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Lighting Setup Advice


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I am really struggling to work out what light/lights I need to buy to complete my set up.

 

I currently have two Abstract Gladiator 1CE barrel scanners which I love

Also have an Acme Littled which I think works well when pointed at the ceiling

Have just purchased an ADJ Aggressor Tri LED which i'm not sure I like

 

I don't want my lighiting to be mental flashing insane lighting that blinds everyone and i'm really not keen on LED effects now that i've tried a standard and Tri LED.

 

The quality of the Abstracts is evident in the show so i'd like something along those lines to 'fill' the space in the middle of the dance floor.

 

I have thought about flat scanners and also about something like a Martin Raptor but just not sure how it will all look.

 

Any ideas on what I should be looking for for a quality, classy light show?

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Lighting, like speakers and DJ systems can be all-so-personal, and then some! All too often, I used to make the mistake of just looking at lighting effects from behind the decks, and not looking from the perspective of the dancing and seated guests!

 

I'd say many of my gigs are now under 150 guests and I don't need to utilise lots of lighting effects. I got rid of the scanners a few years ago for a couple of reasons, namely the size and weight of the cases (transporting around) and their actual effect in the smaller venues was way-too-much for the clients and guests eyes to appreciate! LOL!

 

Appreciate entirely that the type of functions, clientele and size of venue / work area you set-up and comfortably operate in are factors, but most importantly, whatever you choose to add needs to be visually entertaining and stimulating. So if a space needs to be filled on the rig, how about enhancing the presentation and considering an overhead projector aimed down on to the dance floor?

You can run anything from slideshows to pro disco visualisations, to mpeg2 / DVD music videos, or even connect a camera - possibilities can be truly endless and varied!

 

Alternatively, if budget and transporting is not an issue, then BIG moving head lighting looks pretty classy IMO. A bit minimalistic perhaps, but boy do those big toys look the nuts when running! :D

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The gladiators will go all over the room so I would say something concentrated on the dance floor area. A Twister4hp would go well with the gladiators and then you have a balance of light focused on the dancers and for the rest of the room. Or, a LED flood for the dance floor, its a nice contrast with colour washing over the dancers and gobos from the gladiators projecting elsewhere in the room. You could get some 1CE scanners but then all the lighting is random all round the room with nothing on the dance floor which is the important bit IMO. Personally I hate LED effects but think the floods and washes are brilliant.

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I have what most would consider a poor selection of cheap lights.

I have had nothing but compliments about my lighting from customers.

 

i am almost embarrassed in mentioning what lights i have here compared with the great light shows you guys have

 

I feel a few things need to be considered before purchasing lights.

 

1. what size of venues do you want to do or mainly do?..massive lights and mega moving spinning lights in small pub venues are IMHO overkill and make people feel sick ..one size does not often fit all.

 

2. can you alter the ambient light at the venue? if the venue has non dimmable lights most lights will look rubbish this is where expensive fixtures come into there own.. if the venue had almost total blackout cheap lights can look impressive.

 

3. Do you have the space and rig needed to house and display the light fixtures? often at pub venues you only get a corner , a tiny table also how big is your transport as some lights are massive

 

4. Do you wish to spend the time needed setting up the lights? time spent setting up quality light shows is worth it but it can be a chore and a matter of because you are doing it for the love of it not because of the return..see next point

 

5 from a business point of view are you going to see a return on the investment you are making? spending £1000 in stead of £500 are you going to get that £500 back quickly enough is it really a good investment?

 

sentimentality and pride have a lot to do with light selection many like to brag how good it is or how big there show is etc but from a business point of view i feel if you are in the segment of the market that appreciates and is willing to pay for better lighting go for it! If not think very carefully before buying ..who are you buying for ..you , to impress your peers or the customers?

Rob Star Entertainments
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For small set-ups, I mainly have a Dynaroll as Centre piece, with 2 "littleleds" either side. All are on a T-Bar, with the littleleds pre-rigged (master/slave with power all tucked away)

 

This suits pubs and small halls fine, and is very quick to set-up. The littleleds were purchased off a DJU member for a good price and they provide a good spread.

 

For larger halls, I've got some larger LED lights (Equinox), and mainly run them master/slave.

 

For a recent school disco, the hall was fairly wide, so I brought everything and had 2 t-bars with the larger Equinox lights filling the walls.

 

 

I think that as lights can be acquired cheaply, and are an instant visual upgrade to your system, its tempting to spend out. Constant upgrades are not cost effective.

 

Personally, I'm losing interest in LED lights - I'd love some scanners, but as I spent out on a new sound system, I need to earn that back!

However, I could have purchased 4 scanners for the cost of all the lighting I've purchased! Hindsight and planning etc.etc.. :damn:

 

 

By keeping any DJ income in a buisiness account, and using a debit card tied to that account, it's a little bit easier to keep the earning:spending ratio on the right side.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the replies guys, to answer a few questions:

 

I do a variety of sizes of venue, my lighting works best for medium sized venues i.e. small village halls or big pubs.

