Audience Lighting 101 and Console Setup For The Camera

lighting for camera video Nov 03, 2022

The last step to great hybrid or livestream event lighting is to balance your audience lighting. In this video, I show you what and how to make your audience lighting really shine for the camera – and the in-room experience!

Lighting the audience during your show to make it look perfect on camera is another important aspect of lighting for a live show.

A typical event such as a regular church service or concert, etc., the audience will be darker or in the dark, especially during music portions. This can present a few problems if video is important to your show where the audience will be a part of the video.

Including the Audience

In a live stream or in a hybrid type event you generally want to show that the audience is there! You can go about doing this in a couple of different ways. You may choose to have cameras on stage shooting behind or beside the presenters to give you a good angle to reveal the audience. Another way to go about it is to have wide shots where the entire room is part of the shot as well as the stage and those presenting.

In both scenarios if you do not light the audience at least a small amount then they are just going to come across as a black void on camera which will majorly ruin the look of your live stream.

Light the Audience

The best way to avoid having your audience vanish into a dark abyss on camera is pretty straight forward. Get some light on your audience!

Tips for Lighting the Audience

When you go to do this it’s important to remember that way you light the audience will be a bit different than the way you light the stage.

Front Truss

One way to go about lighting the audience is to take your front truss and point them down towards the audience. Any light that comes from directly overhead is going to look pretty decent on the audience. The reason for this is that the main purpose is not to light the people in the audience perfectly as you would for those presenting on stage, but rather brighten them up so that when they are in the shot they can be seen. This overhead light will accomplish this wonderfully.

Mid Truss

Another way you could choose to light the audience is to use the mid truss angle. Your options are really quite open when it comes to how you decide to light them. It comes down to deciding how critical the audience is to the show and how much you want to include them.

For example, if you have someone who requires a bit more attention such as illuminating a single person in the audience who may be accepting an award, then you want to have them lit with a 45 degree angle to get the best view of them. A mid stage light with a wash could easily accomplish the look you need in such a case.

Another helpful tip to note if you are lighting a single person in the audience is to take the light that is focused on them to a white rather than a blue and be sure to balance the intensity to ensure that they are exposed correctly.

General Audience Lighting

When it comes to lighting the entire general audience one thing that you will really find helpful is to put gobos in all of your lights as well as prisms if you can. The reason for this is because if you just have a wash light beaming down on your audience, it will cause them to get really worn out and their eyes will get tired.

To avoid this you will typically want to keep your angle higher and wider so that people aren’t staring directly into the lights. Also, applying a slow rotation to the light will make all the difference.

Console Layout

When you are laying out for a camera ready show you will first start with the principles of laying out your console the way you would for any other type of show. The biggest key is having the ability to adjust every part of the room.

Your front light will be locked in so that your wash light on the stage is set without an option to change it because this needs to be the same all the time for the camera. That said, on the other hand, things light your backlighting and your audience lighting are going to need to change based on the circumstances.


The biggest thing to keep in mind is to be flexible when you are working with lighting for camera. Leave yourself room to play with and alter lighting throughout the show depending on your needs while keeping that main front light set to ensure the necessary consistency. Being ready for anything will prep you to put on the best show possible and catch it on film perfectly every time!


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