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25.08.2023

Introduction to professional stage lighting

1. Why are we using professional lighting equipment?

ghting is an often overlooked aspect of event planning. Whether it's music concerts, stage lighting, weddings or corporate events, well-planned professional lighting makes a big difference in the overall impression and atmosphere of an event. It takes events to the next level while providing sophistication and creativity that can't be achieved with basic lighting setups. The right lighting has the ability to create the perfect atmosphere and set the tone for a particular event. Of course, different events and their venues require different categories of lighting to achieve the desired effect. In this blog, we will try to describe which categories of lighting and lighting fixtures are used for which events and why.

lav studio distributor of stage lighting in croatia, picture of the opening of the 70th Pula Film Festival in the arena

 

2. The ways in which professional stage lighting enhances your event

Professional event lighting can be a very powerful tool that will highlight or raise an event to a higher level. It creates an impressive environment, and since most people are visual types, it actually creates the mood and experience of an event. In order to achieve this effect, different categories of lighting are used in different categories of events. We distinguish various lighting systems that can transform the space and create different moods and experiences for the visitors. In the following, we present several ways in which professional lighting affects an event and its visitors.

2.1. Creating an immersive environment

In order to transform a space into an impressive environment, it is necessary to have a very good understanding of what kind of event it is. By using professional lighting, your guests actually enter a new world which is defined by the audio and visual experience itself. . That experience can vary and be shaped. Whether it's dramatic lighting or colorful colors, lighting creates a new stunning backdrop for any event that, with good planning and lighting execution, will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

lav studio distribution of professional stage lighting- Robe lighting and Taf truss at the Morcheebe concert at the Little Roman Theater in Pula

2.2. Mood effect

We've already stated before that most of humanity is actually a visual type, which means that lighting certainly has a strong effect on mood. Professional lighting actually helps to create exactly the required atmosphere. From warm and pleasant to cold and modern, professional lighting actually sets the tone for your event and creates the perfect atmosphere. Whether it's a music concert where we want dynamic lighting with a lot of different colors or a wedding where we actually create a pleasant atmosphere with warm lighting, we can conclude that professional lighting is one of the main factors in creating the atmosphere and mood of an event.

2.3. Highlight key elements

If you want to draw the audience's attention to a prominent individual on stage, present a new product or just a prominent part of the stage and focus attention, professional lighting will surely help you with that. With various spotlights and other directional lighting techniques, you actually ensure that the most important elements of your event are in the focus of the audience.

LAV Studio exclusive Robe lighting distributor for Croatia - Robe lighting fixtures at Parni Valjak  concert - Stage picture 1

2.4. Improve your visual experience

Planned visual elements enhance any event and with professional lighting the possibilities are endless. Well-planned and executed lighting will add a creative touch to your event and make it unforgettable. With customized LED profiles with, for example, a gobo effect, your event actually becomes a canvas that, with top-quality lighting equipment and carefully planned lighting design, will become a visual masterpiece.

 

3. Types of professional lighting

The elements and functions of a professional lighting fixture differ depending on the function of the lighting itself. Professional lighting includes a wide range of different types of lighting fixtures and techniques used to achieve the desired visual effect and a certain desired atmosphere. In order to understand and learn more about the professional lighting fixtures themselves, we need to learn their function. That is why we tried to categorize professional lighting into:

3.1 Functional and effective lighting

Functional and decorative lighting are actually the two most basic categories of lighting, and it is from them that further upgrades and the planning of a visual experience start. Functional lighting is the lighting that is used to ensure the lighting of a space, and it can be general, work or emergency. This category includes the already built-in lighting system of a certain area, but also stage lighting such as various reflectors, dimmed light and background lighting that allows the audience to see the performers. Effect lighting is used to create a certain effect and atmosphere, emphasize an element, and create an aesthetic atmosphere for an event. It can also be used to improve the decorative and architectural experience of a space. Examples of effective lighting are, for example, ambient lighting or light effects that create different atmospheres and aesthetic mood of an event using different colors, intensities and light projections. Combining functional and effective lighting allows us to create a new experience for all those present in that space.

