I am not a designer, and I know that some may disagree, but I do think that, depending on the space, a show can still be seen and look good with less lights than are actually used. It’s a matter of being smart about your area lights, your specials, and not always feeling the need to use everything in the inventory.
Mike Lawler, a theatre practitioner in the States, has a great website, www.ecotheater.wordpress.com, that addresses the idea of scaling down lighting designs. “Certainly grand scale spectacle has its place from time to time, but is it done too much? Can we simply tone it down, use fewer lighting instruments and act more wisely when we power them up, keeping them on only as long as needed?“
The link above is a powerpoint presentation created by a UK company called White Light. It has a lot of information about efficient lighting, including comparison charts, information about dimmers, a cost savings worksheet for using LED cyc lights, and a very strong case for LEDs.
Here are some things to think about when designing the show:
– Do I need extra lights?
– Which lights are the most efficient?
– Where are the lights coming from?
– Are there lower power equivalents?
– Can we use what we have in stock (gels, gobos)?
– Do I have the proper information on time?
Here are some things to think about during the show run:
– Turn off moving lights!
– Turn off smoke machines!
– Keep all gobos/scrollers/gels for future shows!
– Properly recycle lamps
– LEDs and CFLs can be used backstage and for front of house