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Lighting the Actor By Lighting Designers

Designing and buying lighting is having an increase in popularity. 20 years ago, such category or industry did not even exist. Back in 1997 pioneer, David Weeks comments that there were “maybe about two or three people who were doing it.”History shows more than one instances where folks have been making the same designs all at the same time. Currently, designer lighting is one viable livelihood, and one can even take up a course of lighting design in the city of Manhattan.

Lighting Designs On Stage

The lighting designer is the one responsible for maneuvering every light effects that you see on stage in a theater. Hence, the primary function of lighting inside a show is to make your scene visible and to make your audience feel something. The lighting designer will always aim at reinforcing a dramatic impact on the whole production.

The four primary functions of stage lighting are Mood, Motivation, Composition, and Visibility.


This specific function of providing visibility is self-explanatory. We just need to point out that at some point of a scene on stage there would be instances wherein we keep lights off in some parts of the stage that is not supposed to be visible.


A lighting Designer is also responsible for creating a natural light look for each setting. He or she must make magic by making the scenes look realistic with the use of lamps or practicals available on the set. The motivation should be prevalent even if the view is non-realistic. With such need in production, the light must be in tune with a play’s content.


Lighting function is a part of Scenic Design. A composition is a Lighting Designer’s attempt at enhancing the possibilities that a Scenic Designer provides as well as what a Director offers in regards to blocking. In other words, actors are equipped with lighting and set in proportion as to when and where it is necessary.


Enhancing the mood is an entirely separate function, but it is still a part of the first three. Combining motivation, composition, the right amount of lighting, and the specific visibility will affect the overall mood of a production.

Lighting The Actor

Lighting for the actor is separate from the lighting effects for the set. Designers in lighting make the actors as the center of interest. When a scene calls for some highly dramatic scenarios, the actor should still stand out from the background, and all other aspects of this form should be visible.

In ensuring that proper lighting is achieved for an actor, most of the lightings designs creations are in groups. The fixtures that light up the acting area are in distribution in specific regions of the stage. Such is all about adequately showing off the actor’s form and to ensure that the actor appears separately from the set background. The lighting designers relationship with actors is a little less direct like those with a costume designer who interacts on a daily basis. Technology makes it possible to work behind a tech table and do magic for the actors even without collaboration.

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