Lighting Design

First Year

Introduction to Lighting Design

DESG-GT 1056-1057   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Wierzel

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 


This class will deal with the initial process of lighting design, how to give light significance in context. Questions of meaning, structure, process and intent will be investigated. The class will also explore the qualities and functions of light, what light can and cannot communicate. The student will begin to develop a visual and conceptual vocabulary, a first step in the practice of creating ideas with light. Individual creativity will be nurtured within an environment of shared experience. Much emphasis will be placed on process, both intellectual and practical.

Lighting Design I

DESG-GT 1150-1151   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Geiger

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.


Fundamental principles of lighting design. The course consists of class projects and practical exercises in the light lab and theatre spaces. Topics include a survey of current lighting equipment available to the professional designer; acceptable standards and formats for paperwork; color theory; continuing development of the design idea as it relates to dramatic text; elements of composition; and relationship of music and light.

Drawing Year 1

DESG-GT 1004-1005   Lecture   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Young (Section 001), Muller (Section 002)

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.


This dynamic course will break down and rebuild drawing and rendering skills so that one can more easily and clearly communicate3-d design choices. This is a three-hour drawing class that incorporates assignments that develop a wide and rich range of skills including drawing the figure and basic figure structure and proportion. This class focuses on pacing, as well as fundamentals of dynamic picture making. It is also an excellent opportunity to bring in current design renderings produced in other classes to serve as an example in addressing rendering and picture-making issues.

Computer Assisted Design (CAD)

DESG-GT 2009   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): McKernon

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Overview for scenery and lighting designers of VectorWorks, focusing specifically on creating light plots and using symbols, classes, and layers effectively. Includes an introduction to various third-party add-ons as well as exchanging data between VectorWorks and Lightwright.

Culture, Costume, and Decor

DESG-GT 1022-1023   Lecture   3 Credits

Instructor(s): Muller

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

A weekly 3 hour class taking curated deep dives into aspects of world culture, especially in the intersections of influence, change, and design. The course will mix lectures, analysis of images, research projects, discussion, field trips, guest speakers, and student presentations. As much attention will be paid to how we know what we know and how knowledge is discovered, hidden, lost, reused, misused, and reinterpreted.

Explore

DESG-GT 2000-2001  Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Conklin, Geiger, Helfrich, Hoffman
 

Explore introduces students to a broad range of concepts related to theatrical and cinematic performance and presentation, as well as practical experiences intended to lead students out of their chosen area of study, challenging them to begin to understand design for stage and film as a wholistic, interconnected set of disciplines. It includes workshops, individual design projects, group lectures with guest artists and instructors,  and field trips which will expose students to some of the vast resources available to artists in New York City.

 

Stagecraft I

DESG-GT 1012   Studio   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Fallon, Geiger, Raywood

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The primary goal of this course is to supply students with a thorough hands-on introductory understanding of the materials, methods, tools, techniques and procedures used in the various shops as we work on realized productions.  Working with the student designers as well as faculty, professional shop staff and student staff, students work on a variety of productions, in a range of capacities.

 

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): Hughes, Geiger, Wierzel, Helfrich (Section 003)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

Composers, Choreographers, and Designers

Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Baird, Chalfant

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The class combines first-year design students of all disciplines, along with dance students, and musical composition students into creative teams- to create original works of dance and music and design. The teams create a dance piece from the ground up, and then as advisors we evaluate their concepts and assist them to move the pieces into production, culminating in executing the scenic, costumes, and lighting designs and technical execution of all the elements as the choreographers and dancers and musicians assemble and refine the performance aspects.

Second Year

Lighting Design II

DESG-GT 1424-1425   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Hughes

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The course will allow the students to consolidate the various aspects of lighting design including conception, plotting, and cueing into a whole process. We will deepen the resonance of the visual and conceptual vocabulary developed in the first year. This course will champion individual choices in a critical and supportive environment. Lighting II will include learning about the graphic control of design, encompassing bigger and more developed texts, embracing verbal and written articulation, and focusing on the collaborative process.

The course should provide students with a core understanding of how ideas, paperwork, and the process in the theater relate to one another and the theatrical event. We will take advantage of the light lab to see the ideas realized through "practicals.” Each student will light a presentation using actors or fellow students directed by the student in a scene from the theater piece. This presentation will be discussed from the point of view of the written statement.

Lighting Studio

DESG-GT 1440-1441  Lecture  3 - 5 Credits

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

An exploration of lighting design for non-theatrical venues. Exercises in design for television, industrial, corporate presentations, museums, and other architectural forms. Visits to professional television studios to watch tapings of daytime talk shows, as well as visits to major area museums to tour the lighting design and discuss it with the museum designers.