 

I loose out big time in huge cavernous village halls/sports halls as my lights just get completely lost in the space!

 

In terms of the business I currently do (not much) I am only looking to buy one or two new lights and spend maybe a maximum of £250.

 

I like the idea of LED washes and will be looking into them, my relationship with any other LED lights is over until they become a little bit more 'advanced'.

 

I'm starting to realise that you really need to have a selection of lights which you can mix and match depending on the occasion and the venue.

 

Edit: Dukesy, I really like the idea of the projector but surely when people are dancing and therefore standing on the picture it completely loses its effect?

 

I like the idea of pointing it at a wall, maybe behind the DJ booth?

Edited by DJ Mike
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I have a pair of Wizard extremes which are basically like your 1CEs but brighter so rather than buy a moonflower which would not stand up to the wizards unless it was a very expensive gas discharge one I went for a LED flood by way of a contrast and it does work very well...It only cost about £100 too. Another idea might be a cluster laser as you can point the bulk of it to the dancers, I have some Equinox Nebulars which I rate and I'm pretty sure I have seen them for under £200 recently.

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Thanks for the replies guys, to answer a few questions:

 

I do a variety of sizes of venue, my lighting works best for medium sized venues i.e. small village halls or big pubs.

 

I loose out big time in huge cavernous village halls/sports halls as my lights just get completely lost in the space!

 

In terms of the business I currently do (not much) I am only looking to buy one or two new lights and spend maybe a maximum of £250.

 

I like the idea of LED washes and will be looking into them, my relationship with any other LED lights is over until they become a little bit more 'advanced'.

 

I'm starting to realise that you really need to have a selection of lights which you can mix and match depending on the occasion and the venue.

 

Edit: Dukesy, I really like the idea of the projector but surely when people are dancing and therefore standing on the picture it completely loses its effect?

 

I like the idea of pointing it at a wall, maybe behind the DJ booth?

 

Music videos over dancers and some type of surfaces, yes, entirely agree. Visualisations, however, different kettle of fish. The dancers are 'in' the effect. smile icon

 

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I have what most would consider a poor selection of cheap lights.

I have had nothing but compliments about my lighting from customers.

 

i am almost embarrassed in mentioning what lights i have here compared with the great light shows you guys have

 

 

What lights do you have? Mine are all mostly second hand. One originally didnt work on DMX, but bought a replacement DMX tranceiver chip from farnell and replaced it. Got a bit of a service and it works quite well now. (just needs a better bulb!)

 

 

At one point I borrowed 2 x 4spot banks, which really *are* embarassing!

 

 

Cheers,

 

David

DJ David Graham

Tel: 01204 537716 / 01942 418415

Email: hello@djgraham.co.uk

FB: http://facebook.com/djdavidgraham

Web: [under construction - it really is coming soon :)]

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Acme penguins x 2 (1 barrel ,1 flat mirror) i paid £45 new for these each

NJD Chaos x 1 got this free for repairing something for a fellow dj

FX labs Diffraction laser x 1 paid £145 for this new

NJD Starcloth x 1 got this as a birthday pressy

4ft UV strip light x1 £19.95 new

 

all sound activated not dmx (although the laser has dmx input there is not much you can do with this diffration laser with dmx anyway)

 

I will this year be buying four LED parcans from Thoman the ones with floor stands so i can use them on my rig or on the floor i will also buy a dmx controller for them so i can play with colours etc.

 

As i have said i have never had complaints only compliments on my current light show and for small pubs to functions with 200 people i have had no complaints only positive remarks.

 

I know these are really poor in the grand scale of things but i think the mix of a halogen with gobos two different moving LED and the laser are brilliant for the cost i paid , remember i gig at least three times a week every week and these have lasted me a year now i only paid out £255 for this. I think the goal post stand i bought and the t bar were great value purchases i use the goal post at proper functions and at the hotel venue i do and the t bar at the pub venue i do .

 

having the light at the right height and controlling the ambient light really helps make cheap light look better.

 

so many pub DJ's just have them on a table etc because of lack of room.

 

 

Rob Star Entertainments
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landline 0161 265 3421
Mobile: 0777 99 777 26

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Something original and different to the norm is the Star Cluster.

It is effective in small and large venues and works well without haze/smoke

 

Check out a couple of vids on youtube

oohh

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Something original and different to the norm is the Star Cluster.

