Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 54
(. .. continued from p. 26)
no matter how good you are, you aren't going to do well.
Mr. Weise: If someone came to me with a portfolio of simply set design, I would send him immediately to learn lighting. I can only repeat
what's been said here: you can't really separate the two, because you
have to have versatility. If you're a designer, you design sets, but you
design for the medium. You design with a knowledge of the lighting
and the cameras and the staging and everything else that really is important. A versatile background is extremely important, with some expertise. Essentially, that's what I look for in people that I hire. I try to
fill that spot with some expertise that we do not have. If that happens
to be set design, I would look for a set designer, but he might be required to do some other things.
Q: I've got a question about the light ratio, light to dark. I'm wondering if there is a way that the student can be taught to see in these
ratios and how you would suggest going about that?
Mr. Palius: Actually, the best way to learn that is by using the camera. Believe it or not, the best light meter, the most fabulous light meter that's ever been designed, is the television camera. You look at a
monitor; there's no better way to learn. And it doesn't have to be an
expensive color camera-a black and white video camera will do-because that 20 to 1 ratio is common to all video cameras.
Mr. Zettl: It's interesting that we're so glued to the light meter. The
video engineer won't give in until it's 200 footcandles across the
scene. Butl really don't care, as long as it's fine there on the monitor.
Mr. Palius: When I did Give 'Em Hell Harry, what we were trying to
accomplish was to get every bit of detail that is possible within the
television system on that tape, so that it would reproduce as well as
possible onto a 100 to 1 ratio piece of film. Now I was doing a seminar
at USC in cinematography and somebody asked me, "How much light
did you have on the stage?" Believe me, I don't remember. It wasn't
important. I heard a big hush. "What do you mean, you don't know?" I
had an exposure, who cares?
Mr. Zettl: Good for you!
Mr. Palius: All I cared about was: Did I have more than 20 to 1? Did
I have all that detail in the picture? That's what counted. There are
times you need a jumping off place; you need 150 footcandles; you
need 145. Okay, a jumping off place, then forget it. Do I want the detail? If I want the detail I stay within the 20 to 1 ratio.
Mr. Strazovec: That's the advantage of television as against film,
that instant image. The result, that's what counts. If you are able to
control or design or create acceptable results, that's what it's all
Mr. Zett/: There is one problem, when sometimes you say, "Okay, I
want the instant feedback of the monitor," and the engineer who is
setting up the camera says, "I can't set the camera if you haven't lit
the set yet." I say, "I can't finish lighting if I don't see the picture." So
you go around a little bit.
Q: A great many TV shows are actually filmed and not run on videotape. How is that accounted for?
Mr. Palius: A classic example from the film industry. A very dear
friend of mine was executive producer of Ironsides. It was filmed at
Universal, and I remember once being in his house after they had just
done a special two-hour show and he was home watching it. His
daughter was sitting there with him, and as the show was going along,
she kept saying, "Dad, that didn't look like that when we saw the
rushes," or "what it looked like in the studio." And I said to him, "Let
me ask you a question. When you view the dailies, the rushes, where
do you view them?" "Oh," he says," in the theatre." I said, "On the
screen, direct from the projector, correct?" "That's right." I said,
"Did it ever occur to you people that you're making a film specifically
to be shown over the television system, and that it has certain parameters that you have to follow, otherwise it isn't going to look the
same?" It never occurred to them. I think to this day very few of the
major studios that I've been in look at the rushes for television shows
over a television system.
Mr. Zettl: There are now some directors of photography who realize it, and then, for example, lighten up the shadows for detail. It's
Q: Where are the students being trained that you are hiring?
Mr. Palius: Some of our young lighting designers, as a matter of
fact most of them, are coming out of the "school of hard knocks."
They've been to school. Some of them have worked their way into
doing legit shows. They've had some experience, and not so much
experience in lighting but experience in person-to-person type operations. Without the experience of nose-to-nose confrontations, noseto-nose problems and compromises, they're not going to really be a
success and be able to overcome those things graciously.
Theatre Design & Technology
Mr. Weise: In our area, a good percentage of the people come out
of San Francisco State. And many of them come out of art centers in
Los Angeles, from the design centers there. But they can come from
anywhere. I have several designers from different parts of the country,
and with different backgrounds. One has a master's degree from the
University of Kansas, and another has a BA. One came from a design
school in San Francisco. Then they acquire, usually, some kind of experience. I try to see how they will fit in with our needs at the time,
what direction I think the station is going in the near future.
