Studio Lighting and Stage Lighting Differences Studio lighting generally refers to the level and type of lighting in a television or photography studio. Studio lighting in a television studio is varied and is always planned relative to camera angles. The studio lighting in a television studio exists to make the events readable by the cameras as well as to make what the camera is capturing interesting.

Studio Lighting and Stage Lighting Differences
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Photography Studio Lighting

Photography studio lighting can usually fall into two main categories:

  • Constant-source lights - like an incandescent electric lamp, it sends an electric current to heat a filament inside a glass filled bulb, causing the bulb to glow
  • Flash lights - electronic discharge devices such as an electric flash bulb, where a high voltage charge is sent through a gas filled tube, causing the gasses to glow very brightly for a very brief duration.

Studio Lighting Set Up Tips

When setting up studio lighting, the main issue to address is consistency, as inconsistencies in the lighting will affect all images on film. Light ratio, the amount of light that is illuminating one side of a subject compared to the amount of light illuminating the other side, is an important factor in studio lighting consistency.

For example, a light ratio of 2:1 would mean that twice the amount of light falls on one side of the object than the other. A light meter is also an important tool when setting studio lighting. A light meter measures the intensity of light in an area and determines proper exposure. Handheld ambient light meters are the most often used tool when measuring the light falling on a subject or object in a photo, as well as on a television studio stage.

Studio Lighting Options

Studio lighting can be complex with the use of fill lights, back lights, and floods, or as simple as placing the subject of a photo in front of an open window in order to utilize natural lighting. The simplest electric studio lighting can be easily set up as a single light. The subject s placed on the edge of a chair or stool, and the constant source light is set either in front of or slightly to the side of the subject.

When using two lights, the second source may be set equidistance from the subject, but set at a 45-degree angle. Studio lighting can also be made softer, as in the appearance of an overcast day. The light source can be bounced off of a large white sheet or large piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil in order to soften and even out shadows as needed.

Stage lighting is an integral part of any modern stage production such as theatre, dance, opera, or other forms of artistic and entertainment performances. Specific equipment is used to provide proper lighting, depending upon the desired effects.

Studio Lighting and Stage Lighting Differences
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Why is Stage Lighting Essential?

Of course, it is necessary to be able to see what is happening on stage, so proper lighting is crucial. Enhancement of form-creating a three dimensional effect-is created by lighting. Lighting is also used to:

  • Direct the audience attention to one part of the stage (spotlighting)
  • Set the mood of a scene by using different colored lights
  • Signify changes in location or time of day by altering the lighting
  • Enhance the scenery
  • Augment the plot.

The use of stage lighting is the responsibility of the lighting designer, who orchestrates when, how, and which lights will be used. The lighting designer and technicians work closely with the production's director, and are typically required to have at least a B.A., or a vocational degree in theatrical lighting.

Quality of Stage Lighting

Lighting quality comes from the type of bulb, gel, and/or lens used, and is measured according to:

  • Intensity/Brightness
  • Color
  • Pattern.

Stage Lighting Options

Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights throw two beams of light, which creates either hard or fuzzy spotlight effects, and can be moved around. The lighting instruments consist of housing for the lights, the bulb or lamp, the lens (opening) where the light will emerge, and a reflector, which is used to direct the light.

Theatrical light bulbs are usually tungsten-halogen, which increases the life of the bulb (as opposed to incandescent bulbs) and can be dimmed when indicated, unlike the less expensive fluorescent bulbs. The lights are generally mounted on a "U-shaped" trunion arm, which can be moved and tilted through adjustable tension knobs.

How Stage Lights Work

Stage lights are defined as either floodlights or spotlights depending on their intended use and the amount of control the operator has them. Lighting control tools can be defined as anything to do with adjustments in light quality. Modern lighting is operated through lighting desks, which are computer-controlled, and are directly connected to dimmer switches. These functions can also be done manually.

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