When purchasing lights, you may have noticed the amount of different options to choose from. What would be considered good enough to meet you needs when buying a stage light?
Should you go with the high-end, professional series or will the inexpensive light from Amazon do the job? In this post, we’re going to cover my top tips and suggestions on what to look for when buying new lights for your stage.
The Curse of the Expert
Something I’ve seen often and been guilty myself at times is the curse of the expert or the curse of knowledge. This would be an example where someone goes to a lighting designer for advice on purchasing some lights, they could be working as a DJ or for a small church. The lights wouldn’t see any rough use.
The lighting designer suggests a very high end light and even though it’s expensive, the person goes with the light because that’s what was recommended to them. The light is durable, it’s light up their stage, but was it really what they needed for their project?
Durability and Road Worthy
Professional grade lights are generally very durable lights. They can handle being put in a case, moved around, put up, taken back down, and occasionally accidently kicked. These type of lights can really take the beating and if they do break, generally they are very easy to repair.
Now, if this is a permanent setup and you’re the only one that is installing and setting up the lights, do you really need a light with that kind of durability? Most likely not especially if this is a permanent installation.
The next quality to look for is brightness and the quality of the dimming of lights. A good quality light has the great brightness and is able to dim the lights very well. But if you’re a band or a DJ do you really need those type of features in a light?
When working in that musical arena, you probably don’t need a high end light that will perfectly highlight those features. Of course you don’t want the cheapest model but you can find a mid-range light that will fit just right.
A last quality to look for is does this light have all of the features you need and do you even need those extra features? If you’re in a setting where it’s generally the same type of show, do you need the moving head with the zoom feature?
Just as an example, if you were to consider a light with zoom, you may notice that the light output is not as bright. When you compare to an equal light without the zoom it is much brighter than the other light.
It’s very important to consider which features will serve your lighting needs better. Yes, the bells and whistles are fun but will they be needed for your stage?
Finding the Perfect Match
How do you find that perfect middle ground between not to expensive but also not to cheap. I have a couple of ground rules when considering which lights I should buy.
My first and foremost is please do not purchase the no name, inexpensive lights from Amazon. I’ve seen many people purchase those lights and the quality and customer support is not there at all.
You may know of the brands like ADJ, Chauvet, and Gamma. These brands have different product lines that would appeal to those that are DJ’s or have entry level, mid-grade, and professional grade lighting options.
Each of these brands, offer some great lights that fit different needs and experience level. Not to mention, they do have the customer support and warranty options.
I will say that most people I work with, fit in the mid-range tier and you’ll find a lot of great lighting options in this tier. Something to keep in mind is that there will be some fan noise. If you’re working in a church or a quieter production this could be very distracting.
It’s very important to consider and understand what your needs for lighting are. If you’re going to be setting up and tearing down often, you may need a more durable and professional light that has that durability.
If you’re a church or a presentation type of service you may need some brighter lights, with some features, and a quieter fan. Or of you are in a band or a DJ, the fan noise won’t be a problem as long as you have the moving head, gobos, and different effects you can make with your lighting.