3.2. Outdoor and indoor lighting

The differences between outdoor and indoor lighting actually results in the environment, weather conditions and time of day when the lighting is used. Therefore, it does not differ in lighting fixtures and equipment, because most of today's professional lighting equipment is adapted to outdoor conditions (IP65). If we're talking about daytime use, most equipment won't work well enough due to natural light, but when it gets dark, the lighting possibilities are endless, just like with indoor lighting.

3.3. Static and dynamic lighting

Lighting elements can also be categorized according to their ability to move. We differentiate between static and dynamic or moving lighting fixtures. Static lighting is actually lighting profiles that do not have the possibility of movement. They include fixed reflectors and various LED static lighting fixtures. Thus, static lighting elements remain in the same position in which they were installed. With dynamic lighting elements, we come to their ability to change position. Today, such elements are extremely popular and most of the equipment used is actually motorized. Movable lighting fixtures can be managed by control systems, which allows the lighting technician even greater creativity in execution.

 

4. Categories and elements of professional lighting

The listed types of professional lighting can then be categorized once again according to their purpose. However, this is where we come to the problem of molding some lighting element into a category, because that element can most likely be used for other applications as well. For example, we can use a moving head element in both decorative and stage lighting.

4.1. Stage lighting

Stage lighting is primarily used to create an atmosphere in a specific space, be it a concert, festival or theater, and to enable the transfer of the emotions of musicians, dancers or actors to the audience. Stage lighting is designed to create the various necessary effects, from various shadows and contrasts to changing the intensity and color of the light. We have surely come across this type of lighting at some point in our lives. Its application is very broad and we find it in the production of various concerts, television shows, in theater, operas and many other stage productions. It simply has to be very well planned and pre-programmed and managed by the lighting technician via the control system or console. It consists of various professional lighting equipment (reflectors, moving heads, lasers, LED profiles,...) which we will describe in detail in the final part of this blog.

LAV Studio exclusive Robe lighting distributor for Croatia - Robe lighting fixtures at Parni Valjak concert - Stage picture 2

Our recommendation for professional stage lighting elements: https://www.robe.cz/

4.2. Architectural lighting

Architectural lighting is a special type of professional lighting and is mostly used to illuminate and highlight various architectural elements. We use it to illuminate various buildings, squares, bridges, monuments and various other construction objects. Proper planning and designing of the lighting system is very important for the implementation of architectural lighting in order to achieve the desired aesthetic result. The main goal of this lighting is to emphasize the beauty, shape and details of an architectural building. The function of architectural lighting is not only aesthetic, but also safety and orientation. With the help of well-lit stairs, paths and approaches, visitors can safely move around a lighted object. The use of various light colors and intensities gives the designer of architectural lighting the opportunity to transform the appearance of a building or an open space. Professional lighting elements used in architectural lighting are various built-in lighting fixtures, wall lights, spotlights, moving heads, facade reflectors, etc.

Our recommendation for professional architectural lighting elements: https://www.anolislighting.com/

4.3. Decorative lighting

Decorative lighting actually adds a touch of magic, elegance and a new atmosphere to events. Such lighting goes beyond lighting and is a very important element in creating the desired atmosphere of an event. Whether it's various parties or weddings, gala dinners or cultural celebrations, professional decorative lighting will complete every event and transform an ordinary space into a new extraordinary visual experience. Decorative lighting fixtures are installed in order to give a new atmosphere and experience to the space, thereby evoking emotion in the audience. When achieving that mood and atmosphere, we use various lighting effects such as Gobo, various Color filters, etc.

 

5. Professional lighting fixtures

There are many techniques and lighting elements which are used in professional lighting. Below are some of the most common and important professional lighting elements.

5.1. LED

Professional lighting equipment usually has LEDs in it. LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diodes, which are one of the most popular light sources today because they are very energy efficient. This means that LEDs consume less electricity than traditional light sources and are also longer lasting and require less maintenance and replacement. In addition to energy saving, they enable continuous lighting without overheating, which is very important during use. They are used in various scenarios because they can create very intense or, if necessary, subdued light in various colors. It is for these reasons that the majority of professional lighting equipment is actually composed of LED components. Thus, today we can find many LED panels and profiles, spotlights, washes, fresnels and moving heads.

