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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When putting together a lighting system, I am often asked about the characteristics that make up the different types of moving head fixtures on the market.

Stunning looks can be created with hybrid fixtures that will add incredible light to your designs.

Users want to know exactly how each type of fixture works, and how it will benefit their stage designs not only visually, but also how the units will function from a programming standpoint to make it easier to create great looks faster.

The wash, spot, beam and hybrid make up the types of most commonly used moving head fixtures.

In this article, I will not be discussing light source (LED vs. ARC), but you can reference a previous Worship Tech Director article I wrote on the topic. I will however be offering some details on each type of fixture, and how they can benefit your ministry and your ability to create stunning visuals that will positively impact your worship experience. 


The wash fixture is the foundation of every good lighting rig and design. It’s the building block fixture.

The wash fixture sets the overall tone of the stage and provides the most even and consistent light. Its beam (please don’t confuse this term with a “beam” fixture) naturally provides a soft, diffused edge that can easily be blended between fixtures to create smooth light across a stage. They also have a very consistent and even field of light across the lens.

Some moving head wash fixtures have a fixed degree beam angle, meaning you must work with the inherent size the manufacturer created, while others offer a motorized zoom that allows the user to select a wide range of beam angles. Depending on the fixture, this can easily range from 9 to 55 degrees zoom.

One would ask “why would I want a fixed beam, when I could have a zoom?” The answer: cost. Having the additional capabilities to allow for a zoom will increase the cost of each fixture. If you are considering smaller, more cost-effective wash fixtures, this price difference can be a few hundred dollars per fixture.

Larger wash fixtures typically just include a zoom, because they carry a higher price tag and the user expects the feature. Wash fixtures can be used for back lighting to create a great foundation of color, or to make it easy to put a nice back wash on vocalists, instrumentalists, or teaching pastors. They are also an ideal choice for key lighting, because of the smooth blend and even field of light.

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 · Beams · Fixtures · Gobo · Hybrids · Lighting · Ministry · All Topics

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