If you’ve ever attended a concert or musical performance before, then you might have wondered about how the mesmerizing and spectacular stage lighting in those events are handled, especially the bits where the colorful lights and lasers seem to dance and pulsate along with the music or performance.
These visual effects are handled mostly by stage lighting systems. A stage lighting system refers to the entire lighting setup in theaters, open-air stages, and concert halls—from the wiring and the lamps that provide the light itself, to the lighting fixtures and the control systems that hold the lights in place and control the color and intensity of the lights. It also includes the components that allow those lights to move properly, such as stage lighting mini motors and stepper linear actuators. These components are responsible for ensuring the perfect movement of lenses while maintaining high repeatability and providing consistent, accurate, and stable light beams. In fact, mini motors and stepper linear actuators are fast becoming the norm nowadays, as performances become more intense and action-packed, requiring for faster reaction times and precise tracking.
Now that we know just what makes those events so visually impactful, let’s talk about where this technology is actually used.
Huge musical events such as concerts benefit greatly from stage lighting systems. Not only will a proper lighting system ensure that the fans and concert goers are able to see the performance adequately, it also adds a visual element to the performance, turning what should be a good listening experience into an exciting, satisfying, and memorable one that’s a treat for both the eyes and ears.
For example, the lights moving to the beat of the song can amplify its emotional resonance with the crowd, while a moving or tracking spotlight that focuses on the singer can instill a sense of quiet and intimacy during a song performance, allowing the audience to focus on the performance rather than everything else. Other effects such as strobing lights and lasers also add to the whole aesthetics of the performance.
Just like what they do for concerts, lighting effects can add an entirely new dimension to an opera performance that amplifies the hard work put out by the singers and the musicians. Lights can instill various kinds of emotions when orchestrated together with the special musical numbers within an opera, such as overtures and arias. Subdued or pulsating lighting, for instance, can help strengthen the mood of a dramatic sequence, not only adding to the viewer’s experience but also giving the actors a more emotionally moving environment to perform in.
Musical theater productions also benefit from stage lighting systems as they are critical to conveying the appropriate atmosphere in every scene, whether it’s a musical number, a spoken dialogue, or a dance sequence. The right lighting can make a tepid musical performance look absolutely riveting and mesmerizing, since lights provide the visual ambience that fits the mood of the performance or lyrics.
Stage lighting systems also help bring the mood or ambience of certain scenes in a stage play across to the audience better, as well as make scene changes much more convincing. For example, dim lighting with the occasional bright flash, if used in conjunction with sound effects depicting thunder, can easily replicate a rainy, stormy night. A spotlight focusing on and tracking one specific actor can also emphasize a specific performance and also signal the audience to quiet down.
Dance recitals rely heavily on stage lighting systems as much as they do the accompanying music and the skill of the dancers to truly bring each of the performances to life. Certain dance styles such as ballet and interpretative dance often forgo props and backdrops, and as such rely on lighting and music to establish a scene, mood, or locale in the performance. For the dance recitals that are strictly about the exhibition of the dancers’ skills, lighting adds another layer of visual excitement in the performance, making it more memorable and striking to the audience.
Stage lighting systems serve both functional and aesthetic functions during corporate events. Moving and tracking lights, for example, ensure that event hosts or speakers are properly illuminated and visible to the audience, while dimmed lights can help signal for breaks in between talks or conferences. If there are performances during the said events, whether to celebrate an occasion or to promote or launch certain products or services, then specialized lighting can also help enhance the visuals of those performances.
School events such as presentations, dances, plays, debates, recitals, and graduation ceremonies also benefit greatly from stage lighting systems, not just in keeping things illuminated but also adding visual pomp and flair to these events.
These are just some of the many applications of stage lighting systems. Without them, these events and performances would not only be barely visible to the audience—especially during night performance— they’d also most likely not have the same kind of effect that they were meant to have. As such, having an adequate stage lighting system is essential for any stage production.