Lighting Styles and
A circus is a company of performers that may include acrobats, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers,
tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other object manipulation and stunt-oriented artists.
They usually tour and perform in different styled venues, especially tents (in the round) and in
proscenium arch theatres .The purpose of a circus performance is to entertain. It should have a lively
atmosphere and provide the audience with a sense of excitement and happiness. It should be a
Lighting in the circus has a major impact on the performers. This is because specific lights and the
way in which they are used compliment both the costumes and the act. The audience are drawn in
by the lights, capturing their attention into the performance so that they get the most out of it. All
acts in the circus are unique and require different lighting styles to suit their theme. For example
acrobatic performers will use a wider variety of lighting techniques. They will usually require the
entire space to be lit because it represents the size of their actions, which are exaggerated.
A general wash iscreated through the use of minuette fresnels and 1k fresnels as backlight. The
techniques will differ depending on the venue. If it is an End On / Proscenium Arch performance,
minuette fresnels and 1k fresnelsare used, along with a wide variety of different coloured gels to
contribute to the bright, lively themes and the entertainment factor. The typical colours one would
expect to see are red, purple, blue, orange, pink and yellow.
The backlight helps separate the subject (performer) and the
background. In the theatre it is often used to give a more
three-dimensional appearance to performers or set
elements, whilst front lighting alone would give a two-
dimensional look. Backlight is usually coloured, as in a coloured wash e.g. red or blue (in order to
highlight the performer) whereas in the round, backlight would not be used as there is
unpredictability as to where the performers will be standing or facing. Instead they will be light from
4 corners, therefore whichever direction the face, they will be hit by light hence preventing the
shadows from forming.
Side light also helps promote the three dimensional appearance of the performer. Booms with 3
Parcans on them at either sides of the stage will be present in a proscenium arch. Parcans can be
used as side light to give artistic depth to the performers bodies, highlighting the 3 areas: head, mid
drift and feet. Again, they will have the gels matching the back light for consistency. However in the
round, side lights will not be present as the audience are situated at every angle.
Different pieces could be performed in the same area or space,
therefore in order to separate them, Source 4 JR Zooms or Profile
CCT lanterns are used as they provide a narrower beam of light that
can be manipulated using the shutters - ahard edge is formed to
clearly define a spot light. This is beneficial for acrobats because
certain performers perhaps
performing a complex routine
would stand out more than other performers. In addition, source
4s may also be used when lighting magicians. They rarely require
a general wash as they want to audience to be almost
hypnotised by them. An open white spot light does exactly this;
therefore the rest of the stage around them is in darkness, whilst
the audience concentrate on them. However it isn’t always just
open white; semiotics are used in some performances, as in a blue gel to connect to the mystery and
unknown, or red to connect with danger or high risk magic trick.
LED Parcans may be used also as a special because they provide a wide variety of different colours,
suitable for a circus performance. Again, they promote a lively, energetic feel. But can also be set to
a specific colour if the theme were to change.
Accessories that may be added in a circus show are gobos and irises. A
gobo projects patterns such as a moon or a tree onto the stage. This
makes the lighting even more specific, whereas an iris can be used when
the size of a light beam needs to be decreased for something extremely
small. It has the ability to focus the light down to the size of a penny.
Lighting an art gallery is very important because it has the potential to (when lit in the correct way)
bring the best out of a piece of art and can highlight the finest details in paintings.
The lighting is usually as neutral as it can be because it is a professional look and is what best reflects
most paintings. As art is becoming more and more popular, a wide range of tools are now available
to light the gallery appropriately. Light not only makes art visible, it allows the art to be viewed in
natural light, as the artist has created the piece in order to convey a specific meaning. It is therefore
important that no specials are used when lighting art as this will take away the meaning and
message from the painting. Members of the public should view the painting as the artist intended.
It is important that when lighting art, the designer is careful about what bulbs and what lights to use
because over time the intensity and focus of a light can damage the painting. However this can be
avoided by lighting not the painting itself, but the wall on which it is hung. There are new
techniques, such as vertical illuminance which allow the walls to be evenly lit.
Vertical Illuminance is an important element in architecture for defining space and volume with light
because it creates a brighter appearance in a room (as walls are often brighter than floors and it
creates a stronger visual impact.) This is more beneficial than using a horizontal lighting plan as it
would not be as eye catching and the lighting would be dimmer and understated. It is in the best
interests of the designer to make the paintings look as immaculate as possible and when they are
well lit the audience can take as much from the painting as possible, nothing is hidden or missed out.
