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Thread: DJ Lighting - The Complete Evolving Guide

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    DJ Lighting - The Complete Evolving Guide

    UPDATE 05 Feb 2012 - Yup, I saved it from 1.0. Will update it in the next few months to include changes since I last wrote it out. Lets face it, some of this is painfully outdated.
    I'll be adding videos and pictures back on later.

    Introduction:
    I've started this little guide in order to help people when it comes to putting together their lighting setup. It's more often than not, when someone is getting ready to buy or upgrade their DJ equipment, they don't know where to start or what to buy when it comes to lighting. It is my hope that this little guide will help those people who are looking to start or expand their current lighting gear to make the right decisions, leave a little more educated, and feel a little more comfortable when it comes to making decisions about the perfect gear for them.

    I am going to make this guide as unbiased as possible. The purpose of this is not to promote one company over another nor push a single product, but to educate people better on what to look for and leave the decision making to them. There are plenty of places on these forums for discussions about particular companies and fixtures if there are questions.

    So without further ado... The Guide.

    - Mystic
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:51 PM.

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    I. Budgeting
    So you're wanting to get some lighting for your DJ gear. Maybe you're wanting to expand on the lighting you already have. The first question you need to ask yourself is "what is my budget?"

    This is the single most important part of the process because you need to know what you can afford or what you want to spend on your system. Lighting costs can add up very quickly depending on what types of fixtures you want to get for your setup. There is one axiom to the world of lighting though: you get what you pay for. Allow me to elaborate on this for a moment...

    There are many many companies to choose from when it comes to lighting. Some are more well known than others, and there is usually a reason for this. There are companies out there which sell replica or similar styles of lights as most major companies, but more often than not, these fixtures are of lower quality build and have issues which shorten the life of your light. This is one major reason why, when choosing lights, cheaper is almost always never better. Yes, you can spend $60 on that imitation kinta, but does that fixture have a duty cycle that will burn up the light if you keep it on more than 15 minutes? Is that fixture built with cheap parts which will break from being moved around from venue to venue or even just from being turned on? These are things you always want to ask yourself when looking at fixtures you consider purchasing because this is an investment and you will want the most for your money. You do not want to have to replace fixtures ever couple months because they keep breaking on you, which is why I tell everyone when it comes to buying lighting: stick to reputable companies who have a good standing within the industry. If you invest in cheap lighting, don't be amazed when you see your investment in pieces over a short amount of time.

    That being said, it's time to decide how much you're wanting to budget for your lighting. Now I've seen requests for help come in all shapes and sizes. Everything from the teenager wanting to spend no more than $200 on his gear to the full on company that wants to spend $20,000. Of course, you can't expect much with a budget of $200, however, sometimes it's all you have to work with.

    Some things to consider when budgeting for your lighting: there is more expenses than just the lights themselves and all will need to be added in depending on what type of setup you're building:

    Fixtures
    Truss or Tree Stands
    Truss Clamps
    DMX Cables
    Power Extensions
    DMX Controllers or Relay Systems
    Dimmer Packs
    Replacement Bulbs and Fuses

    All these things, even the little things, add up the total cost of your system, so you need to figure out how much you want to spend before going hog wild and buying lights because before you know it, you will have spent your whole budget only to find out there were still a few things you needed. If you don't know what most of the stuff above is, don't worry, we'll cover all of that in this guide so you know what everything is.

    II. Truss & Tree Stands
    So you want to start buying some lights, great! But first you need to figure out what exactly you're going to hang them from. There are many many different ways to present your setup, and it's ok to be creative, just make sure that it looks good. Things like cable management are very important, especially if you do events such as weddings where you want a clean looking setup that will look nice in pictures instead of being an eyesore. So there are quite a few options you have to choose from. We'll go over most of them with an explanation of the benefits and disadvantage to each.


