MusicDish e-Journal - April 22, 2018
MusicDish Advertising Network
» HOME » INSIDER SCOOP » CAREER TIPS » MUSIC SPOTLIGHT » MUSICDISH*CHINA
» INDUSTRY INTERVIEWS » NEWS BEAT » DIGITAL SKOOL » OPEN REVIEW » MUSICDISH EDELWEISS
Search MusicDish e-Journal (Advanced)
Subscribe To MusicDish e-Journal
About | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Submit Article | Submit News | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution
Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network

Lighting Design: What Does a Lighting Designer Do?
On The Road Series
By John Schlick Lighting Design
(more articles from this author)
2004-06-11
Comment | Email | Print | RSS

It becomes obvious at a certain point that a band needs a “full crew” – for example, if you suddenly start selling out coliseums worldwide… But, when and how should bands at the club and small theatre level invest their money? And since this article is geared at those musicians reading it, this means how do YOU invest your money in crew when you do shows?

This series of articles is geared specifically at evaluating the position of lighting designer or LD. In this piece I’m answering the question: What does a lighting designer do?

We all know what this lighting person does, right? They walk into the club and push buttons on the lightboard during the show to make it all flashy-like! Well, if you have hired your friend “Bob” to do this job, then it’s likely that’s all that’s going to happen. But if you have hired a professional lighting designer who thinks of lighting as an art form, then that’s only a small part of the job they do.

When a band hires an lighting designer, ideally, the band has a conversation about their vision of what they do onstage. Often this part never happens because the band doesn’t really have a vision. They have invested so much time and energy in the making of the music, they haven’t developed a visual statement to go along with it. It then becomes the lighting designer’s job to work with the band and develop that vision.

Sometimes, creating this visual statement can be as simple as selecting specific intense colors for specific songs (like for singer songwriters). Other times it can involve programming moving lights with complex patterns so they move the way the song FEELS like it’s moving, and sometimes it involves working with an entire creative team of stage and set and costume designers to get a coherent look for the production. This vision is an important part of a band’s “personality” onstage, and audiences do react to it.

In a conversation I had recently with The Presidents Of The United States of America (I’m hoping they hire me for an upcoming tour), they told me they are a “turn the lights on and play” kind of band. The problem they’ve had in the past is they’ve hired lighting designers who want every moment of their show to be a big production, and that’s NOT what they want.

My philosophy is this: This artist is my CLIENT, and while it’s my job to visually enhance what they do onstage, it’s also my job to make the band feel comfortable in the onstage environment because if they are not, they can’t give their best performance. Lastly, since they are my client, it’s my job to give them what they want because if I don’t, I won’t be working for them for long. The trick is to balance these three (often conflicting) goals. For the Presidents, this means selecting what colors are up when you “turn the lights on,” and helping select - with them - what part of the set to “run the big production looks” in. This is really like any relationship in that it requires good communication. It’s an ongoing and evolving process to understand where the band is artistically and keep in synch with them.

After some of the vision is established, hopefully the lighting designer can walk into the space, evaluate the lighting system in place, and add any additional production that’s needed or warranted by the show at hand (strobes, moving lights, special projected patterns, the list of possibilities is huge). After this, a lighting designer needs (potentially) to regel (change the colors in the lighting instruments) to match what the band needs according to the vision they have for that show. He or she must do a focus. This involves climbing around on ladders and stuff to make sure the lights aim at where the band is going to stand, as well as getting other lights aimed into patterns (beams that fan or cross, or are parallel to each other make these patterns). Hopefully these patterns are both “cool,” and useful to the lighting designer in terms of creating the effect of motion as he or she switches from one to another, and in terms of drawing the audiences eye to specific place onstage. In shows where there are moving lights, there should be some time spent in programming those instruments in order to make sure they generate the looks needed onstage when they are needed. (With up to 25 parameters per moving light to set, this can take some time, and doing it “on the fly” won’t give you the best results.)

Then finally, there comes the running of the lighting console during the show. This is the part of the job most people traditionally think of AS the job, and it’s important enough that I’ve done an article JUST on that. So, a lighting designer shouldn’t JUST push the buttons on the lightboard. Ideally, there is a lot more to the job.


