Designer/Technician Guidelines

Lighting Designer Guidelines

The lighting designer is responsible for all communication with the director and should set up times to discuss the general aesthetic, movement, cue placement, follow-spot cues and anything else that is necessary for the production.  The designer will communicate his/her ideas in a graphic way to the director so there can be a full understanding of the ideas.  This might include visual research, a lighted model, or other means that are appropriate to communicate the ideas. The lighting designer is expected to be an active member of the design team and to be present at all design and production meetings to ensure cohesiveness of design and to keep abreast of any changes.  S/he is expected to attend rehearsals or run-throughs as necessary. It is essential that s/he attend at least one run-through before paper-tech.

An updated list of stock equipment and a budget for each show is available on the Novell Server in the Production Folder. Equipment may be borrowed from the other theatre’s stock only with permission of the lighting mentor.  


The lighting design process moves through the events as specified in the formalized design process. Every Lighting Designer will also follow their own design process as they see fit. Below is the process as outlined in the lighting curriculum. (All due dates are specified in the production calendar.)  Meeting all deadlines is absolutely essential. 

Design Meeting 1-5


The designer will consider the play and develop a point of view on the piece in collaboration with the design team through the design process.

Design Meeting 6


The designer will articulate the script needs, the aims of the light, small system diagrams and do visual research for each environment.  These should be formatted like the “Storyboards” from the Lighting I Handbook. The designer will talk through the show interns of intention prior to submission to the faculty LD. These must be approved by the faculty LD prior to moving to the next phase.  

PLOT DEVELOPMENT MEETING (~ 1 week prior to Rough Plot due date)


The designer will then begin to flesh out these ideas in terms of direction and color. These ideas might need to be worked out in Studio II or in the lighting lab.  This list must be shared with the faculty LD prior to the student moving forward.


The designer will then move toward producing a conceptual hookup based upon the ground plan obtained from the set designer. The designer will ensure that these ideas are within the inventory of the space.


The designer will then explore the space and the set and determine the proper fixture choice and placement for every idea. 


  • Rough plot

  • Rough section

  • Rough Details (if applicable)

  • Rough Lightwright hookup, inventory of units, inventory of color, inventory of templates

  • Rough Magic Sheet 


  • Completed 1/2” scale light plot

  • Completed 1/2” scale center line section

  • Completed 1/2” scale detail drawing including all booms and set mounts

  • Lightwright hookup, inventory of units, inventory of color, inventory of templates

  • Rough Magic Sheet 


Designers will be available to answer any questions and make multiple visits to the stage to look at progress, discuss any issues and resolve any conflicts as they arise.


At some point after the light plot is submitted and before focus you must make an appointment with me to go over your magic sheet & cue list and discuss an approach to focus.


Designers will be given a specific focus date and time. All focusing will be done during that time. The master electrician will have been informed that the show must be ready to focus the day before the first focus call and will be prepared to do a channel check with the lighting designer and the lighting advisor at that time. Focus time is meant to be used only for focusing - not for finishing the hanging and patching of equipment. The designer should know where each light is to be focused and have the proper paperwork prepared in order to focus as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The designer should show up to the focus at least 10 minutes early and have taped out all focus points prior to this time and day.  The Master Electrician will run the remote-focus unit and will track all changes on the hook-up and plot.


Designers will be present to relay all cue information (placement and nomenclature) to stage management.  This is NOT a time to discuss the finer ascetics of the light, but rather to get the information in order in the stage managers book.  The design conversation with the lighting designer and director should happen outside of this meeting and in more detail.

LIGHT-OVER REHEARSAL (optional and with director approval)

Designers may want to take the last run-through before tech to light over rehearsal.  This is meant to be the director’s rehearsal - with the lighting designer looking at ideas over the top.  At this point it is essential that the designer become familiar with the focus and color choices and begun to understand how those will be used to accomplish the needs of the production as discussed.  

LIGHTING LEVELS & DARK TIME (optional and director dependent)

Some directors may want to look at the lighting before technical rehearsals.  If this is so, the designer will have programmed ideas into the board PRIOR to this meeting.  If this is something you and your director are interested in pursuing - you must voice this desire EARLY in the scheduling process.   It is very difficult to carve out the time in the theatre as well as arrange for a board operator and people to walk the stage for you.


Designer will be prepared with updated Magic Sheets, Cue Lists and Follow Spot Cue Lists.  The designer will take their own technical notes unless other arrangements have been made.


At the end of each technical rehearsal there will be a production meeting where the director will be able to give notes to the entire production team.  After this, the designer and master electrician will meet to develop a list of notes in order of priority for the following day.


During the day before each technical rehearsal - the designer will be present at all note calls to accomplish any focus notes and answer any questions that arise.   


Upon opening, the designer will present stage management with an updated channel hook-up, magic sheets & cue list. 


Each lighting designer must turn in an updated lighting package and schedule a post-mortem with the lighting mentor.  No grade will be submitted until the receipt of this document.

  • This package will include the following
  • Updated Plot
  • Updated Section
  • Updated Hookup
  • Updated Magic Sheet
  • Updated Cue List
  • 8x10 Photo of Production
  • Self Evaluation

The lighting designer is expected to attend strike and assist the master electrician or light cage supervisor as necessary. Evaluations of the master electrician, lighting supervisor and assistant lighting designer (if appropriate) should be completed and returned to the department technical director by this time.



School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing