Music evokes emotion, and lighting can enhance or heighten the visceral response to music. This is one area where color theory can help. Color can be used to symbolize a “mood” or an emotion by washing the platform with saturated color or color combinations. Red is often associated with high energy (like a red sports car), excitement, or love. Green can be a calming color (think of a forest) or it can represent money or good health. Blue is an appealing color, and it probably has the widest spectrum, although the camera sometimes has difficulty reproducing subtle shades of blue. Yellow is the happiest and brightest color, and violet can evoke strong emotions. With a little research and experimentation, you can learn how certain colors affect the feel of a space.
As a starting point to experiment with color combinations, the color wheel provides a good tool to explore the seven contrasts. Starting at any point on the color wheel, combining it with the color on the opposite side of the wheel creates a contrast of complements. For example, medium blue and bright yellow create a strong contrast with a lot of tension, yet, for most people, it is a very pleasing look. Combining colors closer to each other on the color wheel can create less contrast and combining adjacent colors on the color wheel (analogous colors) creates simple color harmony. Combining three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel creates a color triad and it can be visually pleasing and balanced. Several other color combinations can be discovered by taking a deeper dive into the seven contrasts.
To create looks with saturated color, a LED wash fixture like the Chroma-Q Color One 100X LED PAR is a powerful tool. It outputs 1,950 lumens of saturated or pastel colors using an RGBA LED light engine. It has a 19ᴼ beam angle and the optics are homogenized so that it produces clean shadows with no color separation.
For more dynamic and temporal looks, special effects, patterns, and movement can also be incorporated to raise the energy level or create flow in a music environment. Fixtures like the PROLIGHTS PixieWash XB or JetSpot 4Z offer rich, saturated color and, in addition to crossfading and pulsing effects, they also can pan, tilt, zoom, and strobe to add dynamic looks and beam movement.
Coming Soon: In our next installment, we discuss lighting and non-church related events.