Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting the Most from Your Non-DMX Stage Lighting

Let’s face it, lighting systems can be expensive, complicated, and frustrating to setup and operate. There are probably some of us who probably wish there was a magic wand to orchestrate our lighting without any of the controllers, dimmer packs, terminators, cables, etc. Indeed, there are some situations, low profile traveling bands come to mind, who are either lucky, or unlucky, enough to not have the room in their van nor the money to pack stands, controllers, and cables. Can a band like this still achieve quality lighting without a ‘system’? The answer is yes and in this article, I will detail how you can do this. Though LED PAR cans are great, the most inexpensive and reliable across the entire color spectrum is the standard incandescent PAR cans. It has been well documented that many LED PAR cans struggle to match the brightness and saturated colors of standard PARs as you approach brighter colors and white light. Don’t forget that PAR cans do not need to be hung to work. Using either their yokes, or compact an inexpensive stands like Optima’s PAR can stand, you can place your PAR can at the front of the stage and throw light that way or you can place it behind certain band members and silhouette them for a dramatic and attractive effect. Color gels come in virtually every color imaginable, so you can really customize the mood and atmosphere so it fits your music. Remember, that there is nothing wrong with leaving your lights on full during your whole show, although you may end up burning through lamps and gels, as well as get rather hot on stage. I should remark that if you have some extra cash, LED PARs, like Optima’s or American DJ’s PAR64s and PAR56s are relatively inexpensive and produce far less heat, making your performance a more comfortable one and without the hassle changing bulbs and gels. In addition, LED PARs typically feature a sound operation mode as well as built in programs, making them extremely easy to use.

Another option for non-DMX lighting is LED lighting effects. Many lighting effects units have built in microphones and run according to pre-programmed macros to your music. Nearly all types of LED lighting effects feature this option, so you actually have a fairly large selection of LED effects to choose from. Also, do not forget about fog machine, they do not require DMX controlling, can be mounted anywhere, and enhance any light effect you already have by catching the light in its haze. Aside from fog machines which require a bit more maintenance, LED lighting effects require little maintenance and are extremely durable because they stay cool and burn bright for extremely long periods of time.

In the end, some lights are better than no lights, and a little can go a long way. Don’t forget that many venues may have existing stands or trusses there, so it may be worth investing in your own set of clamps so you can utilize these stands if they exist. As always, make BulbAmerica your number one place for stage lighting, not matter what it is you ultimately need. We are just one click away so get started now!

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