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Stage Lighting Effects Controllers

Stage lighting is an often underrated part of any performance. Stage lighting effects do more than wow the audience; they also serve as a guide to what's important on stage right now. When the light slowly rises over the band, you know something's about to start; when the spot shows off the drummer, it's time for a solo. Your effects controller is the key to all of this visual magic.

Lighting Types

While traditional stage lighting relied on incandescent lighting, more modern systems have moved almost entirely to LED lighting. LED lights have come a very long way since all they could do was light a wristwatch. Nowadays they have become almost the perfect choice for stage lighting. They use less power and generate less heat than incandescent bulbs. They also give you the full gamut of colours without the need for filters. Most don't even need a dimmer rack.

Controllers or Computers

One of the biggest questions is whether to use a dedicated stage lighting and effects control console or go straight to the computer. If you use a computer, you will need DMX dongles to convert the standard lighting interface to something your computer can use, such as USB. In many cases, dedicated controllers are a better option simply because the controls are ready for the job without additional preparation.

Controller Features

When looking for a controller, there are several different features to consider. One is the snapshot feature, which lets you record the current state and then make changes. That way you can get back to where you were without having to remember all the details. Another is grouping channels, so you can control a bank of lights with a single control. You also want the ability to record and playback presets, so that you can set up any complex sequences before the performance, and then let them run when it's time.

Setting it Up

When setting up your lights you want a good view of the stage or performance area. You also want to space your lights out so that you can cover the whole performance area without shining directly into the performers' eyes.

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