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A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting Paperback – September 21, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0750632621 ISBN-10: 0240811410 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (September 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750632621
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 8.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is hands-down the best book I've ever read regarding the process of designing and executing a lighting design. Other books do wonderful jobs of discussing instruments and electrical aspects, or how to create a design, but very few discuss the day-to-day paperwork and personal interactions involved in getting that design executed." --Steven Haworth, Lighting Designer


"...this 2nd edition has answered all your questions and a bunch you didn't think you needed to know.  You have got to have this book if you consider yourself a professional, period." -- James Moody, author of Concert Lighting


"A practical guide that will, better than any other book on the subject, help the LD get his or her design realized in the most professional and efficient manner." --Peter Maradudin, Lighting Dimensions Magazine


" The best parts of the book work because they rely on understanding concepts, not remembering good advice. You don't have to remember, because you have understood." -- Nick Hunt, Focus - The Journal of the Association of Lighting Designers


"Finally! Shelley has taken the basic concept of focus coverage and given it a name: The Slinky Method! Bravo, Mr. Shelley." --Ms. Martha Mountain, George Mason University


"This is a must read for any student who is seriously interested in lighting design." --Cindy Limauro, Carnegie Melon University 


"In 2002 I began to search for textbooks to cover the course I was developing on Lighting Technology and Lighting Design for the live stage. I discovered "A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting."


Steve Shelley had done what I feared was impossible. He had distilled the art and science of stage lighting into one comprehensive book. He had concentrated on those timeless objectives and principals that remain the same regardless if you are using a 50 year old leko or the latest LED fixture.


"A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting" has been the base textbook for my course ever since. .It is the student's reaction to this book that is quite remarkable. They have constantly commented on how easy it is to read and understand. That in itself makes it a most valuable asset." - Prof. Kenneth Salah, Cambrian College

From the Inside Flap

The first edition of A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting followed the process and explained one set of methods used to create and apply paperwork that culminated in a fully mounted lighting design for the musical "Hokey".

This second edition pulls back the wizard's curtain to reveal the step-by-step processes involved in the creation and realization of that lighting design. With ninety new topics, twenty new forms, and fifteen new drafting presentations, Shelley expands his painstaking analysis into the methods and processes that take place to create the light plot and a lighting design in the first place.

More About the Author

STEVEN LOUIS SHELLEY hails from Nebraska, where he began his theatrical career as a technician, performer, and puppeteer. Eventually he focused on a degree in lighting design and graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts in 1977. After working in several cities around the United States, he moved to New York City, and has since designed lights, production managed, and stage managed live theatre in America and around the world.

In the early '90's Steve started writing what would become A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, which was published in 1997. He just completed the expanded third edition, and is now beginning work on his next book.

He's the patent holder of the Field Template, as well as the award-winning Vectorworks® theatrical lighting toolkit SoftSymbols™ (www.fieldtemplate.com). He still lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this as a textbook, as well as good inspiration for any lighting designer.
Laurel Shoemaker, UNL Dept of Theatre & Film
I have used the first edition of this book in my classes in the past, but the 2nd edition is like a whole new world.
Ruth Hutson
Order Steve Shelley's book if you want to learn the right way in the entertainment lighting industries.
Jim of JimOnLight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jim of JimOnLight on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the lighting industry, there are a handful of things you need to do when you are studying to work as a professional. In no particular order:

1. Read "The Dramatic Imagination" by Robert Edmund Jones
2. Learn how to use CAD
3. Read a lighting book by each of: Steve Shelley, Jim Moody, Richard Cadena, and Richard Pilbrow.
4. Learn how to operate a lighting console
5. Learn how to be pleasant

Steve Shelley's book "A Practical Guide to State Lighting, Second Ed" is one of the texts that you just need to read. Steve understands lighting and management, and his experiences on the road as a dance LD/SM are like life guides for young designers to follow. Steve understands the way our industry operates - and for students to learn the standard ways through Steve's explanations and analogies makes their education pertinent and relevant.

Order Steve Shelley's book if you want to learn the right way in the entertainment lighting industries. It's even priced well. What other convincing do you need?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Griffith on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wow, I never thought he could top the last book, but this one is even more jam packed with information. The amount of visual material he has used to help the reader understand the text is great. The style in which he writes is more conversational which makes for reading that is not dry, but interesting. The descriptions of the different paperwork a lighting designer needs is great and he lets the reader see some of his own examples. Another great feature is his real life stories of things that happen to him to help the reader understand why all of the things he discusses should be done. A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting is the definitive book of what a lighting designer needs to be prepared to enter the theatre and successfully create art.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Hutson on February 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have used the first edition of this book in my classes in the past, but the 2nd edition is like a whole new world. This quarter my students have used it cover to cover and it is blowing their minds...and mine. I love the layout and the "real world" experience that it offers them. For my advanced students, I can easily direct them to a page number and tell them to use it as a springboard for their paperwork...saving me a ton of time. I can't recommend it enough and look forward to using it as the basis for all of my lighting classes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Hickox on April 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Let me give Mr. Shelley a big round of applause for improving what was a great book to begin with. It is a textbook that has value for the beginning and the experienced practitioner of stage lighting. I have used this book in classes for 10 years and appreciate the checklists, notes, tips, rules and tales from the road. His process and opinions are well founded, providing a great foundation for all students of the art/craft of lighting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lambhat on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, there is a LOT of info in this book. If you're looking for something where you just read the fist couple of pages, then go play with your lights, this is not the book for you. This book provides hundreds of pages of diagrams, schematics and technique. A great read if you can sit through a lot of technical information. If you want to get into the lighting game professionally, this would be a good place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Griffin Minor on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Shelley has done it again. I read the first edition when it first came out. I loved it. I learned a lot from it. But THIS edition is in an entirely different league. This book immediately became a REQUIRED text book for every student I have. It can be used by anyone from the beginning student to the masters level and beyond into the professional world. The text itself is well organized, the writing is humorous but incredibly informative and easy to read, his graphic aids are phenomenally helpful, and the manner in which he shares his experience and knowledge is unparalleled. He shares his personal anecdotes and lessons learned in small doses called: "Shelley's Notes", "Shelley's Soapbox", and "Tales from the Road". These short narratives alone are worth their weight in gold.

This is the single most comprehensive and inclusive text written on the subject of lighting design today, and everyone who wants to know anything about our field should read it - cover to cover.

Jennifer E. Griffin
Lighting Designer
Visiting Professor
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Aski on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was curious about stage lighting, so I purchased this book. I'm not a professional and have no desire to be a gaffer or production manager; I just wanted an overview awareness of the techniques and production of stage lighting designers and boy was this overwhelming for me.

This book is DENSE. Like, Bible dense. It's an encyclopedia of stage lighting. I give this 4 stars, simply because I couldn't understand it, but knew that the information was detailed and top notched. There are complex, and I mean COMPLEX, lighting diagrams with instructions only a professional could comprehend. Look, if you are a beginner or have no experience with lighting, DON'T get this book. It's not for you. It's for professionals who desire an extension of their techniques and craft.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is focused on theater but is very useful because it describes the basic terms of the theater like: parts of the stage, masking of the stage, how the conterweight system Works and a wide guide of how to start and develop a lighting design.

It explains how to start with meetings, creative process and the analisys for the placement of the lamps and its schedules(dimmer, address, etc.)

I highly recommend it
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