Lighting is a crucial part of live events. It adds mood, depth and intensity to your production, and most importantly, it allows your talent to be seen! However, the technology and terminology surrounding the world of event lighting can make choosing the right equipment a difficult task. Here is a brief overview of the key terminology you’ll need to choose the best lighting system for your event.
Conventional Lighting Fixtures
Conventional lighting fixtures are typically lamp or LED. Modern LED lighting fixtures have built in color mixing capabilities. Older conventional fixtures require color filters called “gel” (see below).
Ellipsoidal lighting fixtures produce a round crisp beam of light. They are typically used for front light or sharp pools of light to highlight one speaker or performer. These fixtures have shutters that allow users to “crop” the round edges of the beam and make it square or angled. Gobos (see below) can also be used to add patterns, images or texture to the beam.
Pars are most commonly used as “wash” fixtures. They produce an oval shaped beam of light with soft diffused images. The beam can be rotated by spinning the lens or lamp.
Fresnels are another type of wash fixture used mainly for top and back light. They produce a round soft beam that can be “zoomed” to a large or small spot of light.
Gel is a translucent colored filter used to change the color or color temperature of a conventional lighting fixture. Gel manufactures use number codes to identify the color of individual gel. These filters are placed in front of the fixtures lens. The most commonly used manufactures are: Rosco, Lee, and Apollo.
Simply put, a gobo is a stencil for light. They are used to project patterns or images, but can also be used to produce subtle texture like leaves or tree branches on the stage.
Moving (Intelligent) Lighting
Spot and Profile Fixture –
Both Spot and Profile fixtures project a round beam with a sharp crisp edge. Most contain an iris, and at least one color, gobo, and effects wheel.
Profile fixtures have shutters or beam shaping capabilities.
Wash fixtures –
Wash fixtures usually have a soft or “diffused” beam.
Beam Fixtures – Beam fixtures produce tight laser like beams of light. These are commonly used in concert environments. Higher end Beam Fixtures have the ability to “zoom” their beam to produce wider shafts of light.