Lighting Design on a £0 budget

I’ve been the lighting designer for 4 shows whilst part of Backstage and each one has had no budget left for lighting (if you exclude the odd smoke machine and Glaciator). For the LUU Fringe that took place a couple of weeks ago I was in this position yet again. Fortunately in the Riley we have enough lanterns and gels to be able to pull off a great looking show without spending a single penny! All it takes is a bit of careful planning.

Before you start designing where you’re going to position your lanterns it’s important that you get as much information as you can off of the performing society you’re working with, about what they want to create. For the Fringe for example I was able to find out that the Vertical Fitness society wanted to be able to light each pole individually, ideally with a single spot. This was the starting point of my design, positioning two Source 4 spots along LX 2 (the second bar from the front of the Riley stage). For other performance societies I then added other fixtures to my plan such as using Par Cans along LX 3 and 4 to backlight performers and then use more Source 4’s to create a centre spotlight.

From there I was able to fill up the rest of the bars with lighting features I thought may be useful for this show. Since I knew there would be a number of different dance societies and dance numbers in the show, I positioned Fresnels on the far ends of the bars to create some form of side lighting. Listening to some of the music used in the show helped me decide on the rest of my design, such as the strobe light from listening to street dance, and the mirror ball (because everyone loves a good sparkly mirror ball!).

By Jordan Porter

Posted November, 2015

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