Home Forums Digital DJ Gear Light choice for beginner

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  • #2400701
    Greg Heller
    Participant

    Hi all,
    I’m new to dj’ing events when it comes to lighting. I’m not on a big budget so I’m looking to do the best I can. I’m looking at the chauvet swarm wash 5 fx vs the stinger 1 or 2 as my main light. Which would you suggest of the two? Also what would you add as secondary lighting to have enough to do small to medium venues? Thanks all…

    #2400751
    Terry_42
    Keymaster

    Honestly if you cannot afford good lights, then do not do it.
    Even I do not own many lights (after 20+ years DJing), most were gifted to me. When I do a gig I assess the size of the venue calculate a price for the lighting and then rent them at my local rental company.
    In the end you will always be cheaper this way.
    Those small chauvet lights are extremely low output and will not work good unless you are in total darkness. Trust me I have seen them all at several exhibitions.

    #2400771
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    Lightning for starters is a … well lets say tough call.

    There have been quite a few posts on this subject about 6 months ago I think and I am not gonna rehash the topic here.

    Can’t give you specific advice on the Chauvet gear. From what I have seen/heard of them, it’s comparable to American DJ which I know a bit better.

    The most telling thing is your question that you are talking about 1 light as your primary light. That is, unfortunately, not how setting up light works.

    A few things from my experience:
    1) In lighting you should do it right or not at all. With light cheap more often than not looks like just like that, cheap and bedroomy. While good lighting can add to your image, low-budget stuff CAN potentially make you look a lot worse.
    2) Lighting in my opinion is a symmetrical thing. Hard to get things right with singles hitting from the middle (plus you will be backlit all the time). I would normally suggest a lightstand on either side of the room for better effect and coverage. Also each should have identical fixtures to prevent it – again – from looking very unprofessional.
    3) Lighting control. While most modern fixtures will have something like sound control, setting and forgetting them to that is boring and uninspiring. So you’d need something like DMX control.
    4) Forget about low-end laser. Light output is usually limited, you absolutely MUST have a hazer for it to look anywhere near spectacular and it being a rather specific effect, you can’t run it all night.
    5) Having a hazer (not a fog machine!) will help make what lights you have look way better.
    6) You need static light (wash) as well as moving stuff.

    To give you an idea of a set-up to aspire to:
    1) 2x American DJ Revo (one 3 and one 4 if 3 is still available – aiming one at the floor the other at the ceiling)
    2) 2x small LED moving heads (those you can place next to your booth – elevated or even on your speakers – secure them well). Something like InnoPockets
    3) 2x 4-bar LED Pars for wash (room lighting)
    4) DMX-control, for example CueLux or Cuety.
    5) Hazer
    6) Additions: Strobe light, ultraviolet, skirt for stands (backlight them with single pars)

    Again, I picked some of the stuff I know well. But even if you shop, you are talking quite a bit of money there, not to mention space to transport it (does it still fit in your current transportation?), store it (same question). It also takes relatively much time (compared to setting up audio) to setup and take down.
    And to top it off, next to being busy picking and playing music (and often having a few other things to do during weddings and such) you now have to worry about getting the lights right.

    And at the end of the day you can’t really charge all that much extra for bringing lights. I found that with light of my own, I was cutting into my bottom line, adding lots of work and generally not reaping the rewards.

    That said, (good) light CAN definitely make a change in atmosphere and enhance the party mood.

    I usually play without lights or just set up single-color wall uplighting (I have 4 LED Pars for the purpose) that I set and forget. If a customer really wants lighting, I offer them a pro setup that I rent, including transport, setting up/taking down and, if it’s a big light rig, someone to control the lighting. A video wall is also an option. But again, I rent, charge the customer the full rental and take a discount from the rental guys. They’ll usually be there with a bigger transport than mine, be there earlier to set up (clearly I will be there to oversee the process, just indicating they will usually start setting up before I do) and they will be finished after I am done setting up all audio gear and sound-checking.

    Don’t want to deter you and you can read the review over on the blog on the Chauvet all in one bars, two of which will get you started fine if you want to add something to your set: http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2015/07/review-chauvet-dj-jam-pack-silver-lighting/. Together with two stands and t-bars they will probably run you in the 300s or so. I seem to recall a similar setup already mounted on a t-bar and with stands, but can’t recall quickly.

    #2401151
    Allan Murray
    Participant

    I’m actually in the process of putting together a new smaller mobile set up and have looked at the ADJ stinger before…

    I’ve currently got the ADJ inno pocket spots, and I’m wondering if i could get away just for now with 2 inno pocket spots and two ADJ Revo 3’s.

