Advice from a Pro: Concert Vs. Event Lighting

Meet Jason “Cannonball” Jenkins

Cannonball Jenkins is Director of Operations for Elite Multimedia Productions. He provides touring and event support, including special events, product launches, and corporate theatre. He runs the day-to-day operations for audio, video, and lighting, manages logistics, people, and equipment, and oversees full production design. Cannonball’s attention to detail and holistic approach means, whether you are putting on a concert or a corporate event, the entire production will exceed your expectations. So, when we wanted to get some advice on the differences between concert and corporate event lighting, he’s who we went to see.

Cannonball’s Advice

Whether you are setting up a concert or a corporate event, you must have the right lighting. The proper tone, mood, ambiance, scenic elements and, if necessary, proper lighting for filming are critical to the success of any event. Thus, it’s vital to hire a production company who understands the differences between these two very different environments, with the expertise to handle both.

If you went to a rock concert, would you expect the entire venue to be well lit, or to have colored lights along the sides, pulling attention away from the band and lead singer? Of course not! Equally, it would look downright silly if you attended a corporate event and the speaker was covered in moving, colored spotlights.

Concert Lighting


With concerts, it’s common to work with the artist, designer, and/or venue operator. While many artists want to be involved in the creative process and supply ideas or ensure there’s a certain “look,” others trust you as the lighting expert. It’s important to be prepared for either approach, or anything in between.

The end goal is to create an experience that’s both functional and creative. You must make sure the artist and band are properly lighted, but after that there’s great potential in fun add-ons! At its best, the lights will emphasize and augment the music. Some artists have their own lighting systems—especially larger artists—but smaller artists typically depend on local production companies whose job it is to keep the artists, venues, and promoters equally happy.

With concerts, the purpose is always the same: highlight the music and performance. Touring concerts are typically in and out, with short time frames, and often in different venues with different needs. That means speed and flexibility are required when lighting a concert.

Event Lighting

Event lighting focuses less on creativity than pure function. You must make sure everyone can see the speaker and that the lighting adjusts for videos and/or other aspects of the presentation. It’s important to avoid distracting from the speaker and the moment. Creativity matters, but it should always be in service to and never at the expense of function.

Many people with differentiated goals are involved in putting on events. It’s the job of a good production company to incorporate them all into one event. Since corporate events are typically drawn out with rehearsals, there is time to make it a very controlled, and planned environment. Since corporate events typically occur in places focused on precisely these kinds of events, there is little variation, meaning lighting solutions from the past are often solutions for the present.

Work with the Pros

It’s important to work with a professional who understands the details involved in making your production a success. Elite Multimedia is a company that provides those professionals. To learn more, visit us online today!