A Process for Designing Lighting for the Stage (Part 7): Beginning to Populate the Light Plot

Preliminary Lighting Key

Once you have the Lighting Key and the preliminary Magic Sheet(s) described in earlier posts, it is a fairly simple matter to populate the light plot with symbols representing the fixtures that you intend to use.  You do need to pay attention to the throw distances and make appropriate fixture choices accordingly.  You also have to do so within the available inventory.  There is no point choosing instrumentation that you do not have and cannot get.

To the upper right is the Lighting Key from an earlier post.  Note below how the Lighting Designer can use this to populate lights for the 8 major axis (not including the chandelier effect lighting)

Prima Donna plan showing lights from 8 axis

By reproducing each axis for each area the light plot quickly becomes populated as shown below.

Notice that the FOH Boom positions are shown with filled-in instrument shapes in the plan position but that nearby is a front elevation of each position.  It is the front elevation that carries all of the extra information (Channel, Color, Instrument Number, Focus) as well as the symbol that identifies the type of fixture.  This is because, since multiple fixtures reside above and below each other in plan on such a position obscuring one another.  The channel number is indicated within the hexagon.  The color is  shown at the front of the fixture symbol with the focus indicated just beyond the color.  The instrument number reflects the fixture’s position from SL to SR on each horizontal position that is parallell to the proscenium. It is numbered from top to bottom  on vertical positions (and onstage to off if vertical positions have side-by-side stacked fixtures.)  Normally at this point, (partway through the process of populating the plot) the instruments will not have instrument numbers assigned. However, this example shows numbers already in place.  You may notice  that they are not sequential.  The  gaps in the chronology will be filled in once all of the fixtures are shown.

Next time we will add the chandelier effect lighting, the cyc lighting and the specials indicated on the preliminary color key.

That’s enough for now! Have fun!  Be safe!



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