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More Than Just Stage Lighting

June 23, 2014

Lighting design is a lot bigger than most people think. When most people hear Lighting Design, they think Broadway, and while some of the best Lighting Designers end up on Broadway, there are a lot of different ways our skills are put to use. Anywhere from Stage Lighting and Concert Lighting, to the under appreciated Architectural Lighting, the world of Lighting Design is everywhere around you. Most people don’t know the difference between any of these, and if you’re one of those people, have no fear, I’m here to help!

First, and most famous, is traditional Stage Lighting. In this world, a Lighting Designer uses the lights at their disposal to help create a fictional world on the stage, and help tell the story a Director is trying to tell. In Stage Lighting, the lights are never going to be the focus, they are merely there to help propel the story along, and in many cases, it helps convey what the characters are feeling, and projects that onto the audience. For example, if two characters are engaged in an angry duet/argument, you aren’t going to want pink and purple lovey dovey colors all over the stage. Instead, you want to the audience to feel the argument, so the lighting is used to help convey this emotion, and much harsher colors (red, for example) are used. Stage lighting is very intimate, and the Designer is very involved with the Director in trying to tell a story.

Secondly, and my personal favorite, is Concert Lighting. This is exactly what it sound like, in that it is used in Concerts and shows where song and dance are the main focus, rather than the story that may or may be told. When lighting a concert, the budget is way higher than Stage Lighting, because the lights are meant to be seen, to make an impact. If you were to go to a concert and see 40 moving lights shining all over the place, you wouldn’t soon forget it. Some noticeable uses of outrageous Concert Lighting would be acts such as Cirque Du Soleil and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. These are events in which the lights are meant to be noticed, to add the total effect of the show.

Last, but certainly not least, is Architectural Lighting. When I say that Lighting Design is all around you, it applies literally in this case. This is the kind of lighting you see in the everyday world, not necessarily in a production. Cutting edge Architectural Lighting is becoming more and more popular, and you can see it in many urban locations. For instance, walking into a club downtown you see dark, sensual colors and eerie backlights used to give off a party-like vibe. You normally wouldn’t associate Lighting design with these kinds of places, but without someone with a keen eye for detail, you could end up with a club that looks totally out-of-place.

From the Stage to Nightclubs, the work of brilliant Lighting Designers is all around you, even when you don’t notice it. Sometimes its meant to be noticed, and sometimes it’s not, but it’s always an integral part of the world, and it wouldn’t look the same without it.

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