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How Are Theatre Lights Different From Home Lighting?

When you go and see a show at the theatre, one of the first things you will notice is the way that light is cleverly used and manipulated to enhance the set and the scenes that are unfolding. During a play or musical production, lighting is one of the key tools that production companies use to add atmosphere and to help illustrate the story well.
So, what are the main type of light sources that theatres will use and how is this different to the lighting that we have in our homes?

Flood Lighting
This is perhaps the most commonly used and least complicated lighting options that theatres will employ. It consists of a lamp in a reflector box with no lens. The reflector focusses the lamps bulb through an opening in the box, which creates the flood lights beam. This type of light source is typically used to illuminate the stage as opposed to the actors and can come in a range of different temperatures. Theatres may use a coloured lens, like our Slimline 10W LED Floodlight Green to create atmosphere and the match the theme of the play or production.

Of course, a light source as concentrated as this would be too intense for use in the home, so people typically use spotlights to light up their rooms.

Fresnel Lighting
This lighting source provides a soft-edged spotlight that offers more control over the angle of the beam than a floodlight can. A Fresnel lights beam is adjustable because you are able to move the lamp and the reflector closer or further away, by using a screw mechanism or a slide.

Moving Lights

Something you will see being used frequently in theatre productions is moving light. Often referred to as intelligent lighting, this can again be used to create atmosphere on stage and add intensity to the storyline. Moving lights are typically controlled using a lighting control console and can produce some complex and extraordinary effects. The effects that can be adjusted and produced include colour, pan and tilt, gobo, prism, animation and framing shutters.

While such lighting would be overwhelming for at home use, people can still create ambience and atmosphere in their living space in a more subtle way. By using one of our many dimmers you can adjust your lighting and create cosy spaces easily.

Created by Steve Ellwood on 8th December, 2017


Steve Ellwood

Steve Ellwood

Qualified as an Electrician, founder of BLT Direct