    Tree Stands - The tree stand is the most basic stand. It usually consists of tripod legs with a telescoping pole and 2 to 4 "branches" for mounting your lights. A lot of DJ's choose this method because of it's simplicity when it comes to setting up, and often use multiple tree stands for their lighting. What is nice about a tree stand is that a single person can usually raise the lights up by themselves, which in a lot of cases, is a necessity if you work alone, however, most tree stands aren't rated to carry as much weight as truss and you're limited on space for lights. These stands are great if you are looking for something that sets up quickly and are doing it all yourself, and if you need lighting in smaller places. It's a preferred method of hanging lights for house parties due to being able to fit into smaller areas where larger truss won't fit.


    Truss (I-Beam) - An I-Beam truss is the fairly common and most widely used system among mobile DJ's now days. It's a piece of truss, usually measured at 10' in total length across with two tripod stands on either side. Sometimes you will find I-Beam truss that comes with T-Bars, which are simply two bars that mount horizontally on the top of the tripod stand which can hold light loads. The benefit to truss is that it can hold a higher weight loads than tree stands and also has more room for lights, but you give up the ability to raise the system with only a single person because it takes 2 people to raise and can be very difficult if you have a system without cranks unless you bring a ladder and load lighting on after you have it in the air, which can be even more dangerous and difficult. Also, unless you have a trailer or similar method of getting your gear to and from venues, they take up more space than a tree stand, not being able to fit in most cars.


    Truss (Triangle) - Triangle truss is the beginning level of the more expensive setups. Where you can find I-Beams for under one-hundred dollars in some places, triangle truss is a much larger investment. The reason is that when you start looking at heavier duty truss such as this, you're no longer dealing with cheap materials. Proper truss systems need stronger stands, which a lot of the time is made from steel instead of aluminum in order to support heavier loads and the truss itself is usually made from a better grade aluminum which is also thicker. The benefit to using this is the ability to hang heavier loads which I-Beam truss can't hold. The drawbacks are that it does cost a lot more, the equipment is heavier, and it does take up more room.


    Truss (Box) - Box truss is the most common in the lighting industry outside of DJing. You don't see too many DJs using it because of many of the reasons stated above with triangle truss: it's a lot more expensive, it weighs a lot more, and it takes up a large amount of space. Box truss comes in many shapes and sizes, and in most cases, is overkill for DJs unless you have the gear that requires this kind of setup; usually in the form of moving yokes and other heavy lights. The benefit is that there is very little limitation when it comes to what you can put on these systems. They are able to carry a much heavier load than even triangle truss in most cases. It's also worth mentioning that when you start dealing with bigger truss, you're also adding minutes to hours in setup times and you will also need extra help to put these systems together and raise them.


    Arch Systems - Arch systems have been becoming more common with DJs in the past few years. An arch system is, simply put, a series of truss pieces that when put together form an arch. There are many other systems available that fit into this category as well and it's not just limited to an arch, but the more extravagant the system, the higher the cost and the longer the setup. Arch systems are good because they are not only able to hold a good amount of weight, but they are also very clean looking provided you practice good cable management. These systems are also not cheap. In fact, they cost quite a bit more than most triangle systems. Arch systems also have no stands and are at a set height, so there is no raising the truss up other than standing the whole system up at once. One other nice thing about these systems is that they use a lightweight truss which is very easy to setup with a single person as a whole. However with the light truss you sacrifice the amount of weight you can put on it compared to heavier truss.


    Standard vs Crank Stand - I'm going to save you a lot of time and explanation here. If you can afford good quality crank stands for whichever setup you decide to go with, it will be one of the best investments you can make. With a standard stand, you have to raise the truss up with two people manually with either a load of lights on the rig, or raise it and use a ladder to put the lights on. With crank stands, you can load your truss up and send up up with two people in a snap. It will save you a lot of time and aggravation from trying to raise an I-Beam with 150 pounds worth of lights on it manually.


    Conclusion - Some things to remember when buying truss and stands is that, while some may look the same, they may not be. One thing to look at is the weight rating. Two pieces of I-Truss, while they look identical, may not be able to carry the same weight load. Also, while descriptions may say the stands raise 10 to 12 feet, once that truss starts taking weight, stability can become an issue when it's fully extended.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:51 PM.

