By Steven Louis Shelley
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Extra info for A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Second Edition
The box boom location can also be useful for washes other than facial light. Depending on the location, low-hung instruments can be useful illuminating scenic legs or downstage drops. The position is also useful for any specials required to focus on architectural elements in the house, specials on musicians, or the conductor in the orchestra pit. Sidelight Light striking a person’s body from approximately a 90° angle on either side of centerline is called sidelight. In a proscenium configuration, these are instruments positioned on either side of a focus point, so that their focused beams travel perpendicular to centerline.
When walls are involved in the scenic design, overhead sidelight can gain even more importance. If other systems behind the person can’t reach particular areas of the stage, the overhead sidelight may be the only system that can prevent an area from looking “flat” (the result of being illuminated only with frontlight). In many situations, overhead sidelights are often plotted like another system of area frontlight, with a pair of instruments, one from each side, focusing to the same focus point.
Finally, the success of a downlight system can be seen in the way in which it is controlled. If each instrument is assigned to an independent channel, the units can be used as a series of specials, isolating each portion of the stage. When dimmers or channels become scarce, attention should be paid to the blocking of the production. If there’s little need for one side of the stage to be isolated, adjacent instruments in a zone may be combined. Another approach may be to combine the offstage channels of the second and third zones of downlight.