Tips for Choosing the Best Stage Lighting for a Live Show

Having a well-designed stage lighting system can add the perfect amount of drama and excitement to a live performance. Lighting sets the mood and tone for the performance, as well as directs the eye of the spectator.

If you’re looking for help with choosing the best lighting and effects for your next live show or would like to find professional stage lighting in Orlando, here are some basic tips.

Assess Your Needs

Before you can make an informed decision about stage lighting equipment rental or hiring a professional to do the lighting, you need to know what your unique live performance lighting needs are. Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself to get a good idea about your specific needs:

  • What kind of acts, spaces, or events will I be lighting?
  • What sort of ambiance do I want? Dramatic? Solemn? Whimsical?
  • Are there indoor or outdoor events, or both?
  • Is there access to AC power? How much amperage and how many outlets will I need?
  • Is there any existing lighting equipment?
  • Who will be in charge of stage lighting setup and control?

If you will be the one running the lighting system during a live performance, certain features – such as foot pedal control, programmability, and remote control – can make the light show run much more smoothly.

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Whether you’re renting stage lighting equipment to set up and run yourself or hiring a professional stage lighting service, the number one thing to keep in mind is to match the lighting to the type of performance. For instance, for play lighting, it’s generally best to stick with front lighting to capture facial expressions of the actors, while side lighting is more ideal for dance performances to highlight movement.

Know the Main Types of Lights

Although there are limitless choices for stage lighting systems and effects for live shows, there are 5 main types of lights that are used in almost every indoor or outdoor live performance:

  • Soft lamps are used for diffusing lights and wrapping around subjects to reduce shadows.
  • Broad lights are small lights contained in a box that typically only has one lamp. These lights are used as supplemental lighting that doesn’t affect the character of the main lighting.
  • Fixed focus lighting provides a controllable, even field of light covering a wide area.
  • Spotlights offer projections of beams of light. LED lighting works well with spotlights.
  • Floodlights can light up large spaces and fill shadowed areas with a soft lighting source and can utilize all the above types of lights, as well as fluorescent lighting.

Know the Main Lighting Position(s)

Lighting position is going to depend on the size of the space for the live show. Here is a breakdown of the most commonly used lighting positions:

  • Front lighting is the primary source of lighting and is typically set at an overhead 45-degree angle.
  • Side and high side lighting are good for highlighting movement.
  • Back-light provides light in such a way to separate the performers from props in the background and achieve a 3-D effect.
  • Downlighting illuminates the whole stage evenly by blending lighting across the stage.

For more help finding the best lighting option for your needs, reach out to our experienced team today!

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