Why Use Pixel or LED tape Lighting? Are Pixels or “Dumb” LED’s right for me?

The first step to any DIY lighting LED tape or pixel project is this – figure out if it makes sense for you, and should you use “dumb” tape or LED’s, or pixels?

Are you curious about how to use LED tape and pixels in your stage design? Let’s talk about how to choose what is right for you.

LED Products

LED products can be used in any number of ways to enhance your stage or venue and no matter how you decide to use them, they are really very cool.


Very likely, if you’ve done a little background research into church or band lighting you have seen the LED strip tape that can be applied in various ways to your stage.

These products give you the ability to make custom lighting fixtures in whatever shape or format you desire.

Things To Consider

One thing to consider before you decide to use LED strips and like products is that they tend to be geared towards users who are not typically setting up and tearing down every day. If you find that you need something easier to take down and put back up then you may want to consider a different lighting option.

Tape or Pixels?

If you have decided that LED products are for you, the next thing you will want to think about is whether LED tape or pixels will be best suited for your needs.

LED tape and LED pixels look best in a couple ways on your stage. The first is when you can visually see the LED; meaning that they are in some way pointed towards the audience. The reason for this being that they are not typically very bright and so look best when they are easily observed as an enhancer rather than being the main source of lighting to illuminate a part of the stage.

The next thing to think about when making this decision is to factor in control. When it comes down to it, you can have a lot of different form factors with LED, whether they come in strips or any number sized pixels. You will have to simply decide what will look best for your particular display.


Many projects that you will find are non-pixel projects. This means that generally the tubes or other lighting used will be plugged into a DMX decoder and that will make the entire tube one single color when being used. One upside to this is that they are generally less expensive.

A downside of using this type of lighting is that you can only light up the entire segment rather than break up the segment into individual pieces. This however, is not exactly the end of the world because then the entire segment takes up less DMX channels leaving you more to work with if you are short on channels.

If you find that you do not have a lot of DMX channels to work with then you may not want to go the route of pixels because they will significantly increase the number of channels needed to operate properly.

If you do have enough channels to work with then pixels might be a great option for you because they do allow you to change each pixel to operate separately which gives you a lot more variety for your display.

One of the biggest perks of pixels is that when it comes to wiring pixels, they are a lot easier to wire and power especially over longer distances. As you are thinking about the size of your stage this is something to greatly consider so that you can keep things running as simply and smoothly as possible.


Ultimately as we move forward into the future of stage lighting and as programs, software, and controllers become more complex and better quality, it becomes easier to control pixels with different controllers. Cost wise, there is not much of a difference between LED tape or pixels and so leaving that aside, it really comes down to what will work best for you and your venue and what kind of effect you are looking for with your display.

About the author