Lighting Effects and Venue

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TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
350
372
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Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
Input please. I recently had a wedding where the venue mentioned two weeks prior to the event that the First Dances, Toasts and Dinner would occur in one room and the Dancing for the evening would take place in another room where a permanent bar area was (but no seating in this area). I've not run into this. Every event I've had, the dancing, toasts, special dances all happen in the same area as dinner so this was a bit of a surprise but I made it work. I use Soundswitch for my lighting software so that it's pre-programmed. For those of you familiar, only a small handful of my auto-loops had a very quick 3 second strobe woven in from time to time. It's minimal (because as you know a little strobe goes a long way). I was simply using it to add some extra creative movement beyond a snap and it was certainly not on every autoloop or anything.
The lighting had been up for a couple of hours and while I was doing sound check with the ceremony musician outdoors, the event planner comes to me complaining that she has a bartender with epilepsy and wants me to turn off any possible strobe or see what I can do. I told her it's all pre-programmed, the bride and groom paid for custom programmed lighting but that I would aim the lights more on the ceiling to ensure that it was less impactful on those tending bar. She was happy with that.
The dancing segment is in full swing and she comes up to me while I'm mixing and complains again and says to turn them off. Again, I can't stress enough. Any "strobe" effect was very minimal in duration and how often they occurred. Now, for those of your familiar with Soundswitch you know you cannot just "turn off that setting". You literally would have to do away with all lighting mid-event (which the B&G paid for). No matter how I tried to educate her in that fashion she kept saying she didn't want to be responsible for a medical emergency etc.
While I'm open to simply taking this special effect out entirely (like I said, it's minimal), I'm annoyed and frustrated with the venue because of two reasons:

1. I believe it to be incredibly irresponsible of the venue as an employer to place a person known to struggle with epilepsy behind the bar in the very area where they know lights will be changing, snapping or flashing or moving (if I had moving heads) to some or any degree. This gal seemed to refuse to see this. There had to be plenty of other locations or roles for this person to help in besides this kind of dance floor area.

2. The venue was the one who had mandated that the dance segment be in that specific area where the bar was. By the way, this was not due to a covid restriction. The dinner area was not spread out, though due to the guest list size I can see why they may have done this. However, if the venue wants the dancefloor where the bar is, don't put an epileptic there. That's like having an alcoholic tend bar all night long or someone who has been in prison for embezzlement to do your books. :laugh: Probably not the best position for an individual. Plus, just "how much is too much" of an effect?? If no strobe is used, fine, but how could a dj know that color-snaps wouldn't have the same effect??

I encouraged her to communicate well in advance their expectation or unique situation to dj's. This way the B&G can get pulled into the situation and it can be figured out. If I had known well in advance I could easily have (and would have) accommodated by taking out any effect like that. However, in my opinion, It's unreasonable for a venue to take absolutely no responsibility in this situation (for where they place an epileptic individual), just fault the dj for things and then try to handle it mid-event.

Have any of you run into this? How did you handle it?
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
18,233
15,247
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Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
Have any of you run into this? How did you handle it?
You're not going to want to hear this but, you're in the wrong. You're a guest in the venue's building so you follow their rules, period. Whether they choose to employ someone with seizures is there business. They notified you, albeit late, of the issue so.....don't use strobe of any kind. Now your issue of the separate dance areas is entirely frustrating. I've only run into that a couple of times and it's the type thing that will make me not go back to a particular place.
 
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TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
350
372
55
Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
You're not going to want to hear this but, you're in the wrong. You're a guest in the venue's building so you follow their rules, period. Whether they choose to employ someone with seizures is there business. They notified you, albeit late, of the issue so.....don't use strobe of any kind. Now your issue of the separate dance areas is entirely frustrating. I've only run into that a couple of times and it's the type thing that will make me not go back to a particular place.

I appreciate the input knowing you operate a venue. Maybe you don't realize with Soundswitch the limitations that existed to try and accomplish what the venue was asking in the heat of the moment. I do feel that I try to accommodate whatever I can in the moment be it from venue or B&G or even guest. However, with a customized pre-programmed software that is completely tied to bpm, you're limited. You basically are stuck with lighting....or none. You stop the music...the room is dark. You exit the software...the room is dark until you manually re-set all of the lights to sound sensitive or auto-program. What would you have expected your DJ to tangibly do in the moment as a venue operator and still keep that party going? Kill the energy of the room? Expect the dj to go get a ladder, climb up to the lighting on the trees, change each light to a sound-sensitive setting or an internal auto-program, go to all of the up-lighting around the room to do the same as well,? And what are your B&G's guests doing during this time exactly? So you're saying that you would do that as opposed to simply relocating the ONE individual that struggles with epilepsy to another area so that it's a win-win (for the employee and the B&G)?? Seems odd to wipe responsibility all on the Dj while the venue takes none (to either the Bride and Groom...they paid for that type of lighting...or the employee with epilepsy by making them bartend in an area guaranteed to have some sort of risky lighting for them). My commitment (not to mention my contract) is not with the venue. It's with the B&G. And we (dj and venue) both have a responsibility to the Bride and Groom to deliver a wonderful night. Now I do agree that IF known ahead of time or something we can be flexible with or accommodate in the moment, then absolutely, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to support the venue. In this instance, I don't see what I could have done while still delivering an excellent service and product to the B&G. They paid for that kind of lighting...Was the venue going to reimburse the couple for not having custom programmed lighting? Nope! However, if a venue wants a Dj to heed their "my house my rules" philosophy....Awesome....but it's bs to not make the rules clear, concise and communicated in enough time so that a Dj can actually accommodate them.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
18,233
15,247
57
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
I appreciate the input knowing you operate a venue. Maybe you don't realize with Soundswitch the limitations that existed to try and accomplish what the venue was asking in the heat of the moment. I do feel that I try to accommodate whatever I can in the moment be it from venue or B&G or even guest. However, with a customized pre-programmed software that is completely tied to bpm, you're limited. You basically are stuck with lighting....or none. You stop the music...the room is dark. You exit the software...the room is dark until you manually re-set all of the lights to sound sensitive or auto-program. What would you have expected your DJ to tangibly do in the moment as a venue operator and still keep that party going? Kill the energy of the room? Expect the dj to go get a ladder, climb up to the lighting on the trees, change each light to a sound-sensitive setting or an internal auto-program, go to all of the up-lighting around the room to do the same as well,? And what are your B&G's guests doing during this time exactly? So you're saying that you would do that as opposed to simply relocating the ONE individual that struggles with epilepsy to another area so that it's a win-win (for the employee and the B&G)?? Seems odd to wipe responsibility all on the Dj while the venue takes none (to either the Bride and Groom...they paid for that type of lighting...or the employee with epilepsy by making them bartend in an area guaranteed to have some sort of risky lighting for them). My commitment (not to mention my contract) is not with the venue. It's with the B&G. And we (dj and venue) both have a responsibility to the Bride and Groom to deliver a wonderful night. Now I do agree that IF known ahead of time or something we can be flexible with or accommodate in the moment, then absolutely, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to support the venue. In this instance, I don't see what I could have done while still delivering an excellent service and product to the B&G. They paid for that kind of lighting...Was the venue going to reimburse the couple for not having custom programmed lighting? Nope! However, if a venue wants a Dj to heed their "my house my rules" philosophy....Awesome....but it's bs to not make the rules clear, concise and communicated in enough time so that a Dj can actually accommodate them.
Believe me, I understand your perspective. Sometimes, it's not possible to just switch things on the spur of the moment. Problem is, that's YOUR problem, not theirs. You were creating a real problem for the venue and they asked you to stop. It's not their fault that you chose a tool that had limitations. If I had been in your situation, I likely would've thrown the fixtures into sound active mode and kept the house happy. I would then address the strobe issue (at home) and setup scenes with zero strobe in them. I don't mean to offend you but you're making excuses. You were wrong. You should admit it and make the needed corrections and stop blaming someone else.
 

TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
350
372
55
Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
Believe me, I understand your perspective. Sometimes, it's not possible to just switch things on the spur of the moment. Problem is, that's YOUR problem, not theirs. You were creating a real problem for the venue and they asked you to stop. It's not their fault that you chose a tool that had limitations. If I had been in your situation, I likely would've thrown the fixtures into sound active mode and kept the house happy. I would then address the strobe issue (at home) and setup scenes with zero strobe in them. I don't mean to offend you but you're making excuses. You were wrong. You should admit it and make the needed corrections and stop blaming someone else.
Interesting perspective. Thanks for the input, Rick!
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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This presents issues for both sides. From the dj's perspective, the failure to provide a fully controllable lighting system, doesn't allow for these sort of accommodations. On average I get around 1, maybe 2, requests a year from CLIENTS AT THE EVENT to minimize the intensity of the lighting because they forgot about a guest who has an issue. No problem! I just avoided the programs that had intense or strobing patterns. The ability to make those adjustments are a must in the private event world.

Now from the venue's perspective, it puts them in a bind. They have an employee with an issue... and they have a bride who paid for this service. if the couple is stubborn and says they paid for the lighting and really want it... the venue will look like the bad guy. Intelligent lighting around here is on avg $300-$2500. To tell a couple that they lose out on that is not necessarily gonna make them receptive to your bartenders needs, when you could've literally chosen anyone else to work there, and it's your issue for placing them there when it is known that dance areas have intense lighting. You can't expect the dj to have the skill or ability to "reprogram" or "turn off" something the client paid for and expected. The argument that says you can go into sound active mode won't work either... those have strobe sequences built in as well. Thinking that the dj won't also bring it to the couples attention and get them involved is highly unlikely. They'll say your venue doesn't want lighting. What does the venue then do if the couple says they still want the lighting. I can already see the negative review... "don't book this venue if you wanna dance... they don't allow club lighting".

This particular situation is a lose lose, unless the venue could move the bartender.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
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I see both sides.

I find it absolutely imperative to work with the venues I am working a wedding at as much as possible. I can't recall having a major problem with any of them in terms of not accommodating their request or policy.

With that said, I have had clients come up and tell me to kill the lights because someone in the crowd has epilepsy, and I had no problem turning the lights off, but they were also not situations where the clients paid a bunch of extra money for the light show either.

Having worked in hotels, and in many restaurants for a long time, I can say that MAYBE the venue did not have other staff to put into that particular position. Especially now considering MOST places are under staffed right now!

We ate at Paula Deen's Restaurant today here in Myrtle Beach. The food there is AMAZING! You will eat until your belly hurts there!

Anyway, it was about a 45 minute wait at 4 p.m. People getting on the list after us had to wait up to 1 hour and 45 minutes!

Anyway, when we were sat, we noticed that at least 12 tables were closed, and simply not being used. The restaurant is under staffed and just does not have the wait staff (and likely the kitchen staff) to accommodate a full restaurant which is why the wait time is so long!

ALMOST EVERY VENUE I KNOW is at least some what short staffed. So in the venue's defense, it may have been a staffing issue. Either, they were short staffed, OR they did not have someone else qualified enough to bartend that part of the event successfully, and their only option was this person for the event.

Not saying that was the case, but could have been which is why working with the venue is important. Don't be the A**Hole Deejay to them.

Also, if that wasn't the case...sometimes venues promise particular employees certain money making positions at events. The manager needed to make sure the person could stay in that area so they could make good tips on that event...this is more of a employee retention issue on the venue's part trying to keep a staff member happy. That shouldn't effect a client's wedding either, but unfortunately venue management has to make a tough call in that situation to keep their employee happy during a time when good employees are very hard to come by!