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    III. Effects Lighting, Intelligent Lighting, and Strobes
    One of the first questions you will ask yourself when shopping for lighting is "what kind of lights do I get?" The first thing you need to understand is the difference between the types of lights you have to choose from. These are mainly broken down into three groups: Effects Lights, Intelligent Lights, and Wash lights. Granted, there are many more types of lighting used for applications such as theater, but as this is a DJ guide, I'll stick more to the ones that are relevant to the topic.

    Effects lighting covers a wide range of fixtures. Most lighting designed for DJ's are effects lights. They usually consist of several beams of light which move to the beat of music via sound activation with limited control over the fixture. Most effects lights have very limited modes of operation as well, which is the main reason they generally cost less than intelligent lighting, though some fixtures, such as the LED driven fixtures that have been coming onto the market have had much more versatility and control than older conventional fixtures. Effects lights are great to get people up and moving at most events, however, using a lot of them at once can appear tacky and give an unprofessional look to your setup. But the same can be said for anything that isn't well done.

    Intelligent lighting consists mainly of DMX driven lighting which gives total control over every aspect of the light from what colours you're using, to the gobo or shape of the light, to where the light is positioned and how it moves. Because of this, these lights require many more moving parts which makes them much more expensive to manufacture. The benefit to having intelligent lighting is you can create a much cleaner and impressive light show than with effects lighting alone. While you will need to get a DMX controller to have this control, a lot of intelligent lighting does come with an internal microphone for sound activation. In most cases, you can actually daisy chain the same fixtures together so that they work in harmony with each other.

    The two main types of intelligent lighting you have to choose from are scanners and yokes, or mirrors and moving heads... whichever you care to call them. Each has a different style of effect, such as the way it moves. The best way to really explain the differences is simply to just see them for yourself. Movement wise, mirrors have very fast movement where as yokes have a slower, more fluid motion.

    Strobes are a great effect to use in moderation. There is nothing worse than going to a party or a dance where the DJ likes to keep his finger mashed on the strobe button all night long. However, for the sudden flash effect you need sometimes, you can't go wrong with strobes.

    Effect Lighting Types
    There are many types of effect lights to choose from, so how do you know which are good and which are not so good? What should you choose for your personal setup? I will try to break it down.

    To start with, there are quite a few options out there. These are the most common:

    Double Derby


    Mushrooms


    Moonflowers


    Intelligent Lighting Types
    Intelligent lighting is certainly the way to go if you can afford to take that route. It allows for the creation of a cleaner, much more professional looking show than what you will get with effects lighting. However, that is not to say that these two types of lighting can't compliment each other. It's just good to learn how to make your show clean and look fantastic. Intelligent lighting adds so much more to your performance that you wouldn't be able to achieve with just effects lighting alone.


    Scanners
    Scanners are the most common of the intelligent lighting for DJ use. They are cheaper than the alternative intelligent lighting while relying on fewer moving parts and weighing less. There are many aspects of scanners to look for when shopping: how many watts does the fixture use? Does it use a halogen or discharge lamp? Does it have removable gobos and colours? Does it have rotating gobos? It's good to compare the features you're looking for vs what you can afford, and also the build quality.


    Also, on the subject of halogen vs discharge as this is a topic that comes up often. These are two different types of lamps that you will find in scanners. The one thing that you need to understand about these lamps without going into a lot of detail: a 150w discharge lamp is the equivalent or sometimes even brighter than a 250w halogen lamp. This is very important when you start looking at how much electric your lighting rig is going to draw. With discharge lamps, you're being much more efficient without losing the power or brightness you expect from a 250w lamp.

    Barrel
    Think of barrels like you think of scanners. They have many of the same features, but in place of a single mirror, they have a motorized barrel that spins and rotates. There are only a few companies making these anymore, but they can still be found now and again.

    Yokes (Moving Heads)
    Yokes, or moving heads, are the most common light now found in the professional lighting industry. When you go to a large concert or large company conferences, these are the lights you will see most likely. These lights are a large head mounted on a motorized bracket which gives them over 540 of pan and around 257 of tilt. Put simply, they are the most versitile lights available, which is one reason they are so popular.

