Tech Talk: Do You Need the "Big" Lighting Package?
What does the DJ mean when he says he's going to bring his "big" lighting package?by Warren K. Kong | Published in October 2008 DJ | lighting | tech talk | technology | Departments
Q: My DJ said he would bring his “big lighting package.” What does that mean?
A: This question is the subject of many meetings I’ve had with event planners and hotel sales staff. When a DJ offers an “upgraded” lighting package, what should you expect? It’s a tough question to answer, because currently, there is no standard. But here are the key words and phrases you need to know to ensure that you’re getting what you want.
The first thing to look out for is price. If the cost of the upgrade is minimal, such as $200 to $600, then chances are you will be wasting your money. Many times, DJs will purchase a few lights that are easy to set up in hopes that a low-dollar up-sale will increase their profit margin. Be wary of this.
Sometimes DJs will state the total purchase cost of the package, such as “$100,000 light show” or “20,000-watt sound system.” This is a good way to check the value of the lighting package. Typically, a DJ will charge 8 to 10 percent of the total value of the equipment as a rental cost. So, do the math and see if the DJ is following this formula. If the math doesn’t work out, chances are there’s something wrong with the package.
For example, the DJ says he’s providing a $50,000 lighting package for only $1,000 (the purchase cost of a basic lighting package starts at around $5,000). This would be a 2 percent rental-to-cost ratio. Something is wrong — maybe it’s in bad condition, or worse yet, the DJ is misrepresenting what he’s offering.
The next thing to look for is the brand name of the lights. If the package includes the brand name of the lighting fixture, do a little research. You should see names like Martin, High End or Coemar. These are high-quality lighting products and the sign of a DJ that cares about the quality of the products provided.
Additionally, if the DJ says he will bring a lighting technician to set up and run the lights during the show, this is a good sign. A lighting technician can program the lights and create different looks for each song the DJ plays.
Finally, if you go with an upgraded lighting package from a DJ, the DJ is often only providing enough lighting to cover the immediate area around him and the dance floor, and may not provide enough for other areas of your room. If you need creative lighting for other areas of the room, go to a lighting vendor that is experienced in this area. Remember: DJs may have the lighting equipment, but this doesn’t mean they understand how to use it.
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