of light.

-Analysis, calculation, and step-by-step technical construction of each lighting system in the Hokey light plot.

-Explanation of a manufacturer's cut sheet, and how to apply basic formulas to determine the beam size, footcandles, and gel transmission for lighting instruments.

-Updated process of pre-programming computer lighting consoles prior to the load-in.

-Comprehensive overview of archiving paperwork and softcopy for a production.

Students and professionals will benefit from experience-based tips and techniques to prepare and execute a lighting design, along with learning how to avoid common traps.

Table of Contents



Acknowledgments for the Third Edition


Chapter 1: A Review

Chapter 2: Paperwork Overview

Chapter 3: Background Preparations and Preliminary Design Paperwork

Chapter 4: The Parameters

Chapter 5: Create the Preliminary Drawings

Chapter 6: Creating the Preliminary Lighting Section and Light Plot

Chapter 7: Compiling and Sending Out the Shop Order

Chapter 8: Cuts and Changes

Chapter 9: The Light Plot, Section, and Support Paperwork Packet

Chapter 10: The Load-In and Focus Packet

Chapter 11: The Cue Construction Packet

Chapter 12: Prior to the Load-In

Chapter 13: The Load-In and Setup

Chapter 14: The Focus Session

Chapter 15: The Light Cue Level Setting Session and Technical Rehearsals

Chapter 16: The Performance

Chapter 17: Archiving and Final Activities

Appendix A

Appendix B




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Steven Louis Shelley has worked in theatre for over 40 years as a lighting designer, production manager, and stage manager in New York City, throughout the United States, and on four continents. His lighting designs are included in the repertories of many dance companies. He's designed lighting on Broadway, Off-Broadway, as well as concerts, television, regional theatre, and regional opera. Steve is also the inventor and patent holder of the award-winning Field Templates™ and SoftSymbols™ (www.fieldtemplate.com). He is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829.


'Any student or professional seeking to work as a lighting designer in theater or dance should read this book. I've been using this book since the first edition, as it's a wonderful tool for education. This book goes into the details behind the creation of a lighting design. The knowledge you gain by studying this text will free you to create art with your lighting, instead of being caught up in the mundane tasks required to execute a design.'

Stephen Ellison, Lighting Systems Design Consultant

'Steven L Shelley has done it again. After reading the second edition of "A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting" (the only one of its kind), I didn't think there was anything else to say about technically creating a lighting design.

Mr. Shelley has done it! He found more information and better and clearer ways to communicate his ideas. The added graphics help the reader to understand the writing, and they alone are worth the price of the book. He's gone into more depth -- when the reader is finished, they have a greater and clearer understanding of the process involved in creating a lighting design.

They'll also have an easier time working through the process than anyone did before this book was written.

The time Shelley spends with his own stories helps the reader understand why things are done a certain way. They make the reader understand he's a professional and not just someone who is writing a textbook for tenure.

Overall, the third edition of "A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting" is a book that anyone interested in the process of lighting design must have on their bookshelf.'

David Griffith, Educator and professional lighting designer

'...the book presents further value in the latest incarnation. However, be warned...the sheer volume of professional gold within is more than one person can shovel in a sitting...This book could be subtitled "Everything Mr Shelley has ever experienced and thought about lighting in his long and illustrious career."...the whole book is an avalanche of practical advice, notes, tips, pro tips, detail, So much detail. This is the value right here, folks.'

Rob Sayer, On Stage Lighting

'The beauty of A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting has always been that it takes the designer and brings them down to the nitty gritty.  The wonder of the third edition is that you now have expanded resources to communicate not only to the beginning lighting student, but to the 201, 301, and 401 levels as well.  I have students that carry this book through multiple levels of courses and by the end come out with an understanding that is unmatched in terms of executing a comprehensive design from top to bottom.  The expanded sections help clarify complicated concepts seamlessly.  I require this text in all of my lighting classes and the students get so excited to go to conferences and meet "the REAL STEVE SHELLEY" in person.  He's like a super-star to them and this insightful textbook is the reason.'

Ruth Hutson

'Several months ago, I received a call from a university student wanting advice on a career in stage lighting...We discussed approaches to design and useful software, but when she asked what she should read to learn more, I recommended Steve Shelley's A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, second edition. It was the best book I knew about how to light the stage and earn a living as a lighting designer. Now there is a better book: A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, third edition...I would recommend it for any instructor teaching stage lighting at any level. There is a lot in this book that can stimulate thoughts about what a lighting design should be, how one goes about practically realizing a design, and about working as part of an artistic team in a venture that has to fit a budget...it would be a great gift any time of the year, whether for an ambitious student or for yourself.'

Karl G. Ruling, Protocol

'The scope and breadth of the A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition make it equally useful for the emerging young designer needing reference material, the experienced professional looking for new perspectives, and the seasoned designer looking for new tips, reminders of shortcuts, or inspiration to be a little more organized and prepared for the task at hand. The examples of plots, sections, paperwork, cue masters, magic sheets, focus charts, and working drawings are excellent resources. The updates and expansions make A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition a valuable addition to your theatre library, even if you have a previous version of the book.'

Ellen E. Jones, Lighting & Sound America

"A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting (Third Edition), by Steven Louis Shelley, has long been a standard text and reference on preparing lighting designs and creating the paperwork needed to mount a production. In the latest edition, Shelly...zeroes in on communication skills, adding ideas (and checklists) for efficient and productive meetings with both management and creative teams. Also new are 'Shelley's Periodic Table of Fundamental Lighting Systems, ' plus ground plans, sections and front elevations that demonstrate basic system wash configurations for each direction of light. Particularly useful is his explanation of a manufacturer's information sheet and how to determine the beam size, foot candles and gel transmission for various lighting instruments." Stephen Peithman, Stage Directions