Either way, working with the venue should be of top priority for a DJ unless you truly don't care to work there ever again. Be hard to deal with or argumentative with them is the easiest way to make sure you don't work there again.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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I see both sides.

I find it absolutely imperative to work with the venues I am working a wedding at as much as possible. I can't recall having a major problem with any of them in terms of not accommodating their request or policy.

With that said, I have had clients come up and tell me to kill the lights because someone in the crowd has epilepsy, and I had no problem turning the lights off, but they were also not situations where the clients paid a bunch of extra money for the light show either.

Having worked in hotels, and in many restaurants for a long time, I can say that MAYBE the venue did not have other staff to put into that particular position. Especially now considering MOST places are under staffed right now!

We ate at Paula Deen's Restaurant today here in Myrtle Beach. The food there is AMAZING! You will eat until your belly hurts there!

Anyway, it was about a 45 minute wait at 4 p.m. People getting on the list after us had to wait up to 1 hour and 45 minutes!

Anyway, when we were sat, we noticed that at least 12 tables were closed, and simply not being used. The restaurant is under staffed and just does not have the wait staff (and likely the kitchen staff) to accommodate a full restaurant which is why the wait time is so long!

ALMOST EVERY VENUE I KNOW is at least some what short staffed. So in the venue's defense, it may have been a staffing issue. Either, they were short staffed, OR they did not have someone else qualified enough to bartend that part of the event successfully, and their only option was this person for the event.

Not saying that was the case, but could have been which is why working with the venue is important. Don't be the A**Hole Deejay to them.

Also, if that wasn't the case...sometimes venues promise particular employees certain money making positions at events. The manager needed to make sure the person could stay in that area so they could make good tips on that event...this is more of a employee retention issue on the venue's part trying to keep a staff member happy. That shouldn't effect a client's wedding either, but unfortunately venue management has to make a tough call in that situation to keep their employee happy during a time when good employees are very hard to come by!

Either way, working with the venue should be of top priority for a DJ unless you truly don't care to work there ever again. Be hard to deal with or argumentative with them is the easiest way to make sure you don't work there again.
As important as it is for us to work with venues, they’re ultimately not our client. I can survive with being black listed from the venue for whatever reason, but getting a negative review from a client and having that spread to a circle of clients is worst in my opinion.
 
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TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
350
372
55
Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
As important as it is for us to work with venues, they’re ultimately not our client. I can survive with being black listed from the venue for whatever reason, but getting a negative review from a client and having that spread to a circle of clients is worst in my opinion.
Agreed. As much as I wanted to accommodate the venue (if I could have easily done so and still given the bride and groom what they paid for), I would have certainly done so. I don't approach it that it has to be an "us" (dj's) versus "them" (venue) mentality. We both have the same ultimate goal which is to provide a stellar experience for the couple and, really, in 99% of the situations we're simply not at odds in how we get to that goal. Even though I've never run into this particular situation before, this was a good learning opportunity though from the standpoint that I'll likely go back into my auto loops and simply program any of my more energetic lighting into one bank. This way I can easily go in and de-select that bank in the heat of the moment if the intensity and energy needs to be chilled out due to someone's request. Having that as an alternative would be the best (and likely only) thing you can do with Soundswitch but it would resolve the issue. The issue was that the more quick-paced, energetic and short burst of strobe-type of effects , while they were few, were sprinkled throughout several different banks and there was no way to modify that without turning off all of the software.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
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As important as it is for us to work with venues, they’re ultimately not our client. I can survive with being black listed from the venue for whatever reason, but getting a negative review from a client and having that spread to a circle of clients is worst in my opinion.

There would not be a negative review if you go to the client and let them know full transparency of what is going on. Let the client ultimately make the call. If the client says "Oh no, I need to have the lighting on. I paid for it...then they should go to the venue manager and let them know they want it on.

If the venue still demands the lights need to be off after that, well it's at least out of your hands, and they have to deal with the client with it. It's no fault of the DJ's that the lights are not being used. That would avoid any negative review on the DJ's part.

