Stage Lighting: Fundamentals and Applications, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Stage Lighting

Fundamentals and Applications, 1st Edition

By Richard E. Dunham


432 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780205461004
pub: 2004-10-13

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The book’s organization follows a layered approach that builds on basic principles: Light as a Medium (Part 1), Tools of a Lighting Designer (Part 2), Design Fundamentals (Part 3), and Lighting Applications (Part 4). This presents students with a practical and logical sequence when learning basic concepts.

The full spectrum of the lighting design process is presented in detail, giving students an example of how one might develop a lighting design from script analysis through concept and plot development, and all the way to an opening. This detailed process with a step-by-step design approach gives students a plan to work from, which they can later modify as they mature and gain confidence as designers.

The text contains a more comprehensive discussion of basic technology, light as a physical phenomena, and methodology of designs than is found in most introductory texts, bridging the gap between introductory and advanced lighting courses.

The text will appeal to theatrical designers who want to venture into areas of lighting like architectural or virtual lighting design, while at the same time gaining a solid grounding in the fundmentals of lighting design. Lighting Design will also benefit illuminating engineers who want to move away from mere computational approaches in lighting and on to explore techniques along the design approaches of theatrical lighting design.

The final 9 chapters cover many specialty areas of lighting design, highlighting the unique and shared qualities that exist between the different aspects of these elements. Discussions involve traditional entertainment areas like theatre, as well as lesser known facets of the industry including film/video, landscape lighting, retail/museum lighting, virtual lighting, concert, spectacle performances, and architectural lighting.

Models of design tasks demonstrate the actual use and development of plots/sections, schedules, photometrics tables, and cut sheets, rather than simply talking about what they are. This hands-on approach provides students with a firm understanding of how to actually use these tools and processes.

Table of Contents


Part I

Light: The Medium

Chapter 1

The Nature of Light

What is Light?

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The Visible Spectrum

Illuminance and Luminance[[emdash]]Five Metrics

Luminous Flux


Luminous Intensity


Luminous Exitance

The Eye and Seeing

Physiology of the Eye

The Controllable Qualities of Light





Sidebar 1.1 Designer Profile: Ken Billington

Functions of Lighting


Establishing a Scene






Staging the Story


For Further Reading

Chapter 2

Light and Perception


Intensity or Brightness

Relative Intensity

Psychological Responses

Intensity Related Issues

Mood Alteration



Color Perception


Defining Form and Shape

Front Light


Downlight and Backlight

Sidebar 2.1 Designer Profile Marilyn Lowey

Key and Fill

Silhouettes and Grazing



Movement and Light

Cues and Transitions

For Further Reading

Chapter 3

Color and Its Effects

What is Color?

The Visible Spectrum

Primary Colors

CIE Chromaticity Chart

Color Temperature

Color Rendering

Additive and Subtractive Mixing

Additive Mixing

Subtractive Mixing

Filtering Light

Color Media

Plastic Media

Sidebar 3.1 Spectral Analysis of Gel

Glass Media

Dichroic Filters


Creating Color Through Light

Color Prediction

Red Shift/Amber Drift

Complementary Tint System

Psychological Effects of Color

Color Contrast

Adaptation and Afterimages

Practical Use of Color in Lighting Design

Sidebar 3.2 Designer Considerations for Color and Light

Sidebar 3.3 Designer Profile Mark Stanley

For Further Reading

Part II

Light: The Tools

Chapter 4

The Practitioners

Theatrical and Live Performance Production

Design Professionals

Sidebar 4.1 Designer Profile John Martin

Theatrical Crews

Film and Video

Design Professionals

Production Crews

Architectural Lighting

Unions and Certifications

Professional Organizations and Societies

For Further Reading

Chapter 5


Basics of Electricity

Atomic Theory

Electrical Potential


Fundamental Circuits

Conductors and Insulators

Series Circuits

Parallel Circuits

Units of Measurement and the Essential Formulas

Units of Measure

Power Formula and Ohm’s Law

Sidebar 5.1 Determination of Lamp Load

Direct Current Verses Alternating Current

Direct Current

AC Power Generation


Power Distribution

Electrical Services

Electrical Hardware



Circuit Protection



Company Switches and Distribution Panels

Commercial Distribution

Theatrical Distribution

Sidebar 5.2 Electrical Safety

For Further Reading

Chapter 6

Lamps and Other Light Sources

Lumens and Lamp Life

Lamps and Color

Incandescent Lamps




Sidebar 6.1 Light Center Length (LCL)

