Entertainment has always been an integral part of human life. Much before the invent of technology, man used to have different methods of entertainment e.g., gardening, listening or practicing music, sports, etc. Live entertainment has been an important part of human life for thousands of years. The technology to illuminate actors, musicians, and speakers has changed immensely, although the source of the light has only changed a few times through history. From sunlight to LEDs, the illumination of stages has been varied and exciting. With the advancement towards efficient, durable, cost-effective colourful and control based lighting sources, people are making best use of lighting towards their entertainment through light applications like stage shows, banquet, architecture & landscaping, façade, illumination, decorations and optical illusions etc. It is no exaggeration to say that at present, it would be difficult to imagine the entertainment sector without lighting effects and precision lighting.

For years, business sectors and lighting companies have been setting new standards in the lighting entertainment sector by offering lighting solutions to cover all requirements and presented the latest generation entertainment lighting e.g., broad range of moving lights, colour changers, projectors for buildings, and various effect lights. Stage lighting is the craft of lighting as it applies to the production of theatre, dance, opera and other performance arts.

Journey of entertainment lighting

Delivering unforgettable experiences for users is the challenge that inspires to create the most exciting innovations in light. Entertainment lighting has traditionally been the term used to describe the production lighting for theatres, films, television shows, concert tours, discotheques, exhibitions, awards ceremonies, cruise ships and holiday camps but today people are making use of light for their entertainment at every level with exotic applications. In fact, anywhere professional lighting equipment is used for lighting entertainment productions, including educational establishments such as schools, colleges and universities, all feature entertainment lighting. Entertainment lighting requires spectacular and delicate effects, a dynamic atmosphere, and lighting that shows people, objects, and buildings to their best advantage to meet the customers’ needs by offering lighting applications and making the ‘faces’ of objects, people, and nature more spectacular, vibrant, and exciting. Moreover, by providing high value-added services including light planning, sound design, software, and contents production, companies are offering total solutions that combine light, visuals, and sound. Recently, lighting sources productions have grown in technical expertise and quality. The entertainment lighting used in worship productions is now cutting edge and rivals many high end professional shows. Presently, from the smallest of stages to the most ambitious of professional venues, entertainment lighting is there to light up the show.

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Developmental status

The professional sectors using entertainment lighting are: Theatre, Television, Live Events, Discotheques and Clubs, Trade Fair Exhibitions, Theme Parks, Shops, Commercial Centres, Conference, Industrial Presentations, Car Showrooms and many other sectors in the show business and architectural lighting fields.

With revolutionary products lighting is fluid and dynamic. Present lighting control systems are designed to unlock our vision and creativity, giving us the power to animate our lighting like never before. The answer to entertainment is lighting and sound systems.

products as an essential part of everyday life, from convention centers to nightclubs, theaters to houses of worship and the common denominator is quality used throughout the technology infrastructure. Successful productions are the result of close teamwork, as is getting the right lighting solution. Lighting source and fixture manufacturers are working to design stage lighting solutions that are more efficient, more powerful, more compact and easier to handle. Both are jointly developing innovative solutions for high performance fixtures in the entertainment market. Manufacturers are looking to design stage lighting solutions that are more efficient, more powerful, more compact and easier to handle. Innovative controls combine durable construction, universal ease-of-use features, and overall superior performance. For the design professional, this means more options for delivering the ideal entertainment lighting control solution for each application. Some lighting sources control techniques are as:

Lighting control systems – working from the back end, a lighting control system allows hosts to dim fixtures to produce comfortable lighting scenes.
Layered lighting – incorporating a variety of illumination sources like step, wall and recessed lighting, will improve both the safety and aesthetics in your room. The beauty of today’s lighting options is that multiple fixture styles are available to suit a variety of preferences.

Using LEDs

Entertainment lighting sources have varied through the ages, but the main purposes of illuminating the stage and creating effects has remained the same. From early sunlight to modern LED fixtures, the path has been varied. The future will surely see further innovations and new methods of light creation. Earlier lighting sources were: sunlight, candle light, oil lamps, gas lamps, limelight and carbon arc. Situation of entertainment lighting changed with the development of lighting sources as: Incandescent Lamp, Tungsten Halogen, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) and Light Emitting Diode (LED). Originally invented in the early 1960’s, LED’s have recently taken over as a primary light source in entertainment fixtures. Starting around 2008, LED-based stage luminaires could be found on stages worldwide. LED’s are extremely energy efficient and have a long lifespan. The rich colours and high output of LEDs has led to the creation of many new types of lighting products. With today’s growing trend of integrating LED walls in stage lighting design, a new generation of lamps with more powerful beams is required to cut through the sea of homogenous light they provide – and add additional accents to the show. LED lighting further offers exciting possibilities in lighting entertainment but it is important to recognise that LED lighting is not currently a complete replacement for all other entertainment lighting sources. Traditional tungsten profile fixtures offer a consistent quality of light that is difficult to replicate with LED fixtures and discharge moving lights offer output and features yet to be achieved with an LED alternative. However, embrace LED technology for what it can do well and it will surely add a new dimension to almost any production lighting system.

The Disco Biscuits – City Bisco – 10/5/12 – The Mann Center for the Performing Arts – Philadelphia, PA – Photo © Dave Vann 2012

Opportunities & Challenges

When it comes to entertainment, present lighting sources deliver precision lighting and dazzling effects, infusing events with energy and excitement. These products enable great entertainment and bring a gleam to the eyes of artists, light designers and most importantly – the audience. The wide range of products includes moving body and moving mirror projectors, colour-changers, followspots, projectors for architectural lighting and various lighting effects. The entertainment industry spends approximately $4.6 billion on energy each year to light and operate facilities catering to a wide variety of events. With increasing costs and stalled ticket sales, entertainment venues are working with narrow margins to remain profitable in today’s market. New generations of energy management options, such as LEDs, controllers and dimming systems, are creating new demand in the market for updated and energy-efficient products. Highly public and visual venues, such as sports stadiums and convention centers, are setting an example by pledging energy reductions and green technology in their facilities. Energy efficient technologies reduce maintenance costs, saving facility significant costs over time.

Entertainment lighting is one of the most beautiful aspects of any application, as it can instantly set the right mood for user. However, if the stage is flooded with unnecessary lighting, it can certainly drop the entire act in mere seconds. To avoid the mistakes, we must know some of the basic principles and techniques for entertainment lighting on a stage.

Coordinate lighting to the performance – One stage lighting is not for all performances, and it needs to be tailored according to different acts on a stage.
Dance lighting: Dance lighting is all about movement, and has to synchronise with the performers’ dancing moves. For this, sidelights are recommended due to their ability to highlight tone and movement with perfection.
Play lighting: It ensures that the light is directed from the audiences’ viewpoint, and also showcases facial movements of the actors.
Live music: Stage lighting for live musical performances are setup as per the musicians’ style. For instance, a single spotlight is needed for a singer, whereas use of bold and colourful lighting is required for an energetic band’s performance.

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