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5x5x5 Tech Housekeeping Challenge - Part 3 - Lighting Organization

Looking for some help on organizing your technical supplies or equipment? We have a super guide and a specific list of tasks to help YOU get your backstage and scene shop area in order. Whether you have a small space serving as your 'scene shop' or a dedicated area and a staff to work there, this article series is designed to help you get inspired and stay organized. We called in technical theatre expert, Stacy Hennon Stone, Assistant Technical Director at the Norris Center/Palos Verdes Performing Arts. Stacy has provided some great tips and step-by-step instructions for all aspects of your scene shop or work area.

If you've got 5 minutes, Stacy's got a task. If you've got 5 hours, Stacy's got more for you. Are you ready to be challenged? Let's do it!

Challenge #3: Lighting Organization

Lighting Gels

All theatres have gels and gobos. But most are just in a random pile somewhere. New designers don’t know what is in stock, and waste time digging through things, or money to buy new things. Simple solution, get organized!

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Lighting Organization

You will need: Filing cabinet or accordion binder, hanging file folders, 3-tab folders, pen or computer and labels

Filing cabinets are everywhere, from craigslist to ebay to an office supply store. Your front office might even have an empty one in storage. Take it! They fit gels perfectly!

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Lighting Organization

You can buy 100 3-tabl file folders for $15 on Amazon. There are different ways to organize your gel. We use mostly Rosco, so that is how are numbers work. In the bottom drawer we have the few Lee gels. All gels come with a number associated with them. Write the number on a folder. Stick gels inside. Done! But remember, you MUST write the gel number on each piece of gel. This can be done in the bottom corner with a grease pencil or a sharpie.

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Lighting Organization

We have different size gels for the different lights. Such as 6 ½” for source 4 and 7 ¼” for Leko and larger cuts for the strip lights. Use a green hanging folder and put the name of the gel. Inside, put a few of the 3 tab folders labeled with the gel number, as well as the size.

Gels are now ready to be easily accessible and organized!

If you do not have a ton of gels, start small. Buy an accordion binder for about $10. Still label all gels and the different sections with the gel numbers that you have. This is also a good idea for designers who travel to different places or theatres that don’t have a set house.

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Lighting Organization

You will need: paper cutter, sharpie, piece of tie line

Cutting gel. Do not use scissors. This takes way too long and lines are not straight. Buy a paper cutter and remove the card on the side. The guard is there to keep you safe, but it also keep large sheets of gel from being cut easily.

Label your paper cutter with the different size gels that you have lights for. Again, sharpies are great.

Now the electrician or designer can order full sheets of gel and quickly cut them down to size.

We also have a sharpie or grease pencil tied to the paper cutter. This way no one has an excuse not to label every single gel.

Gobo Book

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Lighting Organization

Yes, this will take a lot of time to start with. It took me over a week to get the pile organized, labeled and sleeves made. But now new ones can be added with ease.

You will need: CD holder book, computer and paper

This case is a zip up CD holder. All gobo sites will have the name, gobo number and picture of the gobo. I created a word document with the information, printed 2 per page, and slid them into the book. Now people can easily find gobos by knowing the numbers, or flipping through the book to look at pictures.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Stacy was born and raised in a scientific, artsy family in Redlands, California. In high school, she and her twin sister joined the drama department their freshman year to do props for a musical... "It would be easy!" their friend said! And there started their lifelong involvement in theatre.

Stacy received a BA in Technical Theatre with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Redlands in 2006. Later that year, she co-founded Redland's Civic Light Opera which produced three mainstage musicals, in which she was the Technical Director, Co-Designer, and General Manager.

In Los Angeles, she continued to work in theatre, ranging from the Long Beach Playhouse to Opera Santa Barbara, and everything in between. Stacy has been the Assistant Technical Director at the Norris Center/Palos Verdes Performing Arts for the last eight years.

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