Friday, September 3, 2010

DJ Effect Lighting: A Guide for the Perplexed


If you’ve ever shopped for DJ lighting effects you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the numerous types there are. What doesn’t help is that very seldom can you find a guide that enumerates the different effects, rather than just the different fixtures themselves. In this article I will go through the different effects and explain the differences between the effects and what you can expect from them. So, let’s get started. The simplest effects in the DJs arsenal, and the ones of with which people are most familiar, are the strobe and the beacon. The strobe, which is now very commonly powered by LEDs, can either be white light or colored and flashes light at a variable rate, creating the unbeatable robot-like strobe effect. The beacon is another fairly popular choice for DJs. This inexpensive technique features a colored plastic cylinder or cone with a rotating bulb inside. Beacons are great for being placed on top of a speaker or anywhere where a little extra flair is desired.

Beam effects are one of the most widely used effects. Beam effects come in specific beam effects fixtures like the Chauvet LED Mushroom, which features a rotating series of colored lenses mounted in front of an LED light source. The effect created is a cluster of spinning, independent colored beams. Moving heads, like Elation's Beam Design heads, also are capable of producing beam effects. Don’t forget when you consider using a beam effect to consider getting a fog machine, these two effect units go perfectly together! A sub-family of beam effect is moonflower effects and derby effects. A moonflower effect, like that produced by Chauvet’s Vue 4.1 DMX LED, produces many different colored beams that collect on the surface it is directed at and form a pattern. Moonflower fixtures often produce numerous patterns and feature impressive color changing abilities. Derby effects are also another common beam effect. Derby effects feature the creation of many moving beams that can be layered on top of each other to create a multi-color beam effect. The derby effect, like all DJ effects, has a built in microphone that automatically syncs its pattern to your music.

The other main family of DJ effects is barrel and scanner effects. A barrel is usually a rotating cylinder with multiple mirrors to fixed to its exterior that reflects the light shined upon it from the bulb’s lamp. Optima’s Excalibur scanner features a barrel which creates many quickly alternating and rotating beams. Barrel effects also use gobos which are then rotated and use color changing to create a dynamic performance. Scanners create a similar effect and work similarly. Rather than use a rotating barrel, a scanner features a light source that shines on a single mirror which usually features XY rotation or rotation horizontally and vertically.

Of course there are other effects, like blacklights, lasers, snow machines, and bubble machines, which are easily distinguishable from the rest. BulbAmerica has all of these effects in stock and at unbeatable check us out today. Post any questions or comments you have on the blog or our Facebook or call 1-877-622-0897.

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