    Reason I’m asking is the booth I’m going for a micro booth that fits controllers the size of the DDJ SB2..

    This set up I’m looking to do parties of up to round 100 to 120 people…

    This is the booth here.

    It’s the Equinox Micron…

    dj booth

    #2401181
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    I used to have a bigger booth from ADJ that had a similar light bar setup. The reason I never used the light bar was that is somehow just didn’t look as good as proper T-bars on lighting stands. And only stands with t-bars because I didn’t feel like carrying around truss, which imho is still the only way of properly and professionally setting up lights.

    #2401381
    Benfleet
    Participant

    Perhaps the one thing we all miss when setting up our lights is how it looks from the crowds perspective. We can stand there marveling at the projections from our new moving head or scan but no haze and all the crowd sees is a colored wobbling mirror.

    If you can’t use haze (fire alarms are getting more sensitive) then scrims and glow screens are an option; cheap easy, diffused light so you are not blinding Great Aunty Mabel (if you do weddings etc.) and venues seem to like the look of them.

    Also the most important investments for a light show are cable ties and velcro straps. (we all know this already but just in case) IMHO there is nothing worse than seeing cables stretched through the air from a power box on the ground to a light on a t-bar stand or truss. Cable can be permanently attached to the truss or bars to a socket so that you can then run power etc. up the back of the tripod and secure those cables with velcro strips.

    Hope that helps but if you know all of that already then tell me to be quite – I won’t be offended.

    #2401391
    Benfleet
    Participant
    #2401441
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    Clearly we don’t use velcro straps and cable ties in the real world LOL.

    There is only one way to go and that is with an endless supply of (Nichiban) Gaffa tape!

    +1 for cable management though, it makes a lot of difference if things are nice and tidy.

    +1 on the Hazer, I mentioned it in my first reply as something that makes even weaker lighting look better, it gives a venue a slightly clubby atmosphere and visualizes the beams and/or colors the air (with wash pars). Luckily Hazers don’t present too much of a problem with guests or fire alarms, quite unlike FOG which is an effect any way and shouldn’t/can’t be used to permanently achieve the needed result. I stopped using Fog years ago as both guests and venue manager started complaining the moment the saw the actual machine, let alone when it started to belch smoke.
    I have not had a single Hazer problem since I switched. The only downside to Hazer is that they cost a LOT of money.

    #2401471
    Benfleet
    Participant

    Hi Vintage

    I’ve had hazers set off fire alarms. It’s uncommon but you still feel like a lemon when you empty a venue. One time it was on super low but what I didn’t notice was the haze being drawn to a open door that had a sensor above it.

    Is the cabling in photos not up to snuff? Can’t do much about the small trail on the ground -other than a bigger screen and if it ain’t in foot fall range I’m too lazy to take it!

    #2401521
    Benfleet
    Participant

    Sorry – ‘Too lazy to tape it’

    #2401531
    Benfleet
    Participant

    This is what I meant by wires not being velcroed to the stand.

    Wires

    #2401561
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    Yep, taped (sorry, velcroed 😀 ) looks a lot neater.

    #2401641
    King of Snake
    Participant

    H Greg,

    there is this Chauvet Gig bar. Works for me for smaller rooms…
    The sound mode of the lights is quite standard, but i bought a small DMX controller and made my own scenes, that works quite well. I’m planning for a second one.

    regards,

    King of Snake

    #2401871
    squarecell
    Participant

    Personally, I find the GigBar is weak. Even in small venue it just doesn’t do enough.

    A better choice IMO would be to have a couple of moving heads, a wash and something like a Mini Dekker or Kinta. On separate stands so you can add some depth to your setup.

    #2401881
    Terry_42
    Keymaster

    I also have to say the gig-bar… not that fantastic.

    I agree with Vintage that you need uplighting and moving things. However I think you can get away without DMX if you do small things and have a remote like many ADJ lights have.

    So my minimum pick would be:
    – 2 Revos (I liked the Revo 3 better)
    – 2 InnoColor Beams or similar moving heads
    – 4 cheap RGB LED cans
    – 2 4-row LED bars
    That is what you can get away with for small parties etc. I agree a Hazer would be nice addition. Some RGB cans can “somewhat strobe” so you can get away without one. If you have all ADJ lights you prolly can link them up and be OK with sound2light if you change the program via their IR remote now and then.

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