5.2. Spotlights

Popular spots today, perhaps the most well-known lighting elements, are actually focused "sharp" beams of light whose goal is to directly illuminate the performer or a specific part of the stage. They directly illuminate the object on stage that you want the audience to focus on. Spotlights thus attract the attention of the audience by creating the main prominent figure on the stage.

5.3. Color Wash and Wash lighting fixtures

Unlike a spotlight that directly illuminates a prominent part or participant with its sharp beams of light on the stage, Wash lighting fixtures bring wide, even illumination of soft edges over the entire stage or any other space that we are lighting. They enable the establishment of a mood and the possibility of "coloring" the background of an event. Wash lighting fixtures can be adjusted in a variety of ways to create different intensities and shades of light, thus creating different atmospheres. There are different variants of Wash lighting fixtures that project only one required color, on the other hand, Color Wash offers the possibility of combining different colors that actually blend with each other.

5.4. Moving head lighting fixtures

As lighting technology developed over the years, so did the application of motorized or automated lighting equipment. The development of technology resulted in moving head lighting elements, LED lights that have the ability to move in different directions, the possibility of various zooming and effects, and programming via lighting control consoles. The moving head actually makes it possible to create the movement of the light, which gives us a sense of the depth of the stage. Today, they are used in almost all categories of professional lighting. Their ability to move, including pan (horizontal) and tilt (vertical), allows precise directing of the controlled light beam to specific desired positions in the space. This movement, which on some lighting elements can even be a 360-degree rotation, is most often controlled via the DMX Digital Multiplex protocol, which allows light designers various options for programming the effect and the movements of the lighting fixture itself. In addition to this possibility, moving head elements bring many other features such as electronic color filter change, gobo effect, zoom light beam, beam effect, various rotations, etc. It is precisely with these possibilities that these very flexible and creative professional lighting elements enable the creation of different atmospheres during a live stage event. Today, we find various types of moving heads that actually compose spot, wash and beam options.

5.5. Fresnel lighting fixtures

Named after the French physicist Augustin Fresnel, this type of lighting device is a very popular light source in a variety of applications. Whether we are talking about live stage production, photography or film, we can find the popular fresnel on almost every such set. Why is this type of lighting fixtures so popular? The answer is in a specially designed Fresnel lens that enables easy and simple adjustment of the width and focus of the light beam. The lens consists of many layers of concentric rings where each ring actually bends the light and thus shapes it into a beam of light. The Fresnel consists of a housing with a lamp, a Fresnel lens and an adjustable lamp holder. By moving the lamp closer or further from the lens, we adjust the intensity and width of the light beam. Most often, they are equipped with various accessories such as doors and color filters.

5.6. Color filters and Gobo effect

Color filters or gels are actually transparent sheets that are mechanically or manually placed in front of the light source in order to create new light of different colors. They are used to improve overall aesthetics.

A gobo is a specially designed template with various cut-out shapes that is placed in front of the lamp to create a projection of various shapes or textures on the stage or walls. Just like color filters, Gobo effects can be changed manually or mechanically using a rotating disk that changes shapes and textures.

LAV Studio TAF truss distributor for Croatia - TAF ground support at Parni Valjak's concert - view of the stage

 

6. Do you need a professional lighting solution?

Lighting plays a key role in the experience of performances, concerts, architecture and improving the overall visual experience of a space. It goes beyond basic lighting and becomes an art form, it creates a mood, highlights the main actors and areas on the stage, and improves the architectural impression of a building. Creating a lighting atmosphere with professional equipment gives us a new experience of an event or space, and this equipment is actually a very powerful tool that gives a certain stage production depth, dimension and brings a visual effect on every individual. Of course, there is much more professional lighting equipment, such as various light lasers, which we did not talk about in this article. When choosing equipment, you need to plan very well and know what you actually want visually, and this is the reason why, when starting a project to purchase professional lighting equipment, it is a very good idea to consult a lighting designer or light expert who will further explain to you all the benefits and problems of implementing a particular lighting system. If you need such consulting or have a project, send us your inquiry and problem to info@lav-studio.hr.