    They are very heavy lights due to all the motors and moving parts, some even having 3 or 4 internal wheels for gobos and colours, which also take up a lot of DMX channels... something to think about if you're looking at buying yokes when you go to buy a controller.

    Along with all this, they also come with a hefty price tag. Don't expect to get a decent moving head for under $2000. I know some companies make smaller versions for cheaper than that, but I warn against them as most are poorly built and won't last long term.

    IV. Washes
    Regardless of what kind of lighting setup you put together with effect and intelligent fixtures, one thing you will also need to add is wash lights. Wash lights do just as their name says, they wash the area with light. Now you might ask why you want to do such a thing? In most applications which you would need a lighting setup, be it weddings, school dances, parties, etc. most of the time, effects and intelligent fixtures won't be enough light for people to get around the room with. Not just that, but washes themselves can be used just for the wash effect and creating moods as well.

    There are many styles of washes out there. You have your old school par cans, you have the newer LED based par cans, colour strips and panels, colour banks, and wash yokes. It's really up to you to decide what will work the best with your budget and your system. The best thing to do is collect information on all your options and choose from there as each style of wash has different properties to it. Par cans will give you a completely different effect than a colour strip will, but you will have a much easier time hanging a par can from truss.

    Also, something to consider if you're on a very small budget: it's better to get a small setup with nothing but wash lights than it would be to have a couple effects lights; the reason being as stated above. In most applications, a couple effects lights won't be enough to get the job done, not to mention that you shouldn't keep an effect light on all night long, even without a duty cycle, which means rotating one or two lights at a time every so often. Then there is also the lack of mood you will have as a lot of effects lights have very little to no control.

    Uplighting:
    This has sort of become the new trend in lighting. What uplighting is, is when you take a wash light such as a Par64 and set it on the ground against a wall pointing up at a slight angle. This creates a column of light. If you have a bunch of these around a room, it can create a clean, sophisticated look for business functions, weddings, or pretty much any other event.

    Some things to think about with uplighting: while it does look great, it doesn't come without it's issues. Remember that wherever these lights are, you also have to run cables to them (provided they are DMX) and also run power. They will also be around the room, and people do have the tendency to not look where they are walking, so it's not uncommon for someone to kick them over.

    Truss lighting:
    Another popular trend more for people who have box truss or triangle truss is something called truss lighting. This is where you put a wash light in both sides of your truss, pointing inside the truss as opposed to toward a crowd. The effect you get is that the light will reflect from the bars on the truss and make the truss glow.

    There are many things you can do with wash lights if you're creative enough.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:50 PM.

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    V. DMX vs. Sound Activation
    So what is this DMX we keep talking about here? DMX is basically a means of controlling your lights. With DMX, you can choose which colour your light is, which gobo your light is using, the intensity of the beam, the position of the light, and a lot more. DMX is also the way you program a light show like this:


    Of course, these are light specific. Some lights don't have an iris to control or a gobo wheel in them to change the design or some don't even have DMX at all. In fact, most older effects lights don't have DMX and many new ones have very limited control. DMX is more aimed towards intelligent lighting that has moving mirrors, gobo wheels, and colour wheels. In any event, if you want to know more about how DMX works, you can read Designer's guide on DMX right here on this forum.
    Designer's Guide To DMX Part 1
    Designer's Guide To DMX Part 2

    Sound activation is a way for your light to be controlled via sound. Many effects lights and even many intelligent lights have a little microphone on the fixture that "listens" to the music and the light will control itself with the beat of the music. In some ways, sound activation is the way to go. For instance, with the Chauvet Kinta, while it has DMX capability, the only things you can control via DMX are the direction and speed of the light rotation. So it's pretty pointless to have someone sitting at a controller and working the speed and direction when the sound activation can do a much better job of it.

    Of course, now days, the best way to go with your setup is to have everything DMX so you have total control over your system. Even par cans have gone DMX with the new LED pars coming out which allow you to change the colours, control the dimming, even add strobe effects, so when building a new system, it's always better to go with DMX lights.