Vertical luminance can be used in many different scenarios; an example is wall is wall washing in
galleries which lights the wall from ceiling to floor, hence ensuring the surface stands out. Wall
washing creates an emphasis in the lighting on the upper wall. This is ideal when lighting walls for
galleries as the painting will be usually hung on this section. This lights the painting but does not
directly angle the beam onto the art work as this would potentially damage the art.
As Specials and colour is very rarely used in art, the bulb is what is most important. Xenon, Halogen
and Incandescent bulbs are most commonly used in galleries and museums as they allow you to
most accurately see the colours in the paintings.
LED Bulbs are also used as they give out the best light, and the beam is not damaging to the painting,
however LED lights are very expensive.
Above are three images of the same painting lit by a different
bulb. It is clear to see that the bulb is very important as each
version of the same painting conveys a different meaning and
message. The painter would have had a specific idea/meaning
and message he wished to convey and so it is important to
It is also a popular myth that light’s hung in a museum and gallery
are focused on the painting when in actual fact, the lights aim
around the painting as directly focusing a beam on a painting can
eventually damage a painting over time.
As Lighting Art is becoming more and more popular, new lanterns
are being invented to improve the lighting in galleries and museums to enhance the aesthetics. The
Company ‘Erco’ specialise in these kinds of lighting fixtures and they focus on the lense type to light
different types of art. Some examples are as follows:
Used to accentuate small objects with high light intensity or to project over greater distances between the luminaire and the target object. Beam angle < 10°.
This is the standard characteristic for accent lighting for objects of all kinds, especially to
reveal the three-dimensional shape. Beam angle: 10°-20°.
Used for efficient accentuation of large objects or to uniformly emphasise a complete spatial
zone. Beam angle: 25°-35°.
Used for flexible, flooding illumination of surface areas and spatial zones, especially useful
for the presentation of goods. Beam angle > 45°
The oval flood Spherolit lens produces a wide-beam, axially symmetrical light distribution. It
produces an oval beam of about 20° by 60°.
The light intensity distribution of the lens is designed to provide very high
Opton: Is flexible and can produce different light distribution patterns for flexible lighting solutions.
Thanks to its modular such as in shop windows. The horizontal position of the compact control gear
can reduce its height therefore it is suitable for rooms with low ceilings.
Pollux: The Pollux product is suitable in an array of lighting tasks and is used in a similar way to a
gobo. The lighting can be adjusted to suit the frame / painting. It can also project patterns, logos and
images as well as being a single spotlight.
In Hollister, minuette fresnels were used on bars of rigs around the store. They all had barn doors
closed together tightly to create a small spot of light onto pieces of clothing. The light was open
white which gave a beach house feel and to
coincide with this, dark blues and darker
shades of yellow were present. Pin spots
were also used to highlight the fragrance
section, this effect drew in customers.
Hollister’s lighting design is purposely done to
make customers feel like they are in a beach
house. They can enjoy their shopping
experience whilst feeling that they are not in
an ordinary clothes shop. This effect is
created through the use of darkness. In most other shops, everywhere is well lit, however here the
intention is to feel like you are in a beach house and the sun is shining through gaps in the ceiling.
The open white colour promotes this idea. Coloured gels in Hollister would not work /fit due to the
brightly coloured clothing selection they have in the store. The open white and sandy yellow beach
colours make the stock stand out much better.
Lamp shades are found in Hollister. One especially is in the central
area of the store, along with an armchair. This creates a homey feel to
the store and breaks up the beach house theme. Another effect used
in Hollister is projection. Projection on the sides of the store shows
images / videos of the sea and the beach, in black and white. This is
very effective because it is in-keeping with the theme and the style of
the store and the black and white effect makes the store different. It is
modern but at the same time is designed in an old style such as the old wood, plants and of course
the black & white.
LED’s are used frequently in the arcade in the Trafford Centre. They also change colour to attract the
younger audience. Bulbs / massive lamp shades are also used to create familiar surroundings. Bulbs
around the letters of words such as ‘POOL’ make the word stand out and draw people in. Florescent
beams are used also to bring out vibrant colours as to promote the fun
Shoppers, especially children are drawn into the arcade by the flashing lights and the brightness.
