What Are Stage Floodlights?

Updated April 17, 2017

Stage floodlights are used to flood or "wash" large areas of the stage with light. Several lighting fixture types are commonly used as floods, depending on the particular application and installation.


Stage and theatre flood lighting have come in many forms, but the first incandescent lights for stage use were installed in the early 1880s in the Paris Opera House, London's Savoy Theater and Boston's Bijou.

Par Lighting

Par can lighting is perhaps the most popular stage floodlight fixture for live concert use. Using a sealed-beam parabolic reflector bulb, the par can light is the concert industry standard for rugged reliability. Five hundred- and 1,000-watt versions are used, projecting an intense medium angle, soft-edged flood beam.


Fresnels are widely used for permanent floodlight installations in theatres and auditoriums. Using a movable incandescent bulb and fixed glass lens, the soft-edged light beam can be focused and adjusted, with bulb wattage ranging from 500 to 5,000 watts.

Box Floods

Box floods are a true floodlight and are made of a bulb mounted in a scooped, internally reflective fixture. Box floods produce wide, soft-edged floodlighting, with 500- to 2,000-watt bulbs. Box floods are not typically used in concert stage applications, but for special effect flooding in theatre use.

LED Floodlights

The newest wave of stage lighting is the LED fixture. Available in par, fresnel and box flood-type (LED panel light) flood formats, LED fixtures boast low-power draw, minimal heat output and longer bulb life than traditional lights.

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About the Author

Matt McKay began his writing career in 1999, writing training programs and articles for a national corporation. His work has appeared in various online publications and materials for private companies. McKay has experience in entrepreneurship, corporate training, human resources, technology and the music business.