Author Topic: ELECTRICS: How to Spike Stage for Focus?  (Read 5150 times)

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StageManagerBrad

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ELECTRICS: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« on: Apr 08, 2007, 03:06 pm »
Can anyone tell me how to Spike a Stage for focus? I haven't come across this before. It is assigned to me on the production schedule and I'm not sure what is they mean.
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:22 am by PSMKay »

Jessie_K

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 08, 2007, 05:48 pm »
Talk to your LD about what he/ she wants. 

Theater:
Usually you would spike all the furniture/ scenery items in their places for each scene.  (I usually use larger marks and label them, larger than I would keep for the scene shifts, but something very easy to find during focus).  You can also lay out lines for walls/ scenic items that will not be present for focus.  (Use the measurements from the groundplan/ your rehearsal set up).

You should also give a DS center mark, center-center mark, US center mark.  Maybe the LD will want a full line running from DS to US at centers and quarters.  Check w/ him/ her.

You can also mark the location of any specials that you might know of.  (Don't go crazy with this, lest you step on people's toes)  But if an actor always delivers a speech at a very specific location, it can be helpful to mark that for the designer.

Dance:
Mark centers and quarters and eights (US, MidStage and DS).  Make lines from US to DS at center and quarters (for boom focus).

Mark any specials for the pieces you will be doing.

In all circumstances, it is best to chat with your LD and find out what his/ her needs are.  You should also check with the director.  Perhaps he/ she will want to confirm furniture placement on the stage before focus. (If you rehearsal room is smaller than the stage, this will probably need to happen).

Good luck.  Just remember to make the marks obivious and easy to read.  You should re-spike later for scene shifts, preset, etc.


StageManagerBrad

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 08, 2007, 06:25 pm »
Thanks for the reply.
So do I mark the stage basically as I would for the rehearsal studio?

Mac Calder

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 09, 2007, 08:31 pm »
When I am LD, I like a relatively large sized + right in the center of the stage (with the lines going along the two center lines. Then the scenery marked out - just the corners.

I tend to design fairly simmetrical rigs, from the center out (if that makes sense to you) - I know LD's who don't though, so as others have said - communicate with your LD.

LiLz

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 11, 2007, 12:34 am »
When I was at the National Theatre in London they had large, marked sheets with stage areas marked on them that corresponded to areas circled on the lighting plot/floorplan.  The large sheets were actually rolled onto the stage floor and used as focus points on the stage.  I wonder if you're being expected to mark large X's or large letters on the stage floor to be used similarly.  I'd never seen this done before but it was pretty cool.

Celeste_SM

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12, 2007, 06:36 pm »
I've also had to spike the floor for a moving light focus, which was basically just a grid of points, plus a few marks where actors stood in specific sequences.  However that was requested by the lighting designer, and he was specific about the points/actors he wanted marked.  Usually it's just scenic spikes though.

Rebbe

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13, 2007, 03:52 pm »
If you’re currently rehearsing in an alternate space, you’ll presumably need to move your furniture/set spikes to the stage eventually.  Focus can force you to make that transfer earlier than you otherwise might, but sometimes that's a good thing! 

Let the LD know whether you spike US or DS legs (or something else).  Also, if you have a color-code for your spikes, that's good info to pass along.  They might also want to know where your major furniture pieces are stored so they have the option of putting them onstage themselves.  If the layout is complicated, you could even give the LD a mini-ground plan and draw/mark on it which spikes corespond to which pieces.
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

ljh007

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #7 on: Apr 15, 2007, 09:27 am »
When you say you are spiking the stage specifically "for focus", that makes me think it is different that just spiking the stage, in which you would mark the layout of furniture as everyone here is explaining. But I think that whoever asked you to spike "for focus" meant that you should do what Lilz suggested:

When I was at the National Theatre in London they had large, marked sheets with stage areas marked on them that corresponded to areas circled on the lighting plot/floorplan.  The large sheets were actually rolled onto the stage floor and used as focus points on the stage.  I wonder if you're being expected to mark large X's or large letters on the stage floor to be used similarly.  I'd never seen this done before but it was pretty cool.

...where you mark the lighting areas on the deck according to the McCandless method (see http://www.mts.net/~william5/sld/sld-200.htm). Usually, LDs can focus without actually marking the sections on the deck like you're being asked to do. I have only had to do this once, on a show with a rather newbie LD. I've never seen a sheet rolled over the deck as Lilz writes, but rather we marked a big "A", "B"... through "I" to mark the 9 sections. But I've never seen this done with professional LDs. If you ask me, it's more of an academic exercise or a guideline for new LDs. But hey, whatever works.

KMC

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #8 on: Apr 15, 2007, 11:59 am »
I agree with ljh below.  Seems like a lot of unnecessary work.  Is there a reason the LD can't just divide their plot into a grid system and hit a few chalk-lines on the deck?  Chances are they should already have focus areas on their plot (unless they're just throwing a bunch of lights in the air with no real purpose ;)), and this saves everyone a lot of work.  I've never spiked a stage for focus.
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Mac Calder

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #9 on: Apr 15, 2007, 07:16 pm »
It is just nice (when working as an LD) to have some points of reference on the stage.

Whilst Ljh's post is probably the "taught" way to mark stages for focus (I don't know, I have never been taught that stuff), each LD is different and what they want will evolve as they learn more (and frankly, you cannot really learn how light works without playing with it). Every LD has their own way to do things.

p.s. The reason I like scenery marked out is because often I end up working well past the time everyone has left, which means I cannot move the scenery myself - so the spike is required for programming.

ljh007

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #10 on: Apr 18, 2007, 08:51 am »
Just for clarity, when you're marking the stage for focus and marking focus areas according to the McCandless method, you do mark furniture/scenery placement too. But on top of the basic stage spiking, you mark these nine big areas for the purpose of focus only.

I've never been taught to do this, I just picked it up as I've learned more about lighting and SMing.
"According to the McCandless method" sounds so clinical, doesn't it?  ;)

Mac Calder

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Re: How to Spike Stage for Focus?
« Reply #11 on: Apr 18, 2007, 04:39 pm »
Stuffy Accademics  ;D They can make simple concepts sound sooo difficult.

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