Arcades will make the most of their money from young adults, teenagers and children and because
of the noise and sounds; they will be more likely to spend their money on the games that appeal to
them. The games would not attract as many people if they did not have the bright open white or
florescent lights. When a sign or a game is lit up, it immediately brings the piece to life because it
becomes more ‘out there’ , attracting more shoppers who find it harder to resist not spending a
small sum of money on one game.
Strip lights are used around the arcade in a variety of different colours, again to appeal to a younger
audience. Flashing LED’s create the crazy, busy, hyped up atmosphere which children find fun.
Luminosity is suitable in the arcade because it stands out in the dark – drawing in shoppers like a
Upstairs in the Orient, there are pieces of set that I personally have never seen before, such as a
balcony above a restaurant. A warm lighting effect comes from a minuette fresnel and it creates an
inviting, warm atmosphere. Also parcans are used in the evening, which shine down onto the floor
which keeps the feel for the place alive and bright at all times. There is certainly an attention to
detail at the Trafford Centre because even things beyond a person’s standard view, there is so much
more to see, such as above them, balconies and windows with delicate, soft colours shining through,
such as a dark blue representing the evening time. Also inside restaurants, the theme is portrayed
partly through the lighting. Such as in a Spanish bar, the lighting is a dim yellow, covered by lamp
shades and a few reds are used too.
Outside another restaurant were lampposts, suggesting that this restaurant is set on a street. No
area upstairs in the orient was exactly the same. Each restaurant had their own unique style and
setting, the intent was to make the shoppers feel like they are in different locations around the
Signs for restaurants were lit up in very vibrant lively colours, for example the American Bar & Grill
had a bright orange / red sign to advertise their restaurant. Below the food court there was a giant
chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It was made from glass and had bulbs inside it but it gave The
Orient a grand entrance which for many shoppers is the first impression as it is the way they enter
the building. Small bulbs attached to the flags across the ‘boat’ at the front of the food court by the
big screen was a nice detailed touch because it made the bunting stand out and made people look at
In Debenhams, there is a standard lighting design. Everywhere is well lit because there is no specific
target audience, it is mainly for adults. There is also not just one theme, therefore coloured lights are
not relevant. The standard lighting included the use of open white strip lights behind a protective
frame and pin spots in the shop windows.
The idea behind having a well-lit space was to create a sophisticated shopping experience for
shoppers of all ages, especially those over 21. Before entering Debenhams, there are mannequins in
the window, wearing Debenhams clothing ranges. There is a child, teenager and an adult displaying
the different ages Debenhams provide clothes for. The lighting is open white to compliment the
colours of the clothes. A coloured gel would clash and not work. Therefore the open white enhances
the sophisticated approach and attracts customers. Inside the store, mannequins are at a higher
level that the shoppers so that they can be seen from far away – these too have focused lights on
them to make them more appealing and for people to notice.
Chandeliers are an effective way to draw in customers because it is different. In the women’s pyjama
section a chandelier made of long shapes of glass with bulbs hung. This created a delicate effect as
chandeliers are linked closely with high class (linking with the sophistication theme) and pyjamas are
too linked with delicacy. There is a connection between the lighting techniques and the themes
within the store. The chandelier also ensures that the customers still feel that they are in a clean,
high quality shop, so therefore are buying high quality / high standard items.
Bulbs were used within glass lamp shades which created an almost
homey feel and strip lights were used on top/underneath shelves to light
the clothing on display beneath it, for example with the jeans selection.
They stood out because the strip light shined down onto it. Minuette
fresnels shined down from a rig equally onto pieces of clothing.
The only colour used in Ted Baker was open white. However it was used
carefully because only items were highlighted using extra bright lights.
The general lighting was created using spotlights, but for a selection of shoes and coats, the brighter
lighting effect ensured they stood out further. The open white is the best colour to use on clothes as
it captures the size, shape and colour better than any other shade. It is also easier for the public to
see the quality of the clothes they may wish to purchase.
Lamp shades were used and were linked together by
cleverly constructed coloured cables. It gave the store
something different to make it unique from other shops.
The spotlights ensured that not too much of a wide of a
spread of light was made. They added just enough,
alongside the minuettes and lamps. Too much light would
have blinded the customers and the items that stood out
more due to enhanced lighting would not be any different
from the whole store.