How To Speak Fluent Lighting Tech

Bill Cook is a friend, and talented magician, with performances on Fool Us, Masters of Illusion, and most relevant to this post, cruise ships. Recently Bill shared this lighting hack online and when I read it I immediately messaged him asking, “Can I share this on my blog?”

He graciously said, “Yes.”

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Tech Words In A Foreign Language

This cuts through tech jargon and language barriers. It’s simple and brilliant. Bill has a pic of how he wants his stage to be lit (it can be an actual pic or one created virtually). He then says,

“Here, this will give you a look into what
I would like the stage to look like.”

Boom! Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. The simplicity of it is its genius. 

That’s the summary version of it. Here’s Bill in his words:

This may be a bit nerdy, but… Here we are. Welcome to the nuthouse.
I don’t have many light cues in my show (I counted four different “views” and a ballyhoo to start/end my show). Most ships I get onto have my cues saved, but I recently boarded a ship I have not worked on before. I spent a while with the light tech explaining what I wanted, and it came out fine, but it wasn’t what I was used to. I wondered if there was a way to sit down at my computer, render out exactly what I wanted my show to look like, and print it out, so if/when I get to a new venue who hasn’t worked with me before, I can hand the light tech a couple of pictures and say “here, this will give you a look into what I would like the stage to look like.”I found what I wanted. It’s a software called “Capture.” I learned about it of all places from the QLab website. I am using the student version (Not all the bells and whistles, but free) and I’ve rendered what I want my stage to look like. It took about an hour of watching tutorials to be comfortable making it, but dammit, it looks great. Hindsight: I could also just take pictures of my cues and have them on my phone… but…. here we are.

To be clear, and I know Bill would agree, this method isn’t 100% bulletproof, as there still can be human error on the part of the tech, but this definitely increases the odds in the performer’s favor.

Thank you, Bill!

Want MORE clever ways to make your show play BIGGER?
Check out my new book, The Show Is The Mother Of Invention.

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