I often have questions about lighting from customers wanting to know what sort of lighting they will receive and when explained to them, they still are left... well ..... in the dark. This article will attempt to explain what different lighting fixtures are called, what they do, and how they operate.
R5 Entertainment has an exceptional lighting set up and allows for vary unique customization over the event and can accomplish some of the following:
- Pin spots for special tables such as cake tables
- Follow spots for special dances
- Haze Machines
- Custom light shows synced with music for special dances
- Water lighting effects
So lets start with the basics. Fixtures -
Lighting fixtures are defined as a single or string of lights that operate independently or in some cases, together. There are many types of fixtures and while we will not attempt to explain the entire array of them, we will outline a few here.
Par/Wash Lights -
These are typically used while mounted on a stand or truss to indirectly illuminate a surface - such as a dance floor, ceiling, wall, column, etc. - with a specific or random color.The abbreviation of PAR stands for 'Parabolic Aluminized Reflector'. Prior to LED lights, they were typically in aluminum cans. These lights can really add another dimension to any event space. We will explain the various color and capability options below.
Par lights come in various capability and and light combinations.
Most PAR lights will come with several different powering options as they are also used for uplighting (we will get to that later). These are either individually powered with no pass thru power option, will have a pass thru option and both require a continually connected power source. Another option would be battery powered. The advantage to battery powered over wall powered is the obvious lack of a need for a wall outlet and reduction of cables that will need to be secured to the floor. The disadvantage is that if they are not charged prior to the event or if you have an extended event length, they could run out of juice.
All lights will have some combination of these letters associated with them. (R) = Red, (G) = Green, (B) = Blue, (W) = White, (A) = Amber, (UV) = Ultra Violet.
Just about every modern LED PAR light with have RGB capabilities and are the most economical of the bunch. Adding Amber and White would be the next step up and the addition of Ultra Violet would be the top tier of lights.
PAR lights also have various illumination options. These typically include a number after the light such as 32, 64, ect. This indicates the number of individual LED's that the light includes. Additionally, each LED will have a watt rating. The higher the watts, the brighter the light.
Par lights are also used for uplighting. Uplighting seems to be all the craze for weddings at the moment due to their ability to transform a room from ordinary to extraordinary. When used for uplighting, Par lights are placed in strategic locations around/in a room and typically will be color coordinated to match the wedding colors, bridesmaid dresses, or some other important color feature of the event. Some DJ's charge a flat rate for the addition of this feature while others - seemingly most - charge by the light.
Custom Monogram Lighting -
Custom monogram lighting is a nice add on option that allows a very personalized look to the event space. Below are a few examples. Keep in mind that custom inserts do take a little time to get so make sure you nail down the design in advance of your event.
Follow Spot -
A follow-spot is like any typical spotlight and offers the ability to focus a light beam on a specific object. Typically these will be used to follow the guests of honor into a room and "spotlight" them for a special dance. Some follow spots have a myriad of colors witch allow for a more enhanced ambiance in place of the standard white light.
There are MANY different types of moving head fixtures. As expected, moving heads... move. They have the ability to display multiple color options and designs. Their can be one or multiple moving heads on a single fixture.
There are a plethora of different variations of lasers out there for use as a mobile DJ. So rather than attempt to explain them all, we will focus on the ones used by R5 Entertainment.
Our "simple" laser is a 650 nm/100 mW (red) laser diode, 532 nm/30 mW (green) laser diode which can create different laser effect and spin on various surfaces. This is a low power laser that will not harm the eyes and is safe to use projecting at a dance floor.
There are various options for lighting control for mobile DJ's. These include automatic sound mode, foot petal control, DMX mode from a console, and computer controlled DMX programs. At R5 entertainment, we use a computer controlled DMX method which allows us to have a greater amount of control of all the lights used in any particular set up as well as the ability to program customized light shows for special dances, such as a first dance.
In cases of smaller or multiple set up's, we may elect to use the DMX control board as we would not need such a great amount of control over lighting scenes.