2017 Music Reviews

Music Review Archives (since May 2010)

2016 - 2010 Music Reviews

Lighting Spectrums

Color in Lighting
Let's face it, color is light. Without light there could be no color; it triggers individual images. Basic knowledge begins with understanding the presences of color in light.

Everyone at one time or another has seen the breaking up or refraction of light in some form or another. The most evident example is the rainbow. Light is caused by certain waves of radiant energy. This wave length is measured in Angstrom units. The waves which produce the sensation which our eyes recognize as light, range from 3800 to 7600 angstroms. Radiant energy in waves between these two limits make up the light spectrum. (see fig.1)

Primary Colors
All the colors in the visible spectrum create white light but it's not necessary for us to use every wave length to obtain this result. While light can be produced by adding equal portions of red, blue and green light. (Please note that these colors can not be reproduced at their full purity by any of the other colors in spectrum.) If we mix red and blue light we create Magenta; if we mix green and blue we create Cyan; while red and green mixed will form yellows. The process of creating colors by mixing primary colors is called "additive mixing". These new colors are "secondary colors". (See fig.2)

Six easily identified hues are; red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. A primary is a spectrum hue that is basic and cannot be produced by the mixing of any other hues.

VALUE: The movement toward white by additive mixing illustrates the second variant of color - Value. The light to dark relationship of a hue or mixed color is its value. The white values nearer white are known as "tints" and the darker values approaching black are referred to as "shades". Both represent a difference from the true color.

SUBTRACTIVE MIXING: We found that when colors are mixed in the air, the process is "additive mixing". The opposite method is to mix colors by crossing or combining color mediums in front of a single light source. (See fig.3)

This illustrates the effect of combining two color mediums - blue - green and yellow - in front of a light source. The yellow won't let the violet and blue frequency travel since they aren't a long enough wave length. The green wave length is on the same frequency as the yellow. But the yellow also contains red wave length. Only the green wave length of the yellow can travel with the green. Green is all you see. The green color that is transmitted is the only hue not subtracted or filtered out of the light byh the combined color mediums.

The following are basic interpretations given for colors when colors are used symbolically:

Yellow signifies saintliness and/or virginal radiance; Orange signifies festivity; Red signifies activity (esp. fiery), strong forcefulness; Violet signifies passiveness, coolness, purity; Green signifies tranquillity and sometimes suggests weirdness.

This is at best very general. The emotional aspects can be modified by adjacent colors as well as by the color of the background. This can be a very good advantage in changing the psychological and the physiological reponse of an audience to the performer. In other words it can make the difference of ooooo's and ahhhhhh's.

Next month learn lighting application to the stage.