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mrdjw
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Sep 28, 2009

Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

Good Morning my fellow spinners!

I have recently added some new lights to my rig, and actually used a few of them at a party 2 weeks ago. I have avoided using lights (except for dances) because I never felt they were right for the types of gigs I usually do.

Since xmas season is here, I have about 6 parties scheduled, and I wanted to add some soft low key lights to my rig. I found a little $99 dollar laser (red and grees) that I used, and it was perfect. It added something extra to the party, but it did not make the place feel like a disco.

The only thing that was kinda off for me, was not being able to control the speed of the lights when the music slowed down (I know, control freak here), but since then, I have purchased another red/green laser that has DMX in it, as 2 of my other main lights are also DMX. I even purchased cables and the whole setup.

Now my question...How often do you use your lights, and do you use DMX or just let the autosounds functions take care of it? I have a DMX controller, but I am thinking of getting a plugin for VDJ and a usb connector so I can control the lights from my laptop. Anybody doing this? What hardware are you using?

Lights are a funny thing, because each one can set a different mood, so I am excited about maybe adding a little bit to my normal rig (not sure about weddings so much).

I hope this opens up the whole lights vs no lights discussion, but anything that you do, or don't do would be helpful, as you guys have been doing this much longer than I have, so I appreciate all your comments and advice!

Hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving!

DJW
14 REPLIES 14
Cap
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Jan 29, 2004

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

Mr. DJW: Your questions and sub topics would easily fill a 9 hour seminar (no potty breaks either!).
Cap
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Jan 29, 2004

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

Mr. DJW: Having a little free time this morning, here are few of my business observations regarding lighting.

Yes, effective show/cabaret lighting does add pizzazz to a show "IF" the lighting is classy, has a defined purpose, if there is some form of reflective particulate in the air, and has a 3:1 profitable return on investment. Adding lights to an event without charging more is a terrible waste of money and time. Of course, if DJing is just a hobby and money means nothing, do whatever.

For show/cabaret lighting, DMX is a must. For the fastest, more secure, and safe cable runs, a few wireless DMX controllers is a Godsend.

DMX freeware/shareware software is cute but as basic as it can be in comparison to the power and awesomeness of the "big boys" such as Martin's Light Jockey. Although today's laptop horsepower makes it extremely possible to run audio, video, and DMX software on the same machine, for the larger and more complex sets, I've found that a netbook works best IF the computer solution is one's choice. My personal choice is DMX control boards rather than software; a Chauvet DMX-44 for the larger more complex chases, scenes, and light by light control while using a very small Elation 3 channel controller for variable color changing of uplighting fixtures.

My philosophy about lighting remains the same as it was 30 years ago. Do it right, do it the best, or don't do it. Great lighting need particulates in the air. Once facility fire & smoke detectors got more sophisticated and that most smoke, fog, and/or haze devices triggered alarms, that was the end of me and show/cabaret lighting. Most DJ and band lighting sets I see today resemble glorified Christmas trees or the front window of a gadget shop.

Uplighting, a recent fad that is already on its way out, was profitable for a while, however with more people offering it for almost nothing, that r.o.i. is shot too.

Bottom line is, well, the bottom line. Can you buy the lights, hardware, software, cabling, et al, spend the time learning DMX, spend the time laying and taping down DMX and power cables, and still make a profit?
Media4u2
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Jan 31, 2008

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

I use two lighting fixtures with a third fixture as a separate option.

1. Chauvet 4-Bar. Comes with four LED light fixtures. I set them up so that each one is assigned one quadrant of the dance floor. Then I use the DMX scenes/programs that I prepared, varying the speeds to match the music, OR I use the sound-activated chase setting on the DMX controller (I use a Chauvet Obey 10). Alternately, I can use any of several pre-programed chases on the Obey setting. I like this because it comes with a stand and appropriate cases. I also like it because it does not have laser or strobes, which can be annoying or even problematical for those with some forms of epilepsy who may be attending the event. This fixture enhances the music rather than distracting from it, and for MY money, it's the best, adult-friendly lighting I could find.
2. A mini-star laser light (also Chauvet) that I set up on my DJ table and project on the ceiling over the dance floor. It projects green "stars" and red dots in a pattern. You can set the patterns to rotate slowly, rotate quickly, or remain static. You can also set it for red only, green only, or both red and green. A nice little light with good effects that doesn't detract from the music or call attention to itself.
3. The Chauvet Gobo light, which is billed out separately to project a monogram or design onto the dance floor during cocktail hour and dinner, or it could be set up to be shown on the wall above the bridal table if so desired. I turn this off during dancing, as the floor is covered with dancers and the gobo's light cannot be seen any longer.
DJ JD BASS
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Dec 22, 2008

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

These are the lights that I have found to be useful & how many I have of each one. I will also list which lights I use in DMX with a hardware controller & which ones I use in sound active stand alone mode or master slave sound active.

Chauvet 4Bar (4) - DMX
Chauvet Obsession LED (2) - sound active
Chauvet Hemisphere 5 (1) both DMX & sound active (depending on the application)
ADJ Galaxian 3D (1) - DMX
ADJ Atmospheric RG (2) - sound active
ADJ Tri-Phase (2) - sound active as master & slave or DMX
ADJ Micro Gobo Laser (2) - sound active
Omnisistem OS-1034 Blinder (2) - sound active as master & slave or DMX

I use lights in every show I do in some form & believe it add a fun vibe to the atmosphere. That being said I don't really use fog or haze ---> not a big fan.
karllangford
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Jan 30, 2011

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

I use the 4 bar 4 play combo. Easy set up, fits right behind my L1.
djdaver
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Jan 29, 2007

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

Same as Karl here with the lights. The 4 Bar and 4 Play takes just a few minutes to set up and and I use them in sound active mode. Easy to set up and take down and nice lights for the $$.

DJ Dave
www.djrudd.com
Cap
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Jan 29, 2004

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

Those of you who have/use cabaret/stage lighting, how do you price them? As part of your regular fee (and if so, how much did you bump the fees to get your expense back) or, if one charges extra ala carte, how much?

In either case above, how did you develop (what formula) the extra charge and/or fee bump?

Thanks in advance.
DJ JD BASS
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Dec 22, 2008

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

I charge the same & bring what is needed depending on the room size & the amount of expected guests.

The pic below was from a wedding we did last Friday. It was the first time that I used two 4Bars at the same time for my DJ Show & I really liked it!
Lou_D
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Aug 29, 2007

Re: Do you use lights, and how do you use them!

My light bar on a crank up Hercules T stand.

All (unless otherwise stated) are basic on and off via a wireless ADJ power strip mounted on the T bar.

2 Martin Manis Water Effect lights for color-washing the dance floor.
2 ADJ Sparkles for an occasional star ball effect.
2 Blisslights for color-washing the ceiling.
1 Martin Acrobat for our centerpiece (Thank You Richard Mills). I use a Martin MC-1 controller for slow, medium and fast sound activation as well as strobe and black out.
1 ADJ Revo 3 for additional effect (used sparingly). I normally aim the Revo just a little high.

I like the LED's for up-lighting but personally find them too harsh for color washing the dance floor. The Mania water effect lights do the job.