Keep Different Sightlines in Mind

In larger venues it’s more likely that you’ll need to accommodate odd sightlines and camera angles – but how do you do this without compromising the look? Learn more in this video!

If you come from the typical background in lighting that are used to working in small to mid sized venues, oftentimes you’re working with your audience being right in front of the stage. But when you move on to begin working with larger venues there can be a couple different things that come up to work with that you may not be used to.

Lighting Challenges in a Large Venue

One situation you may find yourself working with in a larger venue is the actual set up or size of the stage compared to where the audience is seated.

Large Churches

In a large church it can be very popular to have a very wide, fan shaped room. Sometimes in fact these stages are so wide that you have people who are sitting where they are literally looking at the side of the stage. This can be an interesting set up to work with when it comes to sightlines.


Another area where you might find some unique and new challenges to work with are arenas or other large multi-purpose venues. Here in some cases you may find that people are sitting both behind or even behind the stage depending on where their seats have sold out.

How To Work Through These Challenges

In such cases where you may find that the presenters may have not considered the lighting aspect of the show for the viewers in the side or back of the show there are some things you can do to work with the show to ensure that everyone still gets to enjoy it as fully as possible.

Work With It

Especially with larger venues you will have cameras and audience surrounding the stage and so you will certainly want to be sure that you keep those sightlines in mind when designing and programming your show.

Front Sight Line

The first thing that you want to remember is that the front sight line where the majority of the audience is is still the most important. This is where the most people are and so this is where most of your focus should be during your design planning. Just don’t forget about the rest altogether!

Three Point Lighting

Three point lighting is a very typical approach to lighting where you’ve got two front lights at 45 degrees and one back light. This gives the people and/or cameras at that front angle a pretty good show. There is however a slight tweak that can be made to this to make it even better.

Four Point Lighting

If you’ve got people surrounding the stage then the regular three point lighting can cause blind spots where the stage will not be very well lit. The solution to this is four point lighting. All you do to accomplish this is to put two front lights at a 45 degree angle and two lights at 45 degrees from the back. This way every angle is covered.


Another thing to consider is the brightness of your lights. Generally you will have your front lights brighter and the back lights a bit dimmer.

With four point lighting you will do this as well but you will generally take one of your front lights and make it your “key light”, meaning that you will make it brighter than the other three.


Ultimately when figuring out the design for your show, look at your cameras, see how everything looks, start with the basic guidelines shared here and then play with them and tweak as needed to suit the specific needs of your display. The main thing is to make sure that you consider everyone that will be watching the show and ensure that they can all see and get the best possible experience from wherever they happen to be seated.

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