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What Do I Need to Get Started With DJ Lighting? 3 Lighting Setups That Won’t Break The Bank!

By David / last month

DJ Lighting Example SetupsDeciding what DJ lighting gear to buy next has got to be one of the most confusing things ever.

You’re a new DJ, or maybe you’ve been at this for awhile, and now it’s time to invest in a lighting show.  You want to produce great lighting, but when you look out at the world of DJ lighting, you just see a TON of options!

Honestly, I believe that the DJ lighting world is the most-hyped category of lighting.  The manufacturers in the DJ space are constantly innovating, changing up product lines and promoting the latest and greatest.

The good news in this: you don’t need a fortune to get started with DJ lighting.  In fact, you can start on the cheap and still get great results.

Step 1: Identify What You Need!

DMX stage lightingIf you haven’t checked out this post on getting started with DJ lighting, it’s definitely a pre-requisite to this page.  (I’ll still be here when you finish reading)

If you’re starting from scratch, you first need some effects lighting since lighting the dance floor and room is more important than lighting you.

If you’ve got a good base of effects lighting, it may be time to invest in a single LED par or 2 to light your DJ table – this way you can be seen when you cheer on and communicate to the dance floor.

Lastly, you want to invest in uplights, and then more effect lighting to make your show look the biggest it can be.  If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about buying wireless DMX uplights – we’ll get to those later 🙂

Step 2: 3 Starter Lighting Setups that Won’t Break the Bank!

For the 2nd half of this post, I want to share with you some simple lighting rigs that you can invest in without breaking the bank.  I’ve linked to Chauvet products because they are the ones I’ve had the most experience with and trust.

These lighting rigs can be mixed and matched depending on your specific needs and desires for your show and the type of clients you work with.

Setup 1: Chauvet 4 Bars and Uplights

portable lighting setup

Photo from rick on flickr

Chauvet’s 4 Bar’s are a great light that I really love.  They’re simple, easy to setup and give you (4) Par-style lights which can be setup on the included stand in 2 minutes.

Take one of the par’s from each 4-Bar and point it at your DJ table.  Then, take the par on the other end and point it at the ceiling to light up the room.  Lastly, take the 2 middle pars and point them at the dance floor, aiming low so it’s only in the eyes of those at the front of the dancefloor.

Then, the EZ Par uplights can quickly and easily be put out across the room and set on battery power.  You can even use the Chauvet IRC remote to set the colors without having to bend over 🙂

Setup 2: Chauvet Gig Bar and Striplights

On the budget-friendly side, the Chauvet Gig Bar gives you some cool effects that you can trigger on and off via your lighting console and the LED strip lights give you the option to wash your DJ booth, signage or to use as uplights behind the wedding cake or at the entrance to the ballroom.

Setup 3: Chauvet Freedom Sticks and Uplights

Church Lighting ConsoleChauvet’s Freedom sticks are a cool new fixture that gives you some fun pixeled-control of these upright sticks.  They’re easy to set up around the room and make the party fill any space!  I really like the flexibility they give you – you can simply place them out anywhere and get light where you need it!

Coupled with the Chauvet EZ pars you’ve got the ability to put light wherever you need it.

The cons?  You don’t really have any lights in here to wash your DJ booth or the dance floor, and you need to make sure your console has Chauvet’s D-Fi built in, or you’ll have to buy a transmitter.  Still, this is a cool effects package that is NOT what all the other local DJ’s are doing!

Still, this is a cool effects package that is NOT what all the other local DJ’s are doing!

Step 3: The Console

DJ Lighting Console

From John Lemieux on Flickr.

Once you get your fixtures all worked out, it’s console time!  We don’t want to leave our lights in sound-active mode all the time (here’s why).

Instead, we need to at least have basic control.

If you’re just starting out and simply want to create some basic scenes, chase the light around and have the ability it “set it and forget it”, then the Chauvet Obey 40 is what you need.  Here is how you can program the Obey 40.

Ready to step up to bigger and better control?  Then you’ll want to invest in Chauvet ShowXpress for your PC or Mac.  (Here’s how to program ShowXpress)

No matter what gear you end up with, I really hope that this post has helped you get started and choose the right gear for your DJ set up.


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