Which Light Is Which? Begin With the Basics

In the world of lighting, half of the game is learning the vocabulary and knowing which type of light does what. Here's a look at some of the essential basics behind various types of lights.

Which Light Is Which? Begin With the Basics
Among the options for PAR lights on the market is the Elation DTW PAR 300™, with 16 multi-chip CW/WW /Amber LEDs, a 23-degree beam angle, and full-color temperature range control from Tungsten to Daylight.
Which Light Is Which? Begin With the Basics
Among the options for PAR lights on the market is the Elation DTW PAR 300™, with 16 multi-chip CW/WW /Amber LEDs, a 23-degree beam angle, and full-color temperature range control from Tungsten to Daylight.

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DeJong WFX 2017

Duke was a speaker at WFX this year in Dallas. For 2018, the conference is slated for Orlando in November. We hope to see you there.

Using the Right Light for the Right Application

So you know how to power up your lighting system and get some light on your stage, but you can’t achieve the look you desire; one where you want to add more focus and interest, but aren’t quite sure how. Or maybe you were given some instructions on what to do, but you don’t know the reasons behind it.

Light is good, but less light can create a stronger impact.

In the world of lighting, half of the game is learning the vocabulary and knowing which type of light does what. We’re going to cover some of those basics, so you can be more confident using your existing lighting system and so you have a better understanding about what it takes to build one from scratch.

Light is good, but less light can create a stronger impact. On a brightly lit stage, adding more light to make an area stand out can result in chaos, with no definition of what is important. For instance, when there are too many light beams of different colors converging on a stage at once, it will create a white-pinkish mush.

So, instead of continuing to add light, create contrast.

Look at the stage and start turning lights off one group at a time. The more you turn off, the more focused the stage looks. There is no rule that says all lights must be on all the time.

Using the correct light helps you to define areas of focus, without overwhelming your stage with lights.

There are two main categories of lighting: floodlights and spotlights. Floodlights wash your stage with a “flood” of light and should be used to cover larger areas of your stage, like lighting a choir or creating a color wash with gels to enhance the mood. Spotlights are used to focus on specific smaller “spot” areas, like lighting your pastor at the pulpit or the pianist and the piano.

Choose the light that best fits your application, so you don’t create chaos on your stage.

Spot Lights

Ellipsoidal lights are spot lights that are typically used as front light. Their beam can be accurately shaped using the four masking shutters so you can control where your light is focused to get a nice tight spot. Ellipsoidals are also ideal for pattern (gobo) projection. (Gobos are like stencils that block, color or diffuse light as an easy way to add texture, designs or mood.)


More About Duke DeJong
Duke has 21 years of experience in audio, video, and lighting system design and operation, 10 years experience as staff technical director in megachurches. He is a regular speaker at national worship and tech conferences, including WFX, and many others. He is passionate about helping people use technology to communicate and reach people most effectively. Duke loves spending time with his family, golfing, and cooking (and eating) amazing BBQ.
Get in Touch: ddejong@ccisolutions.com    More by Duke DeJong

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Barndoors · Contrast · Ellipsoidal lights · Floodlights · Fresnels · Gobos · All Topics

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