Disco lighting, if done correctly, can bring a festive feel to the dance portion of a reception or celebration. I say “done correctly” because there is a correct and incorrect way to use disco lighting during your event.
What is disco lighting?
Disco lighting can be colorful bright lights that focus on the dance floor, laser lights (low and high powered), strobe lights, LED colored lights, moving heads, disco ball (or disco ball effect) just to name a few of the most popular effects.
Bright non-led lights : These are the typical DJ lights, they are bright, colorful and often placed in a truss above the DJ. These lights are older than their LED counterparts, larger, heavier and less bright but still pack a nice punch of color. DJs and Lighting Companies are quickly moving away from non-led lights mainly due to the difficulty in transporting, setting up, and bulkiness.
Laser lights (Low-power and High-power ) – Laser lights are very bright and one laser fixture can fill an entire room with colors. The difference between a laser beam and a typical light is that the laser beam takes more time to expand than a normal light. I can write a whole post on how a laser light works, but that is the gist of it. Because the beam takes more time to expand, it remains brighter for longer distances.
There are low and high powered lasers. In order to use a high powered laser an entertainment company must obtain a certification approval from the FDA called a variance . Basically, the FDA wants to make sure you don’t point it at people, or use these outdoors for many reasons, in addition, notes must be posted near the laser advising of the radiation output. High powered lasers are very bright and are used in night-clubs, they come in many different colors, typically green. When used properly they provide a night-club feel.
Strobe lights – When asked about strobe lights, I would usually advise against them. Although the effect is awesome especially when combined with fog it can provoke seizures on some of your guests, and an ambulance showing up to a venue is a true party spoiler. In many states a notice must be placed outside of the venue advising of the use of strobe lights.
LED Colored Lights - This is the one of the preferred lighting options for the newer entertainment companies. LED Lights are bright, do not consume a lot of electricity and are smaller than the older lights. They come in all shapes and sizes and many models are created replicating the older lights. A small light the size of a hand can fill an entire dance-floor.
Moving Heads – Moving heads double as spot-lights and disco lights. They are usually hung above ceilings on night-clubs and venues,and lighting companies usually place them high up in the air. Moving heads are the brightest of the disco lights and contain may “Gobos” (monogram designs) which are interchangeable by a light controler. These lights are extremely bright and if used properly can cover an entire section of the room with a pretty design to enhance the party atmosphere. They are called moving heads because the barrel (or head) can move in a 360 degree motion to cover different areas of the room as needed.
Disco Ball (Mirror Ball) We don’t often get requests for disco balls anymore, but they create a great effect of small circles of lights around the room. When using a disco ball, we usually project spotlights onto it from different areas of the room. A disco-ball is now used mostly for the “look”, as there are now LED lights available that replicate the effect of a disco-ball without the bulkiness.
Disco lights can be enhanced by using smoke and haze. Haze is a lighter version of smoke that helps the lighting look brighter and more solid. Please note that they can both set off smoke alarms (haze just takes a bit longer). Smoke should be used sparingly as some guests are sensitive to smoke. Smoke can also be used to create “Grand Entrances” as you will see in some of our videos. Many venues have banned smoke machines due to vendors abusing the privilege and setting off sprinklers and smoke alarms so check with your venue first.
Disco lighting should be turned off during speeches, main announcements and dinner. It should be saved for the last two hours of the reception.
When should disco lighting be used?
Disco lighting should only be turned on during dance portions of the event. It should be turned off during dinner, speeches, main entrances, and other formal events. Disco lighting makes the dance-floor area attractive by adding colors and bringing attention to it. Combined with good music, it makes the dance-floor area irresistible for your guests.
Have you considered using disco lighting for your event? What do you think about the use of disco lighting?