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BWW Blog: Virtual Lighting Design

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BWW Blog: Virtual Lighting Design

Being a senior in college in the midst of a pandemic is definitely not easy at all. You learn very quickly that the last year before you're sent off to look for permanent jobs is going to look different from how you expected it to. For me, one of the largest setbacks is the idea that my theatre courses are going to be moved online or, at the very least, be gone about in a much more unconventional way. As disappointed as I am knowing there likely won't be a play and my capstone in the Fall semester won't be in person, I would say my greatest disappointment was envisioning my lighting design class virtually.

Moving to virtual courses doesn't always have to be a bad thing, though. As I've come to terms with how my Fall semester will look, I have slowly been looking for pros rather than cons. Wallowing in sadness for too long can only cause more pain, so it helps to think on the bright side from time to time! While I never knew exactly how this class was going to look in person, I think I may be able to learn even more from online study. Lighting design doesn't have to exclusively apply to theatre. It could apply to photography, or videos too.

At my college, I'm a dual major focusing in Communication and Visual and Performing Arts. On the side, I've taken up a special interest in photography, cosplay, and video production! As someone who cares a great deal about the quality of images and videos for the cosplay content I make, I opted to invest in various lighting elements to create more visually interesting content; most importantly, a ring light and LED display lights. Since then, the videos I have made improved drastically. Having the ability to create light flickers, brighten or dim the scene, and set the mood with colorfully lit backdrops changes the game.

Now, how does this apply to theatre? Two words: social media.

My ultimate goal is to create social media content for a Broadway show, and these skills can prove particularly useful when I am thinking about the best way to highlight the show, the characters, as well as the actors and actresses. One of my favorite accounts is Beetlejuice the Musical's Instagram (@beetlejuicebway). Their brilliant usage of the primary colors of the show (black, white, purple, and green) is visually dynamic and interesting to look at. I aspire to create a page as incredible as that one day.

Moving a lighting design course to a more virtual field will undeniably be a challenge, but it is my hope that the lessons I will be taught in this Fall semester will allow me to learn even more lighting techniques that can apply on a wide range of subjects whether that be theatre specifically or photography in general. The way we use lighting in all sorts of mediums can entirely change the way we feel about that medium. As someone who has worked with a few of them already, this course will be insightful and fun even online!

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