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"What kind of lights do I need for my production?" is a question we frequently hear.  This is some information to help you make an informed decision on which fixtures will work for your show.

The first decision you will need to make is whether you are looking for focused lighting or wash lighting.  Most shows will incorporate a mixture of the two.  

Focused lighting produces a hard edged beam which is more controllable.  Fixtures of this type frequently have shutters which allow for creating edges to the pool of light.  They commonly take gobos and other projection accessories.  The most common type of focused fixture is the Leko (A brand name of Strand Lighting) or Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight (ERS).  These fixtures come in a variety of focal lengths depending on the size of the stage and the distance the lights are from the target.  Follow Spots are also chosen because of their intenisty, beam angle, and estimated throw distance.   Both ERS fixtures and follow spots are available for purchase or rent at any of our three locations. 

Wash lighting is a little bit more broad in scope.  Fixtures of this variety are used to illuminate with a soft edge to the beam.  Common wash units are Fresnels and Par Cans.  Fresnels use a stepped lens and by sliding the lamp housing back and forth in the fixture, the beam is adjusted from spot to flood.  Par Cans, the workhorse of the Rock and Roll world, are reminiscent of the old "lights in a tin can."  The size and shape of the beam is a factor of which lamp you chose to install.  The newer generation of pars, such as the Altman StarPar, use the same lamp as many common ERS lights and have interchangeable lens sets to achieve the versatility of the traditional Par Can.  External barn doors can be added to shape the beams of the Fresnel and Par Can.

Other types of conventional stage lights include Borderlights, Cyclights, and Follow Spots.

Fixtures which produce a round beam of light are ideal for highlighting an area, podium or wall ornamentation. To determine the beam diameter of any fixture for a given distance simply multiply the MF by the throw distance to determine coverage.

Multiplying Factor X Throw Distance = Diameter of Area Coverage

Lens Size

Field Angle (Barrel)


Diameter at 30'

4.5" X 6"

55° (50°)


30' 7"

6" X 9"

37° (36°/40°)


20' 1"

6" X 12"

26° (30°)


13' 6"

6" X 16"

19° (20°)


10' 2"

6" X 22"

11° (10°)


5' 5"*


3' 7"*

8" X 8"



10' 6"

8" X 11"



9' 0"

8" X 14"



5' 5"*

6"/8" Fresnel at Full Flood



42' 0"

6"/8" Fresnel at Spot



8' 5"


* 5° and 10° fixtures are not recommended for throws of less than 40' and 30' respectively

.Please note that stage lighting is subject to the laws of physics.  Light intensity decreases in an inverse proportion to the square of the distance.

More information on all of these products can be found on our Fixtures page.  PDF catalog sheets are available for download on many items by clicking on the pictures.

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