Your goal as a DJ is to control the mood of your audience. Your main tool for doing this is music, but don’t underestimate the power of lighting. Combining the visual and audio sensations of both music and light can take your show to the next level. Even a cheap light set can do wonders. The following guide can help you understand the options available through companies like Hollywood DJ, so you can work lights into your show.
Incandescent Can Lights
You have two main options when it comes to lights – old school lamps with incandescent bulbs, which are operated manually with a dimmer switch hooked to a control board, or more modern LED intelligent lights that can be programmed or operated manually.
The older incandescent styles are also called cans, because they resemble cans with a light bulb in the bottom. A lighting gel is inserted in each can to set the color of the light. They are then placed on stands and hooked up to a lighting board via a dimmer switch. The problem with these is that you have to operate the lighting board while you are trying to DJ if you want the lights to dim, brighten or flash.
LED Intelligent Lighting
Intelligent lights can be pre-programmed to dim, flash, move, and change color. You can pre-set them before your show, or upload several shows into the system and select which one to play with a single push of the button. This means you won’t be trying to DJ and control your lights. Some systems allow you to alter pre-set shows when they are in progress. For example, if you decide on a whim you want to flash the lights in time with a scratch, you can do so manually.
Another option with these systems is a syncing function. This means the lights react to the beat of the music, so each show is unique and the movement, colors and flashing of the lights will complement the music.
Making a Choice
You can sometimes find cans and lightboards inexpensively secondhand, but generally you will spend quite a bit securing lights, stands, boards, dimmer switches and gels. In some cases, a new LED mobile set is less expensive than a used can setup. You can get all-in-one LED sets that have one or more attached to the stand. Some styles come with attached control boxes, which you can use on their own or you can plug them into a lighting control board. For the cheapest setup, purchase one or two LED stands with an included intelligent control. You can add more stands, and eventually a full light board, over time.