Michigan State University masthead graphic Michigan State University masthead graphic


Shannon Schwietzer

THR811: Practicum Lighting: Design and Technology
Best Enhanced
“Miniaturized theatre technology”
- Shannon Schwietzer -

THR 811 is a lighting design course, which uses technology to help students with pre-visualization methods. The course teaches students how to design lights for theater, concerts and architectural lighting.

Mini Light Lab

The big innovation in this course, the mini light lab, is not a technology that one might identify as classroom technology. Built to emulate a true-to-life stage in a much smaller form, the Mini Light Lab allows students to gain hands on stage lighting experience in a low-risk environment. Featured in Live Design Magazine, it also acts as a recruitment tool for the MSU Department of Theater. Using miniaturized models and lighting gels, the Mini Light Lab allows students to provide research, renderings, light plots, cue sheets, channel hookups and final pre-vised “looks.”

Evidence of Effectiveness

Students are vocal about how well the Mini Light Lab works to enhance their understanding of lighting design methods: “This [Mini Light Lab] allows us to photograph our models in the lighting looks that we would anticipate seeing on stage, thus giving an even more complete vision of the image we designers can present to the director… Using this I can program general looks and cues that can then become the foundation of building the show.” “As a student who already knew basic programming on the board we were using, I was able to dive in and learn some more complicated programming skills that I wouldn’t have been able to learn without the Mini Light Lab.”

Technologies included in this course: