How to Begin With Lasers – Learn Stage Lighting .com

How to Begin With Lasers

By David / a couple of years ago

How to Begin With LasersLasers are cool.

Who doesn’t want a pencil-thin beam of light scanning across the room to add to their show?  I know I do!

But lasers also can be dangerous…to the tune of blinding people, so this is a really serious matter!

The good news is this – today, we’ve got so many options of different lasers on the market, of all sorts of strengths and uses.  While you won’t be using the same lasers as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show in your DJ rig, you can get some similar looks thanks to technology.

What is a Laser?

Back in the year 1960, the first laser was built by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Laboratories in the US.  The word actually began as an acronym meaning “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”.  (Reference)

A laser, is a very thin, focused beam of light that is generally a single color.  Lasers look really cool because the beam of light is not only narrow, but also doesn’t spread like most lights.

When you upgrade your laser from just a single-point “laser-pointer”, you can get some really amazing effects!

What Regulations Do I Have to Follow?

laser-show-1-1525283I remember the first time I saw lasers on a show.

They were big boxes, with a little tiny mirror on one side, that let out a single-color of light.

Back in those days, every laser required a “laserist” or the person who is in charge of safely operating the laser.

Today, more powerful lasers still require a varience, and for good reason!  These things are dangerous!

In other words, when you’re first starting out, it’s super-important to stay away from lasers that require a varience and follow all of the manufacturers instructions when using lasers.

Even if a laser is variance-free does not mean it’s safe all the time!

The good news is that they are a number of varience-free lasers available today.

How Much Do Lasers Cost?

Varience-free lasers can range anywhere from $15 to $300, depending on the number of colors and brightness.

For example, the Chauvet Scorpion Dual retails for around $150 at the time of this writing, but there are also a number of cheapo lasers available as cheap as $15.

The big difference between the 2 lasers I just mentioned is brightness and spread.

How Do I Make My Lasers Look Good?

Beginning with LasersStep 1: You NEED to get some haze or fog in the air.

This is a must – without it, your laser is just a bunch of awkward looking dots on the wall!

With it, you get an amazing beam of light pulsing through the air.

Next, you need to place it in the right place.  You need to make sure that your laser doesn’t aim anywhere that it could get in someone’s eyes.

Get it up in the air, at least 8′-10′, and then point it upwards.  This will give you the cool overhead effect that we all desire!  I

‘d also suggest placing your laser behind you, the DJ, as it will keep you visually in the focus of the room!

Lastly, you want to have as little other light in the room as possible when you use your lasers.  Since we’re only using varience-free lasers to start out, they’re not going to outshine bright lighting!

The darker you can make it, the better your lasers will look!

What Are My Alternatives?

Lasers aren’t for everyone.  When you consider all of the safety needs and aiming requirements, you may decide that lasers aren’t for you.

Luckily, there’s a new kid in town – the laser-like effect light!

Fixtures like the Elation Sniper or American DJ Ricochet can give you a laser-like beam without actually being a laser.

These guys will still require you to have haze or fog in order to see the light, but you can point them anywhere you’d like without worry!

Whatever you decide, it’s important to always put safety first, and make sure you are following ALL warnings and instructions when using lasers.


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  • Beyond Sound & Lighting says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for sharing such useful information. I think this is really a very nice post. Thanks for the great content!


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