VIDEO | Introduction to Lighting Design

If you’re looking for a step-by-step introduction to stage lighting with Vectorworks Spotlight, you’ve come to the right place.


From importing PDF and DWG files to placing truss towers and angling lighting fixtures, industry pro Brandon Eckstorm will walk you through the basics in this video.


Enough beating around the bush, though. Let’s jump into the video.






  • Before planning the lighting design, you need to draw out your stage plot or venue, which can be done from scratch in Vectorworks or by importing a DWG or PDF file. If you're importing non-vector PDFs, the Scale tool helps achieve an accurate scale.

  • Draw or trace the room using the 2D Rectangle or 2D Polyline tool and adjust it in the Object Info palette. Then, use the Create Room command in Event Design toolset to set the wall height, rendering options, and add doors to create a complete 3D room with a floor and walls.

  • To add doors and a stage, use the Door and Create Stage tools respectively.

  • Once the venue is laid out, choose between single, two, or three-point front lighting to light the stage, with one light per zone being the easiest and fastest method. To reduce shadows on stage, consider using two lights per zone at 30-45 degrees off axis and a 45-degree down angle. If this isn't possible, aim for identical 20-degree angles. Three-point front lighting is another option for better visibility. As for adding a third light, tail it down slightly for a low angle fill to help remove unwanted shadows on the face.

  • Next, hang fixtures using a truss tower in the back of the room. Start by assembling a 15-foot truss tower with a base and a 10-foot and 5-foot stick. Add a pipe and fixtures, using a 19-degree Leko for each focused position on stage. Duplicate the lights to the other side for a simple, focused front wash. You can use the Mirror tool to speed up this process.

  • Lekos with shutters are good for a simple, focused front wash. To plan out the lights, draw a line at 45 degrees off axis, mirror it to the other side, and place the lights accordingly.

  • Choosing fixtures depends on what’s available to you, what you’re comfortable with, and the fixture’s photometrics, which comes from the specifications of any fixture you’re looking up.

  • The Draw Beam button in the Object Info palette can help visualize the light beams to ensure you’re achieving the desired angles.

  • Backlighting provides depth to figures on stage, making them stand out more. Uplights behind the stage can make the stage more visually captivating.

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