The Lighting Library


A HISTORY OF LIGHT AND LIGHTING  - a complete history of Light and Lighting, from pre-history to modern day, all arranged in chronological order. This document is intended as a serious research tool for the lighting student or the experienced lighting professional. Wait for this document to fully load before you 'search'. (about 150 printed pages, updated often) (Author: Bill Williams).

A HISTORY OF THE ARC LAMP - an illustrated history of arc lighting from about 1800 to 1900. The document contains links to other internal pages. (Author: IEE-UK).

ARC LAMPS - several nice documents and photos of early electric arc lamps. From: The Museum of Electricity. (Author: Charles Brush).

Also see our: Antique Lighting Links  for more information on early lighting.

COLOR MIXING DEMONSTRATION -  (Java Gel) Prove that Red and Green light really do mix to make Yellow. This simple (Java) application allows you to mix 'in real time' the 3 primary colors of light (red, green and blue) providing a nice demonstration of 'additive' color mixing. (Author:  Jeffrey Hightower).

COLOR REFERENCE LIBRARY - This single page has links to hundreds of color related documents, charts, graphics and tools. Topics include color science, color theory, vision, color temperature, color calibration, color gamuts, color palettes, tutorials, projects and much more. For the intermediate and advanced reader. (Author: efg).

COLOR RENDERING OF SPECTRA - This is a short (technical) introduction to the CIE color system. This article helps find the CIE value of a color and then relates it to its RGB value.  Also included are formulas and nice color CIE diagrams. (Author: John Walker).

 LIGHT AND OPTICS - This is an excellent series of documents (with graphics) dealing with the nature of light. Topics include light, reflection, refraction, polarization, lenses, optics, color, sources, IR, UV, lasers, electron microscopy, clouds, skies, rainbows - and much more. (Author: Arizona State University, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy).

THE JOY OF VISUAL PERCEPTION - This is an excellent presentation (mostly graphics) relating to the human eye and brain process. An understanding of the mechanisms of vision and human perception are necessary for any designer and this is an excellent reference. The site even has an 'Ask the Professor' section. (Author: Peter K. Kaiser, York University).

VISION -  This site provides excellent information relating to vision and the anatomy of the human eye. These indexed documents are for the intermediate to advanced reader and provide a good reference for the lighting design student. (Author: Webvision).

2.)  LIGHT SOURCES - (Modern)

THE GAS DISCHARGE LAMP - a general overview of gas discharge lighting, ballasts and fixtures. Includes information on HID, LPS and NEON.  (Authors:  Sam Goldwasser & Donald Klipstein, 37k).

THE INCANDESCENT LAMP - an overview of the 'light bulb'.  This links to 'The Great Internet Light Bulb Page'. Includes theory of operation and other technical topics with many links.  Good general introduction. (Author: Donald Klipstein, 27k).

THE SULPHUR LAMP - Is this the lamp technology of the future? Here is a link to a FAQ regarding sulphur lamp technology. (Authors: Sam Goldwasser & Donald Klipstein). Also see The Sulfer Lamp Home Page.

THE BLUE LED - Some  interesting information on the long awaited 'blue' light emitting diode. (Author: Donald Klipstein).

ULTRAVIOLET (UV) LAMPS - a general introduction to the world of ultraviolet and UV lamps. This document (text only) contains links to other related chapters. (Author: Donald  Klipstein).


BEAM SPREAD TABLES - This quick reference finds BEAM WIDTH at any DISTANCE for any SPREAD ANGLE. Alternately you can determine what spread angle is required to provide a required beam width at a given distance. Both Imperial and Metric tables are included. A 'must have' for any lighting designer'. (1 printed page) (Author: Bill Williams).

ILLUMINANCE TABLES - This quick reference finds ILLUMINANCE (fc or lux) at any DISTANCE from any SOURCE INTENSITY. Alternately, you can determine the intensity of the source required (candelas) to produce a given illuminance (fc) at a given distance. Both Imperial and Metric tables are included. (1 printed page) (Author: Bill Williams).

