Types of Theater Spot Lights

Theater spot lights

Types of Theater Spot Lights

Theater stage lighting is a complex process that requires special training and a lot of practice to master. Spotlights are hung above the actors and behind them to shape and frame them.

These lights also can be used to color the stage using gobos. They come in a variety of power outputs and beam angles.

Fresnel Spotlights

A fresnel spotlight is a directional stage light that produces a relatively soft-edged beam of illumination. Named for their inventor, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, these theater lights feature a series of concentric rings carved into the surface of a plano-convex lens. Each ring acts as an individual refracting surface, helping to bend parallel light rays into a single focal point at the end of the lens. These are the kind of theatrical lights you might see on a movie set and they’re also used to wash light over a wide area, such as in a stage or an outdoor event.

You might also find these lights on a documentary set doing interviews and they’re often the workhorses of three-point lighting (you can do an image search for George Hurrell to learn more about this style). Fresnel spot lights are a staple amongst gaffers and cinematographers.

They’re versatile, powerful and easy to use. You’ll see Stage Lighting Supplier these workhorses everywhere from small local productions to big studio shoots where they serve as key lights, fill lights and rim or hair/back lights. You’ll also find them in the hands of freelancers who want a reliable, affordable light source that’s still able to create good quality illumination for talent and props on a tight budget.


Followspots are manually operated directional spotlights that are used to focus a spotlight beam on a particular actor or presenter in a theatrical production. The light can add to the dramatic effect of a scene by highlighting the actor or actress and focusing the audience’s attention on their performance. The term “followspot” is derived from the fact that the operator can move the spotlight in a way that follows the movement of the performer.

The spot can be shaped by a variety of mechanisms such as the douser, the iris and the chopper. The douser allows the operator to change the shape of the spotlight beam, and is also a tool for regulating the intensity of the spot. The iris allows the operator to change the size of the beam, and is another way in which the intensity of the spot can be adjusted. The chopper is a device that cuts off some of the light from the beam, and can be used to create different effects on stage.

Follow spots are a key element of any theatre production. They allow the lighting designer to highlight individual performers and bring their personality to the stage. They are usually used in musicals, and can create a sense of drama or excitement in a scene. Most people will have seen a followspot in action, at least on television or in their local theatre group.

Moving Head Spotlights

Moving head spotlights are highly versatile lighting fixtures used in the entertainment industry LED Strobe Mobile Light to create a range of exciting visual effects. They are widely used in theatres and concerts to create dazzling beam effects while also providing a powerful wash of light to illuminate the stage or dance floor. LED moving heads utilise energy-efficient technology, offering a wide color range and customizable effects to create a dynamic lighting display. There are many different types of moving head lights, ranging from spot lights, which emit a focused beam that can be adjusted for size and sharpness, to wash lights, which create a broad wash of light on the surface of the stage. Hybrid moving head lights are a popular choice that combine the features of both spots and wash lights.

The cone-shaped light beams produced by a spot light can be changed to project gobos, change colors, and strobe for a dramatic effect. These lighting fixtures are most commonly used to highlight a specific area on stage, such as a singer or band member performing live. They are also often used in nightclubs to energise the dance floor and add movement to the scene.

Scanners, which are essentially moving heads with mirrors, are another type of moving head spotlight that add movement to the stage by scanning around the venue. They are ideal for highlighting areas onstage and can be used to bring in and out special effects such as smoke or pyrotechnics.

Par Can Spotlights

One of the most popular types of theater lighting, par can spotlights are a staple for many stage and musical performances. These fixtures can be shaped to focus on specific performers or areas of the stage, enhancing the visual appeal of a show. They’re also used to uplight backdrops and other scenic elements.

They are simple in construction, with a closed off cylindrical tube that concentrates light using a reflector. The acronym “PAR” stands for parabolic aluminum reflector, and the fixture is typically made of steel and aluminum. Some models offer a choice of beam angle, with a wide beam allowing for a more diffused wash and a narrower one offering sharper beams. LED bulbs are commonly employed, and some models have color-mixing capabilities that allow for a wider array of effects.

While par cans are a mainstay in theatre and musical productions, they’re also utilized by bands and DJs for various events. The lights’ small size makes them a convenient addition to mobile stages, and their ability to generate colored beams is perfect for highlighting dancers or directing attention to the performer at hand.

HyLite offers a range of LED par cans that offer high power with low energy consumption. Compared to traditional screw-based lamps, the LEDs in these models reduce heat generation and improve life expectancy.

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