Different Types of Stage Lights

By Mark Orwell

Stage lighting is essential to any play, concert or on-stage act. It also composes one of the most technical and complicated systems in a theater. There are a number of different types of stage lights, each with their own function and purpose. They all work together to properly light an act, and the entire system would not be the same if one of these lights were taken out of the rotation.

Main Categories

There are two main categories that stage lights fall into. Floodlights illuminate a wide area, and spotlights shine light on a smaller, more specific area.

Scoop Lights

These lights are usually used to flood the stage from above because they have the least amount of focus. They are also the cheapest lights because they do not have any lenses.

PAR Lights

These are floodlights that are housed in a can-shaped container that is attached to a pivot. This allows them to be moved around when needed, which makes them suited for pairing with effects such as smoke machines.

Fresnal Lanterns

These lights are a type of spotlights. They offer a narrow focused area of soft light that can be used to properly light an actor or an object on stage.

Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights

These spotlights have a much brighter and harder light. They are what is most commonly thought of as spotlights, and are used to draw the most attention to whatever they light.