LAMP DATA - GENERAL - This document provides technical data for many common lamps, used in stage, studio and architectural lighting applications. Lamps include: R, PAR, Stage/Studio and low voltage lamps.  These tables allow the lighting designer or technician to easily  compare one lamp against another. Data includes: ANSI code, type, wattage, light center length, life and light output. These lamps are available from the major lamp manufacturers, including: General Electric,  Osram Sylvania,  Philips and Ushio. (Author: Bill Williams).

LAMP DATA - MINIATURE - This document provides technical data for a wide range of miniature and sub miniature lamps. Lamps include both incandescent and neon lamps used for indicators, flashlights, lanterns and other low power lighting applications. All lamps are standard products available from a variety of manufacturers throughout the world. Data includes, lamp number, base type, bulb type, volts and amps. (Author: Bill Williams).

STAGE LIGHTING FIXTURE TABLES -  Need help in selecting a spotlight? - This document contains  photometric data for over 125 common stage lighting spotlights. Luminaires include; ELLIPSOIDAL, FRESNEL and PAR64 spotlights.  Represented are: Altman, Century, Colortran, E.T.C.,  Strand, and others. Several pages explaining basic photometric calculations and several quick reference tables are also included. (about 10 pages) (Author: Bill Williams).

SUNRISE AND SUNSET CALCULATIONS  - Here is a useful and simple application that calculates sunrise, sunset or twilight for any city (or airport) around the world. This is great for assisting in the planning of outdoor events.  Follow the 5 easy steps.


FOOTCANDLES and LUX - This is a quick reference relating to ILLUMINANCE and recommended lighting levels for architectural lighting applications. IES methods are discussed and an alternative method by M.S.. Rae is presented. (Author: Bill Williams).

FULL SPECTRUM LIGHTING - effects on performance mood and health. Here are some interesting studies and findings concerning this controversial topic. From the National Research Council of Canada, IRC division. (Author: Jennifer Veitec).

LIGHT SOURCES FOR ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING - This document will assist the architectural lighting designer in choosing the appropriate light source for a specific lighting application. Modern sources are discussed in respect to luminous efficacy, color temperature, color rendering index and life. (Author: Bill Williams).

LIGHTING FUNDAMANTALS - This is an excellent introduction to Architectural Lighting. Provided as a text (only) document. (Author: (US EPA Office of Air and Radiation, 1995).


DAYLIGHT  - This short tutorial provides a basic introduction to daylight and the relationship between lighting levels and preferred color temperatures is discussed (the 'Kurithof curve'). Preferred color temperatures for viewing art is also presented. (Author: Tailored Lighting Inc.)

DISPLAY AND CONSERVATION LIGHTING - A look at the dilema of lighting for conservation in museum and galleries.  Methods, techniques and recommendations are discussed and presented. (Author: Kevan Shaw).

DISPLAY CASE LIGHTING - This document describes methods of display case lighting. Fluorescent, incandescent and fiber optic techniques are all discussed. (Author: Kevan Shaw)

MUSEUM AND GALLERY LIGHTING - A general introduction to the lighting methods and techniques for museum, gallery and conservation lighting. (Author: Kevan Shaw).

PROTECTION FROM LIGHT DAMAGE - This is a basic introduction to light exposure as related to conservation and works of art. (Author: Beth Lindblom Patkus, NEDCC).

ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION - This short text tutorial provides a brief (basic) introduction to ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB). Ultraviolet radiation limits for museums and art galleries are also discussed. (Author: Tailored Lighting Inc, USA).


BLUE SCREEN PAGE - (Film/Video) This information page gives an introduction to Blue Screen, Chroma-Key and Ultimatt techniques (used for film and video composite imaging). The proper lighting necessary to insure the success of these techniques is also discussed. (Author: Steven Bradford).

FILTER FACTS (Film/Video/Still). Here is a single very informative page dealing with color balance filters for film and video. (From TLS, Inc.)

FLASHBULBS: - (Early Photography) Here is some reference material on early flashbulbs. Topics include history, stories, technical data and sources. - with several photos. (Author: Graflex).


COLOR FRAME SIZES -This is a quick reference table, listing color frame sizes for many common stage lighting fixtures. This information is intended to assist the lighting professional in calculating color media  requirements for an 'unknown' fixture type. (Author: Bill Williams).