IF the venue manager/owner get's mad at a DJ for going to the client about the situation, then it's honestly not a venue the DJ would want to return to any way.
 
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Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
11,627
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Bethlehem PA
I believe it to be incredibly irresponsible of the venue as an employer to place a person known to struggle with epilepsy behind the bar in the very area where they know lights will be changing, snapping or flashing or moving (if I had moving heads) to some or any degree.
Someday, you might have a wedding where a guest, or worse yet the bride...has epilepsy.
AND...you may not find out about it until you're in the middle of the event.
I would eliminate the strobe from all of the programming.
Yes, it adds a nice effect. But no one will ever miss it if they never knew you had it to begin with.

UPDATE:
By the way, I do not charge extra for dance floor lights.
It avoids having clients try to lower my price by eliminating the lights.
AND, in this case, the client cannot complain about what lights I use and don't use.
Oh yeah, and I don't own strobes and do not program a strobe effect in any of my fixtures.
 
Last edited:

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
11,812
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You said it was the event planner who came up to you complaining. How do you know herself she didn't know this until the event was going on and you're assuming she worked for the venue. No matter how you try to adjust things in your favor, you were wrong because it's not your venue. Would you allow someone to come to your house and do whatever they want or would their be rules laid out by you? I know it sucks sometimes when you're forced into doing certtain things at a venue you don't agree with. Like for example I remember we were told to turn the music down to a whisper. You couldn't hear how to mix the songs because the volume coming out of the speakers were super low. Nothing to do but comply with the venue no matter how pissed off we both were.
 

TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
350
372
55
Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
Someday, you might have a wedding where a guest, or worse yet the bride...has epilepsy.
AND...you may not find out about it until you're in the middle of the event.
I would eliminate the strobe from all of the programming.
Yes, it adds a nice effect. But no one will ever miss it if they never knew you had it to begin with.

UPDATE:
By the way, I do not charge extra for dance floor lights.
It avoids having clients try to lower my price by eliminating the lights.
AND, in this case, the client cannot complain about what lights I use and don't use.
Oh yeah, and I don't own strobes and do not program a strobe effect in any of my fixtures.

True. Very true. And, of course, moving forward I'll do just that...simply delete any strobing from the programming. Easiest solution. And of course, if it was one of the guests that came to me with the issue I would have immediately spoken with the bride and groom to let them know why I was turning off certain lighting. That's because my contract is with the bride and groom (and subsequently their guests). It's not with the venue. I didn't involve the bride and groom in this issue because, from my perspective, it was a logistical issue between the venue and myself. It wasn't the bride and groom's fault that the venue made an individual with epilepsy bartend in that area so really when you think about it why should the bride and groom go without paid-for lighting when the venue could simply relocate that employee to a different area? Those are all discussions to be had behind the scenes between venue and dj.
I forgot to add an important detail before as well...I myself have epilepsy. I've been on that medication for years so I would not have programmed some crazy strobe lighting that would put myself in danger let alone anyone else medically. That should at least give an indication as to how minimal of an effect we're talking about here. Even though I still feel like I handled the "in the moment" as best as I could, I plan on taking anything out of the programming that someone may potentially have issues with.
 
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Ausumm

Gold Plated Productions
Oct 21, 2008
11,627
13,768
57
Bethlehem PA
my contract is with the bride and groom (and subsequently their guests). It's not with the venue.

It wasn't the bride and groom's fault that the venue made an individual with epilepsy bartend in that area so really when you think about it why should the bride and groom go without paid-for lighting when the venue could simply relocate that employee to a different area?
Ahhh, yes...
but it's always smart to make friends (and keep them) with the venue.
They dish out a lot of referrals,
and you never know when you'll be playing there again.

As for going without lights that were paid for...
it's not the venue or the client's fault that you didn't have a PLAN B.
The venue shouldn't have to move people around because of the way YOU programmed your lights.
 
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