Lighting Design Key Terms

Lighting design: The concept that a designer creates to provide light onstage to support the mood or atmosphere of the play.

Light plot: The map that shows where all of your lighting instruments are placed on stage and where they will be lighting.

Lighting grid: Up above the stage, it is the system of bars and electricity that power the lights.

Lighting board: The control panel that powers the lights; when they turn on and off and at what intensity.

Cyclorama: The large white “sheet” at the back of the stage that can be lit or projected on.

Backlight: Lighting from the back.

Sidelight: Lighting from the side.

Top light: Lighting from above.

Front light: Lighting from the front.

Footlight: Lighting that is placed on the floor in the front.

Spotlight: A single source of light focused on a single subject.

Fill light: Lighting source that adds lighting in and around the set/scenery/stage.

Wash: A large group of lighting that can “wash” the stage in light that you bring up at once together.

Lighting angle: The angle of the lighting instrument in relation to the subject; usually 45%.

Gobo (or patter): A pattern (in the olden days it was a circle of metal) that blocks light to give you a shape onstage.

Gel (or color gel): The color that you want the instrument to throw onstage (or light onstage).

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