DMX-512 - Here is a brief overview of DMX-512, a common protocol used in the theatre and entertainment industry. DMX-512 allows control systems to communicate with dimming systems, automated luminaires, color scrollers and with other equipment. (Author: Dan Mills).

DMX-512.COM - A DMX site with many informative DMX related articles and graphics.

DMX WEBSITE - (UJJAL'S DMX 512 WEBSITE) - This site provides an interesting collection of DMX 512 related information and data. (From Ujjal Kar).

ELECTRICAL POWER ABROAD -  Here is a listing of power systems in various countries around the world. Data includes, power system type (ac or dc), voltage, frequency (hertz) and phase information. Graphic illustrations of common connectors (plugs and sockets) are also included. This information is based on a handbook published in 1998 by the US Department of Commerce. (from the MTE Corporation).

GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL THEATRE TERMS - This site provides a list of  British technical theatre (and lighting) terms and definitions listed from A to Z. (Author: Jon Primrose, Exeter Drama Department, UK).

LIGHTING PIPE SPECIFICATIONS - Schedule 40/80 pipes are often used for entertainment lighting applications. Here is a quick reference chart showing common inside and outside diameters for common pipe sizes. (Author: Bill Williams).

SELECTING A SPOTLIGHT AT THE M.T.C. - Canada's oldest regional theatre looks for new lighting fixtures to replace their 30 year old units. Eight sample spotlights are evaluated using both the light meter and the human eye. The results are surprising. (Author: Bill Williams).

THE COMPLETE SHOP ORDER - Here is an excellent overview of the 'shop order', one of the most important documents produced by the professional lighting designer for many stage productions. (Author: John McKernon, designer and creator of 'Lightwright' and 'Beamwright'.)

THE MOVING LIGHT RESOURCE - This is lighting site with technical specifications for many different automated fixtures. (Author: Ross Williams,

THE PAR64 - FOR ENTERTAINMENT LIGHTING -This is an introduction to the PAR64 for entertainment lighting applications. Topics include lamp and fixture types, typical specifications  and lighting methods. (Author: Bill Williams).

THE PAR64 - QUICK REFERENCE  This 1 page data sheet finds illuminance (footcandles) and size of lighted area from any distance for 1000w PAR64 lamps. (Author: Bill Williams)

THE STRAND ARCHIVES - Here is a wonderful indexed collection of 'Strand' products, from the early days of 'Rank Strand' to modern day. Photographs and general data are included for lanterns (luminaires), dimmers and control. (By: Jon Primrose, UK).

Stage Lighting 101

STAGE LIGHTING DESIGN 101 - (Table of Contents) This is a comprehensive reference on stage and entertainment lighting design. This version is currently provided in several chapters, and is updated often. (Author: Bill Williams)

AN INTRODUCTION TO STAGE LIGHTING - (Part 1) - This  is an introduction to lighting design including; objectives of lighting design and the quantities and properties of light.

BASIC LIGHTING METHODS - (Part 2) - Here is an introduction to general lighting design methods and techniques, including the McCandless method and others.

APPLIED LIGHTING METHODS - (Part 3) - This is a quick overview of lighting applications. Included are theatre, opera, dance, outdoor, architectural,  display and more.

PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING PROCEDURE - (Part 4) - Here is an outline of a procedure often used for professional lighting design. Topics include development of the lighting concept and the actual mechanics of design, including the lighting plot, lighting section, schedules, the focus session and level setting.

STAGE LIGHTING FIXTURES -  (Part 5) - This is an introduction to stage lighting fixtures. Basic fixture types and their related lighting applications are discussed. Fixture types  include the ellipsoidal reflector, fresnel, Par, floodlight, striplight and others.

STAGE LIGHTING MECHANICS - (Part 6) - This is an introduction to beam spread and illuminance. Learn how to select a spotlight for any application based on the relationships between distance, illuminance, area size and beam spread.

LIGHTING DESIGN EDUCATION - (Part 7) - Here are a few thoughts and comments from the author on the topic of lighting education for the stage lighting designer.