    VI. Controllers
    There are a few different kinds of controllers you can buy for your system depending on what kind of lights you're using.

    Relay Pack - A relay pack is a pretty simple analog controller. It consists of the actual relay pack which is simply an outlet box for your lights to plug into. The relay pack is then connected to a switch panel which tells a specific outlet to turn on or off with the flick of a switch. Most relay systems have things like a chase function built in which works well enough with conventional par cans.

    DMX (Hardware) - There are a lot of options out there to fit your budget and setup. A DMX controller will be able to control all your DMX lights, create scenes, program shows, and some even have a built in microphone for sound activation for fixtures which don't have their own if you're one of those people who don't have time to program or are too busy to control lights during a job. The only drawback to a DMX controller is that, in order to control lights with no DMX, you need to buy a relay pack with DMX on it. And even then, all you will be able to do is turn the light on and off. You would just need to decide whether the cost of the relay pack is worth the convenience.

    DMX (Software)
    Computers are wonderful. Even more so that there are ways to program and control whole light shows with them. Quite a few companies have developed lighting control software that you can run directly from a laptop. They do everything a hardware controller does by connecting the DMX cable to a USB dongle that usually comes with the software when you buy it. And before you think you can get away with using the top of the line programs with a cheap $15 dongle, think again. Most programs require a specific dongle that comes with it. So those $15 dongles are useless. And yes, I like saying dongle. Dongle is a funny word.

    The down sides to software DMX controllers: There are a lot of stability issues that a lot of the cheaper programs have which can cause your light show to crash in the middle of a gig... not something you want to happen. You also need to use a laptop to run them. Great, fine, and dandy for people who are all mp3 based, but consider you would have to switch back and fourth from your DJing program to the lighting program. You pretty much need a second computer to make it work. However, is a benefit to going with software. The main one being that most decent software comes with a visualizer. What this does is allow you to create a 3D version of your setup on your computer and program scenes without having to set any of your lights up.

    Conclusion - Go with what your budget will allow and remember that there is resale value in controllers, so you can upgrade in the future. Rarely do I ever bring up the idea of upgrading when talking about lighting simply because I believe you should save and buy quality lights so you don't have to sell them and take a loss and start from scratch, however, when it comes to controllers, it's like stepping stones. Start with what you can and move up as you begin to pick the direction you want to go.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    VII. Conventional Bulb vs. LED Technology
    I wanted to take a moment and discuss the difference between conventional bulbs and LEDs because of LED becoming something of the new fad in lighting for the moment. LEDs are taking hold of a great deal of the market in DJ lighting for many reasons. They are cheaper to make, they last longer, they consume a lot less electricity, and they are a lot lighter as well. So why aren't all fixtures now LED based? For one, LEDs don't have near the output that a conventional bulb has, which is one of the reasons they are useless at the moment for scanners or moving heads. Regardless of the 15watt LEDs some fixtures might have, my professional opinion is that they aren't worth the overpriced plastic they come in. LED technology is making leaps and bounds, but they are in no way, shape, or form able to compete with conventional bulbs in the brightness market.

    That being said, LEDs have some major benefits to effects lighting. Effect lights have used these to their advantage mainly because they don't need to be super bright in order to obtain the desired effect. The benefit to DJ's is that these lights are using a lot less electricity, which means less worry about blowing breakers and the ability to have more fixtures on a single circuit.

    Eventually, we will see LEDs able to compete with conventional bulbs, but until that time, stay away from these overpriced LED movers.

    VIII. Accessories
    There are accessories you will need to get when buying a lighting system. I'll go through the obvious ones first:

    Replacement bulbs
    Replacement fuses
    Multi-Tool
    Electrical Tape
    Extra screws for truss - They like to strip from being tightened so much. Another benefit of crank stands.
    Zip ties - These always come in handy, especially for cable management.
    DMX Cable - This is important. There are major differences between DMX cables and XLR (Microphone) cables. While an XLR cable can work with your lights, it is highly recommended that you use proper DMX cable because XLR is not shielded in the way it needs to be for data transfer which can not only cause interference, but it can also damage your lights.
    Extension cords (BLACK!!!) - There is nothing tackier than seeing orange extension cords hanging off truss at a wedding.
    Clamps - There are two kinds of clamps common for DJ lighting. A C-Clamp, and an O-Clamp or Coupler. My personal opinion is that couplers are the way to go. They are easier to throw on and lock in and take less time. The only thing you have to be careful of is the sizes. Truss mainly comes in 3 sizes. 1", 1.5", and 2". You need to make sure you're buying the right size coupler for the right size truss.

