What is the difference between a Wash, Spot, & Beam Light Fixture?

As Lighting Designers, there are three main types of light fixtures that we use to project light. Of course, there are light fixtures like chandeliers, string lights, and other types of fixtures that may not seem to relate to this topic (technically they provide a wash with a near 360 degree beam angle). However; when it comes to projecting light, these are the three main types.

So if you’d like to learn more about what these types of light fixtures do and how we leverage them to create designs for events, read on! The following fixtures that are pictured are all in our inventory. You’ve probably seen lights like these at a big concert, conference, or special event. All of these lights are known as “Intelligent Lights”. Intelligent lighting fixtures are ones which have many features controlled remotely such as position, shutter, colors, and effects. This allows us to put light where it needs to be and when it needs to be there.

Wash Fixtures

Wash light fixtures do exactly what they sound like they do: they bathe an area with light and have “soft” edges on the beam. Washes are great for evenly lighting up large areas like stages, architecture, or dance floors.

The great thing about our wash fixtures is that they have a zoomable beam angle. The lens moves in and out, enabling us to adjust the area that the fixture is lighting up with ease using our lighting console. Ours are zoomable between a narrow 10 and wide 60 degree beam angle. The other thing that most LED wash light fixtures have is the ability to change color on a whim using color-mixing technology.

Our washes have 19 RGBW (Red, Green, Blue & White) bulbs which means they have a total of 19 X 4 (76) different LEDS that can adjust their brightness levels to get the exact color you are looking for. Each LED can adjust between 0% & 100% enabling millions of possible color tones and ensuring you get the exact color to match your color palette: whether that’s a particular shade of warm white or a certain degree of saturation for a color.

Spot Fixtures

Spot fixtures are perhaps the most well known due to the notion of being “under the spotlight”. These fixtures are similiar to washes except that they have a ‘sharp’ beam edge to them and have the capacity to shine light on only a specific area without leaking ambient light onto surrounding areas.

These fixtures offer several color filters, gobo patterns, prism effect, and motorized focus. This enables us to project dazzling displays of light in addition to spotlighting people when desired.

When using fog or haze, these sharp spot lights stand out and have effects seen in concerts or on TV shows. In this case we place the fixtures being the band or entertainment to create a cool backlight effect. This can also be done with wash fixtures but spots and beams have a more obvious effect and can be seen more clearly in atmosphere.

Also included in this type of light fixture is the “pin spot” which is the small spotlight that is used to highlight objects like floral centerpieces, cakes, silent-auction items and more. Note that pin spots are not motorized.

Beam Fixtures

If you’re looking to really add some energy to your event then Beam fixtures are a great choice. They have an extremely narrow beam angle ranching from near 0 to 5 degrees (pictured beam is 3 degrees) which gets you an almost lightsaber-like look.

Some specific use cases for beam fixtures include adding an extra punch to the dance floor, lighting disco balls, and backlighting stages.

The beam barely gets wider as it is throw across a distance. Since the bulb is extremely high powered the end result a tiny area lit up with insane intensity.

Consider adding beams to your package if your event is high energy and/or you want to party!

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