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THEATR-150 - Introduction to Lighting Design - Christopher Boltz

Course:Introduction to Lighting Design
Professor:Christopher Boltz
  • Hybrid
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Christopher Boltz

Hello, I'm Chris Boltz.  I am a full time faculty member here at College of the Canyons.   When not teaching, I worked as a free-lance lighting designer, and stage manager.  I am really looking forward to starting you on your path to being a member of a lighting team for the entertainment industry. 

Course Description

The official course description is:

Introduces the theory and practice of designing lighting for a live theatrical production. Emphasizes equipment, control, color and their relationship to design. Field trip may be required.

What to Expect in this Course

Each week we will have some reading, and some exploration of the lighting process for theatre.   There will be small projects, and some small open book review quizzes.   On Lab days, we will  work with lights, light boards, wrenches, power cable and more to develop some concrete skills in hanging, focusing and programming lights.   We will also do some small experiments with lighting color and angle so that you can understand why a lighting designer you are working with might make certain decisions.


Theatrical lighting is an industry that loves technology.   There are apps for various tasks, off-line editors and computer programs that help you draft and simulate lights.  You won't be required to use any phone apps for the class (except maybe your phone's camera to upload some assignments) -- but you might be asked to look at some of the theatrical manufacturer's websites for information. (Many of the companies also have apps which you are welcomed to use --  but I generally use their websites).

We will have the opportunity to use some industry specific software to learn some light board programming. It will run on a windows computer (Windows 7 64-bit (or higher), Multicore processor with clock frequency higher than 2.0 GHz, 3.5GB free disk space (or higher), Screen resolution of 1920x1080 (or higher), 2GB of RAM (or higher), 64MB video card (or higher)) or an apple computer ( OS X Mojave (10.14) (or higher), Multicore processor with clock frequency higher than 2.0 GHz, 3.5GB free disk space (or higher), Screen resolution of 1920x1080 (or higher), 2GB of RAM (or higher), 64MB video card (or higher))  This software is FREE to students.  If you do not have access to a computer that can run this software, that is fine, you will have opportunities to use the software on campus in lab.

I am also seeking permission to use a 3D drafting program with a theatrical lighting simulator in it.  If we get permission, it is also free to students!   It requires a computer with the following specifications:   Operating System (Mac OS 10.15 or later or Windows 10 (64-bit) or later), Processor (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5, or better or Apple M1 or higher), RAM: 8GB or more, Display (1440x900 or higher), Hard disk (10GB or more).  Again, there are alternatives if you do not have access to a computer that can run this software, just let me know.  

Regardless of computer availability, you will generate a lot of files for this class -- I suggest everyone have at least 2 gig of Cloud Storage and/or external file storage that they can save work to that is not their primary tech device. (Cloud storage includes things like Microsoft's OneDrive which College of the Canyon's students have access to via their email.)  Also remember the rule with technology:  Save Early, and Save Often.


Types of Assessments

Assignments will includes:

  • Small quizzes,
  • A few short essays
  • Hands-on lab work such as:
    • Hanging lights
    • Focusing lights
    • Adding accessories to lights
    • Programing lighting boards
  • Our full-term lecture project will be the creation of a light plot and associated paperwork for a small one-set play.  The goal of this project is to be a fun and creative way to demonstrate your knowledge of the methods lighting team members use to communicate with each other and the rest of the production team.

Textbook Information

We will not be using a textbook that you have to buy.  All the reading material for the class can be found in Canvas.

We will read a short play that will be free to download in Canvas.

Please see the Note on technology above.

Lastly, a theatrical lighting technicians primary tool is a 6" adjustable wrench -- if you have one of your own to bring to lab, that would be great -- However, I will have some that you can borrow on lab days if needed.


Other Relevant Course Information

Active participation is the secret to doing well in the class.  Be engaged both in the online environment and the in-person labs.  Open communication about class and asking questions will help you succeed.   We will use Canvas a great deal for both the lecture part of the class, and to support our learning environment in lab.  There will be a technology survey near the start of the semester to learn what technology you have access to and comfort with.  

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

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The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

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The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 05/02/2024 Sub#: 1342