    Safety cables - Safety cables are simply a piece of aircraft cable that has a crimped loop at the end and a spring hook at the other end. I highly recommend getting these for each of your lights as a safety precaution. Quality safety's can hold more than 800 pounds and only cost about $2 per.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:50 PM.

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    VIIII. Electrics
    Understanding basic electrics is always good common knowledge for DJ's, or anyone else for that matter, to possess. It will help you to figure out how to setup your equipment and know exactly what kind of electrical draw your gear has so you can distribute the load in such a way that you won't be throwing breakers all night long.

    The first thing to know is that the common household circuit is usually 15amps. A single 15amp circuit can handle 1800watts. This is most commonly distributed over a 2 outlet box, so keep in mind that the outlet usually directly above or below the one you just plugged into is most likely on the same circuit as the other and is sharing that breaker.

    It's also a very good idea to setup your system to run on 15amp circuits. While some venues may have 20amp or 30amp circuits, you won't know unless you ask, and chances are the people who work in venues like hotels or halls won't have any idea either, which means a run around to find someone who does know. So even if it takes 3 different circuits to run your gear from, it's better to do that then to have to change your setup every other gig.

    One other thing to consider when it comes to circuits. Electrical code limits the maximum load on a single circuit to 80%, which means, in reality, for a 15amp circuit, you can only plug in 12amps worth of gear. That is 1440watts total of current being used on a single circuit.

    You can usually find out how many watts a piece of equipment uses in the manual or on the fixture itself. Make sure you know what you're running and take the time to do the math. The worst thing in the world is being in the middle of a gig and having your lighting system go out on you because you were pulling too many watts.

    Dimmers - So you want the ability to fade your lights rather than simply have an on and off, you will need a dimmer to be able to achieve this. A dimmer works by controlling the RMS voltage of a light, and it is worth noting right off that you should always read the manual of the fixture you plan on connecting to a dimmer before doing so. Many lights out there can't be used with a dimmer, so know what you're plugging in before you do it.

    X. Haze vs. Fog
    One of the most common discussions we have here is haze vs fog. It's actually become as common as the whole PC vs Mac war thing, so I'll lay down the facts about both of these machines, what they are best used for, and the differences.

    To start, you need to know what you're looking for. Are you looking for a smoke effect? Or are you looking to accent your lights?

    Foggers - Foggers are good for getting that smoke effect. A fogger will create a smoke like cloud which dissipates quickly. They are great when used as an effect, but a lot of people are under the impression that they should keep a fogger going all night long to accent light beams, which is not what a fogger is designed for. Not only is the smoke thicker which can be oppressive, but it also has a scent which a lot of people find unpleasant and makes it difficult to look around. Fog is a great effect when used properly and not in excess.

    Hazers - Hazers are made for accenting lighting. The molecules in the air are smaller than that of foggers and most of the time you won't even notice it's presence other than being able to see light reflecting from them. Haze has a longer hang time than fog does as well, and depending on the fluid you're using, has a slower dissipation rate.

    Fluids: Oil vs Water Based - Another issue that comes up quite often is whether to use an oil based hazer, or a water based hazer. Generally, most hazers on the market are water based. The fluids tend to be cheaper as well as the machines than oil based, however, with a water based hazer, you use more fluid. Oil based haze also has a longer hang time and dissipates slower than water based haze. There are many suggestions of hazers on this forum for you to get information on. Just use the search and you'll find a lot of the previous threads on this topic.

