How to Select the Best Lighting and FX Equipment for Your Needs

Lighting is a key element to creating an event that is both visually appealing and engaging. Whether you want your audience to feel awed and inspired or just have fun, there are many ways to accomplish this through the use of different types of lighting equipment.

Sweetwater carries everything from powerful consoles that span massive DMX universes to smaller units whose capabilities make big shows look easy. Here are three tips for choosing the right one for your needs.

1. Light Source

Light sources produce visible or near-visible radiant energy in a specific range of the electromagnetic spectrum. While the sun is the most obvious source of light on Earth, many other natural phenomena can produce light, including lightning, fire, and astrophysical events like the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Light fixtures are designed to produce and distribute light to meet a variety of lighting design goals. A fixture contains the lamp (incandescent, fluorescent, or high-intensity discharge [HID]), components to protect and position the lamps in a controlled pattern, and a power connection.

Spotlights (or hard edge lights) include a wide range of designs, from PAR-style units with narrow-beam spot bulbs to more advanced DMX controller-controlled fixtures that can create a multitude of effects with gobo patterns and operate in sound-active modes. These fixtures are typically used to follow performers or features across the stage, a process called followspoting.

2. Light Color

Lighting is a critical part of the event production process, and attention to detail can make or break an entire event. One of the most common mistakes that occurs when planning an event is choosing equipment that delivers results that mismatch with the style of the event. For example, lighting a dinner for seventy-year-olds using bright FX lights may not be appropriate because they are unlikely to be impressed by such effects.

When selecting the right light source, consider its Kelvin scale rating as well as its luminosity (light flux) and color temperature. For instance, a high-Kelvin light is ideal for working on projects, while low-Kelvin lights are more suitable for ambient or mood lighting. Resolve also offers a wide variety of lighting tools that can create organic, realistic-looking effects such as aperture diffraction, glows and lens flares.

4. Light Shape

Light fixtures come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and designs. They can be either a beam, wash or spot, and some are even a hybrid. These fixture types have color capability, movement and a huge list of other functions that can take a show to the next level.

To ensure that a light is large enough to be effective, Sygrove says it’s generally good to aim for one third of the ceiling height. This rule also applies to chandeliers and other larger lights, such as modern statement pendants, which are often one-half to two-thirds the width of a table below them.

5. Light Control

Lighting controls are the “brains” that allow you to control a group of DMX-enabled lights (most pro light units have a DMX port and can be daisy-chained). With these controllers, you can easily create pre-programmed shows, and even line up the flashing of effect lights to the beat of the music during a performance. Choose the best Lighting and FX Rental company for the best experience.

Manual control offers the simple capability of choosing light levels either in steps (switching) or over a wide range with smooth transitions between levels (dimming). Visual needs generally drive this type of system, though energy savings may also be an added benefit.

Dedicated hardware controllers with physical sliders, buttons and switches and legible displays offer easy-to-use workflow without diving deeply into menus or mastering steep software learning curves. Some of these are even portable for use in mobile applications.

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