Small Venue Lighting 101-Think About The Environment

When you work in a small venue, It’s critical to light the whole space for the biggest impact. The good news? It doesn’t take much.

In this post we’re going to discuss tips for lighting your small venue while keeping the environment of the entire show in mind to give you the best overall experience for your audience possible!

No matter what the size of your venue, you can use your lighting to put on an amazing show, but there are some great advantages to being a smaller venue.

Small Stage Advantage

One of the biggest advantages that you have when you are a small venue is that your stage and venue are probably small as a whole. This might not seem like an advantage but it means that you need less lights to cover your stage!

Stage Lighting

The first thing to do when lighting your small venue is to get the stage wash, aka your front stage light, correct first. You may find that in a smaller venue, some tweaks must be made to make things perfect. For example, your ceilings will generally be lower so getting that 45-degree angle that you need will be difficult.

Here are some great solutions to fix this issue!

If you don’t need a massive amount of control for your lights, take a look at video or camera light sources. The light may only be a few feet away from the performer in a small venue so these types of lights will be really wide to cover any area. The wide angle that video lighting provides also makes it so that you can cover the front wash without casting shadows.

Find the widest LED or non LED that you can find and it will work great!

Areas That Are Not The Stage

Think about the area of the venue that is not the actual stage! This is incredibly important when you are creating your lighting environment.

It used to be that just the stage was lit, but now more and more shows, big and small, are beginning to include lighting through the audience as well. If done properly, you can fill the audience with light without blinding them.

What this does is it brings the audience together and makes them a part of the show, creating a much more impactful show all together. So how do you do this in a small venue?

Including The Audience In Your Show Lighting

The first thing to consider is aiming small moving lights at the ceiling. Look for a small light that’s got a prism and maybe some zoom. With a light like this you can cover a really big area with a simple light. This can really shape the mood of your environment for your audience.

Shaping The Mood

Choosing your lighting type properly can make a big impact on your show, and they don’t have to be stage type lights. LED type projects and pixels can be perfect for your small setting.

LED Pixels

With LED pixels you can handmake and build different pieces that you can put behind a small venue stage and it can be done fairly inexpensively. You can create a lot of mood and interest without spending a lot of money.

Using Less Lights

The biggest thing to focus on is that when shaping the environment and bringing the show together, you don’t have to use a lot of lights. If you’re in a small bar or church, or wherever, think about how you can cover your space throughout the venue with just a couple lights.

Shape The Room

Shape the room with light by using a PAR to cover the audience via the ceiling, grazing across totality of the ceiling area. This trick can cover the venue really well and give an amazing look.

Aim The Lighting

Look out for aiming the lights slightly up and when you see the dot of light on the wall, take notice of where it sits. Aim for the ceiling or the top of the wall. As long as that dot of light is above people’s heads you can rest assured that you won’t be accidentally blinding your audience.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Fancy

Your lighting doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. The biggest key is that you’ve just got to think through things a little more than the average person. When you do that and use basic tools like LED pars, simple moving lights, and custom LED pixels you really can create a transformative environment that is interesting, engages people, and makes them like your venue and what they were a part of was a spectacular environment and experience.

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