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Embed code for: Lighting Ministry Handbook-General
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A handbook for people that need some lighting resources for their lighting team, specifically for church lighting teams.
ALF Lighting & Effects Handbook
For Our Friends
Greetings from Dante Nelson
Over the years, I have had people ask me for material from my lighting guide. However, things have changed drastically from the original guide seen on YouTube. So, what I have done is I have created this handbook based off of a few materials I use in my ministry.
We have General, Designer, Technician, and Electrician handbooks. Content from that original service lighting guide ended up falling into those items. I am essentially recreating that guide book while adding some other things I think will prove useful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me again if there is something specific you want that was not provided here.
I want to thank you for reaching out to me. I am always happy to share these (mostly) freely acquired resources with you for free. I want to help in any way I can. I have small professional experience but I mostly do my work in the church without financial gain. I hope you enjoy this gift from my ministry, ALF Lighting and Effects.
Aims of Lighting: To enhance mood, atmosphere, and drama; to illuminate the story; to separate planes; to suggest depth; to direct attention; to reveal character; to convey time of day; to enrich and, occasionally, bedazzle.
Ambient Light: The general Illumination for a room or other area.
Assignment Sheet: A chart that shows what form of lighting is to be done by a chosen member of the crew.
Attributes of Light: Every source has five main attributes that affect the quality of light emitted and the overall lighting-look: 1) Hard or Soft (or in between); 2) Intensity (the amount of light); 3) Direction (in relation to the lens/subject axis); 4) Color (of light emitted); and 5) Beam pattern (the Beam Angle, shape, and any shadow patterns).
Background Light: Reveals the character of the background and helps separate it from the subject.
Backlight: Illumination on a subject from behind, causing a separation of the subject from the background, often creating a fringe of light around the subject.
Blackout: To remove or the removal of all or almost all light on the performing area, usually done rapidly.
Barndoor: A front-of-the-light device having two or more pivotable black panels used to shape the Beam and shade the camera lens or scene.
Complementary Colors: Two colors of light that combine to make white light in the additive color mixing system. For red, green, and blue, the complementary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow, respectively.
Cue: A signal for a light change.
Dead: Anything that is supposed to be carrying, or has the potential to carry electrical current, but isn't.
Dim: To change the intensity of an instrument. The state of an instrument at very low intensity.
Downstage: The stage area nearest the audience.
Fade In: The gradual increase in intensity of light.
Fade Out: The gradual decrease in intensity of light.
Fade-To-Black: To gradually decrease the intensity of all lighting to a blackout.
Fill Light: Fill is used to lighten shadows.
Followspot: A narrow-beam focusing instrument that is manually operated, and usually comprises a powerful light source, an iris, shutters, a color changer, and perhaps other features.
Gels: Used as a (mostly) color filter for a light. They typically come in sheets.
Gobo: A general term for any opaque item placed into the beam of an instrument that blocks a portion of the beam or the whole beam. In this way, the light of the instrument is shaped by the design of the item.
House Lights: General lighting provided for the audience area. A type of Ambient light.
Instrument: In the theater industry, another term for equipment.
Juice: The popular way to refer to electricity.
Key Light: The strongest source of light in a three point lighting setup.
Kill: To turn off one or more of your lights.
Light Change: To dim, kill, or turn on your lights while shooting.
Light Plot: A blueprint for lighting that shows outlets, equipment layouts, accessories, and anything else lighting related.
Lighting Crew: A group of individuals trained in lighting skills and techniques, and collectively assembled to work on a stage production.
Lighting Design: The outlook and plan for the Lighting Crew created by the Lighting Designer.
Lighting Designer: One who plans lighting compositions, lays out light plots, directs the focusing of luminaires, and determines the various intensities, colors, looks, and cues for a lighting production.
Lighting Technician: One trained in the lighting skills and techniques necessary for the implementation of the lighting design for a particular production.
Offstage: Out of sight from the audience.
Onstage: In sight of the audience.
Pan: To arc a light horizontally.
Pipe Clamp: A light support that attaches to a grid or pipe.
Practical Light: A prop light seen in the shot which can be operated by the subject; sometimes doctored to control brightness, color, or coverage.
Primary Colors: In light, the primary colors are red, green, and blue.
Rigging: Generally, the support items used by riggers, such as cables, ropes, pulleys, hoists, motors, chains, slings, etc.
Safety cable: Something that wraps around a pipe clamp and hanging instrument so that, if the clamp-instrument connection fails, the cable will keep instrument up.
Sandbag: A weight used to stabilize unstable Stands, Rigs, and much else. Substitutes: heavy cables, cases, or rocks.
Secondary Colors: When two Primary Colors mix. Cyan is of Green and Blue, Yellow is of Red and Green, and Magenta is of Red and Blue.
Subject: The person or object being lit.
