Look at you! You found yourself at the end of the chapter. You’ve learned a bunch and now it’s time to cement these lessons by putting them into real world practice. Well, maybe not real world … I guess it’s more a virtual world … but it’s essentially the same. Same ideas. Same techniques.
Here we’re going to record a series of cues and I’m going to use designer language. I’ll give you the keystrokes you’ll need at the beginning, but then wean you off of them and allow you to interpret the designer speak into programing technique.
Together, we’re going to use the principles of angle and intensity to design lights for a scene in which we …
- start in a blackout,
- move to an establishing look,
- travel to a normal look,
- heighten the intensity,
- close with that intensity hanging over us,
- and finish in a blackout.
Here we go.
Cue 11 – Blackout
Start by opening Worksheet 1. It doesn’t matter if you’re continuing from the previous lessons or opening it from scratch. We’ll record our cues using numbers 11 through 16, so they won’t overlap.
If you’re currently in a cue, take all the channels out to send us into a blackout,  [Thru]  [Out].
That’s our first look. Great! Record this as Cue 11, [Record]  [Enter].
If you’re starting from scratch, the colors on your screen might look slightly different.
Cue 12 – Establish the Scene
Here we’ll establish the objects, the figures on stage without actually beginning the scene. Something like a back light or top light might serve us well here; pretty much anything except a front light.
Let’s try taking Channel 8 at full,  [@] [Full].
Mmm. I’m not sold. There’s a lot of shadow, but not a lot of definition. Take Channel 8 out.
Now try taking 7 at full.
That’s good. I wonder if it’s too bright. Take that down to half, [@]  [Enter].
Naw. That’s not good. Take that out.
I wonder what 9 look like; take it at full.
I like the angle, but it’s a bit too bright, so take it down by 20%, [-%] [-%].
Good. Now let’s fill back some of that shadow by putting 7 at 40%.
Great. Let’s record that as Cue 11, [Record]  [Enter].
This gives us a hint as to what’s about to come, but doesn’t show us everything.
Cue 13 – Normal Look
Now that we’ve established our form using backlight, let’s fill in the front using Channels 1, 2, and 3.
Since our brightest light, Channel 9, comes from stage left, let’s make our brightest front light come from stage right. These two angles will compliment one another and create shadow and contrast.
Take Channel 1 to 65%.
This makes the scene look a little flat, so boost that to 75%. Now that’s a strong key light.
Good, now let’s take Channel 3 to 50% to fill in the shadows.
There’s still quite a shadow on the face of the cylinder (which would see down the bridge of an actor’s nose), so let’s add a bit of front / face light by taking Channel 2 to 20%.
Wonderful. Now that 2 and 3 are at their higher values, Channel 1 seems to get a bit lost; so try taking that up to Full.
Mmm. Nope. Too bright. Take it down to 90%.
Yup. That looks good. Record this as Cue 13.
Cue 14 – Heightened Emotion
Let’s add a bit of drama to our shapes. They’re obviously fighting about something.
Having a strong light come from the top and the side might help give the sense of oppression while also lighting the face / front of our characters.
Since we decided to use Channel 1 as our key light in the previous cue, it might make sense to make our emotional light come from the opposite direction; meaning Channel 6 would be the best light to use here.
So let’s just go all in and take Channel 6 to Full.
That’s a little much, but perhaps it would be fine if we got rid of some of our other lights.
Take Channel 2 Out.
Take Channel 3 to half of what it is now.
Take Channel 1 to 50.
Nope. Too dark.
Take Channel 1 to 65.
Take Channel 3 Out, that’ll help us see if it’s doing anything.
Not really, let’s take it up to 40.
Good. Record that as Cue 14.
Now it back, then forward to see how that makes a difference.
Cue 15 – Emotional Hang
Now let’s tag our scene by letting that emotion hang over the characters while the front light fades away. This is pretty easy.
Take Channels 1 through 3 Out.
Good. Now let’s get rid of our starting back light, Channel 9 Out.
Lovely, let’s try taking Channel 5, our top light, to 65.
This looks great. But, maybe we should just try to go bolder.
Take 5 and 7 out.
Yeah. That’s dramatic.
Record this as Cue 15.
Cue 20 – Closing Blackout
Well, this should be simple.
Channel 6 Out.
Record this as Cue 20, why 20? Well, what if we want to add more cues in the middle of this scene? Now we still have some room.
The Most Important Part
Don’t forget, we’ve got to save what we did.
And you’re finished!
And just in case you needed it, here’s a link to my finished Worksheet 1 file.