Nightclub lighting has progressed a long way in the last few years. Lighting is much more than just automatic mode sound to light. It is used to set the mood, give a dancefloor the wow factor and complement the great sound system. Many nightclubs are used as versatile venues with a combination of live acts through to DJ sets. Lighting systems for nightclubs should be able to adapt with the needs of the client without becoming complex and requiring an operator. With the widespread use of LED in the moving head market, high functioning automated lighting is not only much lower in price, but requires significantly less maintenance and has a low running cost compared to a high intensity discharge equivalent.
Lighting Systems for Nightclubs
Lighting systems will vary dramatically depending on the way the venue operates and its size.
As an example the specifications of a medium sized multi-purpose venue would be as follows:
Control in a multi-purpose venue can adapt depending on the requirements at the time. In normal operating circumstances the lighting can be controlled from multiple points in the nightclub using either preset panels or a touchscreen selection system. This is able to be controlled easily by staff without the need for an operator or any sort of programming input.
The nightclub can have several mood cycles, or presets for the lighting rig. It even has the facility to place the rig into a mode where it controls itself based on the music playing. This system also allows the presetting of house/cleaning lights and emergency or evacuation states. It also future proofs the system and needs of the nightclub. As the system is easily reprogrammed or added to at a later date.
For larger events or specific lighting, the system is able to be connected into using one of the several lighting network points around the venue. These points will include both an RJ45 input for modern control systems, and a DMX input for more traditional methods of control. This system can either completely bypass the existing preset control, or it can be used in conjunction with it to allow staff the ultimate power.
LED fixtures form the majority of the system. Not only does this benefit the price, but the brightness and colour saturation cannot be beaten. Fixed Parcans and Battens form the wash, not just on the dancefloor, but battens and parcans can wash walls and highlight features. This sets the mood and can make a room look like the place to be. Lighting of the room itself can also be heightened by the use of par 16 fittings and mini profiles such as the ETC source 4 mini. Par 16’s can light up a corridor or a VIP area effectively without becoming overpowering. This is important, as your VIP area shouldn’t look like someone has left the houselights on.
Mini profiles have the added benefit of zoom, shutters (framing) and the possibility of using gobo’s. This type of versatility makes them ideal for most uses. You can frame the toilet sign or give a gobo pattern across the bar area. Moving across to the dancefloor, moving heads will do most of the work. Whether you need lights everywhere in time to the music or you have a live acoustic act, the moving lights will be able to compliment the environment. Working closely with the pre-set software, the staff will be able to select the lighting state that best complements the situation. Having the whole system talking to itself via DMX means that when another operator comes in and connects in to the system, they will be able to control and change the lights to suit their set.
The final component of the system (and possibly the most fun) are the effects. These are the icing on the cake and can enhance a dancefloor or give it the final wow factor. Haze machines are a must to complement the moving lights. Haze puts a fine mist/vapour into the air. This makes light beams visible and can completely transform a room.
There are some exciting smoke effects making their way into the lighting systems for nightclubs market. Two of our favourites are the Chauvet Geyser and the Glaciator XStream. The Geyser is a CO2 style smoke effect that can be hung or mounted at any angle. It produces a 7ft high jet of smoke which can make a fantastic feature. The unit has an LED base to it so the jet of smoke can be in any colour imaginable and can also double as a flame effect. The Glaciator on the other hand is a high powered low fog device.
In minutes the dancefloor can be completely covered by a foot of low lying fog. Put this together with people dancing and the effect will set you aside from other venues and give our clients something to talk about.
Strobes and Lasers
Our final effects to mention are strobe lights and lasers. Both of which have been around for years, but more recently, with the advances In LED technology have adapted and become even more effective. Lasers are now available in a whole range of colours and without the same safety concerns of their predecessors. Lasers can be used for simple controllable effects, or pre programmed laser shows that create, pictures, logos and writing. Systems can even cope with animation.
This, coupled with haze, is another effect that can set a venue apart from the rest. Strobe lights too can now be purchased in LED form. There are many benefits to using LED source, but the key ones are the lower draw on the power, longer lamp life and they also pose less of a risk to people that suffer with epilepsy (although warnings must still be in place.)
Below is an example install for a medium – large nightclub:
If you would like to discuss sound & lighting systems for nightclubs as well as an extraordinary nightclub sound system, please contact Old Barn Audio. Either on +44(0) 1892 752246, by email or our contact form and someone will be in touch.