This set in introductory instructions in creating a light plot is the result of a request for help from one of our mailing list members. Start with a small ground plan of the theater space you are working in.

Add the area, person, set you are going to light.

Draw an arrow for each direction you would like a light to shine from.

Create a drawing for each different set. Sometimes this can create a very crowded drawing. In that case, you can separate the lights and drawings into areas and sources.

You can create a drawing for each “system.” Here is the front light via the stage left side.

All the back light. Notice that some are two-fared.

Figure out where you can hang lights. Note: if you want a light to be someplace that is missing a pipe, you have two choices. 1) hang a pipe, or some other device to hang a unit from, or 2) move the light.

Take each small drawing of arrows and add the arrows to one big drawing.

Now we change the arrows to symbols. For this prep plot, I’ve used a “V” and a 3 sided box. The V is for lekos and the box for fresnels. The lekos have an “x” followed by a number, 9, 12, 16, etc… To represent 6×9, 6×12, 6×16, etc… You then need to number all the units, from stage left to stage right. Now, to tell you the truth, this is enough to get a show hung. That is, if you’re going to be there to answer lots of questions.

The next step is to create the final plot  in scale.  This plot is being created by one of my students during out lighting classes. You’ll notice that the theater doesn’t look like the one I’ve used above. This one is a small black box theater with a grid. If you take a close look, you’ll see drafted symbols representing lighting units.

This is a close up of a lighting template. They are available from most lighting supply houses and from some web sites. You can check our pro-corner to find a vendor. These templates are made in several different scales and for different types of lights.

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