The Complete Beginners Lighting Guide for Mobile DJs
If you’re a mobile DJ, your main job is to play the music. But more than that, it’s all about providing an experience for the guests at whichever event you’re playing. A big part of that experience is lighting!
DJ Lighting can completely change the mood and atmosphere of a venue. It can also be the difference between a good night and an unforgettable one. The good news, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to spend thousands either.
In this article, we’re going to run through all the different types of lighting, when you’d need to use each one, and give you some suggestions to get you started. For a more hands-on look, check out our video below where we set up a lighting rig perfect for a mobile DJ!
Wash & Stage Lighting
First of all, Wash & Stage Lighting is the perfect solution for adding colour to your stage or area where you’ll be performing. You can find stage lighting in the form of a par can, strip light, or even a complete bar or set with a stand. Your more basic stage lighting options can include a mix of RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) LEDs. While the higher-end options tend to offer more output and even more colours.
If you’re just starting to look at some lights for your setup, we’d highly recommend some wash lights like these. They’ll definitely add some nice colour and atmosphere to your night!
Beginner: AVE Quad Flat
Intermediate: Chauvet Slimpar & Colourband (USB & Bluetooth)
Advanced: Chauvet DJ Wash FX
Next up we’ve got Moving Heads. It’s a great idea to incorporate some moving head fixtures into your lighting setup to add an extra level of class to your performance. Doing exactly what the name suggests, moving heads create movement in your light display and show beams of light around the room when combined with a smoke or haze machine. If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to spend a fortune either especially if you’re just getting started. The AVE Cobra Moving Head range offers a number of affordable options whether you’re looking for Wash, Spot, or a Hybrid of the two.
Party and Effect lighting is another thing to consider when you’re putting together your DJ Lighting setup. Having these effects in your rig adds cool effects and creates interest and movement on the dance floor. These extra pieces of lighting definitely don’t go unnoticed and can be the difference in really bringing your party to life. Great additions for mobile DJs, house parties, function rooms, and ballrooms.
For a Derby Effect, some great options to look at would be the Chauvet DJ Kinta HP which offers some really powerful effects. While the Beamz Multi-Acis-IV, Chauvet Rotosphere, and Beamz Cub4 II also offer some fun effects.
One of the most exciting forms of lighting would have to be lasers! Producing some incredibly bright beams of light, they look fantastic when paired with a smoke machine, but definitely not for every event. Lasers work perfectly for a backyard party, rave or nightclub. However, you wouldn’t find many Weddings or formal events where a laser is warranted.
There are two types of lasers; Multipoint lasers split the laser beam into hundreds of tiny dots which then twist, turn, spin, and change colours. Whereas our favourite, the scanner, tends to move more quickly producing patterns, animations, and the popular “wave” effect throughout the air.
If you’re looking for an entry-level laser for your Mobile DJ Lighting setup, the AVE Terminator range is a no brainer. While if you want to go for something a little bit more advanced, both the AVE 4-RAY & Laserworld CS-1000RGB are fantastic options.
UV (Ultraviolet) & Black Lighting
One of our “nice-to-haves”, Ultraviolet is another type of lighting that you wouldn’t necessarily use at every event. UV allows your whites and bright colours to stand out and glow in darkened rooms. So they’re the perfect choice for Halloween or neon & white themed parties as well as creating atmosphere! But again, probably not suitable for Weddings and similar formal events.
Strobe Lighting is another kind of DJ Lighting that we’d call “nice-to-have”. You don’t need a strobe light at every event, and it does producing that fast-flashing effect that can be quite jarring. Strobes are a staple for raves and fast-paced music events to give the illusion of slow-motion during the night. You can buy dedicated strobe lights but you’ll also find many effect lights such as the Chauvet DJ Mini-Kinta which double as a strobe.
For an entry-level strobe light, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Beamz Stroboscope. While the Chauvet DJ Shocker 180 is an awesome choice for something more powerful and higher quality.
Finally, you’ve got all-in-one lighting fixtures. With an all-in-one, you’re not able to fully customize the setup to your liking like you would if you bought everything individually. However, they’re quite a convenient and cost-effective solution for taking to and from your gigs that you don’t have to put too much thought into. Plus, you only need to take one bag, chuck it on the stand, plug in a single power cord, and you’re ready to go
If you’re on a budget, the lineup of Max PartyBars are sure to offer an option to suit your needs. With a number of configurations and different effects available. Alternatively, if you want something a bit more higher-end, you won’t be dissapointed with the Chauvet DJ GigBar 2 or the powerful GigBar Move.
All in all, having your own DJ Lighting setup is going to set you apart from a host of other DJs who don’t. So make sure you’re using this to your advantage. Having a professional DJ Lighting rig not only allows you to charge higher fees for a more premium service. But it’s going to help turn that standard mobile DJ performance into a memorable experience.
At the end of the day, it’s not all about the gear. So you don’t have to spend thousands to get an adequate lighting setup. There should be more than enough options throughout this article that will help you get setup and take your performance to the next level!