Jump to content

Lighting Diagrams, Assets and Apps

Recommended Posts

This topic seems to appear in this forum every year or so but I've not quite found a definitive answer for myself. Since full on production does not seem to be coming back too soon I thought it would be a great time to think about optimizing.

Some people seem to not do any diagrams at all, some jot them down crudely on a piece of paper, some use Shot Designer or some sort of drawing app (OmniGraffle and Illustrator seem to be the options of choice). For really specific setups or on big shows Vectorworks seems to be a great option. If you need to do pre-vis as well, Maxon Cinema 4D might be a great choice.

I've tried most of them and it seems that there's always a tradeoff between specificity and the time it takes to create the drawing. When you go into the 3D realm, there's a steep learning curve and it feels like this should be somebody else’s job. In 2D most options seem to lack rigor; I've had gaffers ask me "What's the yellow circle with two lines?" (the symbol for female in Shot Designer). Plus, there seems to be no way to import an architectural plan or dimensional drawing of the location properly.

At the moment I'm using Photoshop, for which I've created about 400 scaled assets (10cm=1m / 4"=4') based on manufacturer's dimensional drawings. It can be a bit clunky at times but it saves me a lot of guesswork in cramped locations trying to figure out if something will fit.

I'm trying to figure out what people are using in what types of productions and for what reasons. I'm thinking of developing an universal Web App that bridges the gap between sketch and technical drawing.

Besides neat and slightly compulsive diagram creation, I'm looking to hear what other features people might want for a 2D lighting planning app. At the moment I'm thinking of the fallowing tricks:

  • ·         Open Source Database
  • ·         Generates basic kit lists based on items used
  • ·         Basic photometric information in SI and US Customary Units
  • ·         Calculates total maximum power draw of setup for either 110V or 220V
  • ·         Calculates camera field of view based on sensor size and focal length.


I’m attaching a basic diagram I’ve created with my assets, I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about the style and specificity. I’d also like to hear if this a non-issue and if I’m just over-analyzing with all of this time on my hands ?)

Ind Living Room Day (Custom).jpg

Edited by Andrei Pacuraru
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...
  • Premium Member

Maybe a sun axis placement where it shows the sun path and you slide it across to the position you want.

Also, a toggle option for each fixture to show the beam and have those rays cuttable by walls, trees, and window blinds in realtime.

I'd love the ability to replace the icons with custom art.

I like the idea of something like this. Like you exemplified with the 3D program, if you make this too complicated, it'll become a deterrent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Andrei, great idea on that, since it seems like calculations of distance will be a big part of this, do you think implementing things like line loss and length of cable used would be both a useful and feasible part of the software? With software like cinetracer this doesn't seem to have been implemented yet. Say a cursor drag from point A to point B spawns a stinger or cable of choice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...