As a DJ, it can be easy to become focused on the musical side of your performance. If you have spent many hours, weeks, months and years perfecting your mixing skills to perfection, it is only right that you want to showcase this to your expectant audience.
Yet if you are the kind of DJ who takes a look at the lighting desk in the corner and simply plug it in, switch it to ‘sound-to-light’ and leave it alone, then you are missing a trick. One of the greatest skills any DJ can have in their repertoire is the ability to light a room to fit the mood of the music they are playing and in this article, we’ll explain the reasons why. In addition, we will be looking at some resources which can help you gain the experience, skills and equipment necessary to turn your simple show, into a real performance.
1. Why do I need to know about Professional Lighting?
What type of DJ are you?
It is an important question because many people assume that DJs only really need to know about how to mix songs together and to create playlists and an atmosphere to keep a party ticking over and the atmosphere bubbling.
Yet DJs who restrict their performance to music alone are missing out on a hugely important aspect of their performance. Certainly music is important to create the vibe you want, but to add the layers of atmosphere, lighting is an absolute essential.
Which is why the very best DJs, those who stand out from the crowd, have a deep and highly tuned sense of what lighting works and why.
Lighting is vital to create the right atmosphere for your skills as a musical performer to shine out. It is no coincidence that rock bands spend so much of their tour budget on lighting rigs. There is a reason why clubs spend many tens or even hundreds of thousands lighting their dance floors with all number of dazzling effects.
Lighting is the other half of your performance of the DJ. If music provides the beat that your audience want to dance to, lighting provides them the perfect atmosphere in which to do this fully.
A great DJ will understand this and will know that effective lighting will not only enhance their musical performance, but lift an entire room. Lighting plays a key role in divesting the emotional impact you want your music to convey.
Effective lighting will transform a room within a few seconds from a quiet, gentle place of serenity, into a thronging, mass of high-energy dancers. Your music provides the auditory cue, but lighting provides the vital visual cue.
Quite simply, to be an effective DJ, you must have a good grasp of the rudiments of effective lighting for your gig. Whether that is as a travelling DJ visiting social clubs and pubs, or as a resident DJ in a top nightclub.
And as a beginner DJ, there is a perfect place to start to learn about the rudiments of effective lighting. There is much more than simply switching the light deck to “sound-to-light” and letting the system automatically adjust the lighting for you.
This is particularly important if you are a travelling DJ visiting pubs and clubs, where you are likely to be expected to provide your own light show to accompany the music. Even if this is not the type of DJ you want to aspire to eventually – it is by far and away the most likely form of employment you will get, so learning the rudiments of effective lighting is an absolute must.
Not only will learning about the lighting help you improve your show, but by learning which lights and which type of controllers you can use, you can find the right light set up to suit your budget, without overspending.
If you are a DJ who has earned themselves a resident spot at a nightclub or similar then you will likely find the club has its own light set up and you may even have your own VJ on hand to help with the lighting. Even so, it is well advised to take an active interest in the lighting of the venue and learn the basics about it. Small adjustments here and there and working effectively with a VJ (if you have one available) can improve the experience markedly.
And it is also worth remembering that some nightclubs, you won’t have a VJ to help you, so having a good understanding of the light deck and system is absolutely vital to create the ambiance that you want to fit your style of music.
2. Are there any good resources available on the net where I can find out about Pro Lighting?
Like most things in the musical world, what one DJ may feel is an ideal lighting set up can differ radically from what another DJ feels is their perfect set up. Opinion’s do differ, so where is the best place you can go to listen to peers and experts offer their advice, without fear of bias?
Well, one great site exists purely for this reason, www.promates.com. This site has been designed from the ground up to be a one-stop shop for top level audio, video and lighting professionals to log in, review, discuss and give their opinions and advice about a host of top quality pro audio, video and lighting equipment.
The lighting section of the site offers a number of high quality features which the user can easily look through and review to find out what set up would be ideal for them, thanks to expert advice and reviews from professionals in the industry.
So whether you are a travelling DJ looking for a portable rig that catches the eye, or a resident DJ looking to spruce up the light show at your chosen club, then this is certainly the first website to head to for free, impartial and expert information about all aspects of lighting, sound and vision.