Acoustic & DJ Lighting

Yesterday the entire crew carried out a series of tests for acoustic acts and DJs, it was an extremely successful day in terms of image, unfortunately sound seemed to suffer some huge technical issues. I really applied all the knowledge I’ve learnt from researching and testing studio lighting, and the results I got today are perfect! I am extremely happy with how it looked visually and I feel like I have strongly formed the lighting style and techniques. The focus on side light and back light in combination with complementary colours creates an extremely professional effect, popping the subject out of the frame along with implementing a strong emotion to match the genre and mood of the song.

Our first act was acoustic, I started rearranging lights around the staging area so I had two strong side lights available. I approached the lighting with prominent side and back lighting, so redesigning the rig to accommodate for this was a must. Along with the two side lights I also introduced a back light to hit the subjects head, another fresnel was directly above the subject to act as downlighting to ensure they were fully illuminated – this wasn’t too strong to ensure the other lights created the majority of the effect. Finally I added a key light at the front to keep the subjects face illuminated acting as a subtle fill.

As with our previous test I decided to include two ARRIs as practical floor lights. I particular liked the effect last time and felt it would work for an acoustic artist, judging from the footage shot today that is definitely the way to keep the lighting going. In terms of colours I found a combination of blue and red gels to test the theory of complementary colours. Together they counteract one another so that the red becomes prominent and cuts through the surrounding blue lights. The blue was very soft and mellow to match the acoustic theme.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 16.13.24

After the first test I decided to add blue gels over the ARRI practical lights. The reason for this was the wide shot was dealing with too many colours, having implemented the gels it meant the ARRIs matched the colour scheme and fitted into the scene better. I extremely liked this lighting setup, I think it can be changed quickly between acts by simply changing the gel colours to match the music rather than having to spend time rearranging lights. The setup was as follows:
– Back Light – Blue
– Side Left – Blue
– Down Light – Blue
– Side Right – Red
– Key Light – Blue


With a strong design I chose to keep it for the remainder of the acoustic performances. I made a few amendments to play around with lighting, once the footage is exported it will be interesting to review the clips and compare the subtle lighting changes. The amendments consisted of:
– Blue gels over ARRI floor lights
– Swap key and right side colours
– Introduced yellow/gold as colour rather than red

Following the acoustic acts we moved onto a simple DJ setup. Admittedly this wouldn’t be shot in the studio but I still took the opportunity to experiment with lighting ideas that can hopefully be transferred directly to the venue Beth has booked out for the DJ performances.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 16.09.58

I used a 2K ARRI on the floor for strong back lighting to create a silhouette effect for the DJ. I placed a red and green gel over the light to introduce a variety of colours into the frame. The 2 ARRI blue gel floor lights remained on set along with the blue gel fresnel back light helping to illuminate the decks. The back light was definitely a strong start, the variety of colours created some really nice flares down the camera lens. Pumping various colours just seemed to suit the temp and constant changing songs in my personal opinion. The desk itself was too bland.


Today was a huge success on my part and I feel like I have made a real breakthrough on how to light subjects and how to combine colours. I can pretty much lock this lighting plan down and replicate it in future, merely experimenting with additional lights and colours, and possibly some moving lights. I will review the footage and see if I still feel as happy once it has been edited together.


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