First and foremost, any time you are hanging or fixing any light gear, the most important thing is safety. Ensure whenever your lighting gear is going on the air that they are hung by a qualified professional with the right hardware on the right rigs or truss. Typically, all lights are attached to steel pipes or trusses with lighting clamps and screws. Many lights will use only one clamp, but some will use two. Every lighting gear also needs to have a safety cable wrapped around the yoke or handle of the gear and the pipe or truss must be connected tightly. So, where should you place your lighting gear?
This totally depends on many variable factors, such as the desired look, theme, ceiling height, and weight and throw distance of the specific light.
Here are the 4 most important lighting concepts which are followed by many legends to create and make their story look alive.
This is the simplest type of placement and in fact mimics something we see every day — the sun! It has the most natural look and can have a dramatic effect. It also draws attention, but can give a person onstage a very flat, two-dimensional look. Generally, while shooting in a single light frame placed in front, we want the placement of the light to be on axis with the subject and about 30 ̊ up from the subject.
This is similar to single-point lighting, but it gives a more three-dimensional look to the subject onstage. Typically, there is one light coming from in front of the subject on-axis about 30 ̊ up. The second light is positioned behind the subject and is often a different color to add some dimension and create a sculpted look to the subject. The light coming from behind is usually 30 ̊–40 ̊ up and about 60 ̊–70 ̊ off-axis to provide depth and stay out of the audience’s eyes.
This lighting setup is more implied for live productions, as this set-up proves efficiently to light the performers on set. Three-point lighting is a technique that eliminates most shadows from the audience’s perspective, which also makes it a great choice for keynote presentations and public speaking. In three-point lighting setup two lights out front, about 45 ̊ off-axis and 30 ̊ up. Whereas, the third light is placed behind and about 30 ̊–40 ̊ up and 60 ̊–70 ̊ off-axis.
This technique comes in handy when a video is involved. The previous techniques can be problematic for video, as they tend to have shadows. While shadows can be a good thing for many performances, they are not ideal when shooting video. Four-point lighting is exactly like three-point lighting, but the fourth light is placed out front, directly on-axis with your subject. With three lights out front, though, you will need to modify the intensity of each light so that they work well together to create a nice well-blended look. Some designers also add more lights to a backdrop or wash the back of the stage with colors to create stage depth for the cameras.
Hopefully, now you are ready to sketch an imagine and create your first lighting design and take your story to the next live event to a whole new level. Lighting is as important as audio when it comes to communicating your message or music.