    Conclusion - There are a few rules of thumb for both hazers and foggers. The first being to only use the fluids the manufacturer says to use. This information can be found in the manual or on their websites. The reason for this is that each companies fluid is different and developed specifically for their own machines to which the heater inside the machine heats up to a specific temperature that the fluid was developed for. Using other fluids other than that the machine was developed for can cause clogging in the lines or damage to the machine itself.

    Second, do not clean your machines. They do not need to be cleaned out on any sort of basis and by doing so, you risk damaging it. There are times, in the case of a clogged pump or lines, where you would need to clean it, but those are the only times and clogs can mainly be prevented by using the recommended fluids.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:50 PM.

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    XI. Lasers
    To start, I want to say this one thing that has become something of a tagline on this site, and for good reason: Lasers are not toys. In inexperienced hands, they can be very dangerous both to yourself and your patrons. If you are considering buying a laser that requires variance licensing, I highly recommend taking a course in entertainment laser displays, learn the laws of your country, and use these machines safely.

    In the US, anything over 4.9mW is illegal to use without a variance license to operate them. Most of what you find for sale from companies like American DJ and Chauvet are fine for DJ usage as they are all rated under 4.9mW with the exception of a few which use a "fatbeam" which basically means that the laser has a larger diameter reducing the absorption to the eye effectively making it safer or a "firework" technology which splits the beam multiple times making it practically harmless.

    Illegal Imports:
    Some people have the bright idea to import a laser from China. These lasers are low cost, but they come with an even bigger cost. For one, these lasers are not FDA approved, so importing and using them in the USA is a federal crime. Second, these lasers have a very low quality build and can be very dangerous. Consider this a buyer beware for anyone considering buying, importing, and using these lasers.

    Laser Safety:
    As stated before, a safety class will always help. You will learn the proper and improper ways to use a laser for entertainment and how to keep yourself and people around you safe. There are many accredited laser training courses across the US, so it would be good if you're thinking of using a variance required laser to take a course to help you better understand the laws and proper ways of using your laser.

    Laser laws vary from country to country. In the US we have stricter laws for lasers. It's always good to do the research if you have interest in these effects and learning how you can run them legally and safely.


    XII SAFETY ISSUES
    Cable management - This is very important. Everyone needs to make sure that when you're laying out your cables, that anywhere people might be walking over them, whether it's in front of your gear, behind your gear where people might make requests, running along the floor for uplighting or other gear that might be out of your area and need to run cables to. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure you either tape these cables down with gaff tape or use cable ramps such as yellow jackets. Not only will these prevent cables from being damaged, but they will prevent anyone from tripping over them and getting hurt. It's your job that when you set your gear up to make sure you're also creating a safe environment for patrons, or I can guarantee your DJ career will be very short lived.

    Safty cables - Always put a safety cable on all lighting that is in the air. This is for your protection and the protection of others around you. These cables, as stated in accessories, are not expensive and will save you if a fixture does fall.

    Always check your loads and stability - Very important for people who have truss or speaker stands. Anytime something is flown, make sure that A: the weight on the truss is evenly distributed (if you have 100 pounds on your truss, it should be across the whole truss and not on just one side), and B: that you make sure stands, be it speaker stands or lighting stands, are secure. Give them a shake, make sure the legs are extended and won't tip over.

    New lamps - When changing a lamp in a fixture, never touch the glass. The oils on your skin will destroy the lamp and possibly your fixture as lamps tend to explode when you touch them.
    Last edited by Mystic; 02-05-2012 at 04:50 PM.

  8. #8
    Member Mystic's Avatar
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    The End Results
    Hopefully since reading this, you have a better basic understanding of what you need for your lighting setup. Over time I will add to this little guide or modify it to keep up with new technologies and what not. If you have any other questions, especially about specific fixtures, there are many people on these forums that can help answer them. Just remember, before you start a new topic, use the search.

  9. #9
    Member Mystic's Avatar
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    Much more coming when I have some more spare time.

  10. #10
    Technoez Rek_Aviles's Avatar
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    All out of rep, but insanely informative thread.



    Posted to front page.. http://www.djforums.com/forums/conte...Evolving-Guide

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