Throw: The distance light travels from Source to Subject, as in "a long throw."
Tilt: Vertical arcing of the light.
If it cannot be done safely, it cannot be done. Some safety rules have been established for us to follow whenever we’re working.
Let it be said that the only people that are allowed to advise you of what to do with these standards are the Lighting Designer or a Lighting Electrician.
There are dangers in the lighting and special effects world. You deserve to know what they are.
If we do things the right way, we won’t have to worry about these things. These dangers come with the job so it couldn’t be possible to tell you that we can completely avoid them and so, if you are uncomfortable with the risks, you should probably reconsider your role on the crew.
For all members of a lighting and special effects crew, there needs to be a basic understanding of electrical safety, which this document will go over.
A lot of lights are hung in the lighting world. To avoid anything falling on people, we need to make sure things are secured properly. Lighting crews use these things:
One Major Rule
This is VERY important and there are no exceptions unless the LD, LS, or ME says so.
Under no circumstance is anyone, other than trained members of the crew, allowed to touch the equipment in any way.
This is very important. If you see somebody messing around with it, they must be stopped. Here is why:
Someone could get hurt. People that are trained are aware of the dangers of lighting and special effects and handling the equipment. Someone not trained may do something with the equipment that leads them to getting hurt.
This stuff is expensive. People that are not trained on it could do something wrong and boom; messed up equipment. If the equipment is damaged, it is on the church's hands to replace, if the church would even bother to replace. So, the church would only want people who are trained or "certified" to operate the equipment.
What To Do If Something Happens
Things happen. People get hurt. If someone on the crew gets hurt, or if there seems to be a serious malfunction of the equipment, the first thing to do is to notify the crew leadership and/or a Lighting Electrician.
You also need to pray. Prayer is a powerful weapon in a world where we sometimes don’t have full control, like in emergency situations.
You need to remain calm. You must act swiftly, but, take a breath. Breathe. Be ready to assist in any way that your crew leadership instructs.
Do not touch anything that appears to be smoking, giving off sparks or on fire. If a fellow crew member suffers an injury, notify crew leadership. Do not touch the crew member.
Extension Cord and Power Strip Safety
Let’s go over dealing with extension cords and power strips. As you walk around the church, if you see things that don’t agree with what is written here, you have the full authority to correct the situation.
Power strips cannot go into other power strips and/or extension cords. Also, nothing is to go between a power strip and outlet. Not even adapters and the like.
Extension cords cannot be taped, covered (with mat or rug), or nailed/stapled in any way on any surface. Essentially, we must think that a cord needs to be able to breathe. However, Gaffers tape is acceptable for use on extension cords.
Extension cords cannot run through doorways. One major reason is high traffic. Another reason is that the cords could get pinched when trying to close a door and therefore making the extension cord not only less effective, but greater risk of fire hazard.
Extension cords cannot go into extension cords. This means, essentially, we can only use one extension cord per fixture. There is a way to control more than one fixture with just one cord though. Using a multiple outlet extension cord will work fine.
The thickness of the extension cord must not be less than the thickness of the appliance’s cord being used with it. The reason behind this is that the size of a cord factors in on the usage of power. If a followspot has a large cable, that means it uses a great deal of power. If you use a smaller extension cord, all of that power has to now squeeze through a smaller cord, and then you run the risk of the cord wearing out. It can also lead to overheating which can lead to cords catching on fire and you know the rest.
Extension cords cannot be used if they are torn in any way. The wires within the cord are exposed and become a fire hazard. Also, exposed wires can cause electrocution. You cannot try to repair the cord in any way such as with tape.
A power strip’s casing should be plastic, not metal.
Only one power strip should be plugged into a single duplex electrical outlet at a time.
Uncoil long cords when in use, to avoid overheating.
There should be no exposed cords and cables in the general public. This is the congregational area on the floor and in the balcony.
We must limit the usage of extension cords and focus on plugging items in using the built in power cable in the nearest possible outlet. If this cannot be done, use the shortest extension cord possible.
Whenever we’re not in the building, all cords connected to fixtures not in use must be unplugged. Before you leave, make sure to take a quick walk around to make sure nothing is left plugged in.
Gaffers tape is a special tape that originated as a tool for lighting and special effects crews, but has expanded to many other industries. Use gaffers tape to tape down power and extension cords.
Next are pipe clamps. The pipe clamp connects the fixture, like a Par, to a stand, truss system, pipe, or whatever else you want the fixture to hang from. Clamps must be tightened as much as possible.
Safety cables are in case a clamp fails for whatever reason. The cable loops through a fixture and a clamp, and, whatever the fixture is hanging from. So, if the clamp was to fail, the safety cable will keep the fixture in place, or at least keep it from falling on someone. If a safety cable ends up being used in the form of catching a falling piece of equipment, it must be replaced. A safety cable has only one life.
