How to Create Movement and Energy in Your DJ Lighting…

…Without using sound active mode!

Whether you’re new to DJ lighting, or have been in the biz for awhile, you know that great lighting can make a huge difference in a DJ set.

When I think about what lighting can do for a DJ, I picture a single, cheesy “mirror-ball” light, casting multi-colored dots around the room and moving at a constant slow rate.

Then I think about a dynamic, colorful and energetic set of lights illuminating the room and following the beat of the music.

What’s the difference between these 2 scenarios?

Not much!  Getting started with adding movement to your lighting show is easier than it seems!

In the video below, DJ Jer and Geoff Short talk movement, and how you can add it to your DJ show.  Drop below the video for the cliff’s notes:

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Anyone Can Create Movement in Their DJ Lighting

Even the simplest lighting console can utilize the power of your fingertips to create lights that flash on the beat.

Just imagine the difference between your lights just moving around at will and flashing on the beat- it’s a big deal, and you can do it no matter what your rig looks like.

Match the Song and Amplify What It’s Already Doing

Here is one of the big secrets of all stage lighting:  We’re not here to create energy or create excitement out of nothing.

Rather, we are here to amplify what the music is already doing.

I really like the examples that they used in the video, where they talked about gradually bringing the lights down during “Shout” or doing a blackout when a song like “Gangnam Style” stops the music for a second.

Similarly, you can use strobe when the music really gets chaotic or change colors when the style of music transforms.

No “Puke Lights”

I’m going to talk about this one like a broken record until it disappears from society!  Please stop using sound-active mode!

Seriously though, as this video details, it’s really quite easy to move away from sound-active mode and make the lighting have movement and energy.

Here’s an easy way to begin transforming your show:

  1. Create a number of different colored lighting looks for your DJ set.   Even if your console can only program a few, that’s okay.
  2. Begin changing the look at the beginning of each song – no more frequently than that.
  3. As you begin to feel our moments where you can create a “hand clap” with your lighting, press those buttons on the beat!  If you ever see me running lights for a band, you’ll know that I am constantly bobbing my head up and down and moving around the the music!
  4. When you identify a possible “black out” moment, go ahead and give it a try.  As with DJ-ing, you’ll know pretty quickly by the crowd’s reaction whether you nailed it or missed it!
  5. Create a few movement presets where your lights move around.  Then, use these presets whenever you feel the energy of the song increasing.

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Use Atmosphere

Last, but not least, atmosphere like fog and haze make a HUGE difference in lighting!

When you are able to add atmosphere to the room, you add a whole new dimension to the lighting.

Add to that the fact that you can add and remove the atmosphere, and you’ve got another way that you can add dynamics to your show!

If you haven’t already checked out the video above, I urge you to check it out now.  Besides what I already outlined, there are some really great nuggets of wisdom that I know will help you in your DJ lighting!

Once you do that, it’s action time!  Find one way you can add more movement to your lighting on your next gig, and let’s get it done!

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