Stage Lighting

Stage lighting is an integral part of any modern stage production such as theatre, dance, opera, or other forms of artistic and entertainment performances. Specific equipment is used to provide proper lighting, depending upon the desired effects.

Why is Stage Lighting Essential?

Of course, it is necessary to be able to see what is happening on stage, so proper lighting is crucial. Enhancement of form-creating a three dimensional effect-is created by lighting. Lighting is also used to:

  • Direct the audience attention to one part of the stage (spotlighting)
  • Set the mood of a scene by using different colored lights
  • Signify changes in location or time of day by altering the lighting
  • Enhance the scenery
  • Augment the plot.

The use of stage lighting is the responsibility of the lighting designer, who orchestrates when, how, and which lights will be used. The lighting designer and technicians work closely with the production's director, and are typically required to have at least a B.A., or a vocational degree in theatrical lighting.

Quality of Stage Lighting

Lighting quality comes from the type of bulb, gel, and/or lens used, and is measured according to:

  • Intensity/Brightness
  • Color
  • Pattern.

Stage Lighting Options

Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights throw two beams of light, which creates either hard or fuzzy spotlight effects, and can be moved around. The lighting instruments consist of housing for the lights, the bulb or lamp, the lens (opening) where the light will emerge, and a reflector, which is used to direct the light.

Theatrical light bulbs are usually tungsten-halogen, which increases the life of the bulb (as opposed to incandescent bulbs) and can be dimmed when indicated, unlike the less expensive fluorescent bulbs. The lights are generally mounted on a "U-shaped" trunion arm, which can be moved and tilted through adjustable tension knobs.

How Stage Lights Work

Stage lights are defined as either floodlights or spotlights depending on their intended use and the amount of control the operator has them. Lighting control tools can be defined as anything to do with adjustments in light quality. Modern lighting is operated through lighting desks, which are computer-controlled, and are directly connected to dimmer switches. These functions can also be done manually.