Tungsten-Halogen or Quartz Lamps

Arc Light Sources



Short-Arc and High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps

Short-Arc Lamps

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps

Gaseous Discharge Lamps

Fluorescent Lamps

Low -Voltage Lamps

ANSI Codes



For Further Reading

Chapter 7

Luminaire Fundamentals

Basic Principles of Optics




An Essential Luminaire

Sidebar 7.1 Luminaire Maintenance


Beam Angle and Field Angle

Photometric Data and Cut Sheets

Choosing Luminaires

Entertainment Luminaires



Sidebar 7.2 Followspot Pickup Techniques


Optical Accessories

Hanging Accessories


For Further Reading

Chapter 8

Control Fundamentals

Brightness Control and Dimming



Mechanical Mastering

Elecrical Mastering

Electronic Mastering

Principles of Electronic Dimming


Sidebar 8.1: Dimmer Curves and Trimming

New Trends in Electronic Dimming (Sine Wave Dimming)

Control Protocols

Analog Control

Digital Control

Lighting Control Consoles

Preset Control

Sidebar 8.2: Common Control Functions of Preset Consoles

Sidebar 8.3: Rock and Roll Console Features

Memory Control

Sidebar 8.4: Additional Controls in Computer Consoles

Automated Control Consoles

Show Control

State of the Art Control


Multiplexing (Dimmer DoublingTM)

Distributed Dimming

Wireless Dimming

For Further Reading

Chapter 9

Advanced Equipment and Personal Computers in Lighting

Primary Control of Advanced Gear

DMX Control

Sidebar 9.1: Binary Code and Addressing

Sidebar 9.2: Ten Practical Tips for Setting up DMX Networks

Sidebar 9.3: Several Programming Tips for Working with Automated Lighting

Sophisticated Control of Advanced Gear

Accessories for Conventional Luminaires


Moving Yokes

Moving Mirror Accessories

Gobo Rotators

Automated Lighting

Sidebar 9.4: Common Automated Lighting Effect Cues

Moving Heads (Moving Yokes)

Scanners (Moving Mirrors)

Non-traditional Sources

Ballasted Fixtures


Fiber Optics



The Personal Computer

CAD and Drafting Applications

Design Paperwork

Control and Off-line Editing

Communication and Training

Design Analysis


For Further Reading

Part III

Light: Design Fundamentals

Chapter 10

Essentials of Lighting Design

Special Considerations in Lighting Design

Directors and Collaboration

The Influences of Light

Controllable Quantities of Light

Functions of Lighting

Sidebar 10.1: Designer Profile: Brian MacDevitt

Analysis for Lighting

Script Analysis and Entertainment Designs

Sidebar 10.2: Scenic Breakdown of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Style in Lighting


