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Thread: Mobile DJ Lighting and Setup - Newbie!

  1. #1
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    Mobile DJ Lighting and Setup - Newbie!

    Hello all,

    Second time posting on the forum (after my speaker post!) - Thank you in advance for any thoughts and comments.

    I'm a beginning mobile DJ, doing everything from small 30 person birthday parties to 50-100 person weddings, up to 200 person teen dances.

    My lighting/DJ setup has been a 5ft folding table with a black skirt, then I setup on top of that and sometimes will have a 42" TV in front which shows maybe a slideshow or some graphics. Works ok but not the cleanest look. As far as lights, I have been renting ADJ DOTZ TPAR LED Pars (two trees of 4 lights each) that just randomly change colors and provide wash to the dance floor. While they don't have any effects, they do provide a lot of light and colors to the dance floor.

    Looking to kick that up a notch. Looking at purchasing 2 Chauvet GigBar2. Love the idea and the different effects, but after seeing them in person at Guitar Center, just wondering how they perform in a large space as compared to the ADJ setup, the LED lights seem rather wimpy (only 3 LEDs it appears on each light) - so just wondering if two of these gigbar2 systems would hold up for lighting and effects in a large gym?

    Next, on my table setup, I found the Mesa ProX XF-MESA MK2 Media booth which looks really nice, allows a TV to be mounted, and can have a truss to mount hopefully both gigbars - Anyone have this setup and can comment on how they like it? link included below.

    https://www.idjnow.com/prox-xf-mesa-...yABEgIT7vD_BwE

    I think the gigbar2's and this booth would give a pretty professional and clean setup, but looking for opinions and what others might be doing.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    Dj Joe

  2. #2
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Mobile DJ Lighting and Setup - Newbie!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jdawgwill View Post
    Hello all,

    Second time posting on the forum (after my speaker post!) - Thank you in advance for any thoughts and comments.

    I'm a beginning mobile DJ, doing everything from small 30 person birthday parties to 50-100 person weddings, up to 200 person teen dances.

    My lighting/DJ setup has been a 5ft folding table with a black skirt, then I setup on top of that and sometimes will have a 42" TV in front which shows maybe a slideshow or some graphics. Works ok but not the cleanest look. As far as lights, I have been renting ADJ DOTZ TPAR LED Pars (two trees of 4 lights each) that just randomly change colors and provide wash to the dance floor. While they don't have any effects, they do provide a lot of light and colors to the dance floor.

    Looking to kick that up a notch. Looking at purchasing 2 Chauvet GigBar2. Love the idea and the different effects, but after seeing them in person at Guitar Center, just wondering how they perform in a large space as compared to the ADJ setup, the LED lights seem rather wimpy (only 3 LEDs it appears on each light) - so just wondering if two of these gigbar2 systems would hold up for lighting and effects in a large gym?

    Next, on my table setup, I found the Mesa ProX XF-MESA MK2 Media booth which looks really nice, allows a TV to be mounted, and can have a truss to mount hopefully both gigbars - Anyone have this setup and can comment on how they like it? link included below.

    https://www.idjnow.com/prox-xf-mesa-...yABEgIT7vD_BwE

    I think the gigbar2's and this booth would give a pretty professional and clean setup, but looking for opinions and what others might be doing.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    Dj Joe
    I’m not really into the lights that much. I have one ADJ Dotz Tpar with 2 Mini Kinta’s on top, and I hang a Chauvet Colorbank fixture on each of my RCF EVOX-8’s. Pretty simple and easy to setup. I think having a couple of moving heads would be nice. All the upper tier DJ’s around here have them. Also, though I think the facade you’re looking at is nice and professional looking, I see a lot of DJ’s moving away from that look and going toward the podium style setup...



    I started out with a setup much like yours, but found myself spending way too much time in setup and tear down, so I simplified. Since I work alone, carrying too much gear just does not work for me. It appears to me your going down that road of bigger is better. Unless you can get into that upper tier where you can afford paid assistants, you’ll soon discover bigger is just more expense and more work.
    Last edited by DJ Bobcat; 02-12-2020 at 04:19 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdawgwill View Post
    Looking to kick that up a notch. Looking at purchasing 2 Chauvet GigBar2. Love the idea and the different effects, but after seeing them in person at Guitar Center, just wondering how they perform in a large space as compared to the ADJ setup, the LED lights seem rather wimpy (only 3 LEDs it appears on each light) - so just wondering if two of these gigbar2 systems would hold up for lighting and effects in a large gym?
    No they are more of a small room system IMO.

    DJ Bobcat is sounding more like a working DJ now, one starts to look for efficiencies in everything after doing this for a while, but he makes another good point... do you just want to make a sideways move to a "better" version of what you have now or would you prefer to change it up?
    Lighting is the type of thing that looks better with more fixtures and beams so there is some value in using a bunch of smaller less powerful fixtures versus a couple more powerful lights, but once you experience what moving heads can do it's hard to go back to spinning dots. I see lots of DJs that setup a couple moving heads on stand as in the picture above, that looks clean and tidy from a décor point of view but it does a lousy job of lighting the dancefloor partially because it's just 2 points of ight but also because many DJs don't do any DMX programming so the lights are pointed everywhere but the dancefloor most of the time. I like to put moving heads up on a T-bar stand, that works much better at covering the dancefloor and still allows them to do that slow scan of the room that everybody likes.
    Paul O'Brien
    Old Tech Guy
    www.Techott.com

  4. #4
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    DJ Joe - Bobcat and Paul gave solid advice and perspective. Let me offer a bit more. Start thinking business plan. I never did in the early days - just focused on the gear and improving the gear. That was fine and dandy and how most do it. Trying to organize thoughts for you. Business plan, growth plan for your light show. You need objectives for that. Look at lots of lighting systems for ideas, what you like and what you don't like. Have a growth plan for your system so you can expand it.

