How to Light Your DJ Facade
mardi 10 juillet 2018, 14:00 , par Sweetwater inSync
When it comes to being a DJ, creativity and personality don’t end at the tip of your fingers on the decks. Another level of entertainment most DJs are looking to provide is a stimulating light show to accompany their sound. But you don’t need to lug a PAR and wash setup large enough to light up an arena. Oftentimes a simple facade and single light can change how your audience sees you in the booth as not only an entertainer but also a professional performer. Here are some options for lighting your DJ facade with simple recommendations and tips that will make your choice easier. After all, a light show can go a long way, at a minimal price compared to the rest of your DJ equipment.
Lighting Terminology for DJs
By Philip Courtney, Sweetwater Sales Engineer
PAR — An abbreviation for parabolic reflector — used as a general wash light that fills an area larger than 6–8 feet in diameter and has a parabolic shape to its beam.
Wash — A lighting fixture that covers a large area with light.
Scrim — A semitranslucent material that allows some light to pass through. It diffuses light to add color and dynamics.
Facade — Similar to a scrim but can be placed right in front of the DJ, rather than behind, or around the room. Typically, a facade would be your “booth,” and the DJ would stand behind it.
Spot — Short for spotlight — a light used to highlight a certain small area to focus visual attention. Also a light where you can place GOBO patterns such as logos or effects.
Beam Angle — A measurement (in degrees) that indicates how the light is distributed from a lighting fixture. Light leaves a fixture in a conical shape, and the beam angle helps you determine how large the lighted area will be at a given distance.
DMX — An abbreviation for Digital MultiPlexing, it is a serial data protocol that controls most lighting fixtures. Most LED fixtures utilize multiple DMX channels.
First of all, you’ll need a facade to light with your new wash lights. When it comes to the canvas of your proverbial light show painting, you have a couple of options — front board facades and cloth scrims. The state of your current or future setup will likely dictate your decision, but that doesn’t make one better or worse than the other. It’s simply a matter of which works best for you.
Front Boards and Booth Facades
Front boards and framed DJ booth facades are the standard when it comes to professional DJ booth lighting. Framed facades provide a universal, recognizable panel look and don’t require a specific table for use — anything from a foldout table to a dining table can work behind the glow of a framed facade or front board. Most facade frames are made from a lightweight metal alloy or aluminum for easy transport. The fabric scrim between the frame is usually easy to remove for washing purposes and for safely transporting to avoid tearing.
Table Scrims and Facades
A scrim is the piece of cloth that is stretched between the facade frame. In the case of already owning a DJ-specific table, a scrim is a solid option in lieu of purchasing a new facade. That opaque design acts like a movie screen for your lights and lets your color wash vividly bleed through to your audience. The benefits of using a scrim are the small footprint (not having a second piece of hardware to set up around your table) and affordability. We should note that while a DJ table isn’t 100% required for using a scrim, it’s recommended that you have one, as most scrims are designed for DJ tables.
Booth Facades — Odyssey makes great gear and accessories, and their facade selection is no different. If you’re looking for a new facade, the Odyssey Scrim Werks 48″ x 46″ or Scrim Werks 72″ x 46″ models cover the majority of tables and stage sizes.
Table Scrims — If you already have a DJ table, perhaps something like the Gibraltar Radius Deck DJ Workstation or the ADJ Pro Event Table can be used with either the Gibraltar Radius Scrim or the ADJ Pro Event Table Scrim.
Now let’s take a look at the different types of lighting fixtures you can use to light your facade. Apart from spotlights, most lighting options are available for your facade whether it’s a wash light, PAR can, or bar light. We’ve kept spots out of our recommendation list because they lack a wash-like quality for lighting a facade at shorter distances.
One fixture option for lighting your DJ facade is a floor wash or PAR light, which offers flexibility whether you have a frame/scrim setup or a scrim over a DJ table stand. Wash fixtures offer lots of programming options and are typically more cost-effective compared to something larger or automated.
Chauvet DJ Wedge Tri
The Wedge Tri wash light from Chauvet DJ packs a lot of features into a compact package. This tri-color LED light has strobe capabilities, three or eight DMX control channels, and the ability to operate via sound active control. There are built-in dimming curves to cleanly transition between colors, and the digital display helps you easily choose the color options you want. Choosing the colors and features is a breeze thanks to the included IRC remote control. And it’s a flicker-free device, so your photographer will thank you.
ADJ Element Hex
ADJ’s Element Series is a collection of four unique LED fixtures made for up-lighting and color washing walls, pillars, and DJ facades. Each is battery powered for up to 11 hours of use and features a built-in kickstand for choosing the color wash angle you’re looking for. The Element Hex is WiFLY DMX ready and designed specifically for indoor use. It has four 10-watt RGBAW+UV LEDs (red, green, blue, amber, white, and UV) that power 64 built-in color macros with pulse and strobing effects. There are a number of operation modes to choose from as well. You’ll be able to switch between dimmer mode, sound active mode, auto run mode, static color mode, and DMX-controlled mode. DJ façade lighting possibilities are nearly endless thanks to wash lights like the Element Hex fixture from ADJ.
Chauvet DJ Freedom Par Quad-4
The Freedom Par Quad-4 from Chauvet DJ is a wash fixture that lives up to its “freedom” name. It is battery powered for up to 20 hours of usage and operates wirelessly thanks to the FlareCON mobile app. You’ll also have non-DMX control capabilities over the Freedom Par with the included IRC remote control. The quad-color RGBA LEDs provide a bevy of color wash options, and the built-in strobe effect adds some additional flare (pun intended) to your show. When it comes to a wash light that is easy to use, free of wires, and loaded with features, the Freedom Par Quad-4 is an excellent choice.
Bar lights are another great option for lighting your DJ facade and sometimes are a better option for multicolor light shows and fully washing the surface of your facade. Width of course plays into that, versus PAR wash lights, but with that width comes a larger fixture to manage and care for. However, a bar fixture is great for evenly color washing your facade and avoiding hot spots.
Chauvet DJ COLORrail IRC
A solid, affordable bar option is the Chauvet DJ COLORrail IRC. It’s an RGB bar with numerous automated programs and configurable settings with 320 individual LEDs divided into eight sections of control. If you prefer to have your IRC bar synched to your tracks, there’s a sound-operated mode with adjustable microphone sensitivity. Whether you’re looking for a solid color wash with strobing effects or a rainbow-esque cascade of color on your DJ facade, the COLORrail IRC bar from Chauvet can do the job.
ADJ Ultra Hex Bar 12
For an alternative style of bar lighting fixture, the ADJ Ultra Hex Bar 12 offers an array of features and functionality. The 12 individual hex lights can be creatively applied to your DJ facade. Everything from automatic or sound active mode to the DMX-controlled mode can turn this bar light into a professional-style light show. Its non-flicker operation helps power an impressive 63 color macros with five dimming curves glaring through a 40-degree beam angle. And if an energy-efficient unit is something you’re after, the Ultra Hex Bar 12 runs on a low 90-watt power draw.
Ready to Light Your DJ Facade?
There is no shortage of lighting options available to DJs seeking to upgrade their visual show or simply wanting to add visuals for the first time. Whether you’ve made up your mind or have questions that you need answered, call one of the highly trained Sweetwater Sales Engineers at (800) 222-4700. There are lots of lighting options for your facade, and we can recommend ones that may suit you best. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis — reach out to us today!
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