A concert lighting designer's job is to plan and execute lighting effects that convey a specific mood or concept, illuminate the performer, and engage an audience. With access to the best lighting equipment and knowledge of advanced lighting techniques, today's concert lighting design has become very sophisticated. Concert lighting designers must be familiar with a variety of lighting equipment and often take years to master the art of lighting a large production. Below is an overview of some of the lights most commonly used by concert lighting designers.
Floodlights & spotlights are the two primary types of stage lights. Floodlights generally produce a wide beam of light that can illuminate large stage areas while spotlights produce and narrow, more focused beam of light. There are several sub-categories of both floodlights and spotlights as well as some lighting equipment that falls in between the two categories.
PAR (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector) lights are a type of floodlight often used for rock concerts. This lamp produces a large amount of flat light that comes from a unit that resembles an empty paint can. PAR lights are often used in conjunction with smoke or haze effects. The benefits of these lights are that they are lightweight, portable, and low cost.
Strip lights are strips of lighting housing containing many lamps. Typically, strip lights are used to illuminate wide areas of a stage, such as a back curtain. While colors for lighting are often achieved by 'gels' or colored plastic that go over a light, strip lights use glass gels, or 'roundels' to produce colored light. One of the main advantages of strip lights is that a separate electrical dimmer circuit can control each lamp.
LED Lights are another popular concert lighting element. Because this type of light uses light emitting diodes, or LEDs, rather than halogen lamps, they can produce lots of light while consuming less power than traditional stage lights. Popular with concert designers, these lights are able to produce a wide range of vibrant colors to create interesting lighting effects.
Spotlights are also essential to concert lighting equipment. They produce an intense beam of light that can illuminate an entire stage. These lights come in several varieties, each with unique properties. Fresnels are smaller light fixtures that produce a pool of light or a concentrated, but soft edged spot. Profile lights are most similar to what people associate with traditional spotlights. Their convex lenses produce a sharp light beam that can be formed into different shapes of an insert called a gobos. Finally, PC's, or Pebble Convex lanterns use convex lenses with a pebbled effect that produce a concentrated spot of light with little 'spill' outside the target.
An excellent concert lighting designer is familiar all of lighting equipment mentioned here in addition to much more advanced equipment. More importantly, they know how to plan and execute lighting for a 2-3 hour concert with the utmost precision and creativity.
Those who excel in the art of concert lighting have the privilege of working with top touring artists such as Motley Crue and Maroon 5. One example of a live concert video production company that is putting their name on the map is Daddy Van Productions, based out of Austin, Texas.
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