How to Choose Lights for Backlight on Stage

buyers guide lighting basics Mar 03, 2023

Backlighting can an event look great or leave the lighting something to be desired. Find out how to choose the right backlight fixtures for your stage, here!

When it comes to choosing backlight for your stage there are a couple of things to really take time to think about so that you can make the best decision for your needs.

Choosing Your Backlighting

Although you may find plenty of advice out there claiming that they have THE perfect backlight for every situation and need it is important to note that not every show or display has exactly the same needs. You will likely find that it is best to take a little time to consider your specific needs and go from there. So how do you know which is best for you?

First Things First

The first thing to decide is what kind of backlight you will need for your stage. The most common type of backlight is a wash light. There are several different sizes of PARS that you could choose from as well as wash lights and even moving wash lights.

PARS and wash lights work well for backlights because they give off a nice, soft light. This awesome, even wash is perfect for creating an even tone to your stage as your presenter moves from side to side and prevents the audience from becoming distracted by the lighting.


When comparing different wash lights, there are a lot of options to choose from! Both price and type can play a part. There are some lights that range from less expensive to higher priced, but the biggest difference you will see is in angles.

The different angles between them, as well as factoring in that some are silent while others are not can also influence your choice depending on your needs. Silent lights without fans can be great in a lot of contexts, but if you are lighting a band or a DJ you may not care as much about that feature.

While wash lights are great for diffusing light across your stage, they are not so great for creating a defined beam of light to a specific location on stage, especially when lighting through the air when you may have haze.

Zoom Lenses

Lights with a zoom lens can be a really great addition to your show or display when you need to focus that light on a more specific location. The zoom lens will move up and down and closer and further from the LEDs which will typically give you a 10-60 degree zoom range.

The thing to know about these is that when wash lights like this zoom all the way to their narrowest you will indeed get a tight beam of light that will look really great in the right atmosphere. This is a fantastic consideration for a situation such as a church where you will be able to shift from perhaps a band where you will use a more focused beam to the preacher with a wider beam of light while they move around on stage.

Another benefit of these types of lights is that on top of having adjustable beams, they also move.

Spot Fixtures

If you are lighting a band or a DJ or something along those lines and it does not happen to be as critical to have an even wash across the stage for a presentation then you may find yourself going with a wash fixture, a mix of wash and spot fixtures or beams.

Spot fixtures are great for when you need a defined beam of light as well as gobos and prisms which are different ways to create different shapes in the atmosphere from your light.


The reality of it is, when choosing your backlights, there are a lot of different options and solutions out there for all kinds of needs! It’s all about taking the time to think about your individual needs and doing a little research into your options to decide what suits you best. Having the perfect light for what you need will help to make your show or display look the absolute best every time.


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