Lighting and Effects
It's a big category to sum up, especially in the last few years as cheaper far-east production and the widespread conversion to LED has significantly lowered costs and allowed for previously unattainable effects to be created.
The once significant line between professional install and mobile Dj lights and effects has become a lot narrower, with sub £300 equipment now giving you the features and quality levels that would previously only been achieved on units of £1000 and above.
The industry's adoption of high power LED over traditional lamps has meant that colour change and fade technology can be contained in a single unit, without the need for internal motor fed colour wheels or external gel lenses.
LED offers huge benefits to performance lighting effects, with extremely low weight, minimal to non-existent heat output, and vivid colour reproduction at huge light emittance levels.
The lack of heat produced by LED has allowed enclosures to become thermoplastic rather than aluminium or steel, as they no longer need to function as a heat sink. This has saved on material and production costs, allowing more features and better optics to be included even at the lower price points. It also makes a huge difference in use, as the thermal output of a full lighting rig in both a permanent and mobile situation has always been a real problem, especially on a small stage for a Dj or live band.
Moving head technology has also benefitted from these advancements, and they are now at a price point where they are a viable option for the mobile Dj and performer wanting a professional motion controlled show, which until recently was purely the realm of night clubs or theatres .They come in full size or the new miniature designs and can be easily transported, and either floor mounted or suspended from a traditional T-bar or truss.
Static lighting for ambient and architectural use, or for performance use are available in a variety of shapes and fitments to suit your needs, from thin rectangular units for mounting under bars and in ceilings, to fully weather rated flat par washes for lighting building fronts and gardens, right down to basic colour change bulbs to fit standard household sockets, there is something for every requirement.
Most can be run on a sound activated mode, or have DMX capability to allow linking to each other and a program to be run.
If you're looking for something more defined than just colour for your show, then a laser unit could be the answer. Once for professional users only, and prohibitively expensive for all but the largest clubs, the laser systems of today have become truly affordable, with programmable high power, multi colour units costing less than £500, compared to several thousand pounds for the same spec just a few years ago. They can be part of a show, or used alone to display messages and logos, so can find uses in all sorts of environments. Advancements in technology has also led to them being significantly smaller than they once were, with a professional unit being now no larger than any other average sized lighting effect.
To complement lighting, there are a large range of atmospheric effects units on the market at various price and feature levels, from the classic smoke machine, dry ice and ground fog units that have been with us for decades, to the more modern and efficient hazer machines which provide a continuous thin flow of smoke to ensure your lighting show is always seen at its best. Smoke of some type is essential in getting the very best from your lighting equipment as it gives definition to beams and provides a depth perception that just isn't available in natural light, even in a darkened space. The modern fluids used are environmentally friendly and completely non toxic, so are safe for use in enclosed spaces.
Party based systems such as snow, foam and bubble machines are always fun for events too, and are a great addition to your mobile Dj or entertainment rig for kids parties and celebrations. For the more professional shows and theatre productions, there are a range of indoor pyrotechnics such as flame units and confetti cannons, flash burst effects and strobe units, all which will pay for themselves quickly with the enhancement they bring to your performance.