LX 101 | Principles of Stage Lighting


Enrollment: In stock

Instructor: Michelle Harvey


Fundamentals of Stage Lighting covers the nature and properties of light, objectives of stage lighting, and how to develop a concept for stage lighting.  Students will learn to understand basic design and technical principles of stage lighting.  This class will prepare you to go more in depth to either design shows or dive into the electrical side of stage lighting.  An outstanding foundation to the full Stagecraft Academy LX Catalog. 

COURSE START DATE:  JOIN NOW - Online Self-Paced Course in Progress

Instructor:  Michelle Harvey

Course Length:  15 - 20+ hours (estimated)

Difficulty Level:  All experience levels

Prerequisites:  None.

Program Type:  Certificate with Verifiable Credential

Intro Lesson

  • Overview of Assignments & Topics Covered
    • Culminating project is an Instagram collection of photos from each lesson
    • Developing a lighting concept for your choice of play in several stages
      • Picking the photos
      • Defining mood, etc. 
  • Recommended Books / Resources
    • Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life: Richard Pilbrow*
  • Requirements
    • Camera
    • Account on some sort of photo hosting (preferably Instagram)
  • Examining artists (photos, paintings, etc), quality of lighting
  • How to get around the course
    • How to get around Instagram / Flicker / Picasa


Lesson 1:  The Nature of Light

Intro paragraph of different types of lighting

  • Trying to achieve a quality of light
  • 2 types of light - Direct and Indirect sources
  • History - Appia & Craig
    • Links to supporting web pages
  • The idea of creating a “Living space”
  • Assignment Start - Find and post a picture of a "Living Space"


Lesson 2:  4 Properties of Light 

  • Intensity
  • Color
  • Distribution
  • Movement
  • Assignment: Take two photos of each property and post to your account


Lesson 3: Objectives of Stage Lighting  

  • Selective visibility
  • Composition
  • Mood
  • Information
  • Revelation of form
  • Assignment: Take two photos of each objective and post to your account


Lesson 4: Concepts

  • Define Concept - Summary of your thoughts for lighting of a play
    • What is the play about? / Visual metaphor for what the play is about
    • Implementation of design (How the hell are you going to do it?) (Written explanation & images)
  • Assignment: This will be the draft for your concept: Write a summary in own words of what a play is about, provide pictures and explain why you chose them


Lesson 5 - Angles of Light

  • Introduce all Angles of Light with photos. (Lots of photos for this one)
  • Discuss each photo


Lesson 6 - Fixtures

  • Fresnel
    • Discuss the History of the Fresnel lens and how it got its name
    • Uses for the Fresnel over other types of fixtures
    • Identify the parts of a Fresnel and examine its cost
  • Elipsoidal
    • Discuss the History and Evolution of the Elipsoidal
    • Uses for the Elipsoidal over other types of fixtures
    • Identify the parts of an Elipsoidal and examine its cost
  • PAR
    • Discuss the History of the PAR
    • Uses for the PAR over other types of fixtures
    • Identify the parts of a PAR and examine its cost


Lesson 7 - Spec Sheets

  • Why are they useful?
  • Where can you find them?
  • Assignment: Find and post two Spec Sheets of varying units


Lesson 8 - Color  

  • Visible Light Spectrum -- Combining Science and Art
  • Terms: Hue, Saturation, and Value
  • Color Mixing: Primary, Secondary, Additive & Subtractive Color Mixing
  • In Lighting terms: Gel, Rondels, Frost


Lesson 9 - Culminating Project Turn In

  • Assignment: Write a full concept for the play you’re working on or one you want and provide supporting images for the concept.
Michelle Harvey

Michelle Harvey is currently the Lighting & Video Supervisor at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in Kansas City, MO. Prior to Missouri, Michelle lived in Las Vegas where she taught Intro to Design, Lighting I, and Lighting II at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas after getting her MFA there. She also found herself working in and around Las Vegas. Michelle has lit many shows and enjoyed several tours. Some of her shows include:  KC Rep: Stillwater, Fire in Dreamland, & Lot's Wife International: On the Air '67 (Adelaide Fringe Festival) Regional: Shrek (Feral Tale Theatricals); Guys & Dolls, Camelot, Hairspray, Singin' in the Rain, The Sound of Music, and Little Shop of Horrors (Signature Productions); The Music Man (Huntsman Entertainment); Annie, 1776, and West Side Story (Stage Door Productions); How to Succeed in Businessand Five Guys Named Moe (First Step Productions); Figaro, The Crucible, The Merry Widow, and The Magic Flute (Show Me Opera); The Importance of Being Earnest, Fiddler on the Roof, Chasm, and Lysistrata (Nevada Conservatory Theatre); Cats, Cabaret, and The Odd Couple (New London Barn Playhouse) Clint Holmes Sings Broadway (Just Another Man Productions) Shear Madness (Town Square Theatre) Education: MFA, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.​

We guarantee that the courses offered by Stagecraft Academy provide professional level knowledge of the course material. During the first lesson of the course, should you find that a given course is not for you, simply contact us for a full refund.