Sandbags serve as anchors. These are placed on the feet of lighting stands (and other gear that is extended to great heights), to help prevent a stand from tipping over.
Risk of electrocution is high with water based fluid and plugging unit into electrical outlet. Do not plug in if nearby area or the unit is wet outside of tank.
Do not touch body of unit while it is plugged in. It becomes very hot.
Never aim nozzle at people, including yourself, while the unit is plugged in.
Do not allow items in front of the nozzle, especially highly flammable items.
The unit must be on a level, hard surface while plugged in and during operation.
Both hands are needed to move the unit to prevent spillage. Even then, leaks will likely occur.
Always have towel or related item to dry up spills. Last thing needed is for someone to slip on a wet spot.
Other Safety Rules
You must not place items on the top of the ladder or a step on the ladder. It could fall and hurt someone. If the ladder has a tray designed for tool placement, that is fine to use.
In reference to previous point, you must not leave a ladder unattended if it does have items on it. Someone may not realize this, attempt to move it, and the item would fall, potentially causing injury.
If the ladder seems damaged, don’t use it.
Don’t let anything block a fire exit.
Know where fire extinguishers are in church.
ALF Lighting & Effects is split into three teams of positions: Lighting Designer, Lighting Technician, and Lighting Electrician. This section lists the positions with brief descriptions. They are based off of what was found on the website “Get In Media”. Contact Dante if interested in the full descriptions.
Lighting Designer (LD):
The Lighting Designer is head of the ALF Lighting and Effects Crew.
Assistant Lighting Designer (ALD):
Assists the Lighting Designer in lighting duties.
Lighting Board Programmer (Board Designer):
The Lighting Board Programmer is the Technician-Designer hybrid who programs the lighting board/console/controller.
Lighting Supervisor (LS)
The Lighting Supervisor is the leader of the Technicians.
Assistant Lighting Supervisor (ALS)
Assists the Lighting Supervisor in duties.
Lighting Board Technician (Board Spark)
A Lighting Technician whose expertise is in operating the lighting board/console/controller.
Followspot Technician (FS Spark)
A Lighting Technician whose expertise is in operating the followspot.
Lighting Technician (Spark):
The Lighting Technician is the entry position to the ministry.
Master Electrician (ME):
The Master Electrician is the head of the Electricians.
Deck Electrician (Deck Juicer):
Someone who helps with Master Electrician’s job.
Paths of Advancement Graph
To fade up the intensity from blackout to illuminate the subject
To pick up the subject at the desired intensity instantly
To fade out the intensity of the followspot
To instantly blackout
Fade In Place
To Fade Out the intensity of the followspot without moving the light
Fade Out & Pick Up
Fade Out intensity and Pick Up a new subject
Bump Out & Bump Up
Bump Out and Bump Up a new subject
Fade Up & Out
Fade Up for a very short time and then Fade Out
Bump Up and Out
Bump Up for a very short amount of time and then Bump Out
The current followspot will Bump Out while at the same time another followspot will Bump Up
Fade Down to
Fade Down intensity but not Fade Out
Fade Up to
Fade Up intensity to a brighter level, not necessarily full intensity
Bump Down to
Bump Down intensity but not Bump Out
Bump Up to
Bump Up intensity to a brighter level, not necessarily full intensity
Standby for next cue
Open & Include
Open iris to include other subjects
Contain two subjects in the light
Open Iris to
Open iris to a larger aperture on subject
Iris Down to
Close iris to a smaller aperture on the subject
Change seamlessly from one subject to another, usually when the subjects cross paths
Similar to Swap to, but the light moves to a new subject regardless of distance of subjects
No matter what happens onstage, the followspot stays on a selected subject
Begin to Zone
Using the Swap to method, a followspot is given a section of the stage to light any subjects that may enter
Hold the light in one position
Using the Slide to method, Pick Up subject who is running onstage. Typically used during curtain calls
Two followspots move in the infinity sign in the air
Using the Slide to method, when the subjects are in a line, the followspots slide back and forth across the line of subjects
When subjects are in line, and perform an action in a wave, follow the wave
Change Color to
While Off, change color
Roll Color to
Smoothly change color
Change the color instantly
Intensity and Color:
Fade Out, Change Color
Fade Out the light and change color
Bump Out, Change Color
Bump Out the light and change color
Fade Out, Change Color, Fade Up
Fade Out the light, immediately change color, then, asap, Fade Up light
Bump Out, Change Color, Bump Up
Bump Out, immediately change color, asap Bump Up light
Light up just the head
Light up head and shoulders
Light from waist up
Light from groin up
Light from knees up
Light up the entire body. The “+” is for moving limbs of dancers of action scenes
When a group of subjects need to be lit, focus on all members over lighting the bodies
Light from the neck down
Lighting a prop or scenery
Light is Off
Light is barely on
Light is on 25 percent intensity
Light is on 50 percent intensity
Light is on 75 percent intensity
Light is on max intensity
Color Meaning Guide
We remember every color has a purpose. This guide was created using American DJ Wifly QA5 Pars. So, when you see colors combined with “Amber”, just know it’s the built in Amber of the fixture. This color meaning guide is best suited for Quad (RGBA) fixtures. Should we ever get hex fixtures, well, then we’d update to include that.
