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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 22 (2)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 22
Page 22

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 22

some Techniques for Theatre Lighting: if

A Few Treatments for Line and Form Are Presented To Indicate the Versatility of' Lighting in Design

Due to its unique ability to create a wide variety of decorative and functional effects, lighting has long been recognized in the theatre field as a versatile and hexible design medium. As a matter of fact, some designers use lighting almost as a finishing material to enhance surface finishes, to emphasize forms, and to increase the range of brightness and color possible with pigments. The combinations of todayls varied types of light sources and materials are practically unlimited, as are the effects that result.

The purpose of this article is not to present specific solutions to particular lighting problems, but rather to outline some effective and perhaps somewhat unusual ways in which basic lighting techniques may be used to create forms of a dramatic, yet practical, nature. It is hoped that theatre designers may find inspiration in the ideas set forth which they may incorporate into their work at the drawing boards.

The accompanying pictures, which were taken during demonstrations of lighting techniques at the General Electric Lighting Institute, are intended to illustrate (within the limitations of black and white photographs) a few com A DRAMATIC lNTEGRAIION OF LIGHTING with forms, materials, and colors results in a striking composite whose elements might well be incorporated in a theatre design plan. Demonstrated at the General Electric


Engineering Division. Lamp Department, General Electric Company

binations which exemplify fundamental methods of lighting. Each individual pattern may, of course, suggest application in a particular part of the theatre, but the whole might Well be used as a composite mural in a lobby, foyer, auditorium, lounge, or even on the back wall of a refreshment bar.

Set forth below are brief descriptions of the techniques apparent in the illustrations, and recommendations are made as to how they might logically be employed to establish a broad variety of moods through the theatre by dramatic, albeit functional, arrangements.

Smooth Tones of Color

.This technique usually takes the form of wall lighting and cove lighting where it is desired to maintain the effect of a flat plane. If the rows of fluorescent or filament lamps are placed out from the surface to be lighted a distance equal to 1.4 that from the lamps to the far side of the surface, a gradual variation in brightness is produced. This can be

BRIEF: Lighting . . . powerful key to the unlocking of a bottomless treasury of dramatic visual effects . . . is a prime need in the theatre to infuse life and feeling into the forms and lines of the physical structure . . . Its multiplicity of tones may be used for a wide range of purposes . . . from instilling a mood of quiet serenity in the auditorium to imparting a dazzling brilliance to the


Just as a deck of cards may be shudled into an endless number of combinations . . . so a few basic patterns of light may be mixed and remixed in a wondrous kaleidoscope . . . whose size is limited only by the ingenuity of the user . . . Some of these fundamental lighting elements such as: smooth tones of color . . . color modeling . . . silhouette lighting . . . lighting for texture . . . patterns in brightness . . . edge-lighting . . . and black light . . . are discussed in the following article.

Some novel applications of light are shown . . . but no attempt is made to depict existing theatre examples . . . lest the readeris imaginative powers be hindered . . . Here is a real challenge . . . especially for the designer!


Lighting Institute. this novel arrangement combines spotlighting, built-in lluorescent and iilament lamps, tubing bent in three dimensions. and a pattern at small lamps set in the background. Other examples follow.


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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 22