The Lighting Designer Is responsible for creating an appropriate lighting plan, both from the viewpoint of functionality (simply being able to see the actors), and from the artistic appearance of the lighting (e.g. are scenes set indoors or outdoors, in the early morning, mid-afternoon or late evening). There are two main aspects to this role:
- Designing a a lighting plan, which details exactly which lights need to be hung where around the stage area in order to achieve all of the effects required by the show. On more complex shows, this can require careful coordination with the Set Designer, Technical Director and/or Stage Manager to ensure that the lighting and other effects work smoothly together.
- Working through the script, designing the look of each individual scene from the available lights (known as plotting), and marking cues in the script at the points when the lighting needs to change, so that the Deputy Stage Manager (on complex shows) or Lighting Operator (on smaller shows, often those in studio spaces) knows when change the lighting states should be changed.
Some directors will have a very strong view about the overall design, whereas others will give their designers a greater input into creating the look of the show.
For best results, the Lighting Designer should work with the other designers to ensure the lighting design is consistent with the overall design ideas. A production will look a lot better if each designer is following a consistent thread and taking into account of the look and atmosphere being created by the other designers.
It is normally left up to the Lighting Designer to decide whether they also want to take on the responsibilities of the Chief Electrician, Lighting Desk Programmer and Lighting Operator. If you do want additional people to take on these roles, you should discuss it at an early production meeting, so as to ensure that everybody in the show knows what is happening, and that suitable time is allowed to find people to take on these roles.