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  • Episode 16 – How Bright Does My Light Need to Be?

 May 15

by David

This week, we’re going to dive in to “how bright does your light actually need to be?”  But first:

Lighting News

This week in lighting news: Grand MA3 has announced their new Executer Knob feature that will be coming out soon.

The Executer Knob is located above each Fader. This gives you the ability to have a second control to your fader.  Even if you aren’t a Grand MA user,

Check out the latest Youtube video for more information and some examples with this feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfmw3sLYRy4

Main Segment

This week I want to dive in on how much light do you need and how bright it needs to be.

With many different types of stages and setups, there really is no one blanket suggestion to cover this.

Whether you already have lights or you’re in the process of purchasing lights here are some tips on brightness and lighting.

How Much Ambient Light is There in Your Room

Lighting is all about Contrast.

Something to consider is if there is a lot of existing light in your room you may not need as much or such bright lights. If your doing lights for a band in a dark venue you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with extremely bright lights.

For more info on the brightness of certain lighting check out the article here: https://learnstagelighting.com/footcandles-lumens-lux/

What Else is on the Stage

Another factor to consider is checking to see if there are existing lights on the stage. Possible there are lights that do not turn off or house lights? Be sure to test lighting to see what adjustments you may need to make.

With projection screens, you normally want to keep your lighting the same as the brightness of the projector.

One way to test this is to take a picture of the screen. Is your stage overpowering the projection or vice versa? Depending on what you’re looking for just adjust the lights and brightness as needed.

What Does the Room and Cameras Need

Years ago, cameras needed a lot more light than they do now. Typically, if you’re shooting in a short distance you won’t need as much light. If you’re shooting a farther distance you may need more light.

More important than brightness is keeping your lights even.

For example, if you have some dark and light spots on your stage it may appear darker than what you are hoping for. Keeping your lights even will prevent this effect on your stage.

Here’s a great resource on how to even your lighting: https://learnstagelighting.com/how-do-i-create-an-even-wash-of-stage-light/


Nicole: I work in a Small Community Theater and our small stage needs a new lighting system. It has an analog lighting board, lights, and 15 dimmers. Our lighting board is failing so now we are looking into new options. Is there a way to switch to a new Digital Board and keep the analog lights?

Based on the information provided I would say Yes. My first suggestion is to check eBay to see if there are any systems that may be able to meet your theater’s needs.

On keeping the dimmer boxes, analog lights and getting a digital board I want to recommend checking out this link below to see if there is a system that may be able to do this for you: http://www.dfd.com/

If you’re not able to find an adaptor box or an analog console you can still keep your lights and just replace your dimmer packs and digital board. Here is more info on how you can do this: https://learnstagelighting.com/microplex-to-dmx/


If you go with a digital board you may want to check into getting LED’s as they may be more cost-effective and have a lot of great functions. Depending on the number of shows and what you’re using the lights for you may want to check out this option. Below are some great brands and products I would recommend.

Entry-Level LED Brands:

Elation Lighting: http://www.elationlighting.com

ADJ: http://www.adj.com/

Blizzard: https://www.blizzardlighting.com/

Chauvet: https://www.chauvetdj.com/

Lastly, if you do need to replace your dimmer packs please be sure to check out the article below for where to start and what to consider: https://learnstagelighting.com/what-inexpensive-dimmer-pack-should-i-buy/

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