It is effective in small and large venues and works well without haze/smoke

 

Check out a couple of vids on youtube

 

the FXlabs diffraction laser is a cheap copy of the kam star cluster and it is as you say very good ..i personally only fire it up at the ceiling and never fire it down at the audience as i have read many places you shouldnt ..although it is a fairly common practice now i have seen many pub dj's use this type of laser firing right at people on the dance floor

Rob Star Entertainments
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landline 0161 265 3421
Mobile: 0777 99 777 26

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the FXlabs diffraction laser is a cheap copy of the kam star cluster and it is as you say very good ..i personally only fire it up at the ceiling and never fire it down at the audience as i have read many places you shouldnt ..although it is a fairly common practice now i have seen many pub dj's use this type of laser firing right at people on the dance floor

The cluster type lasers that are now common place send the beam through a diffraction grating, thus actual beam is split into 100s of smaller beams. This brings the power of each beam well into acceptable MPE levels.

They are perfectly safe for audience scanning.

 

Jim

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The cluster type lasers that are now common place send the beam through a diffraction grating, thus actual beam is split into 100s of smaller beams. This brings the power of each beam well into acceptable MPE levels.

They are perfectly safe for audience scanning.

 

Jim

 

 

I'm glad you said that Jim as i always shine mine down onto the dance floor and i do a lot of kids parties.

 

I did do the research which stated it was generally safe.

oohh

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I went to a few forums and some said yes some said no. I have been in a pub where one shined in my eyes when i was sat down and although it didn't do me any harm(hopefully) it was far more irritating and distracting than having the halogen and led lights flashing at me(which they also had).

 

if on a highish rig pointing down at the floor i think they(cluster lasers) look great ..but if fired at an angle along the floor it will "get" people sat down and this is what i meant ..i have seen this in pubs quite a bit where due to the ceiling height and because they want bigger dot coverage they are not pointing as down as they should.

just my opinion. hence me firing it up from a high rigged position

 

My FXlab laser doesnt have a key either someone on a forum was saying this probably is against the regulations.

If ou go on the specialised laser forums and again unless you build your own and have stephen hawkins IQ and converse in geek they will often( not always) sneer at your purchase rather than offer understandable unbiased advice.

It often is there passion and hobby, I suppose its like joining a ferrari forum then banging on about the second hand yugo you have bought. Its often as welcome as breaking wind in a lift.

Edited by Robster
Rob Star Entertainments
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Rob, I'm one of those geeks :funjokeandlaugh:

There are basically two types of laser forums, the ones for pointer users, where they take great pleasure in popping balloons, setting things on fire and shinning at planes. The others are for laserist that use their kit for serious entertainment and normally make a living from them.

It is the latter that will give info on what is safe and how to operate them safely.

Most of the people on there started off buying cheap turnkey lasers and asking about them, wanting them to do something more or something different. Sure one of the first comments you get is "you shouldn't buy that junk - you can make one cheaper" and in general that is what they go on to do. What at first you think you need a degree in quantum physics to build you find that anybody who knows basic engineering skills (how to drill and cut) can build a single colour laser quite easily.

 

With lasers the light always is very intense when it goes into your eyes, this is mainly due to it being coherent light rather than light that scatters. We have a blink reflex which will automatically make you close your eyes in less than 1/4 of a second to any light that is uncomfortable. The MPE (maximum permissible exposure) levels set for lasers is a level where the power of the beam cannot do any permanent damage to the eyes in less than the blink reflex, hence you cannot injure somebody's eyes if you keep your beam below this level.

 

The keyswitch and other safety devices are required for any laser that can produce beams in excess of the MPE. What tends to happen with the chinese import lasers is that they are produced for a world wide market. The majority of Europe are very lax and have few regulations on the use of lasers, even in the UK it is not law, but since the mass import of cheap lasers, and the fact that they are now in virtually every DJs light show, the HSE are getting tougher. The licensing authorities are now starting to insist that laser shows now comply with the IEC 60825 standards (a stricter standard than HS(G)95). They now have officers that are well versed on the standards and will expect you to know if your laser show is safe for audience scanning (just to clarify "audience scanning" the beam doesn't need to be going into the crowd, it needs to be at least 3 meters high so that people standing on tables or shoulders cannot reach it, else it is still classed as audience scanning). To show it is safe you need to either show certificates to show the laser is not capable of exceeding the MPE, or show your calculations for the show and also the effective safety devices.

I know it seems long winded, but the standards are set to protect the public. Just as venues insist on PLI. We are in a society where people will claim for all sorts of injuries simply because they can get the ambulance chasers to take on the case at no expense to themselves.

 

If you ask a mechanic how to stop your big ends knocking, he will not tell you to put sawdust in the engine. A serious laserist isn't going to tell you something is safe if it is not.

 

Oh, did I remember to say your clusters will normally be safe :joe:

 

Jim

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I just put "fx lab cluster" into google and it threw up loads of shops.

 

Jim

Were any boarded up?!

Looks interesting though.

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Oh right! smile icon

I think these were used during a wedding disco featured on 'Four Weddings' this week. Looks ok.

For me, I'd probably hire a couple for Christmas functions.

 

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