Best Bang-for-Buck Lighting Upgrades?

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cinepro

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 11, 2018
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After some time off, I'm getting back into the swing of things with some teen/school dances coming up. My current light setup is four LED PAR lights, two Chauvet Swarm 5 multi-effects, and an LED Bar (I got rid of the weak laser thing in the pic). Also a fog machine. All controlled off a PC running QLC+.

What's the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade to add on to the setup for, say, <$500?
 

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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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Nothing... an investment should produce a return. Nothing I can think of that's under $500 that will get you money back or that you can charge for. I'd save a little more... say about $1500-$2000 and get a moving head and trussing system. Then you can offer a no lighting option, and a high end lighting option (don't ever do a mediocre option). You can get an extra $200-$300 for the add-on and get your money back in ten events. Or you can save $2-$2500 for uplighting and charge $500-$750 for that depending on your market, and sell that as an add-on and keep the current lighting system you have as your standard option.

As you can see, I never liked the concept of "effect" lighting as they provide no value or business benefit.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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Let me suggest either ADJ or Chauvet moving heads. You might spend a little more but it will be worth it. Invest in something really good that will work well and that clients will want to book you even more.
 

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
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Sep 7, 2016
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Programming.

I'm not familiar with QLC, and maybe you've already programmed shows you love. But I find that most DJs do the bare minimum, or nothing, when it comes to running their lighting rigs.

When I'm programming I like to watch videos of some EDM stages to get inspired by color combinations and concepts, and then try to adapt them to my much smaller set up.
 
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IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
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Western Pennsylvania
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equipment is one cost, setup/teardown is another.

I have a small truss system and moving heads, lasers, and I love to bring them to school dances, but it adds an hour to setup and teardown. And it's a LOT easier with help putting the lights on the truss or even hanging it.

I'm working on improving my lighting 'concept', trying to make things faster to setup/tear down. Even the basic lighting I take to most weddings takes nearly as long to setup/tear down as the sound system. Hence I guess the popularity of gig bars and similar.
 

Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
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A lot of DJ's here are older, and trying to make our lighting rigs smaller and easier to set up and breakdown.
But I've noticed that my clients are also trying to keep things simple, and keep THEIR costs down too. Of course, I am not including Taso's crowds, I am talking about your average priced wedding clientele.
I guess my point is, if YOU want to buy more lights, you had better have enough clients who are willing to pay more to make it worth the cost and worth the effort.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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A lot of DJ's here are older, and trying to make our lighting rigs smaller and easier to set up and breakdown.
But I've noticed that my clients are also trying to keep things simple, and keep THEIR costs down too. Of course, I am not including Taso's crowds, I am talking about your average priced wedding clientele.
I guess my point is, if YOU want to buy more lights, you had better have enough clients who are willing to pay more to make it worth the cost and worth the effort.
The only downside to the moving heads is space. I can have my entire sound system and 2 moving heads broken down and in the van within 45 minutes. Setting up doesn't take much longer either. I have my trusses prewired with quad outlet boxes at the top and bottom, so just one extension cord from each truss to a power source. Unless you find collapsible style trussing (which will then add more set up time), you're gonna need a minivan or larger.