Lighting Me or Lighting You?

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Jessica Porcaro

You’re a gigging entertainer and you’ve taken your first steps on your journey into adding lighting to your set up. Congratulations! You already know the importance of effect lighting for entertainment and special events. Lighting is the visual personality of an event or performance and can help propel the narrative of a play, lyrics in a song or energize a dance floor. With a just a couple lighting fixtures you can be on your way to creating some really amazing lighting design for your events. Create effects and moods with lighting fixtures that add to your clients’ memories and last a lifetime.

A common mistake new mobile DJ’s often make is to buy one or two effect lights and simply turn them on, using the lighting fixtures in the same way for whatever gig they’re working. Different types of events need different types of lighting fixtures. One easy thing to consider when you’re thinking about how to light your event is to focus on what you are actually lighting. For instance, are you spot lighting yourself on a stage, or are you effect lighting people on a dance floor? In other words, lighting on me vs. lighting on you. These applications have opposite goals. Most often, guests on a dance floor don’t want to be in the spotlight. A darkened room with dynamic, moving effect lighting to stimulate movement is the best way to keep a dance floor full. However, if you’re a solo musician, in a band or some other stage performer, being in the spotlight is paramount because the audience needs to see who is performing clearly.

In general, if you’re lighting yourself or another performer the object is to project some sort of even, bright light on the subject from the front area of the performance space. Think of this as the main source of light on the subject – the key light. Adding some color or moving effect in a background behind the subject or other areas of the performance space can add visually interesting textures, depth and layers. In addition, this can create stark contrast between the background and the subject, framing the performer. Just putting an effect light aimed at a stage in sound active mode all night can’t have the same effect and can cause visual fatigue.

When adding lighting effects to a dance floor, the opposite is true. It’s OK to add energetic, dynamic colors and effects, almost at random. Splash the dance floor with movement and color to create that nightclub effect that encourages dancing.

Your lighting – no matter how basic or complex – should be flexible enough to adapt to either situation. The good news is, while different events call for different types of lighting, more isn’t always better. By strategically choosing a few versatile lighting fixtures, you will have the ability to configure them in a way to give you professional lighting in nearly any scenario that may present itself.

So what type of versatile lighting fixtures should you consider to do these jobs? Consider a small and easy to operate set up like this: One CHAUVET DJ GigBAR 2, two CHAUVET DJ SlimPAR Q12 BT fixtures and a COLORband T3 BT linear wash light and the free CHAUVET DJ BTAir wireless control app. With these four fixtures and the BTAir App, your lighting rig could be flexible enough to handle just about any entertainment lighting situation. Here’s how:

For the performer on a stage, set up your Bluetooth® wireless technology enabled SlimPAR Q12 BT pars fixtures as your key light in front of the performer. These can be clamped to truss or stands. Because they are quad-colored fixtures, they include a natural amber which, with a little color mixing can create a nice event tone for your wash lights. Color mixing and other looks are easily controlled wirelessly with the BTAir App right from your smart phone or tablet without any additional hardware needed. The COLORband T3 BT fixtures can be operated right from the same app and be used as a wash light in the background of the performer. The GigBAR 2 has some great effects, including strobe and UV that can add some effect lighting flavor behind the performer as well.

For the dance floor, you can aim your GigBAR 2 right at the dance area and create dynamic lighting effects that really igniting the party area. Your Bluetooth® enabled fixtures and BTAir can be used to throw some wash across the floor as well as effect lighting with energetic chases, pulses and strobes and more.

With a little imagination and planning the sky’s the limit with your event lighting. Think about what you are lighting and the effect it will have on an audience, then carefully choose a few lighting fixtures that can handle these different event applications.

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