Lighting for Televised Live Events
Making Your Live Production Look Great for the Eye and the Camera
Lighting for Televised Live Events unlocks the science, art, philosophies, and language of creating lighting for live entertainment and presentations that work for the television camera as well as for the live audience.
The book explores how to retain the essence and excitement of a live production while assuring that the show looks its best on-camera for the millions of viewers that can only see it on their TV, computer, tablet, or mobile phone screen. Readers will learn how to adapt an existing stage show for the camera, as well as how to design live entertainment or events specifically for TV. Filled with real-life examples and illustrations, the book covers a wide range of topics, including:
- how exposure and color work for the camera;
- how angle, visual balance, and composition can make people and backgrounds look their best, while preserving theatricality;
- information on camera equipment, screens, and projectors, as well as the control room environments that are found on a professional shoot;
- the unique challenges of lighting for the IMAG video screens used at festivals and concerts.
Lighting for Televised Live Events is aimed at lighting design students, as well as professional designers that are considering a career — or a career expansion — in television. It is an essential resource for any stage lighting designer whose show may be shot for a television special or a live webcast and who will be asked by their client to collaborate with the incoming video team.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Science 1. Introduction: Making Your Live Production Look Great for the Eye and the Camera 2. Exposure 3. Contrast in Lighting 4. Dynamic Range 5. Balance 6. Color and Color Temperature Part 2: The Art 7. Angle 8. Composition 9. Depth of Field 10. Aesthetics: Style and Taste Part 3: The Equipment 11. Contrast Ratios of Displays 12. Digital Cameras and Projectors 13. Projection Screens and LED Tiles Part 4: The Production 14. Adapting the Live Show 15. Content Video
James L. Moody was the Head of the Technical Theatre Program, Technical Director, and Lighting Designer for The Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College (A Professional Conservatory Program). Considered one of the founders of concert lighting, he received the first Concert Lighting Designer of the Year award from Performance magazine in 1980.
Jeff Ravitz is a lighting designer, lecturer, and writer specializing in live entertainment and events being captured for television broadcast and streaming. He was awarded the Primetime Emmy® for his lighting of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City on HBO, and was previously nominated for Cher’s Extravaganza: Live at the Mirage. He has also received ten regional Emmys® and four Telly Awards for television designs, and was named a Parnelli Lighting Designer of the Year.
"I was first asked to adapt one of my stage productions for broadcast in 1982, long before the Internet or the availability of any book on the subject on theatre to television lighting. Luckily, I found a team of willing colleagues who worked in television to advise and counsel me. Arriving on site, however, I still had to confess to the video engineer that I was new to this, although ready, of course, to learn on the job. Thanks to some generous designers and patient engineers, my first broadcast production looked really good, and I have gone on to light a long list of stage productions for television and film. If, for my initiation, I had only had access to Moody and Ravitz’s Lighting for Televised Live Events (Routledge, 2021), I might not now have as many gray hairs. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, live streaming is making its demands on lighting designers, and this new venue will remain a part of our professional future. For that reason alone, this detailed and practical text should be part of every lighting curriculum and in every designer’s library. All of us working in live entertainment will be busy for some time, adapting our work for broadcast. We will be prepared."
Ken Billington, Tony Award- and Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway lighting designer
"An incredibly well written and thorough text authored by two masters of light. The authors clearly explain advanced technical concepts with a very easy, almost conversational style. They also include many excellent color photographs and graphics that beautifully supports the text. A very timely and needed resource for lighting students and professional lighting designers."
David Martin Jacques, Professor Emeritus, California State University Long Beach, Co-host of Light Talk with The Lumen Brothers
"Lighting for Televised Live Events is an invaluable resource for lighting designers, and especially for theatrical lighting designers who find themselves adapting their designs for the world of film and television. This book will equip the young, and established theatrical designer alike with a clearer understanding not only of the needs of a videographer, but for ways that they can make their designs more viable for the camera. Jeff Ravitz and Jim Moody explain highly technical information in a clear and usable format without sacrificing the designer’s eye for the needs/aesthetics of a production. As a professional lighting designer for theatre and dance for over 25 years, and a professor of theatrical lighting for over 20 years, I will integrate this wonderful resource into my classes and my professional design work immediately."
Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz, Lighting Designer/Professor, Head of Lighting and Associate Head of Design for University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine)
"Incredibly helpful and so well written! I cannot thank the authors enough for creating this resource for new designers like me who want a better understanding of how to make stage lighting and television lighting coexist, as the two worlds intersect more and more."
Hannah Kerman, 2021 BFA graduate of the lighting design program at Carnegie Mellon University
"The book is filled with lots of information that one would expect from a work like this, but it’s also sprinkled with practical advice that I’ve not seen in other books. […] Moody and Ravitz are very accomplished in their profession and they could easily rest on their laurels and be very proud of their achievements. The fact that they chose to put in writing their vast knowledge and experience in order to share it and hand it down to future generations speaks volumes. […] Don’t pass up the opportunity to benefit from their knowledge and experience. This book is highly recommended for anybody in the entertainment lighting field."
Richard Cadena, Lighting&Sound America, author of Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician Third Edition
"I think that any live event lighting designer who spends a weekend with this book, and applies what they take from it to their design practice, will come away with an understanding that will allow them to play a more significant role in capturing their future live designs for broadcast. […] Lighting For Televised Live Events is a satisfying read and a wealth of information for live stage lighting designers. It’s a must read for students of the art and those who engage with cameras only occasionally, and an important resource for anyone who spends a lot of time bringing live shows to screens to stretch and refresh with regularity."
Stan Crocker, Live Design Online
"Lighting for Televised Live Events is a fantastic resource for anyone who is developing their lighting skills and knowledge. It is even more perfect for someone aspiring to design lighting for TV and to gain a stronger foundation, especially in the more specialized "combo" area of live entertainment being captured for broadcast or streaming. It’s equally good for an expert looking to review newer concepts. […] The excellent mix of text and visual graphics breaks up the information in a way that makes it easy to absorb and understand the topics presented."
Anthony Wayne, IA Local 728 Lighting Programmer, Mesmeric Designs
"This is a book for now because many more modest producing organizations now are offering remote, streamed access to performances also presented for an in-person audience. […] The subtitle, 'Making your production look great . . .' suggests that Lighting for Televised Live Events is a recipe book, but I think it is far more interesting than that. It offers a mix of practical advice, a summary of the state of the art, and things to think about when you are working on a show that is meant to be seen by more people than will fit in the room."
Karl G. Ruling, ESTA’s Senior Technical Standards Manager and Technical Editor at Protocol.