Stage Lighting Hire

Stage Lighting Hire – What You Need To Know

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.

Don’t forget, you can also buy any “consumables” such as gel colour, gaffa tape and any gobos you need while ordering your hire.

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.

Happy Lighting.

8 comments
  1. Rob

    Hi TJ,

    There is quite a bit of useful info on web but DMX Lighting is a pretty wide subject so perhaps I could ask what you are looking for. Do you do lighting in theatre, live music etc. and are you hoping to learn just how to use DMX lighting fixtures or understand how the protocol works? If you have any specific questions then you could post them here or ask the cats at http://www.blue-room.org.uk/ . They have a useful WIKI and lots of knowledgable members.

  2. cat

    hello i am doing an assingment at college to do with sound and lighting, my assingment includes rigging lights and foucsing them and also finding out how much it would be to hire lights for a small production and for a large production. i was just wondering if you could email me some information to help me out.
    thankyou
    cat

  3. Rob

    What do you think?

    Thanks for visiting Cat and I hope you find the articles on this site interesting. There are hundreds of lighting hire companies on the web with price lists for the hire of stage lighting equipment.

    Best of luck.

    BTW I never even did my own homework when I was at school… 😉

  4. setare

    Hi..I’m happy to find this site and get information from you..BTW i’m studying industrial design(B.A)..so i want to choose lighting design for stage and performance…or some innovative job with lights.. and I want to be profesional too…I just need to know some links or information more than the things i followed in this site..some brilliant works by other and so on..Thanks for everything : )

  5. Chamu

    Hi! thanks for educating us on stage lighting. I am planning to buy full set of live music stage lighting equipment. I was wondering if you can advise. Keep the spirit.

  6. Gazza

    I am looking at building a bigish disco and I want to do a a light show that will incorperate rgb strips and lamps.
    I would like to do several indervidual light displays. ther will be front light boxes. back light boxes and spots. so thats 3 seperate shows but they could all be the same if required.
    I know its a big task but I am looking for ideas of how top run a lighting set up like this using 4 chanel chsing and colour moods all to music.. any ideas…

  7. Lion

    We are having a small family and friends talent show this coming new years eve. The venue will be outside in the linai around the pool. I am building a small stage 8’x8’X8′ and 2′ above the deck 10′ height in all, There will be 2’H x6’L crown type emblem at the top over the stage opening.
    There will be curtains surrounding the stage that open to the audience and 10 feet of curtained wall on either side of the stage. There will be foot lights. The14′ wide pool is between the stage and the audience.
    Not sure how much actual lighting will be needed for the stage itself, I think enough to illuminate the curtains the stage and the emblem.
    Will need to throw light about 40′ to spotlight the performers.

    Would love to hear your suggestions.

    Thank you

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