Home » Career Tips » Lighting Design: What Does a Lighting Designer Do?
Permalink:http://www.musicdish.com/mag/?id=9418
Email |Print |Comment |RSS

back | top


MusicDish Advertising Network

Career Tips

» Briony Turner And Alec Boateng Promoted To Co-Heads Of A&R, Atlantic Records UK

» The Nashville Musicians Sound Healthcare Plan Rolls Out

» Career Moves: Cinq Music, Songtrust, Def Jam, Warner Music, 117 Management & DPA

» The Production Music Association Now Accepting Entries For The 2017 Mark Awards

» Aloft Hotels And MTV Spotlight Top Asia Pacific Music Talent

Career Tips Directory



» [2018-04-21] ASCAP Revenues Top $1.144 Billion In 2017; ASCAP Delivers For The First Time More Than $1 Billion To Songwriter, Composer And Music Publisher Members

» [2018-04-21] Puma Unveils Drum Machine Inspired Sneaker; Legendary Roland 808 Drum Machine Inspires New PUMA Sneaker Style

» [2018-04-21] BMG Appoints New Creative Directors In Nashville; BMG Has Appointed Courtney Allen And Rakiyah Marshall To Creative Director, Based In Nashville

» [2018-04-01] Live.me Launches Its First Live Musical Themed Content Series; You Need The Code Is Live.me's First Ever Live Stream Music Program Providing Users With 14 Hand-selected Independent Artists For Their Entertainment

» [2018-03-28] Warner Music Group Acquires Sodatone; Data Pioneers Choose Entrepreneurial Home For Industry-leading A&R Tool

» [2018-03-09] Round Hill Music And Zync Sign Madge To Joint Venture; JV Publishing Venture To Support And Expand Zync's Successful Rights Representation Business

» [2018-03-03] PPL And PRS For Music Launch Licensing Joint Venture; Licensing Of Music Played In Public Now Administered By New Leicester-based Joint Venture, PPL PRS Ltd

» [2018-02-27] Music Festivals And Conferences Pledge To Tackle Gender Inequality; Keychange Initiative Encourages Gender Balance In Music By End Of 2022

» [2018-02-21] Briony Turner And Alec Boateng Promoted To Co-Heads Of A&R, Atlantic Records UK; Turner And Boateng Will Oversee The Atlantic A&R Team, Joint Projects, As Well As Maintaining Their Own Artist Rosters

» [2018-02-21] ICE And Facebook Reach Multi-Territory Music Licensing Agreement; New Deal Will See Songwriters And Composers Remunerated

» [2018-02-20] B-Reel Named Top 10 Most Innovative Company In Music By Fast Company; Global Creative Agency Receives Honor For Its Award-Winning Gorillaz Campaign

» [2018-02-18] YG PLUS And Gracenote To Bring K-POP To Fans Around The World; Gracenote And YG PLUS To Make All K-POP Music More Searchable And Discoverable On Global And Regional Streaming Music Platforms And Services
MusicDish Advertising Network

follow MusicDish on
Follow MusicDish on Twitter

Mi2N Music PR

Carys - A Different Kind Of Normal - Debut CD Release

Melvin Riley Of Ready For The World Celebrates 35 Years In The Music Business And The Re-launch Of His Solo Career And New Billing Title

Listen: Darquise Explores The Art Of The Beak Up In His Debut Single "I Say One"

Artist Matthew Schultz Releases "Promise For Keeps" Featuring Gyptian

Richie Sambora Returns To Ovation Guitars With Signature Double Neck Guitar Benefitting Youth Music Charity

FLOW Announce The Arrival Tour And IMA / ZMR Award Nominations

Joseph L Young Returns To His First Love, The Saxophone, In "Every Moment" Releasing March 30



Websites: Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network
Services: Submit Article | Submit News | Submit Video | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution

Copyright © 1997-2018 MusicDish LLC., all rights reserved.
About MusicDish e-Journal | Contact Us | Advertise | RSS | Internships