Stage lighting plays an essential role in on-stage performances. It can convey emotion, drama and help the audience to feel emerged within the performance. When used effectively, stage lighting can be just as important as the music, set design and costume. Dance, live music and plays all require different forms of stage lighting and various customisation options. While dance stage lighting highlights movement, plays use lighting to create emotion and atmosphere.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you started with stage lighting.
The main types of lights
There are various types of stage lights available, and each has its own purpose. There are floodlights, soft lamps, broad lights, fixed-focused lighting, and spotlights used to highlight different elements on stage. These lights can create mood, movement, texture and naturalism on stage. These different types of lighting require different set-up equipment and technology.
The position of the lighting is, arguably, the most important part of stage lighting. With the correct lighting position, you can highlight what the audience should be focusing on through the performance.
Front lighting is the main source of illumination and is usually set at an angle of 45 degrees over the age. Theatrical and artistic shows use this lighting method to bring a sense of sunlight on stage.
Side lighting is brilliant for highlight movement on stage, especially in dance programmes. Or, if a performer walks around the stage while talking, side lighting can help draw the audience’s attention. Side lighting is mounted between 30- and 60-degree angles to highlight the upper part of the performer’s body.
Backlighting separates performers and props from the background to achieve a three-dimensional effect. On the other hand, Downlighting lights the whole stage evenly and shines upwards towards the performer’s eyes. It offers exposure and illumination throughout the performance – instead of focusing on one individual.
The tone of the stage lighting should adhere to the script and music. For example, a suspenseful scene may use side lighting to focus on one individual’s movement on stage. They could use different colours for added drama on stage – and colour psychology to evoke different emotions. For example, red lighting may support a scene filled with rage and anguish, and yellow lighting would evoke happiness and comfort.
Lighting managers divide the stage into zones when planning their strategy. Some zones have a slight overlap and are drawn as circles with 8 to 12 feet diameter. The zones cover the front of the stage, mid-stage and the back of the stage.
There are various strategies and theories to stage lighting. Educate yourself on how to create different atmospheres with lighting to improve your on-stage performance. Lighting can elevate your performance and wow the audience.