Shaping the Scenes with Lighting Design
The move from a stage production to one on film presents many creative & technical challenges. For lighting design students, it introduces an entirely new way to approach lighting for dance & visual effects. Get a sneak peak into the production through this lens, & hear from the designers making it happen.
- I enjoy telling stories,
and I enjoy telling stories through something
that is not the most obvious.
To be able to influence the audience's feelings
and their experience when seeing something
on stage is incredibly powerful.
There is really nothing else like it.
My name is Yuko, I'm a fourth year lighting designer
at UNCSA, and I'm the lighting designer
for this year's "Nutcracker."
The lighting design for our usual UNCSA's "Nutcracker"
is designed by the same person as it has been
for the past however many years.
So it's going to be different because I'm designing it.
"Nutcracker" is very special to me
because it was my first dance show
that I have ever seen and worked on.
So being a part of that was very special.
I start with research.
I will research who the director is,
who the original choreographer is,
what the past productions were like, the history behind it.
And then I come in to a design meeting
with the director or a choreographer
and we talk about what makes this specific show special.
Ilya (the choreographer) and I talked a lot about color
because the lighting is very much influenced by color.
We talked about what our visual idea is for each scene.
So whether that be color imagery or intensity imagery,
whatever that is, we really want to make sure
that that also is coherent with the music.
I think about music a lot.
I listen to it over and over again.
I hear where the tension is in that music,
where the dynamic changes are,
and that influences what color it should be.
Or does it even need color?
Because sometimes the music itself speaks color
and where that lighting is motivated from,
depending on the idea of the lighting
that I have for that show.
"Snow" is my favorite part of the whole show.
It's the most magical part.
And it's also the first magical place
that Clara is being introduced to
when she enters this other world.
And I wanted to make sure that that goes well
with the choreography and the music.
So when it comes to lighting,
I want to make sure that that magic is being seen on stage,
that first awe moment, that beautiful blue cue
being highlighted by these low boom lights
on the dancer's body.
It creates sort of this shape and dimension
and this interesting shadow that you can't really get
from a light on the grid.
- There's definitely gonna be a theatrical quality of light
and how the light is sculpting the dancer,
especially just with the ability to control more light,
so you can really fine tune what's getting picked up
with which light.
Dancers move a lot, and so we are adding followspots,
we're adding two scaffolding units into space,
which are gonna hold spotlight operators.
Because you're not sitting all the way at the back
of the house, the camera's gonna be close up to the dancers,
it's gonna take you closer to the action.
You're gonna really experience it like you never have.
- I'm super excited about working with film artists.
It's such a unique opportunity to be able
to collaborate this way.
That collaboration, I think, is very special
to our "Nutcracker."