Stage Lighting For Beginners

Lights play a major part in the majority of music performances. These can add a whole new dimension to the music being played. Today, you can’t really imagine any big show without intricate lighting being used.

However, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars professional stage lightning and a crew to operate it. So, when you’re playing your gig you want to create as many light effects as you can with as little the money as possible.

Luckily, technological advances has made entry-level stage lighting quite cheap.

In this article, we’re going to explain to you the basic principles you need for stage lightning of your band. Online you can find many different guides, but those are usually meant for big theaters and not for gigs with few musicians playing.

Also, we’re going to give you several possible solutions for stage lightning sets that are affordable and well made.

Types of lighting

LED – LED became a bit of a standard in the last few years since it’s cheap, does its job perfectly and doesn’t produce much heat or power intake. Most of the integrated systems you will find on the market today are LED and the great thing about them is that you can carry them around with you as they are light. But, many places still have their own older lighting, so you should get to know the main types of that as well.

ERS – Ellipsoidal reflectors are pretty common and they produce the narrow beam used to accentuate people. You can adjust focus or put patterns over this light to create just the effect you need.

Fresnel – The type of reflectors that give wider light than ERS and have flaps on the sides so you can maneuver the beam more easily without having to move the whole unit.

PAR – Parabolic reflectors, these are the lights that are most common in use because of their versatility. They give you the broadest lights of all and are used to give the general luminosity to the stage, without any effects.

There are of course many more lights types out there, but these comprise the good 95% percent of what you’re going to see when you’re out there playing gigs. LED’s are usually bought and brought by bands and combined with the existing lighting in the club, so you can get really nice effects and lightning while on stage.

Control of lighting

In today’s day and age, you will find that almost all of the lighting is controlled by DMX (not the rapper) – digital automated control system. Most of the clubs and bars have that control system and all you need to do is to connect all of the lights you’re using and program them to work. Simple, right?

Actually, there is a wee bit more to that, but the essence is there. All of the modern systems come with some pre-uploaded patterns and you can always use them. If you want, you can always program them yourself to make them follow your songs and your act to the second.

Also, there is always a question of the actual positioning of the lights. When you start experimenting you will find that there are a lot of the ways you can position different lights thus creating different effects. When you use just one light to shine you on the stage it can look a bit boring, but it will do its job. Usually, bands use two or three differently positioned lights with different light types to give them the three-dimensional look they’re after. You can find online a lot about different ways to light your stage and how to properly adjust your lights. We don’t have enough space here to go into details, but you should know that practice makes perfect, so don’t be lazy and adjust your light until you’re happy with how they look.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, we made our list of affordable light systems you can find on the market today. These are all LED lights, paired in systems that make them easy to set up and use when you travel a lot, which is what you presumably do.

Affordable Stage Lighting Kits

1. DragonX 4 Bar LED mobile DJ Stage Lighting Package

DragonX is a 4 light LED mobile lighting set, made especially with gigs in mind (DJ and bands alike). In the package, you will get four PRS lights with power cords and footswitch as well as tripod and bags for everything included. Since the tripod and the lights themselves are very light, it’s no big deal carrying them around and setting them up.

There are 15 different programs preset and there is a sound option, so when you enable that you don’t have to worry about anything – the set will follow the sound and act accordingly. Of course, you can connect your DMX controller if you have one and program the lights yourself.

These are the great lights that are made for touring musicians working in smaller venues. Whether you use this as the only lighting or together with other light sources, these affordable lights will give you everything you need on stage.

2. CO-Z 8pcs DMX Controlled LED Stage Lights

The slightly different system by CO-Z, this 8 piece set comes at an astonishingly low price for 8 LED lights. In the set, you will get just the light, without the stands or anything else, but for this amount of money, you can’t really complain.

The lights are 25W, 86 LED per light, and can produce standard RGB range as well as mixtures of different lights. It comes together with different presets like strobe, color jump change, and gradual color change. You can, of course, connect it to the DMX controller and program the lights as you like them. Another great feature is the removable fuse you can replace easily once it goes belly up.

This is a great piece if you need easy, plug-in and play, cheap set of 8 lights which you can use as backing light to give different colors or as main lights if you like them that way.

3. MUSYSIC MU-L31A Stage Lights

Another 4 lights LED set, MU-L31A comes together with a tripod and is perfect for using on a road as it’s ready to go from the unboxing. Included in the set are 4 RGBW LED lights with 6.5 ft tripod stand, that is a bit shorter than that when you spread the legs, but still does the job nicely.

With the set you will get the remote controller, to easily use presets uploaded to the light. You can, of course, use the DMX controller of your own or use a sound recognition system. You should be aware that the mic on the sound system is a bit sensitive, so if you’re playing louder you should muffle it with something.

Conclusion

We hope that this article helped you understand the basics of stage lighting, especially for performing musicians and bands. As you already know, there are a lot of ways in which you can use the lighting on stage to add more depth to your performance. With some affordable light systems, solo or combined with existing lighting on stage, you can really perform miracles and give the audience a wholesome experience.

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