ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Lighting Design for the stage.

Updated on August 31, 2015


The main functions of lighting are:

Selective visibility-The audience should see what the director wants them to see. You don't to overwhelm your audience by showing them everything all at once.

Mood-Its supportive of whats happening in the scene. Play the audiences emotions as well as the performers. You wouldn't want dark, gloomy lighting during a happy moment.

Composition-The lighting needs to emphasize the flow of the show. It helps create structure and form the scene as well as the set.

Revelation of form-This is something clearly important. This is to allow performers, scenic elements, and prop pieces to appear three dimensional against the set. It's to shape the object with light.

Reinforcement-This is to help theme the scene to contribute to the mood of what is happening. Reinforcing what the scene is trying to convey to the audience.

The above photo is from a show I designed for. It's probably one of the only photos I will use only. Everything is will be from other shows and most pictures are copyrighted.

German director named Max Reinhardt once said that, "The art of lighting the stage consists of putting light where you want it and taking it away from where you don't want it."

He said this because lighting the actors is so important to the integrity of their performance. But at the same time it doesn't have to be all the time. You still need to be artistic.

With lighting we set the stage. Almost literally. It is so crucial to the show however most people don't think about it like this.

The video below is in reference to the photo above as it is from the same show. Notice the elements being used together. Haze and fog coming together with light. The focus is begins and shifts to those who have passed. When deciding how to do this scene, my technical director and I chose an ember color to represent the fire from the gunshots and it fades straight into white to represent their death.

Yes it is a High School but wait watch

It's important...

Keep sidelines in mind when lighting. Meaning whats happening off stage can't interfere with what's on stage.

Also any bleeding that may occur. This means any lighting that falls off stage or onto the set that clearly shouldn't belong. If it isn't on your plot design, it's probably wrong. I don't have a picture of this to help describe but hopefully it makes sense.

Back lighting, front lighting, side lighting

There are different ways to achieve different looks. Each of these three will produce a different effect.

Back lighting is defined by lighting from behind the person or object to outline them. Creating a glow around the edges and everything else dark.

Front lighting can be referred to as fill lighting. It will look more natural and a little one dimensional by itself.

Side lighting are typically used to highlight the form of the body. From arms, head and mid torso.

Beauty and the Beast ©
Beauty and the Beast © | Source

In the right place at the right time

It's okay for your performers to be in the dark sometimes if it's relevant. The photo above is very similar to what I did when working on this production. Notice that the focus is still the flag, and the idea is that they are in battle.

You will find that it's okay to have dimly lit sets depending on mood and the scene. Be wary however some directors will still want their performers well lit.


These are just your basics, I plan on writing more soon to go into more detail. So look out for more on the way!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)