These meanings are a combination of physical, emotional, and biblical representations of colors.
Red (R): Action, Attention-Getting, Assertive, Confident, Energizing, Stimulating, Exciting, Powerful, Motivational, Passionate, Stimulating, Driven, Courageous, Strong, Spontaneous, Determined, Sacrifice, Prosperity, Redemptive Power, Protection, Warfare Against the Enemy
Blue (B): Loyalty, Trust, Integrity, Tactful, Reliability, Responsibility, Conservatism, Perseverance, Caring, Concern, Idealistic, Orderly, Authority, Devotion, Contemplation, Peaceful, Calm, Communication, Honesty, Wisdom, Predictable, Rigid Heavenly, Grace, Mercy, Holy Covering, Holy Spirit, Living Waters
Green (G): Growth, Vitality, Renewal, Restoration, Self-Reliance, Reliability, Dependability, Being Tactful, Emotionally Balanced, Rejuvenating, Agreeable, Diplomatic, Calm, Nature Lover, Family Oriented, Practical, Down to Earth, Hope, Sympathetic, Compassionate, Nurturing, Generous, Kind, Loyal, High Moral Sense, Adaptable, Encourages 'Social Joining', Harmony, A Need to Belong, Rest, Abundant Life, Eternal Life
Magenta (M): Universal Harmony and Love, Emotional Balance, Helps Our Spirit Soar, Spiritual yet Practical, Encourages Common Sense, Loving, Compassionate, Supportive, Kind, Imaginative, Innovative, Creative and Artistic, Non-Conformist, Negotiator, Joy, Passion, Change, Transformation
Cyan (C): Healing, Spiritual, Calming, Compassion, Protection, Health, Refreshing, Uplifting, Creative, Light-hearted, Strong, Individual
Yellow (Y): Optimism, Cheerfulness, Enthusiasm, Fun, Good-Humored, Confidence, Originality, Creativity, Challenging, Academic, Analytical, Wisdom, Logic, Mind, Intellect, Happiness, Communication of New Ideas, Non-Emotional, Brightness of Christ, Light, Joy, Celebration, Glory Revealed, Oil of the Spirit
Violet (V): Enlightenment, Spiritual, Royal, Fun, Love, Majestic, Power, Extravagance, Luxury
Azure (Az): Contentment, Determination, Ambition, Purpose
Orange (O): Sociable, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Cheerful, Self-Confident, Independent, Flamboyant, Extroverted, Uninhibited, Adventurous, Risk-Taker, Creative Flair, Warm-Hearted, Agreeable, Informal, Praise, Warfare, Passion, Power, Fire, Harvest Season, Fruitfulness
Rose (Ro): Optimistic, Love
Chartreuse (Ch): Health, Nature, Healing
Spring Green (SG): Fresh, Growth, Environmentalism
White and Amber:
Amber (A): Confidence, Self-Esteem, Energy, God’s Manifested Presence, Glory, Fiery Passion, Flaming Throne of God
White (W): Innocence, Purity, Cleanliness, Equality, Whole, Simplicity, Immaculate, Neat, Self-Sufficient, Pristine, Open, New Beginnings, Victory, Unity, Impartial, Rescuer, Efficient, Futuristic, Forgiveness, Righteousness, Holiness, Triumph, Salvation, Peace, Glory
Seashell (Ss): Baptism, Protection, Good Fortune, Emotional Stability, Rebirth, Spiritual Awareness
Lime (L): Anticipation, Perceptive, Non-Judgmental, Initiating Change, Youthfulness, Naivety, Playfulness, Bold
Veronica (Ve): Bringing Victory
Tangerine (T): Identity, Recognition, Stand-Out
Lemon (Le): Self-Reliance, Order, Academic
Celeste (Ce): Heavenly
Orchid (Or): Unconventional, Individuality, Non-Conformity, Joy, Innocence, Happiness
Color Mixing Guide
This mixing guide is for the colors listed in the meaning guide
Spring Green (SG)
Wifly Par QA5 Macro
255 “Amber”, just know it’s the built in Amber of the fixture. This color meaning guide is best suited for Quad (RGBA) fixtures. Should we ever get hex fixtures, well, then we’d update to include that.
Orange (O): Sociable, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Cheerful, Self-Confident, Independent, Flamboyant, Extroverted, Uninhibited