Whether you’re a full time performing artist, love to sing on the side, or you’re just really into a good karaoke experience, you know that all the world’s a stage— and that stage needs to be perfectly lit. Ample illumination, not to mention exciting colors and effects, can help your stage bring out the best in your performance and keep your audience excited. Below, learn how to get the best stage lighting around.
The types of stage lighting you’ll need
Buying one stage light is a good start, but it’s only the start for an effective stage lighting setup. You’ll need the following for good lighting on stage:
- Backlighting. These stage lights hang from the back of your stage and shine down on the performers. The result is that everyone on stage appears like a three-dimensional person – an actual human being – instead of a flat, unengaging silhouette. It’s way easier to provide a transformative, transportive experience when your audience fully believes what it sees.
- Effects. An engaging stage performance adds colors and unusual visuals to typical white backlighting. These light effects could include moving circular spotlights that change color or rotate about their centers. They could also include laser lighting that immerses the stage in astonishing nebulas and transfixing stars that takes your audience out of this world.
Stage lighting positions
A truly stunning show requires a fully illuminated stage, and this complete visibility means several backlights and effects to cover every corner. Placing your stage lights in the below four positions should get the job done:
- Front lighting. The first thing your audience sees is the front of your stage, so you should invest in front lighting first. This lighting type works as ambient lighting fixtures do in your home: It provides the foundation from which you can build a wondrous stage lighting system. At the very least, it fills your stage with a glow that resembles daylight for full visibility.
- Side lighting. Think of side lighting as accent lights for your stage: They fill in the gaps that front lighting sometimes leaves around your performers. With these gaps filled, your performers’ motions and movements will appear much more realistic. If your stage will include dancers, musicians, or other highly active performers, your side lights will transform the areas directly around these performers and highlight their
- High side lighting. This special type of side lighting is oriented 30 to 60 degrees from the performers on stage. At this angle, the performers’ upper-body motions will be especially highlighted. Singers, dancers, and actors can all make far greater impacts on your audiences in this lighting. Just be sure to use them on both the left and right side of your stage, as one-side use can result in uneven lighting.
- Down lighting. The inverse of backlighting, down lighting shines up at your performers instead of (despite its name) down on them. When placed correctly, their light beams will hit your performers at roughly shoulder height. Unlike other stage lights, you should overlap the paths of your down lights for maximum lighting effect. This overlap makes it much easier for your performers to take their viewers on a compelling journey right from their seats.
The nine best stage lights
With the below stage lights, you can turn backlighting, positioning, and effects into a stage experience that completely transforms your space and the minds of your audience.
1. Theater lights
Theater lights are tried and true backlighting classics. They illuminate your performers and the space around them while setting the mood. For example, dimming the lights during a play can suggest that a more intimate, dramatic scene may be about to occur. Another example: Before a group of dancers takes the stage, try brightening your theater lights to get the audience pumped. Really, no stage lighting setup is complete without these lights.
As downlights go, floodlights have long provided strong illumination from the ground up. They’re often quite compact, so they fortify your stage lighting foundation without taking up excess stage space. They’re often available as LED stage lights that use less energy and emit less heat. This way, you spend less money on your stage lighting setup, and your performers don’t get as sweaty as they give it their all.
Spotlights are a must for lighting that can follow your performers around the stage. If you need to highlight one person from a crew of performers as they move, spotlights let you do so with minimal effort. Higher-end spotlight models also let you modify your light’s color, focus, and strobe effects (so yes, if you want strobe lights, you need spotlights). These models make super bright highlights or more subtle follow lighting equally achievable.
4. Par cans
Par cans provide lighting through parabolic aluminized reflectors (also known as pars), meaning they can go wide or narrow. LED par lights, for example, can switch between functioning as downlights and spotlights without much effort or energy consumption. Their versatility makes them common in venues and commercial applications such as weddings and event planning. They recast spaces in a whole new light – or, more accurately, all kinds of light.
5. Strip lights
Strip lights rank among the best stage lights because no other type of stage illumination is quite like them. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and they often include RGB LED lights (also known as colorful lights) that can provide exciting color mixing effects. They’re best used as supplements to your stage lighting foundation, and for good reason. With their unique hues and patterns, they keep all eyes on your stage.
6. Colorful lights
Think about the lighting in most shows you’ve seen. Chances are you’ve seen colors on stage, right? Many of the most memorable shows indeed make great use of colorful lighting, as the mood effects of different colors can completely alter how audiences perceive performers. For example, if your performer for the night is a band that makes super chill music, red lighting is a great fit given its calming properties. Colorful lighting takes your audience where it wants to go.
7. LED lights
The same LED lights you use at home to save energy also rank among the best stage lights. Controlling these lights is super easy if you buy smart models connected to mobile apps, as you can change these lights’ color or brightness in a few taps. Other LED lights come with a standard remote control that makes your lighting director’s job way easier too. Plus, since LEDs lose less energy to heat, they provide a more comfortable stage for your performers.
8. Sky lights
If you’ve seen those viral galaxy lighting videos on TikTok, you understand the power of sky lights for stages. Rare is the performance that doesn’t appear more mesmerizing and wondrous under starry skies and nebula clouds, especially if you can customize your lighting effects’ colors and brightness. The Sky Lite Evolve checks all these boxes, plus it’s app-enabled, so you can control it from your phone. What a way to let your audience see your performers in a whole new light!
Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector
The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.
BlissLights create a unique stage lighting experience
The best stage lights illuminate your performers (if not your whole room) and fully immerse your audience in an unforgettable experience that easily keeps their full attention. That’s why BlissLights are ideal for stages. Chances are you don’t see their intergalactic colors and effects every day, and their mesmerizing patterns are bright enough to work as full-on event lighting. Browse the BlissLights collection now for lighting that brings wow and wonder to any stage.
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