by William Carter
Emotional lighting can be described as the potential of lighting being used to induce relaxation, motivation, and intimate atmosphere (“Emotional Lighting,” Right Light); it is simply lighting used to provoke emotions. During any type of theatrical production, the mood and emotion of the audience can change through the intensity, color, angle, and pattern of the lighting (Basa, 2014). Among other uses, lighting can help
- Create excitement in a themed space
- Navigate through a new space
- Provoke specific feelings of a specific space
- Persuade feelings towards a certain space
Lighting designers exploit these uses everyday to create an appropriate stimulus that would receive a desired response (Davis, 2014). Doing so, includes,
“A detailed and careful characterization of visual tasks under different lighting conditions – the stimulus – and a variety of important methods for measuring visual performance as those conditions are varied – the response” (Davis, 2014).
Lighting can function as an expression of affectionate states through the manipulation of various light elements (de Melo and Ana Pavia, 2007).
Elements of light can include
- Throw pattern
Specific elements such as the ones listed defines light as a point, direction, or spotlight, the angle of the light, and the definition of the color from hue, saturation, and brightness (de Melo and Ana Pavia, 2007). Lightness is a term used to described surface colors while brightness generally describes emitted light. Both can apply to the luminance or illumination, the physical amount of light (Ware, 2008). Other characteristics can define exposure levels, the levels of hardness or softness, the shape, and the decaying of light within the distance (de Melo and Ana Pavia, 2007).
Within the absence of light, shadows are able to occur.
“The functions of shadow include deﬁning spatial relationships; modeling; contextualizing; revealing and concealing parts of the scene; aesthetics; and, expression of aﬀective states” (de Melo and Ana Pavia, 2007).
The manipulation of light and shadows in real time are done through lighting transitions; they were used to decorate scenes, reveal or conceal certain parts, and change focus (de Melo and Ana Pavia, 2007). In the 1830s, lighting transitions were the most astonishing effects used to manipulate mood or atmosphere by stimulating dynamic lighting of indoor and outdoor sources. The effect was first exhibited in Diorama Theatres created by Louis Daguerre.
Originating in Paris 1822, the diorama was a popular form of entertainment; it was a theatrical experience that people could see within a highly specialized theatre. Similar to a theatre stage, the diorama was structured with a proscenium, which was 24×21 ft. Each scene consisted of a hand painting were certain areas were subjected to transparency. The painted scenes would then appear to change with the skillful use of light, depending on direction and intensity. The visual effect would leave the audience amazed as if they had witnessed a natural changing scene. The creator and owner of the diorama was Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (“Photography Magazines,” LifeIsMonstrous).
In 1821, Daguerre teamed up with painter Charles Bouton in a common attempt to create a Diorama theatre; however, Bouton later ended up dropping from the project, which left the ownership of the theatre solely to Daguerre. With expertise in lighting and scenic effect, Daguerre wanted to create realistic illusions that were not only entertaining, but also awe-striking to the audience. The first diorama exhibit was on July 11, 1822; it contained two painted scenes, one from Daguerre and the other from Bouton. The painted pictures were vivid, detailed, and lit from different angles. As the lighting changed, the scene would change as well (“Louis-Jacques Daguerre,” historygraphicdesign).
Daguerre, who began a painter and stage decorator, practiced stage setting for the Paris Opera at the age of 16. With a panorama specialist, Pierre Prevost, Daguerre created huge decors that were painted on walls. The stage sets that Daguerre would make showcased his creativity with the use of light effects; rising moons and moving suns were etched in viewers’ minds. Turning the concept of the art of stage setting into a visual spectacle, he bore the idea of the diorama. After being knighted with the Legion of Honor, Daguerre began experimenting with the camera obscura. With Nicephore Niépce, Daguerre started capturing the diorama images using the camera obscura. Later, the two men began a partnership together to invent Heliography; in 1832, they invented the imaging process known as the physautotype. After the death of Niépce, Daguerre would continue on with his imaging research and would eventually develop the daguerreotype, which earned him worldwide recognition; Daguerre passed on July 11, 1851 (“Photographer Nicephore Niepce,” History of Photography).
A Daguerre Diorama exhibit would consists of two tableaux or scene paintings. These scenes are painted on both sides of huge translucent canvases that would measure around 7.5 meters wide and 6.5 meters tall; the scenes would be paintings of cathedrals, cities, chapels, rivers, valleys, or other scenic locals (“Photographer Nicephore Niepce,” History of Photography). One famous Diorama was of the Rosslyn Chapel; the chapel was already known for its architectural beauty, but a legend states that the chapel was once engulfed in flames; however, when the flames went out there was no fire damage done to the chapel. Daguerre knew of this and painted the Diorama thinking that legend surrounding the chapel would bring in a large audience (“Louis Daguerre: Biography,” FAMPEOPLE). The type of lighting used was supplied by the natural light of the sun, which means exhibits had to be shown during the day and in good weather conditions, sometimes during specific times of day. The light could then be manipulated using mirrors, screens, shutters, or colored blinds (“Photography Magazines,” LifeIsMonstrous).
Certain light-manipulating frames would permit back lighting or transparence lighting while others gave overhead or front lighting; the frames or panels are motioned into place with the use of rope and pulleys, in order to direct the light towards the desired place. Front lighting would give an exhibit the appearance of a daytime setting while back lighting showcased a nighttime setting; the effect gave off a real-time transition from day to night and that was what made the dioramas astonishing. The different lighting revealed and hid things that were altogether within the same painting. Because the dioramas were set up as theatres, the auditorium was a cylinder room with a huge hole in the wall that acted as the proscenium. When the first diorama ended, the entire floor would then rotate to a second proscenium and a different diorama would start (“Photographer Nicephore Niepce,” History of Photography).
In conclusion, emotional lighting can be used to achieve many different things within space and is done by manipulating certain elements of light. The most fascinating lighting effect to provoke mood or change atmosphere is a lighting transition; this type of effect was first seen in 1832 through Diorama theatres invented by Louis Daguerre. The Diorama theatre consisted of a proscenium and a very detailed and elaborate painting on both sides of huge transparent canvases. Through skillful manipulation of front and back lighting with natural light, a transition of day and night would occur within the painted scene, revealing and hiding certain aspects of the scene.
Basa, Murali. “Role of Lighting in Creating Mood and Emotion.” Academia.edu. n.d. Web. 21 April 2014.
Davis, Robert G. “Cognitive & Emotional Responses to Lighting: THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON LIGHTING.” LITECONTROL. 2014. Web. 21 April 2014.
de Melo, C. and Ana Pavia. “Expression of Emotions in Virtual Humans Using Lights, Shadows, Composition and Filters.” Celsodemelo.net. 2007. Web. 21 April 2014.
“Emotional Lighting.” Right Light. 2012. Web. 21 April 2014.
“Louis Daguerre: Biography.” FAMPEOPLE. 2012. Web. 27 April 2014.
“Louis-Jacques Daguerre.” historygraphicdesign. n.d. Web. 13 April 2014.
“Photographer Nicephore Niepce.” History of Photography. n.d. Web. 13 April 2014.
“Photography Magazines.” LifeIsMonstrous. 24 March 2011. Web. 13 April 2014.
Ware, Colin. Visual Thinking for Design. Burlington, Massachusetts: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008. Print.