Stage Lighting Crash Course: 8 Types of Stage Lights - Bluewater Skip to main content

With live events returning even stronger in 2022, we thought now would be the perfect time to remind you about the different types of stage lighting, plus how Bluewater uses each type to create the most effective lighting environments for our live events.

Below, we’ll review 8 primary types of stage lights, with some use cases or additional info on each one.

Ellipsoidal Spotlights

Ellipsoidal spotlights are conventional stage spotlights. Point them somewhere important, and you can flood that area or subject with light. If you’re dimming house lights and want to highlight an area (such as a place where a speaker will stand), ellipsoidal spotlights are the way to go.

Ellipsoidal spots can be fixed in place and can be framed and focused in various ways, giving you great flexibility for where and how they hit.

Follow spots are a type of ellipsoidal spotlight that can be manually operated to follow a figure around the stage.

PAR Lights

PAR lights generate lots of light and spread it broadly. They aren’t as adjustable as ellipsoidals, and they aren’t frameable either. When lots of coverage is the goal and soft edges aren’t a problem, PARs do the job quite nicely.

Most pro and theater environments have a mix of PAR and ellipsoidals installed.

LED Pixel Tube Lights

Popular in indoor and outdoor environments (thanks to their waterproof and wireless construction), LED pixel tube lights are baton-shaped lights that can be mounted just about anywhere.

These lights first became popular in cinematic lighting, but they’ve become widely embraced as stage and event lighting now, too.

Most pixel tubes are fully programmable RGBW lights, allowing you to create endless combinations of colors within a single array of these bulbs.

LED Uplights

Uplights are pretty much what they sound like: lights that sit down low and shoot up. LED uplights allow you to shoot your color of choice up along a wall, background, tree, or any other vertical surface.

If you’re setting up a stage somewhere rather drab or you don’t have as much ability to control overhead lighting as you’d wish, LED uplights can help create a mood or spirit.

And if you’re in a fully controlled lighting environment, even better. Combine LED uplights with your primary stage lighting for an atmospheric and aesthetically pleasing experience.

LED Battens (Wall Washers)

Uplights create columns of upward-thrown light, but that isn’t always what makes the most sense. If you’d like a more uniform upward projection, LED battens or wall washers are the way to go. They use the same principles as LED uplights, but they’re more like linear or tube configurations than spots.

LED battens are a great way to get a fairly uniform upward-shooting coverage, washing an entire wall with the same color output (hence the nickname).

Moving Head Lights

Moving head or intelligent lights are motorized and programmable. They can pan, rotate, change focus, change colors and patterns, and more. While they take a bit more effort to operate effectively, they can dramatically enhance a live stage scene.

Kinetic Lights

Kinetic lights add motors and movement to other forms of light, like LED pixel tubes. Even more complex than moving head lights, kinetic lights can add drama and flair to your live event. (But be advised: they don’t come cheap and require technical knowledge to operate effectively).

Laser Lights

Laser lights show up frequently at high-impact events like concerts. They’re extremely bright and focused, and they don’t do much in terms of adding overall light or brightness to a space. Instead, they’re more for decoration or atmosphere.

That isn’t to say they’re boring — far from it. Laser lights bring an intensity to your live space that nothing else can match. They just can’t serve as a primary light source.

Live Events Are Back. Bluewater Is Ready to Execute.

Live events are back, and it’s time to get your event planning and execution back up to par. The team at Bluewater is back at it with pro-level support for live event AV, including lighting.If you need an implementation partner for your next event, Bluewater is ready to execute. Ready to get started? Let’s talk.