Students will demonstrate their understanding of the 4 qualities of light by watching movie clips and writing their responses.
The main auditorium/stage of your school (all lighting and sound equipment needs to be available for use), 2 or 3 advanced tech students, a projector, a laptop computer, a DVD player, the movies, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Age of Innocence, on DVD, a microphone (preferably cordless), a sound effect CD with drum roll and trumpet fanfare sound effects on it, a CD with a song of your choice, a couple chairs (any chairs will do), a flashlight, 2 copies of a scene from The Nerd script, and enough copies of the “4 Qualities of Light” handout for each student.
Anticipatory Set/Hook: The audience will be led into the auditorium and seated front and center in the audience. There will be some kind of light show going on, and then we will hear a drum roll sound effect play. You will walk out to the middle of the stage and stand, facing the audience (your students). You will have a cordless microphone. You will have a projector screen to the side of you. A couple or few of your advanced or intermediate tech students will be running the sound and lights from the booth. You will have rehearsed this portion of the lesson with the advanced/intermediate students beforehand. After a few seconds the lights will completely blackout. You will proceed to strike some stereotypical acting pose during this blackout (the pose is optional). After a few more seconds, a single light will abruptly come up on you with the song of your choice playing in the background. You will announce that you are going to be talking about the 4 qualities of light. Through the projector the following words will be displayed, “The 4 Qualities of Light,” along with your pre-recorded voice saying, “The 4 qualities of light.” Then we will hear a fitting sound effect (trumpet fanfare or something). You will announce that the first quality of light that you will be discussing is entitled “distribution.” On the projector will be displayed the word, “Distribution,” along with your pre-recorded voice saying, “Distribution.” Again, we will hear a trumpet fanfare sound effect.
Step 1: Instruction—Explain that “distribution” has to do with 3 different things.
The direction that the lights approach the actor.
The shape and size of the area that the light is covering.
The quality of light—its diffusion or clarity.
In explaining number 1 (direction of light), point out that the light shining on you is approaching you from the left, and then point up and to your right and another light will come on from that direction.
Talk about the importance of direction—that the lights are pointed in very specific directions in order to create or get rid of shadows and to ensure that the actors are well lit at all places on stage where they will be, etc.
Step 2: Move on to number 2 (shape and size). All the lights will blackout except for a very narrow beam on you. Explain how one can use the lights to light small or large areas. Then the lights will change to form a shape around you, and you can proceed to talk about how lights can be used to create shapes on the set.
Step3: Then move on to number 3 (quality of light). As you explain what this is, the lights will change to a more diffused light and then to a light of more clarity (as the lights change, talk about the differences in the lighting). When the light is more diffused, ask the students how that light could affect a scene (and do the same for the light of more clarity).
Step 4: Announce that you are moving on to the second quality of light, which is “Intensity.” On the projector the word, “Intensity,” will be displayed along with your pre-recorded voice saying, “Intensity,” with the trumpet fanfare sound effect. Ask the students what they think “intensity” would signify in terms of lighting. Discuss this for a bit and then say, “Yes! So lights can be very bright,” (lights change to extreme brightness on you) “or very dark.” Lights change to a very dark setting. Feel free to say anything more that you want to about intensity if you feel the need.
Step 5: Instruction—Announce that you are moving on to the third quality of light, which is “Movement.” On the projector the word, “Movement,” will be displayed along with your pre-recorded voice saying, “Movement” with the trumpet fanfare sound effect. Ask the students what they think “movement” would signify in terms of lighting. Discuss with them how “movement” can be divided into 3 major categories.
The timed duration of the light cues.
The movement of onstage lights, such as a lantern or candle.
The movement of an offstage light source, such as a followspot or kinetic/moving lights.
Step 6: Instruction—Explain number 1 (timed duration of lights) and then give an example.
Ask for two volunteers to come up on stage. Give them each a scene from the script of the play, The Nerd, and quickly explain to them that they are going to do a quick scene transition from the play. Show them where to stand and then explain to them that they will say the two ending lines of the first scene (show them in the script) and then have the lights will blackout. Explain that during the blackout they need to get in different positions on the stage (show them where to go), and that once they are in position, the lights will come up. Explain that when the lights come up they are to say the first two lines from the next scene in the script (show them which lines). When they are ready, have them do what you have explained to them. Thank the students and ask them to take their seats. Discuss?
Step 7: Instruction—Explain number 2 (movement of onstage lights) and then ask for a new volunteer to join you up on stage.
When the student is up on stage, have the lights go dim and give the student a flashlight. Ask him or her to turn on the flashlight and pretend to be searching for something or someone. Explain that this is an example of movement in lighting and that other examples could be a lantern or candle that an actor or actress carries across stage. Thank the student, get the flashlight back from him or her, and then ask them to remain on stage. Place the student where they are needed on stage.
Explain number 3 (movement of an offstage light source) and explain that an example of this could be a followspot. The lights will go off and a followspot will turn on to light the student on stage. Join the student in the spot light and ask him or her to take their seat.
Step 8: Instruction—Announce that you are moving on to the third quality of light, which is “Color.” On the projector the word, “Color,” will be displayed along with your pre-recorded voice saying, “Color,” with the trumpet fanfare sound effect. Ask the students how they think that color could be used in lighting, and how it could affect the play. Discuss. Have the lights change to red, and ask how this makes them feel. Do the same for a few other colors of your choice. Discuss how color can be used in different plays and for different moments.
Step 9: Checking for Understanding—Ask for a volunteer to tell you what these aspects of lighting were entitled (4 qualities of light). When you’ve got the right answer, ask one at a time for volunteers to tell you what a quality of light is until they’ve named all 4 qualities.
Assessment: Show clips from a couple movies (The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Age of Innocence) and ask them to write down, for each clip, what qualities of light they observed (specifically) and how they affected them.
Pass out the “4 Qualities of Light” handout, and tell them to keep it in their class binder.