    Control is the key. Gotta have control of the environment. Meaning throwing enough light to have control of the environment, so house lighting is dimmed or totally extinguished.

    Look at things like the Chauvet Wash FX lights - a pair of these will be good, even 1. I use three in the system I am building, two front facing on the truss to wash ceiling over the dance floor and one rear facing for backdrop - behind DJ. The first lights you want are wash lights. Then add more effects type lights - sparkle, twinkle, chase, pinwheel, etc.

    When you can, moving heads are the next thing to add. I'd go with movers before special effects, but you could go the other way. Movers offer a look of professional sophistication as they are robotic and can be "controlled".

    Then effects like faze, lasers, gobo projectors, water effects, and such...

    A mirror ball is the quintessential lighting fixture for a DJ show - disco. I use one for that simple reason and they set a nice "quiescent" pre-show scene or dinner music scene at a wedding reception. For a wedding reception during guest arrival, the ball is still with spots hitting it, then add slow rotation for dinner. If you decide on a ball, get a DMX motor for it that has both speed and rotation control. That's a power "bang for buck" effect and can be used for anything - dinner, slow set, fast set, leave it on all night, turn it off and on. I like to slow the ball to a stop during a slow dance, then when you pick up the tempo, initiate rotation - the whole room spins - good solid "ooh ahh" effect that's clean and good for any event.

    DMX control - get a controller that will handle your whole light show - only buy DMX fixtures. You should have an assistant, if not consider having one for load-in, setup, load-out and to engage clientele during the show such as taking requests, turn it up, turn it down, borrow a mic for announcements. As well, your assistant will be your lighting system operator. Back to watch system when you need a break during a slow set, and such.

    Moving heads. What they do is offer motion, AND they also "project" out or are a way to "reach out and touch" the crowd. Movers can project patterns and movement onto the dance floor, ceiling over dance floor, walls, into seating areas to pull them in, etc. They can do static wash or gobo over dance floor during dinner or pre-show, then rock some great movement. Decent moving heads are dimmable and can be used on seating areas as well as dance floor. I have a couple of Chauvet Intimidator 375's that are dimmed to 50% or lower when angled down off the truss or in free run mode. Full power for ceiling and hitting the mirror ball only with them.

    Aside from wash type fixtures, lower end DJ lighting pulls focus to the light - moving heads are a great looking stage show, but also reach out into the room and offer much more interest to the crowd over the course of an evening. And yes, they need to be up on T-bars or better yet as you grow, up on a truss system.

    Wash or moving head light or both on the ceiling over the dance area is not only a good effect, but a great way to provide ambient light without blinding people. Depending upon type of show and crowd the tolerance for "in your face" sound and light will vary. Grandma and grandpa at a wedding reception won't like a 150W LED mover hammering them - I guarantee it.

    One thing not mentioned yet is uplights. That another thing you will want at some point, they can do anything from stage backdrop to trees and gazebo's in a garden wedding/reception as well as perimeter wall lighting in the average banquet room. I wouldn't touch anything but WiFi battery powered LED type uplights. They are safe and foolproof - safe for kiddies at wedding receptions, and not cords to run or have guests trip over. Also, setup is fast. Even if you start with one or two for backdrop or overhead on the stage, then move more of them out into the room.

    Building block or Lego strategy for lights - keep adding pieces as you go.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Bobcat View Post
    I’m not really into the lights that much. I have one ADJ Dotz Tpar with 2 Mini Kinta’s on top, and I hang a Chauvet Colorbank fixture on each of my RCF EVOX-8’s. Pretty simple and easy to setup. I think having a couple of moving heads would be nice. All the upper tier DJ’s around here have them. Also, though I think the facade you’re looking at is nice and professional looking, I see a lot of DJ’s moving away from that look and going toward the podium style setup...



    I started out with a setup much like yours, but found myself spending way too much time in setup and tear down, so I simplified. Since I work alone, carrying too much gear just does not work for me. It appears to me your going down that road of bigger is better. Unless you can get into that upper tier where you can afford paid assistants, you’ll soon discover bigger is just more expense and more work.
    Absolutely agree. I never liked the facade look. In addition to looking cheesy, it places a psychological barrier between DJ and crowd which is exactly what you don't want in 99% of mobile shows. And more crap to haul around and setup tear-down to backlight and make it presentable.

    Back in the day we called the podium style console setups "T desk" and used amp and lighting racks for the center support, and a "coffin" case for a couple of turntables and mixer. I used one for almost 10 years. That's a much better way to go than table/façade. I'm setting back up using an ADJ Event table without any façade, somewhere in between a façade and podium, but psychologically closed to a podium. Rationale is the fold-up is removed from the equation with some sheet metal screws and it will be hauled around fully assembled for ease of setup.

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