Theater Spot Lights

Theater Spot Lights

Theater spotlights allow you to direct a focused beam of light on one specific space. This contrasts with floodlights which light up large areas of the stage.

Ellipsoidal reflector spot lights (ERS) can be framed and manipulated to follow a character around the stage. These are often paired with coloured filters to emphasise a particular point in dialogue or action.


Followspots are manually operated lights designed to focus a bright, controllable circle of light around a specific actor. They are used in musicals and other large-scale theatrical presentations where the movement of a single mobile character requires special attention from the audience. In theatres, these lights are often located overhead on catwalks and in purpose-built spotlight rooms that allow for power, cooling, and sound isolation. In addition, some lights can be fitted with gobos to allow for special effects.

A professional-quality followspot will have an iris that allows the operator to control the size of the circle, a dowser (a mechanical dimmer that can be used to cut off the light at any point), and a color boomerang that allows for the use of drop in gels to change the color of the beam. In addition, a good follow spot should be bright enough to “cut through” the existing stage lighting and make it easier for the spot operator to find his or her target.

Being a Followspot operator can be a difficult job. It is not uncommon for a long-running musical or opera to be performed over 400 times per year, which can be hard on both the performers and the operators. The heat generated by the 3 in 1 moving head light lights themselves can also be distracting, which can make the already-challenging task of focusing the spotlight on the correct performer even harder.

Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights (ERS)

Resembling searchlights, ellipsoidal spotlights are used to focus light on a specific area of the stage, drawing audience attention and emphasizing key dramatic moments. Can you imagine Lady Macbeth saying “out damn spot” without the dramatic illumination of the light shining directly on her?

These lights are based on a system of lenses that converges and shapes the light into a narrow beam. They are the workhorses of front of house (FOH) lighting, used in beams, coves and Bacony fronts.

They have a lamp in back and a plano-convex lens or lenses on the front, shaped like an ellipse to create a narrow beam of light. They can be adjusted from flood to spot by moving the lamp closer or farther away from the lens. They are sized by the lens diameter and focal length measured in inches. Common sizes include 4 1/2 x 6, 6 x 9 and 6 x 12. Modern fixed angle ellipsoidals such as ETC Source Four and Altman Shakespeare allow you to change the field angle by swapping out the lens tube.

The elliptical reflector of an ERS creates two optic points where the light converges, called the “gate.” This is where you can shape your beam of light by using framing shutters. Gobos (templates) are inserted into the gate of the light to create patterns of shadow on the screen, and they can be cut in many different shapes.

LED Spotlights

LED technology has risen to prominence and now almost every type of light bulb has a modern alternative using this energy efficient lighting solution. moving head beam Spot lights are no exception and are now available in both halogen or LED versions.

What this means for you is that instead of thinking about watts to determine brightness (60 watts is brighter than 40 watts), you’ll be able to rely on lumens, which are a much more accurate measure of brightness. You will be able to easily find the number of lumens a bulb produces on its specification sheet or packaging.

The LED bulbs are also far more energy efficient than halogen bulbs, so your overall electricity costs will be lower. Additionally, the lifespan of LED bulbs is a lot longer than halogen bulbs. This means that you will be able to get many more hours of use out of your spotlights.

Another advantage of LED spotlights is that they can be purchased in a variety of color temperatures. These can vary from 2700K, which provide warmer colors that are more suitable for homely environments to 3500K and 4100K which have whiter variations that work well in kitchens or other areas of the home.

You will also be able to purchase spotlights with a wide or narrow beam angle. A narrow beam is perfect for highlighting artwork or other decorative items, while a wider angle is great for illuminating larger areas of the room.

Moving Head Spotlights

Moving head spot lights work well in theatre productions to highlight specific areas or actors, creating shadows and silhouettes. They produce a tight beam of light that can be aimed, and are also often used to create dramatic effects, including strobe effects. They are especially popular in nightclubs and at festivals, where they can be used to create impressive aerial light shows.

There are a wide range of different types of moving head spot lights available, varying in brightness, size and effects. Some are larger, suitable for large bars or clubs, and others are compact, suited to smaller spaces. Some of them include features such as gobos, which allow the light to create patterns on surfaces. Others can be used with smoke or haze to create different texture effects, and some even have the ability to create different patterns using a laser-like beam effect.

Many of these lighting systems can be controlled via a software program, which makes them easy to use and offers a rendered preview of what will be produced once the fixtures are connected to the console. This feature helps stage designers to plan their show before ever setting foot in the venue, and can help ensure that every element of the rig works together as intended. They are used extensively in theatres, concerts and other live performances to add colour effects, gobo projections, movement and more to elevate the visual impact of a performance. They are also widely used in architectural lighting to emphasise buildings or structures, and in nightclubs and dance floors to energise the audience with vibrant beams and fast directional movements.

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