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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.

AIRED: December 22, 2020 | 0:03:50
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

(bright music)

- 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."

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