How to Choose and Use Lights for a Stage Wash

buyers guide Nov 01, 2022

What is the best front light fixture for your stage? Is this a trick question? Find out in today’s video!

Choosing the correct front light for your stage is really important to the overall look of your show. But where to begin?

Setting Your Goals

Unsurprisingly, the very first thing you need to do is to decide your goals for your front lighting. This means choosing which type of lighting will help you get the effect you are going for on your stage.


PARs will work great for front light wash. They may not work perfectly for every situation but for those that want a nice soft wash and consistent light from side to side on stage, this type of lighting can be just what you are looking for.

These light types have different lens options, they are fairly bright, and they allow you to accessorize with barn doors to provide really smooth side to side movement.

Although these fixtures can be great there are some downsides. The downside to a wash fixture is that the edges are soft. This makes it easy to transition between different zones on your stage, but it also makes it harder to keep light off of your backdrops.

Spot Fixtures

If you happen to have a screen right behind your stage or some other type of backdrop that you really want to keep light off of then a spot fixture is going to be a better option for you. It would be advisable to stay away from moving light spot fixtures and stick with something fixed or with framing shutters.

These types of lights have a harder edge that you can soften slightly depending on your needs and preference. They also have the ability to shutter the light in so that if you have a backdrop or a front lip on your stage that you need to keep light off of, you can do so with ease.

One of the major cons of these types of fixtures is that it is harder to get a perfectly smooth transition between zones on stage. It is doable, but it is not as easy as it would be with softer lights.

This minor con is often outweighed by the big pro of being able to make the light on stage really tight. It gives you a lot more total control of what and where you are lighting.

Finding the Right Light

Finding the right Fresnel or spotlight for your stage can be difficult but you are not alone in the process or narrowing down what you need. Whether you need something softer that will work with transition and edges more efficiently or whether you need a light fixture that helps you narrow down your harder edges to specific spot on your stage, there are tons of options. The right spot fixture or other type of fixture for your needs is out there. You may just need to do a little research about your options once you decide what type of look you want for your show or display.


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