Switched On


“When Selecon approached me to write their ‘Switched On’ series I was amazed at their enthusiasm to explore and promote the creative and exciting world of lighting design. Of course they want people to use their wonderful equipment – but to invest in the future in such a broad and open way – to seek to open the eyes of young people to all the tantalising possibilities that open up when you begin to sculpt with light – was very refreshing. And I believe it can only help and support the ambitions of the young (and anyone else) as they develop an understanding of how invigorating and rewarding the technical challenges of the entertainment industry can be.“
Neil Fraser, Technical Course Director, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London

Neil Fraser (right of photograph) lecturing at a Selecon Lighting Masterclass in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.


1.  "THE LIGHT FANTASTIC" is about making the viewer think about all the many things that stage lighting can do. You may well disagree about the titles used and find things not listed that you think just as important as those that are. What is important is to be thinking about it at all – it is the starting point of our journey.

2.  "GETTING an ANGLE on LIGHTING" A sensible starting point for Lighting Designers is to ask, “where shall the light come from?” or to put it another way: “what angle of light shall we use?”

3.  "OVER THE RAINBOW" All light is of some colour – as there is no such thing as light with no colour. Of course on some occasions the colour is more obvious than on others. In fact the lighter, more subtle, colours are more often used and could therefore be said to play a greater part on stage than the more overt and darker shades. It is, for example, usually the lighter shades that light the actors for most of the time.

4.  "SETTING THE MOOD" A lighting designer must be aware of how light ‘works’ - both in the real world and when applied to the artificial setting of a stage space.  A keen visual awareness has to be allied to a practised use of instruments and the combining of them to create stage pictures, atmospheres and moods.

5.  "BUILDING LIGHTING CUES" Plotting lighting cues involved deciding how much light to use – i.e. what quantities of light to put where. The amount of light to use from a single unit, or generally for any scene, is of course a vital decision that the Lighting Designer has to make when creating a stage picture. 

6.  "PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER" This section summarises the whole process of stage lighting, many of its subjects have been covered in previous sections. However a few have not and they include the end of the process from the technical rehearsal to the first night, and in particular the developing and refining cues.

7. TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS helps to outline the necessary steps in creating a safe working environment with the assistance of ERIC the PD, ensuring the regulations are met so everyone who wishes to can explore the magic and enjoy the sense of achievement that comes with being involved in lighting the stage.