I Finally See The Light

Okay so anyone who knows me knows that as far as the AVL world goes, I specialize in audio and only audio. Sure, I can do some graphic design and snap a few quality photographs like the next person, but as far as lighting….. it’s a no from me. I’ve never really paid attention to the lighting aspect of this business, because honestly I just never really cared. I guess I just didn’t think it was as important. This week, my entire mindset was catapulted out of the window. 

One of my coworkers is kind of a lighting genius, and he let me get my hands on Vista this week. He started out with showing me a lighting program he set up for the song “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman. I don’t say this often but, I was SHOOK. The theater lit up with bold reds and blues and it literally transformed the entire vibe and feeling of the theater. The flashing of the lights synced up with the colossal beats at the beginning of the song, and it was honestly so breathtaking. I’m pretty sure my jaw actually dropped while I was watching it. The crazy thing is, we were just in a giant empty room with a song playing! There were no people, nothing was going on onstage, it was just the song blasting and the lights doing their thing. I don’t think my coworker realized this when he was showing me, but this setting was exactly what I needed to realize the power and effect that lighting can have. That song is already catchy and commands attention, but synced up to a room full of colorful lights takes it to a whole new level. The layout of the theater definitely helps as well, because there’s a ton of light fixtures scattered between the ceiling and stage area. 

There’s an additional aspect of lighting that I really didn’t consider until this week: haze. We always use haze machines during on stage performances, but I never really gave it any thought. I just thought it made the room a little foggy and dramatic, and that was the point. To put it briefly: I was wrong. Yeah, haze adds a nice foggy effect but I never realized what it does for lighting. Without haze, most lights are just shining bright and pretty, but they don’t really travel. Adding a layer of haze in a room allows the lights to cut through it with colorful strobes and rays, and the haze just swirls in the spotlight. It. Is. Gorgeous. I can’t believe I never noticed that the haze is really what makes that all possible.

A couple days later I actually got to play around with Vista in the main auditorium, and honestly it’s really cool. It’s a super user friendly program and everything is visualized, which I love. I can clearly see which light is doing what, and when it’s doing it. I learned how to make patterns, gradients, and how to gradually turn on certain lights to make different effects. Later, I got to help set up the lighting for an event we were having, which needed to be different shades of green. I loved that I finally understood the method of how lighting works, and it’s definitely something I’ll pay more attention to in the future. 

One thought on “I Finally See The Light”

  1. If lighting is something you want to learn more about, you should talk to the folks in Second Stage on campus. They use lighting and haze in their productions. If nothing else, you would get the chance to see another system and start to see similarities and differences. Let me know and I can help get you connected to someone over there.

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