When selecting wash lights, it is valuable to do your research to get the most bang for your buck. You want fixtures that will meet the demands of your audience, project your desired throw and fit within your budget. Before you decide to invest in an arsenal of wash lights, read below for some helpful tips.
Meet audience demands
It is very important that you don’t overlook your clientele when selecting a fixture. Ask yourself how particular your audience will be because color can be a personal thing. For example, if you light a wedding and the bride has a very specific color in mind, you should lean towards a tri-color fixture. You will be able to create a precise color and will find it to be worth the extra expense. In contrast, if your audience simply asks for red lights and is not particular about the exact shade, you will be able to purchase a larger number of standard RGB wash lights at the same price point.
Project desired throw
You should also think about luminescence and set up. Whether you’re lighting a wall or a stage, LEDs can give a nice, even glow and provide high-saturated colors. It’s important to remember that beam angle, power consumption and drive currents can affect the fixture’s overall performance. A wash light with a 20-degree beam angle seems to be the sweet spot.
Last but not least, balance your budget. Seriously consider color output, throw and your audience before looking at the pros and cons of the associated expense. Higher budgets allow access to fixtures offering detailed features at a larger upfront cost, but not all clients will require such details —many will fare just fine with single-color RGB fixtures.
An event without lighting is like a music performance without sound —it just doesn’t make sense. Wash lighting can make or break the ambiance of a venue and is often used as an important tool for creating a mood. Do your research to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
DJ lights; a seemingly never-ending stream of new technology that can both help to fill (and empty) your wallet. With the hundreds and thousands of choices available across dozens of websites, it’s easy for anyone (let alone a new DJ) to get confused about where to start. Lux? Watts? Power Linking? LASERS?!? Never fear my friend, because in this series of posts on building an effective light show I plan to (briefly) break down some of the many types of DJ lights, their uses, and how to incorporate them together for maximum impact.
Today’s topic of discussion is wash lighting. Whenever a new DJ asks me for a recommendation for their first DJ light, I always steer them in the direction of wash lighting. A wash light serves to literally “wash” an area (be it a wall, ceiling, or dance floor) with light. Washing a dance floor with color allows you to turn off the venue’s harsh overhead lighting and instantly create an atmosphere that’s conducive to partying.
Wash lights come in multiple forms, such as LED par cans and LED bars. The shape of the light will alter the output of the light; par cans can have more focused beams while LED bars can have a wider dispersion. My personal favorite wash light for mobile DJs, the Chauvet Wash FX, has a shape that gives it a much wider spread of light than traditional par cans, allowing you to cover a larger area with fewer fixtures. If you decide you love the look of pars or bars there are great multi-light packs available that contain 2 or 4 fixtures (or more) at a discount over purchasing the individually, often with an included bag and cables! Some examples of this are the American DJ Mega Flat Tri Pak Plus (one of my favorite uplighting options) and this great Chauvet Slim Par 56 4 pack with a DMX controller!
When choosing wash lighting for a beginner I would say that brightness and LED diode color are some of the most important factors. You obviously want your light to be bright enough to illuminate the spaces you find yourself in most often, and different LED types can allow you a greater color palette. The easiest way to compare the brightness of different wash lights is using the online user manuals found for pretty much every lighting company. For example, below are manuals for the Chauvet Slim Par 64 ($99) on the left and the American DJ Mega Par Profile Plus ($79) on the right, which are both great entry-level lights. I’ve boxed the areas in both manuals that describe the LUX (brightness) values for the light. Always compare LUX values as opposed to the watts, which is just a measure of how much power the light is using (but not how efficiently the light is using that power). Additionally, always compare those LUX values at the same distance (2m in this case).
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