Jump to content

Concert color combinations


Recommended Posts



First of all, this is a fantastic site - I've been digging through tons of past posts and have found some great info....thank you all for sharing!


I am a volunteer at my church and we have started putting on some concerts. We have a decent setup of LED lighting (60 fixtures or so), and have achieved a pretty decent stage look.


My questions is this: we are doing a concert with 20 songs, and will be changing the look from song to song....is there a website that has good contrasting color options....preferably with pictures? I've seen some of the past posts on here with suggestions and have started compiling a list, but thought I'd put this out there as well.


Thanks for any suggestions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

White/Orange/Magenta/Blue or Cyan/Magenta/Yellow (with a nice lavender in there if you have spare units) worked for me doing church stuff. Possibly look to swap the white for a CTB like L201.


Oh, I see you have Led... just play and see what works :) try 1/3 Blue 1/3 Cyan 1/3 Greenish... have fun and be creative :)


Don't go overboard, don't use 20 colours in one song. .. sometimes simple is better. Play with variations on intensity, bring it down, bump it up for choruses, slight colour change (say blue to slight cyan) for the bridge then return to blue for the chorus. .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Umm.....this is called lighting design.

Buy a notebook

Write down the twenty song titles one to a page

Listen to the songs and see what they say to you.

Make notes about the songs on the appropriate page

What are the dynamics of the song? Fast /slow; happy/sad? What do those dynamics say to you?

What do the lyrics say? Any obvious things to hang your hat on?

What's the overall shape of the concert?

Is there a choir? Do they need white non-changing light?

Are there other things you can light up? Organ pipes? architecture?


Write all this down and then think about it....

No idea what your desk is, but in the world of Avo/Chamsys I'd assign one page per song and add a bit of timed palette stuff when I got bored

No need to use all the playbacks.....just do what seems appropriate

Oh...and to make purple work you need Kws of it

Oh...and ignore anyone who says "Could it look like that bit in X-Factor when............"



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Max 2 colours + white is a rule I normally try to stick to.


YouTube is your friend. Bring up something similar in genre and see what their LD did.


Looking at several artists from one festival stage can also be a worthwhile experience, to look at how different LDs have utilised the same rig. Although that is less so nowadays as artists are taking full tour rigs onto festivals. But cycle back 10 years it was mainly just touring specials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the suggestions!


I agree....it all comes down to trial & error and design work on my end. Just thought some of you might have some favorite color creations you like to use.


We have lots of surfaces to light....walls, instruments, trussing, etc. I am going to stick with 1-2 colors per scene, but want to come up with some creative color combinations.


Thanks for the help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It isn't just the colour, it's also where the colour comes from - so blue as a wash with shafts of yellow might work, but a blue and yellow wash won't. So if you can see the beams, then colours will contrast. Strong colours from LEDs with open white can work too. Colour without form means that ideal or even suggested schemes fall over. Up lights in blue and something like 126 look good - but only against a suitable colour background.


So it really is suck it and see - once you know the rig and the room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Start with white.

You know what you want to light ? Performer, instrument, cyc....

You know the angle from which you will use to light it? Front/side/above/behind...  

Beam shape? wide/narrow/shaft/spots/fx

What light source shapes are visible to audience: lensed/round/square/matrix of 3/5/9 single source or are they traffic light with multiple mini LEDs (e.g. Thomas 1044 bars).

Grouped ? as in 4*ACLs or "Queen" & heavy metal 1980s looks with 4/6 square, 6 bar groups of single colours ?


Then start with the colours... Lighting has evolved from using filters (one could spend hours choosing appropriate combinations in swatch books) to limited selections of colours (dicroics usually on disks in effect heads except Varilite with their variable angled dicroics) to now with wide ranges of more subtle colours from LEDs as you mix RGB(A+W) in proportions.  This is wonderful.  

Years ago you would only have RGBB (=White summed) on battens for cycs in shows/theatre but you could create blue night/day skies, red sunsets, burning towns or volcanoes, green woods and cyan seas... just two sets of lights top and bottom with a few extra gobo patterns onto the cyc. (and a bit of audience imagination filling in!)   NOW you can do all of that variety with every LED fixture.  

Try not to get enslaved to the theory RGB, Cyan/Magenta/Orange, and colour roll games. Some songs can be done with just shades of one or two colours and a contrast on the leader to catch the eye; other songs call for dynamic changes... Do not always use light colours symetrically.

One caution: keep in mind the quality of the colours you use on people's faces, some LED fixtures can make nasty greys instead of white ! So RGBAW or an incandescent for the faces you want to see.


For church events: I usually provide a wide front/side coloured flood/UV for dance parts, whole band and a white flood for preaching, presentation and call ups; then individual band members are LED lit from side towers or on stage supports or floor; and a cyc. background and white zoom spots on lead singer if possible. This gives sufficient combinations when using LEDS. I usually cannot backlight from a truss goal post structure due to limitations on set up times, budgets and the venues with low ceilings (most <3m !).

(Beam control onto targets is more important than shapes in the air since smoke effects are not usually used in this sort of work and architectural features become the targets instead of lighting "ugly" aluminium trusses etc.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Ken on this one.


There are 2 ways to light a concert. The first is to make up a series of looks and assign each one to a song. The other is to start with the song and consider how you can add to it. You can add excitement, emotion, tension, clarity and many other things with the lighting. Every time the feel of the music changes (from sad to happy or from scared to confident, for instance) then the lighting should reflect that - thus you could have one state per song or 20, depending on the song. If you're someone who takes a song and adds to it then you're a lighting designer. For me, if you light the first way (building pretty looks then assigning them to a song) then you're someone who plays with light. But then I'm biased! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good stuff but basically it is your baby and there is only a little that is "right" and even less which is "wrong". Playing with it as much as possible is your best bet using Ken and JSB's "beginners menu" approach.


I love lighting theatre pieces in old churches using textures, stonework, strange angles and reveals but you need to create what works in your venue. The only way to do that is try it for yourself.


You can be as creative as anyone using just open white and more creative than most by using an open mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll just add - dont try to do too much. Just cos you have lights that can be any colour, or lights that can move does not mean that they have to do so all the time. That stuff gets tiring real fast. Also loads of primary colours as front light isn't a good look. Think about light on faces of a colour which compliments human skin, thats a good start and then work some colours in from side and back. But not too many!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now we've made all the points above, it's time to actually answer your question! :) If you want to see loads of images of lighting design alongside each other, then look here:



You may get some inspiration from them: the best thing to do is to look at the picture and guess what the lighting is trying to convey, then click the image to get more information about it and see if you may have been right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since OP has a decent number of LED fixtures, then there is one other point worthy of mention.


In "the good old days" one used truckloads of parcans, and each parcan was gelled, and thus when one changed colour, one bunch of lights went off, another went on, and perhaps less obviously, there was movement in the lighting. Look at the old Queen videos with their massed ranks of parcans for impressive examples of this.


With LED PARs, they can do the colour change in the same fixture, so there is no movement of lighting like one gets with gelled parcans.


If one has a few LED PARs, one can do the same thing on did with the old parcans, and bring that movement back to the lighting. Its a bit more programming, but I think it looks "better", and it provides one with more options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.