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The Best Theatre Lights

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Buyer's Guide

Types of Theatre Lights You Should Know About

Theatre lights play a vital role in theatre. Lighting up the theatre, not only help set the mood of a play but also add a real aesthetic sense to it. The modern day theatre experience cannot be taken for granted today because of the complex and technologically advanced technology that has been used to make theatre possible. It is the lighting techniques that give the whole show its beauty.

"Theater lighting is an essential part of any production, whether on or off-stage. Lighting is not a light feature found only in large, costly theaters. Lighting encompasses both on and off-stage lighting, with special emphasis on lighting that affects the audience at a distance. The term'theatre lighting'applies to a broad range of lighting methods including, but not limited to, stage lighting, background lighting, digital theatre lighting, and backstage lighting."

What kind of theatre lights you use depends on your use of theatre. If your production requires a lot of elaborate sets and costumes then you will need a high quality set of lights. The most used of these lights are backstage or spot lights. Spotlights are basically lighted spots that help illuminate the theatre. They can be fixed above the stage or fixed below the stage so that they can be focused specifically on areas of the theatre that require more attention such as the wings of the theatre or the background of the stage.

Stage or ceiling lights are fixed in the air and cast directly onto the stage. When the performers get on stage these lights are directed upwards so that they form a glowing pattern in the theatre. The colours of these lights tend to match that of the costume colours worn by the performer. These lights can be adjustable and are a great way to create a mood in the theatre.

High Side Lighting: The term high side lighting is used for general lighting purposes. It describes the phenomenon where a bright light is pointed directly upwards or downwards from either side of the stage. In a theatre this light is aimed directly at the actor or actress playing the role. Usually this type of light is on a high part of the theatre and is intended for the audience to have an enjoyable experience watching the performance. The side lighting can often times dim when a sound is being made which creates a dramatic effect.

Low Light Lighting: These are usually on lower levels inside or outside of the theatre and they are used to replicate the effects of moonlight or even stars. These lights cast a warm and relaxing glow on the actors or actresses who are on stage. Many times low level lighting can be combined with other types of lighting to enhance the effect.

Colour Effects: A theatre or commercial complex will use smart lighting to highlight certain areas of the screen, usually the action areas, or specific key plot locations to enhance the drama and realism of the performance. Hues are also used in this type of lighting to provide a sense of depth to the images or characters. Often bright colours are combined with softer colours or black and white to create different effects.

Colour Effects: A theatre lighting designer will often use different coloured beams of light as part of a scene to help create different effects to increase the drama, realism or mood of a specific scene. For example, one scene may have a blue or green beam of light pointed towards the camera in order to emphasize the character's movement or a specific action. Another scene may have red and yellow beams of light pointed at objects that are colour contrasting. The effect is achieved by mixing two or more colours or more than two colours together in the same beam of light to create a bold contrast or intensity in a scene.