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10636Re: costumes and lighting

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  • Linda Scribner
    Sep 17, 2008
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      Sylvia,
      A couple of questions: Did the lighting designer say why the colors
      wouldn't work? Was it an issue of distortion because of saturated
      lighting colors? The reality is that saturated lighting colors will
      change any color. Or is it an issue of characterization, which would
      have to include the director who determines whether a color is right
      for a character in a scene.

      When I have encountered these kind of problems, I have always sought
      for a compromise. For example, from the very beginning a lighting
      designer will know a skirt is called for in the script, by the
      director, etc. to be a red skirt. However, the lighting palette
      makes the skirt glow extremely hot. I can leave the skirt alone and
      watch an out of balance scene or tint the skirt to kill some of the
      red, which is usually the solution I will take.

      However, when a director has approved my designs and I have made
      fabric swatches available to a lighting designer ahead of their color
      deadline, I expect the lighting to compromise and accept that in that
      dark blue night scene, my orange dress will turn brown, as it would
      in real life.

      I cannot abide any one outside of the director dictating design
      choices and find it offensive when we cannot collaborate and find a
      solution. In the general scheme of things, due to build times, etc.,
      I have to settle on colors before the lighting designer. If we
      haven't collaborated all along, I believe the compromise needs to be
      made by the last in line (sorry if that offends anyone.) But at the
      same time, I will not allow my work to look like a mistake if there
      is a need for certain color lighting. My favorite productions are
      those in which we all generate the designs simultaneously and are on
      the same page from the beginning. For example, in one production I
      chose to make the costumes non-descript colorwise for a first act so
      the lighting designer could do more with color to create location.
      All I asked is that he respected the color coices for the 2nd act
      costumes in the same way. And it worked.

      Sorry, got on a bit of a soapbox but I'm really tired of dealing with
      this issue myself. Once had a lighting designer and director approve
      of a color for a corderoy suit - rust. So we built a tailored,
      1970's suit, color all approved. First dress, the director had a
      hissy because the suit appeared too hot in certain spots. Rather
      than have the lighting designer change out a few gels that were a bit
      warm, we were asked to dye the suit. Now, most of us know dyeing a
      hand tailored suit is not the best choice to retain a "new" look for
      the suit. But the director insisted that the lighting designer had
      worked too hard and she would not ask him to change gels. We did
      it. The suit looked crappy. Not our fault. Just a stupid choice.
      Oh well. It is our job to serve the production...

      Linda
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