If you are new to stage and theatre lighting and have been given the task of designing the lighting for your school play, local pantomime or amateur dramatic society production, don’t worry. On Stage Lighting has written this article to help YOU get the most from a professional lighting hire company.
Your theatre or venue may usually have enough lighting fixtures, dimmers and cables for your needs but some times you need to hire stage lighting to add to your equipment. This might be because you need some special effects for your show or maybe you are performing in a larger theatre and just need more stage lights. Either way you are going to have to seek help from a lighting hire company who can provide you with all the spotlights, dimmers and special effects that you need.
People in the lighting rental industry are usually friendly and willing to help you make choices as to what stage lights you will need, extra rigging involved etc. To get the best from your hire company, it helps to have previously considered some of the points about your production, venue and lighting requirements listed below:
- What purpose will the lighting equipment be used for? Is it to create dramatic special effects or to expand your existing lights. If you want to add to your existing equipment, the hire company will need to match up the types of lighting fixtures with your own.
- Roughly how far will the lights need to “throw” to the stage? How wide do you need each pool of light? This determines the beam angles and light output.
- What are the rigging possibilities? Do you have lighting bars up in the roof or will you need stands to rig your extra equipment on? Can the existing rigging hold the weight of the lights?
- What kind of power do you have available? How much power is used by your current rig?
- Would you like to be able to dim the lights up and down? Do you have any dimmers or will you need some? How will they be powered?
- How many different “channels” of dimming control do you need? Do all the lights have to dim independently or can they be controlled in groups?
- Do you already have a lighting control desk and does it have enough “channels” to control the hire equipment as well?
- Does your venue have any cable or electricity distibution to the lighting circuits? What kind of plugs and sockets do they have?
- Roughly how far are the cable runs: Power to Dimmers, Dimmers to Lighting Rig/Stage, Control Desk to Dimmers.
- How much have you got to spend? Don’t be afraid to get straight down to talking about budgets – it will help them gauge your production requirements.
A lighting hire company will be able to give you some great technical advice on your equipment but don’t forget that they design stage lighting for a living. You don’t need to meet them knowing all the answers. Just tell them what you are hoping to achieve for you latest production and they will be able to suggest some stage lights that will suit you and your budget. They will probably know of some great lighting design ideas that you have not even considered!
As well as the On Stage Lighting website do a bit of research using the stage lighting hire companies on the web.