Additional Preparation

Design Research

Design and Production Meetings


Developing Lighting Schemes and Concepts

Lighting Keys

Communicating Design Ideas


Lighting Scores

Light Labs

Computer Visualization

For Further Reading

Chapter 11

Basics of General Illumination

Lighting the Subject

Typical Theatrical Lighting Positions

Proscenium Theatre

Sidebar 11.1: Hanging Positions and Lighting Distribution

Black Box Theatre


Floorplans and Sections

Basics of General Illumination or Area Lighting

Primary Formula Approaches for Area Lighting

Single Source System

Wash System

The McCandless System

Double or Triple Hanging

Area versus Color Control

Alternative Systems for Area Lighting

Key and Fill

The Washed Stage

Zone Lighting

Jewel Lighting

Building on General Lighting

Sidebar 11.2: Focus Patterns for Common Wash Systems

Special Areas

Sculpting and Modeling Accents

Blending and Toning Accents

Motivational Accents

Additional Lighting Demands

Special Visibility

Lighting Costumes

Lighting for Scenery

Effects Lighting

Sidebar 11.3: Designer Profile Jeff Davis

For Further Reading

Chapter 12

Plotting the Design

Translating Concepts and Lighting Keys into Practical Design Choices

Working with Floorplans and Sections

Floorplans or Groundplans


An Approach to Plotting a Design

Preliminary Tasks/Preparation


The Wish List

Making a Design Practical

The Tentative Hookup

The Rough Light Plot

Drafting and the Lighting Design

Drafting Light Plots

Sidebar 12.1: Common Numbering Practices

Drafting the Section

Lighting Schedules and Design Paperwork


Instrument Schedule

Magic Sheets

Shop Orders

CAD Drafting and Lighting Design

For Further Reading

Chapter 13

Moving into the Venue

Final Preparations for the Load-in

The Cue Synopsis

The Load-in

Sidebar 13.1: A Typical Load-in Schedule

The Focus Call

The Level Setting or Cue Writing Session

Cueing Aids for Memory Consoles

Sidebar 13.2: Cueing Aids

Rehearsals in the Venue

Technical Rehearsals

Dress Rehearsals, Previews, and Openings

Running and Maintaining the Production

Sidebar 13.3: Designer Profile Beverly Emmons

For Further Reading

Chapter 14

Variations on Essential Theatrical Design

Thrust and Arena Productions

Thrust Productions

Arena Productions

Outdoor Dramas and Festival Productions

Transfer Productions

Touring Productions

Repertory Productions

Designing for Specific Genre

Sidebar 14.1: Designer Profile F. Mitchell Dana

For Further Reading

Part IV

Light: Design Applications

Chapter 15

Traditional Areas of Theatrical Design (Drama, Dance, Opera, and Musical Theatre)

Lighting for Drama

Performance Considerations

Design Techniques

Dance Lighting

Performance Considerations

Design Techniques

Sidebar 15.1: Designer Profile Jennifer Tipton

Opera and Operetta Lighting

Performance Considerations

Design Techniques

Lighting Musical Theatre

Performance Considerations

Design Techniques

Sidebar 15.2: Common Musical Theatre Cueing Terminology

For Further Reading

Chapter 16

Non-Traditional Entertainment Design

The Music Scene (Revues, Clubs, and Concert Lighting)

Musical Revues

Nightclubs and Dance Club Lighting

Concert Lighting

Sidebar 16.1: Designer Profile James L. Moody

The Spectacle Performance

Headline Acts

Arena Productions and Stadium Productions

Sidebar 16.2: Designer Profile Jeff Ravitz

Dedicated Venues

Additional Areas of Spectacle

Trade Shows, Industrials, and Corporate Events

Corporate Mentality

Sidebar 16.3: Designer Profile Betsy Adams

Film and Video Basics

Light and the Camera

Key and Fill Light

Control Elements

Key Elelments in Film/Video Illumination

Three-Point Lighting

Sidebar 16.4: Designer Profile William L. Klages

For Further Reading

Chapter 17

Additional Lighting Applications

Retail and Exhibit Lighting

Lighting Layers

Essentials of Retail and Museum/Gallery Lighting

Sidebar 17.1: Designer Profile Cindy Limauro

Architectural Lighting

Unique Qualities and Demands of Architectural Lighting

Architectural Luminaire Classifications

Key Elements in Architectural General Illumination

The Architectural Lighting Design Process

Sidebar 17.2: Lighting Design Questions

Sidebar 17.3: Designer Profile Robert Shook


Lighting Green and Lighting Economics

Landscape Lighting

Lighting Landscapes

Essential Approaches to Lighting Landscapes

Principles of Landscape Lighting

Themed Design and Specialty Lighting

The Story

Development of a Themed Project

Considerations of Themed (Specialty) Lighting Design

Sidebar 17.4: Designer Profile Tom Ruzika

Virtual Lighting (Renderings, Virtual Reality, Gaming, etc.)

Virtual Design

Sidebar 17.5: Designer Profile Chris Wells

Virtual Light Sources

Lighting Techniques for Virtual Lighting

Sidebar 17.6: Designer Profile Christopher Higgins

For Further Reading

Chapter 18

Projections and Lighting

A Brief History of Projection

Projection Considerations

Sidebar 18.1: Considerations of Projection Design

Elements of Projection

Front or Rear Projection?

