How to Set Up Lights for DJs
When it comes to ensuring a truly energetic atmosphere at a party or other event, the music is only a part of the mix. In addition to quality sound, party-goers also want to see a light show to go along with the playlist. Lighting just enhances the music and boosts the energy in the air. There are so many impressive lighting effects that a DJ can incorporate into a show, which will leave guests dazzled.
However, properly setting up lighting for DJs requires a little know-how. The following are tips to setting up lighting for DJs.
Stands and Trusses
Before actually setting up the lighting, stands and trusses are required, which essentially form the structure upon which the DJ will place the lights in the system. A number of options are available when it comes to this type of equipment, including:
T-Bar – The most common, which are basically tripods upon which the lights are mounted;
I-Beam Truss – A good option for a mobile DJ, which is a single pole that connects 2 tripod stands;
Triangle Truss – A beam that connects two tripod stands;
Box Truss – Similar to a triangle truss, except that it has 4 horizontal poles rather than 3;
Arch – This system features multiple truss pieces that join together to create an arch over the DJs head.
Types of Lighting
There are a number of options when it comes to lights that a DJ can choose to add to their inventory:
Par Can – Short for “parabolic aluminised reflector”, this lighting makes use of halogen or LED bulbs. They shine an oval-shaped light with blurred edges. Different colored lenses can create different atmospheres;
Pinspot – This type of lighting creates a small, intense beam of light compared to a PAR, and is ideal for mood lighting or creating effects using other lighting materials, like mirror balls;
Laser – A thin, intense light beam that can be used together with other beams to create flashes at various intervals;
Strobe – Flashes intense white light, and can be set to flash in sync with music;
Gobo projector – Shines colored light in multiple designs, including stars, flowers, and written messages.
Positioning the Lighting
Regardless of what type of lighting is being used, DJs must affix them to the stand branches or the truss using clamps. It’s important to use clamps that are suitable for the specific weight of the lighting being used in order for them to hold the weight.
It might be more convenient to set up the stands or trusses first, then clamp the lighting onto them. Otherwise, DJs can clamp the lights, then set them to the stands or trusses. This method might require a ladder, while the first option might require an assistant because the trusses can get pretty heavy when the lights are mounted on them.
Connecting the Lights
The lighting chosen should have its own independent power source. Since the lights and music source need a lot of power, they might short circuit if they are sharing the same power source, which is why it’s best that each has its own.
Begin by adhering a power strip to one of the legs of the tripod. Power cables should then be run around the poles, then down the power strip. This will keep the power cables from hanging loosely, which is dangerous. Once the lights have been plugged into the power strip, they can be connected to the lighting control system, which also should be plugged into the same power strip, then wound around the poles of the lighting structure.