Mr. Strazovec: CBC, which is the largest network in Canada, was in
the situation where we had absolutely no chance of getting people
from anywhere, so we were forced to set up our own Institue in which
the students are paid and have a previously arranged contract in the
CBC network after they graduate.
Q: We were starting to get the impression that there were some differences between different types of training, and that the integration
was difficult, or that if you're trained strictly in theatre, getting the kind
of training or the needed experience seemed like a vast gap.
Mr. Palius: I think maybe you misinterpreted something. Nothing
has changed from twenty years ago as far as getting into the business
is concerned. It was easier then because there were more openings,
and now the competition's tougher, but it's the same process: you've
got to get experience somewhere. And that's the toughest part.
Q: Are there too few openings in the field, or too many students
flooding the market?
Mr. Palius: I think the cliche is that there's always going to be
someone to fit a job. If you've got it, you're going to get a job eventually. And it takes a lotto stay with it. I see a bunch of kids coming in
who could have a lot of talent, but we sell people, so how do I sell a
guy without any experience? I can't sell him to a client. So I send him
to other stations. Some of them become board operators: Electronic
board operators, memory board operators, computer board operators, because a lot of people in our business don't know what the
hell it is. As a matter of fact, I'm having difficulty today staying on top
of all the new front ends in the business. There's no way I can stay
with it. The business is evolving and changing so quickly and so rapidly that I keep moving young people who are bright, and sending
them to a station where they need somebody who knows how to operate a board. Eventually he may get to be a Lighting Director in that
Mr. Zett/: And there are a lot of jobs in non-broadcast operations
for television. All of the big corporations have very big television operations, scenery and all. They do more creative stuff than stations do,
and they need scene designers. A colleague of mine has just done research, and there's three times as much programming produced by
non-broadcasting organizations than by all three networks combined.
They're really well produced, and they need good people.
Q: A few years ago, the lighting for A Moon for the Misbegotten
was exceptional. Why don't we see more of that kind of experimental
lighting in television?
Mr. Palius: It's called bucks! It's a fixed formula, believe it or not.
Stagehand starts here, goes from A to B, climbs a ladder, fixes a light,
comes down and goes back to here. That doesn't change. So, if
you've got fifty lamps, that's all in the formula. Now, if you've got 100,
it's twice as long, right? Twice the light, twice as long. It's time and
Mr. Strazovec: If there's short time, or the show is the type with
long sequences and multi-camera shooting, obviously the artistic
quality will be much less than if the director has the time to use the
technique used in film: taking it shot by shot and relighting for every
single shot. How difficult it is to produce good light which you have to
photograph from any direction. It's almost impossible. Usually the
quality goes down whenever multi-camera sequences are called for.
Mr. Weise: Another point is budget. You deal with that, that's a
reality. It's very important for a designer to have a thorough background and a thorough knowledge of all his options, so that he can
present those options. If your budget is this, you do it that way. That
has a great deal of effect on the design.
Q: What difficulties are encountered when you're doing something
like Othello on public television or Live from the Met? You're using
stage lighting and you're filming it.
Mr. Palius: They say, "We're going to have X amount of bucks to
do something, we're going to televise it, these are the levels," and
you get as much out of it as you can get,and that's it. Most of it isn't
quite the same.
Q: What part does the set designer play when you go on location
(selecting locations, outdoor shooting)? How much of a part does the
designer get in the choosing of camera shots, angles and locale?
USITI /Spring, 1981
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 2
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 3
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - Contents
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 5
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 6
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 7
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 8
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 9
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 10
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 11
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 12
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 13
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 14
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 15
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 16
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 17
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 18
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 19
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 20
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 21
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 22
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 23
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 24
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 25
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 26
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 27
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 28
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 29
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 30
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 31
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 32
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 33
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 34
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 35
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 36
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 37
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 38
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 39
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 40
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 41
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 42
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 43
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 44
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 45
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 46
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 47
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 48
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 49
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 50
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 51
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 52
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 53
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 54
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 55
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 56
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 57
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 58
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 59
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 1981 - 60