Traditional Projection Equipment

Lensless Projectors

Lens Projectors

The Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight (ERS)

The 35mm Projector

Sidebar 18.2: Calculations Regarding Projectors and Lenses

Scenic Projectors

Slides and Source Materials

Projection Screens

Front-Projection Screens

Rear-Projection Screens

Practical Issues of Projection

Two Critical Considerations (Path and Balance)

Spill and Ambient Light

Image Size


Sidebar 18.3: Keystone Correction

Sidebar 18.4: Mathematical Grid for Keystone Correction

Digital Projectors and Lights, LCD/LED Screens, and Media Severs

Lasers and Effects Projection


For Further Reading

Part V

Light: Online Application Chapters

Chapter 19

The Music Scene (Revues, Clubs, and Concert Lighting)

Musical Revues

Evolution of Club and Concert Lighting

Nightclubs and Dance Club Lighting

Unique Issues in Concert Lighting

Touring Successfully

Concert Gear

Plotting Principles for Concert Lighting

Cueing Principles for Musical Events and Concerts

For Further Reading

Chapter 20

The Spectacle Performance

Headline Acts

Arena Productions

Stadium Productions

Specialty Shows with Spectacle

Dedicated Venues

Additional Areas of Spectacle

For Further Reading

Chapter 21

Trade Shows, Industrials, and Corporate Events

Trade Shows

Fashion Shows

Corporate Meetings


For Further Reading

Chapter 22

Film and Video Basics

Unique Qualities of Film and Video

Light and the Camera

Latitude and Contrast Ratios

Light Meters

Film and Video Luminaires

Lighting Accessories

Film and Video Control Elements

Filters, Color Correction, and Diffusion

Film/Video Studios and Sound Stages

Film/Video Production Practices

Key Elements in Film/Video Illumination

Three-Point Lighting

Following Source

Area Lighting for Film and Video

Special Cases of Lighting for Film and Video

For Further Reading

Chapter 23

Display/Retail and Exhibit/Museum Lighting

Essentials of Display and Exhibit Lighting

Lighting Layers

Principles of Retail Lighting

Display Cabinets

Window Displays

Essentials of Museum and Gallery Lighting

Exposure and Conservation

Daylighting in Museums and Galleries

Energy Efficiency, Economics, and Maintenance

For Further Reading

Chapter 24

Architectural Lighting

Unique Qualities/Demands of Architectural Lighting

Architectural Luminaire Classifications

Ballasts and Architectural Control Elements

Architectural Hanging/Mounting Positions

Architectural Lighting Techniques

Lighting Calculations

The Architectural Lighting Design Process

Lighting Layouts and Design Documentation


Lighting Green and Lighting Economics

Examples of Interior Lighting

Examples of Exterior Lighting

For Further Reading

Chapter 25

Landscape Lighting

Lighting Landscapes

Essential Approaches to Lighting Landscapes

Distribution Patterns in Landscape Lighting

Principles of Landscape Lighting

Line-Voltage versus 12-Volt Lighting Systems

Voltage Drop

Fighting the Elements

Landscape Luminaires and Accessories

Control of Landscape Lighting

The Design Process and Documentation

Lighting Exteriors and Buildings as Landscape Design

Landscape Lighting on a Grand Scale

For Further Reading

Chapter 26

Themed Design

Themed versus Amusement Entertainment

History of Themed Entertainment

The Story

Development of a Themed Project

Considerations of Themed (Specialty) Lighting Design

Lighting Equipment and Design Documentation

Construction/Installation Process

Examples of Themed (Specialty) Lighting Design

For Further Reading

Chapter 27

Virtual Lighting (Renderings, Virtual Reality, Gaming, etc.)

Virtual Design


Virtual Light Sources

Lighting Techniques for Virtual Lighting

Contrast Ratios

Rendering Approaches

Unique Properties of Virtual Rendering

Examples of Virtual Lighting

For Further Reading


A.Lighting Periodicals

B.Lighting Equipment Manufactures

C.USITT Lighting Graphics Standard (Online)

D.IESNA Graphics (Online)



Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General