Revealing Subtle Warmth With Bastard Ambers

Adam Murdoch was the Lighting Designer for “Henry V” and “Julius Caesar” in Stripped-Back Shakespeare at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). “Stripped-Back” meant no set, no costume designer, and no sound designer – which meant that all of the responsibility for setting the story’s time & place fell squarely on Murdoch’s lighting design. Below, Adam share’s how he maximized the lighting of the productions to fill the void left by the other minimized production-elements and how he put all of the various flavors of Bastard Amber to work warming his stage.

My lighting rig for both Henry V & Julius Caesar consisted of front & side light – all of which were tungsten sources. When I was developing my concept and design, colour was to be of high priority, as not only was it necessary to create mood & atmosphere, it also displayed temporal qualities within the text. So I chose my colours very carefully as to ensure that the colour palette was correct for each show.

I really wanted a gel that could give me a very subtle warm colour that would allow me to play around with colour temperatures using intensity. I sat for hours trying to find the colour that I knew I wanted, but most warm colours gave me a yellow-ish feel, which I really didn't want. I wanted a higher transmission of red. It was then that I stumbled across Roscolux 302, and instantly knew this would be the perfect choice! It would warm the lamp output but with a very natural output.

I designed a rig with small Scroller strings loaded with very subtle colours to create the subtle yet telling moods of the pieces. Other colours I used were e-colour+ 004 Medium Bastard Amber & Roscolux 54 Special Lavender for specials.

I used the Cyclorama as the main theatrical device to explain the story. Each cell was pixel-mapped, which allowed me virtually limitless options. Time of day was to be conveyed by slow moving transitions of light from one side of the stage to the other and allowed me to create vivid looks with a two-tone Cyc from top to bottom. Amongst the gels I used were Rosco Supergel 02 Bastard Amber & Roscolux 362 Tipton Blue to give me a contrasting mix of colours I could use.

I really enjoyed working on this project and, most of all, using the Roscolux 302 as it gave me great flexibility. I was able to use different levels of intensities and non-saturated colours to produce two completely different designs within the same theatre.

Photo Credit: Sam Sebbage

Adam Murdoch is a UK lighting designer who recently won The Michael Northen Bursary from the Association of Lighting Designers. The judges that gave him that award said his work “showed off his fantastic and bold use of colour,” and that “Adam’s work wouldn’t look out of place in the West End.” To learn more about Adam’s work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Wendy Luedtke November 17, 2015 Questions?

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