Washes, Spots, Beams: Varied Options Key For Your Lighting Rig

With the available choices of fixtures to consider, they will help make your lighting system come alive and will add a dimension of creativity that will open many possibilities for you as a designer.

Washes, Spots, Beams: Varied Options Key For Your Lighting Rig
Whether you are looking washes, spots, breams or hybrids, each will help in making your lighting system come alive and will add a dimension of creativity that will open many possibilities for you as a designer.

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Washes, Spots, Beams: Varied Options Key For Your Lighting Rig

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A beam fixture is pure visual joy!

It has one job to do… POP! PUNCH! WOW!

Beam fixtures have made their way into just about every major design over the last several years. They are extremely popular and when used properly, can add another layer of depth and dimension to a design.

I say “when used properly,” because the beam fixture isn’t what I would consider to be a “foundation” fixture, so it’s pure eye candy and is limited in its capabilities. For this reason, it can be used incorrectly and often can be used too much, in a design.

A beam isn’t a fixture that will ever give you a soft edge or a subtle gobo look. Its characteristics from a light beam perspective tend to have a significant hot spot and it is just not designed to be a finesse style fixture. It’s a big loud voice in a quiet room. It wants all the attention and it gets it.

Typically a beam fixture has a very narrow focus, often 3-5 degrees. They usually have a color and a gobo wheel to add some breakup and color to the portfolio.

Aside from that, they are a fairly simple fixture. I like them scattered across a stage and also flown and inter mixed within a wash and profile foundation design.

This fixture adds so much to a lighting rig but again … don’t overuse it in your designs. It’s a one-trick-pony kind of fixture, and should be lower down your priority list for purchase, if you don’t have a good foundation of wash and spot/profile fixtures that also are included in your rig.


You guessed it … A wash/spot/beam fixture all in one! These seem to be the popular new kid on the block. Every manufacturer seems to be touting their latest version of this style fixture.

Personally, I like these fixtures, but in moderation, as I do a beam fixture.

Again, I wouldn’t consider them a “foundation” fixture in my design, but I like to have them.

If it’s up to me, I would choose a hybrid over a beam, because it can offer me more choices with my design. Things to look for in a hybrid is how the lenses change from one style of light to the next. Is it one smooth transition from wash to spot to beam, or are there clunky lenses that drop in and out? This can be a major consideration depending on how you would intend to use the fixture in your rig.

More About Josh Holowicki
Josh Holowicki is a passionate Christ follower who has dedicated his energy to helping “The Church” incorporate technology to enhance the worship experience. Josh has a unique background in that he not only holds a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University, but has also spent five years on staff as the lighting director and one of two scenic designers at NorthRidge Church in Plymouth, Michigan. Having studied under or worked with some of the most recognized names in both the Christian and secular lighting industry, Josh has fulfilled what he believes is his personal mission and calling by founding E2i Design, an organization whose focus is to Educate, Empower, and Inspire ministries in the area of visual impact on the live worship experience. Josh lives in Michigan with his wife of 12 years, Michelle and their seven pound Yorkshire terrier Buster.
Get in Touch: josh.holowicki@e2idesign.com    More by Josh Holowicki

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.

Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Budgeting · Hybrids · Lighting · Ministry · Programming · Spots · Stage Designs · All Topics

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