Lighting Setup

Rave parties became on point because of stage lighting in time for the beats. Here are a couple of guidelines for beginners to keep the mood going by controlling the lights through DMX.

The overall mood of the party is identified not only by the music and the number of people. You need to set up lighting as well to add emotion in each beat. As the light changes, it also affects the mood of the crowd. Light is basically higher-frequency wavelengths processed by the eyes and transformed to moods. If controlled properly, it can make the audience feel something from the song—a mood you want them to feel.

Controlling the lights in a concert to portray emotions can be difficult and is considered as an art form. Like everything, you have to understand the basic rhythm and fundamentals before you can expect a great light show. You have to understand the importance of lights and get the proper gear before diving into the stage.

Why Is Lighting Important?

  • It provides a clearer view of the show. With the use of the right lighting stands and trusses, the lighting helps your audience be able to see everything you have to offer.
  • It gives the show a sense of mood and theme, and with the proper combination of light show and music, you can achieve this. The lighting actually reinforces the mood provided by the music, and it elevates the anticipation of the audience for the next track or for the final bass drop.
  • It gives emphasis when needed. When someone enters the stage, you direct the attention of the audience through a spotlight.
  • It gives a surreal feeling in the show, something otherworldly or away from the present. Each light has its purpose and effect throughout the entire performance. With the proper setup, you can add a touch of magic to the stage.

Five Different Categories for Lighting

  1. Fill lights. These are basically floodlights and color changers/scrollers. They’re used to reduce the contrast on stage and make the appearance more natural and normal.
  2. Moonflowers. These are for those mirrored balls and other lighting fixtures that include mirror bases. These are mostly to bounce off the light to different hues and directions.
  3. Lasers. These are highly specialized lights that usually go with one color but are usually shown in a combination of a few. These add a techno and futuristic feel to the show and usually come in different patterns.
  4. Beamers. These provide bright and crisp light beams to show certain areas of the stage, especially the center. These are the largest set of lights and include follow spots, scanners, and pin spots.
  5. Strobes. These lights produce high flashing lights that can be used for intense beat drops to add to that adrenaline rush.

What Is DMX?

DMX, also known as digital multiplex, is used to control lights and can actually manage over more than five hundred channels. Channels are basically the light’s colors used in the show, and they can be controlled with a single device. If you have a DMX controller, you will be able to change the hues, movement, and mood with just a few taps and swipes.

What a Beginner Should Keep in Mind for Setup

  1. Check how many lights you need. Before you set up, you should know how many lights you would need for the show. You should also know what kind of DMX address each section will transmit through a decoder. It’s also important to know how many colors or channels each section will need before the show, so you’ll know how many driver/decoder units you’ll need.
  2. Get the DMX controller you need. If you’re going to deal with a lot of lights, you need to know what kind of DMX controller you’ll need. There are some with various channel limits that might not be able to cater to all the lights you’re handling. You have to check the number of channels it can read and how much memory it can store. You should know what to do with the lights and the DMX channels you’ll handle before buying it.
  3. Check the wattage of each lighting. You need to study and check the wattage of each fixture before you hook it up to the DMX controller. It might overload, and it will not end well. For lights that exceed the maximum wattage, you can use a signal amplifier to lighten the load.
  4. Get the ideal DMX decoder/driver. After knowing the total wattage of each section, you can get an ideal DMX decoder/driver for each one. You also have to check the maximum wattage it can handle before buying it—and maybe buy a signal amplifier if there’s one light that exceeds the maximum wattage. Some decoders are connected in a daisy chain, but you can always go for a DMX splitter or a wireless one according to what you need.
  5. Program your DMX system. It’s easy to hook up your DMX to your PC. It just takes time to install it on your computer. You have to decide the DMX addresses that you want to set up the DMX decoders to and always start with the lowest address in the system. There are three ways you can set up multiple decoders, and that’s through a daisy chain, a DMX splitter, and a wireless DMX transmitter. Once you’ve set things up, you can now add low-voltage DC power to the decoders and transform your DMX controller into a 5V USB connection.