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Chauvet 6SPOT LED Color-Changer Lighting System (6SPOT)
Chauvet 6SPOT LED Color-Changer Lighting System
  • $249.99
  • Restock: $179.99
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Chauvet 4PLAY CL (4PLAYCL)
Chauvet 4PLAY CL
  • $229.99
  • Restock: $169.99
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Chauvet LED Shadow (TFXUVLED)
Chauvet LED Shadow
  • $149.99
  • Restock: $109.99
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American DJ DP-415 4-Channel DMX Dimmer/Switch Pack (DP-415)
American DJ DP-415 4-Channel DMX Dimmer/Switch Pack
  • New: $109.00
  • Blemished: $95.92
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Lighting and Stage Effects

Stage lighting and visual effects for bands have come a long way from the days of photo-reflectors clipped to a mic stand and flood lamps with colored cellophane taped in front of the bulb. There's a huge range of high-quality, affordable lighting effects and controllers available today. In fact the sheer number of them can be a little overwhelming for first-time buyers, and even for more experienced users when new technologies like LED fixtures enter the picture. Add the complications of whether you're buying lighting for band performances of DJ shows, and let's see if we can perhaps simplify things for you just a little.

There are three types of lights you'll need: wash, spot, and effects. Wash lights, as you might guess from the name, bathe the stage in light, whether white or colored. Most lighting designers will divide the stage into sections and then provide a separate wash for each section. This way, you can have a variety of colors on stage, giving each performer their own space. Generally, you'll just par cans for this, either multiple incandescent with different colored gels, or, for a more compact system, newer LED par cans with RGB LEDs that can do multiple colors with a single fixture. You may also want fill lights on the sides to create some shadows and contrast, or the stage may look flat.


Spots are for individual performers. If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated spot operator, that's great, but you may need a small spot for each performer if you don’t have the manpower. A moving head spot with gobo inserts can also serve double purpose as a stage effect. Effects are things like scanners, strobes, blacklights, mirror balls, smoke/fog machines and similar fixtures. There are a wide range of effects, and if you're doing DJ gigs, you'll be loading up on these. A few make a nice touch for band performances as well. These can add movement and excitement to any performance.

Lastly, you'll need a controller. Modern DMX (Digital MultipleX) controllers are small, lightweight, very programmable, and some newer designs will interface with a laptop. Depending on whether you're running your lights from the stage for yourself or have a dedicated lighting person, your controller needs will vary. Most modern controllers can be easily automated, and ones designed for use with modern LED fixtures offer direct RGB color control, so you don't need gels or separate color fixtures, as all that's controllable right from your lighting board.