Opera - Contexts and Cultures

DESG-GT 1038   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Conklin

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

A study of opera - it's historical context, formal qualities, dramaturgical content and sociological place in our contemporary world.

Lighting Production Year 2

DESG-GT.1461   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Hughes

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Second-year lighting students meet regularly to discuss current school production designs. Light plots are reviewed; discussion centers on the pre production and rehearsal process, focus and cueing issues, and other related topics.

 

 

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): HughesGeigerWierzelHelfrich (Section 003)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

Introduction to Scenic Design

DESG-GT 1015  1-4 credits

Spring semester 

Instructor: Steinberg

The class is meant to highlight and reinforce the symbiotic relationship between set design and lighting design. Students will do primary research which is meant to be the foundation of their set designs. Emphasis will be placed on the cultural and historical meaning of everything in the  material world and how theater design is meant to mine this information to communicate ideas  about a text.

Projection (Optional)

DESG-GT 1014 1-2 credits

Instructor: Nigrini

Optional / Fall semester

First, the course explores a conceptual approach to projection design. Through several studio projects, students learn a process and conceptual framework for developing a design.  The projects also serve as a jumping off point for discussions about various ways the projected image can function in a storytelling space.

Second, to provide an introduction to the practical aspects of the discipline.  Topics include: system design, equipment selection, drafting and graphic standards, storyboarding, content creation and cueing.  

Project work includes a number of small scale projects related to both the conceptual work, and also sketching a variety of diverse system layouts and the production on at least one complete paperwork package.  There is also one large scale project developing a complete projection design.

All aspects of the course are presented with an eye to providing an entry point for designers who wish to pursue projection design, as well as providing non-projection designers with an understanding of the process as a way to inform their work with projection design collaborators.

Third Year

Lighting Design III

DESG-GT 1450-1451   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Geiger, Wierzel

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

This class will deal with the complete process of lighting design, how to continue to give light significance in context. Projects and class trajectory will be tailored to each student’s needs and goals. Individual creativity will be encouraged within an environment of shared experience. Questions of meaning, structure, process and intent will be investigated. What light can and cannot communicate will be examined in detail. Much importance will be placed on process and product, both intellectual and practical. Major emphasis will be placed on genuine life procedures and practice; in a real world context.  Each student’s individual voice will be nurtured and considered. Individual expression will be our goal.

Transitioning into the Profession

DESG-GT 2002-2003   Lecture   3 Credits

Instructor(s): Cokorinos, Baird

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The topics covered in this course assist third year students in easing the transition from graduate school into the professional working community.  Through a curated series of guest lectures, students are introduced to a range of working professionals who discuss topics both artistic and practical.  Contracts, health and safety issues, union membership, the role of the agent and business manager and the structure of not for profit theatre are all included in the course curriculum.  Students receive guidance in creating their resumes and individual websites. Portfolio reviews are held with guest directors and designers to give students the opportunity to discuss their work and receive feedback.  

Lighting Production Year 3

DESG-GT 1462-1463   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Geiger

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Third-year lighting students meet weekly to discuss current school production designs. Light plots are reviewed; discussion centers on the pre production and rehearsal process, focus and cueing issues, and other related topics.

Collaboration

DESG-GT 1141   Lecture   3-4 Credits

Instructor(s): Hoffman, Steinberg

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

In conjunction with the Graduate Directing program at Columbia University, led by Anne Bogart, set, costume and lighting students (primarily in the second year) work in teams led by a Columbia directing student. Emphasis is placed on conceptual work conceived through discussion that gives equal weight to all members of the collaboration.

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): HughesGeigerWierzelHelfrich (Section 003)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

INTRODUCTION TO SET DESIGN (OPTIONAL)

DESG-GT 1058  Lecture  2-4 credits

Instructor(s): Chalfant

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

Introduction to Set Design is a class for costume and lighting designers interested in exploring set design more thoroughly than is possible within their primary area of study. We will focus on how set design functions in relation to actors and audience, as well as how it creates context for any given production. Our goal is to use stage design as the driving force in building a whole universe from text. 

 

Independent Study

DESG-GT 1060/DESG-GT 1061

1-2 credits

With the permission of the chair, students may participate in an individualized project or internship to gain professional experience related to their specific design concentration or to investigate an area or field of study not normally covered in the department’s regularly scheduled course offerings.  The schedule for the project must not interfere with courses that are required components of the curriculum and the scope of work is contingent upon approval by the chair.

The project should provide hands-on experience; students may work with a faculty advisor. Students must submit a written proposal of their project to the chair for review. The proposal should outline project concepts, expectations and goals as well as desired credits and plans for meeting with an advisor. Students will be registered by the department administrator upon acceptance of the proposal.