Basic Uplighting FAQ – What Type of Fixtures Should I Start With?

October 16, 2017 by Brian S. Redd

So in our third video on basic uplighting, I want to talk about which fixtures you should buy. Before we even get into that, please keep in mind these are only my thoughts, ideas and opinions. You can take it or leave it, it’s up to you. So I’m going to break this down into two parts. The first part, I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but what brand should you buy? It’s my opinion, in this case, especially in this case, you should avoid the generics and go with the good name brand you trust.

There are a couple of different reasons for this. The first reason is the build quality is typically better. The reason it’s better is because the good name brand stuff comes with warranty. What these companies don’t want to do is have you turn anything in for warranty work, because this costs them time and money, shipping at least one way, handling, they don’t want to do it. What they want to do is build a good, solid product that you don’t have to send in for warranty. The reason build quality is so important on this is because we’re talking about a long term investment.

Like I said in the first video, I know people who have had the same fixtures for eight or nine years and they’re still making money on them. They didn’t buy the generics. They bought the good name brand and they’re still giving them good service. So once again, stick with the good name brand that you trust. It’s going to serve you good in the long run.

So in our second part, we’re going to talk about the actual fixture itself. There are a lot of options. Since this video is on basic uplighting, I’m not going to get into bars and I’m not going to get into COB. For just getting started, I think PARS [ph] are the way to go and you have a couple of different options. First option are the RGB individual diode fixtures. This kind of looks like a Light Brite when you turn it on and you can do a lot with these. This is not a bad option.

Some of the options these days actually have red, green, blue and a bonus of UV. This particular fixture has a three watt UV diode in it as an added bonus and what you can do with that is either produce some ultraviolet right or alternately you can mix this UV with red and create more of a pink.

Next up, we have our tri-LED lighting. This is red, green and blue and all of those colors exist within a single diode. This makes for better color mixing.

Next up, we have the quad-LED. Quad-LED is red, green and blue with a bonus color of either amber, white or UV. Amber is a great one to have as a bonus color, because a lot of clients want amber. That’s your candlelight effect and a lot of people like that.

And you have the Hex LED, which is red, green, blue, amber, white and UV. You have a lot of options with this. You can mix pastels with the white and the red, green and blue. You can do kind of a warm white with the white and amber mixed. You can do pinks with the red and the UV or alternately kind of a lime green with the green in the UV or just do UV black light. Hex right now is probably the most versatile fixture you’re going to find for uplighting purposes. You can do an awful lot with them.

Now, these fixtures also come in wired, battery powered and battery powered plus wireless DMX options. For basic uplighting, the wireless DMX stuff I’m going to say you don’t need, because for basic uplighting, we’re doing static color. We don’t need to make any changes. You can set the lights color internally. You don’t need DMX for this.

So let’s talk about the wired options and the batter powered options. Some people feel like they want to go out and buy 12 battery powered fixtures, because they feel like it’s going to make setup a lot faster. This is true, but you don’t really need 12 battery powered fixtures most of the time. I mix and match and I’ll do a dedicated video on that soon. But some of my fixtures are wired. Some of my fixtures are battery powered. My battery powered stuff I use where I don’t want trip hazards like under a head table or maybe in an area where there’s no AC available like in the middle of a room with a column. That’s the perfect place for a battery powered fixture. If I have power outlets right next to where I’m going to put a light, I really don’t need battery powered. It’s not a big deal to plug a light into the wall.

So I recommend that you start off with some wired stuff and for your next purchase, look into some of the battery powered stuff. You’re going to use it kind of where it’s needed. It’s like a tool in a toolbox. I have several different vice grips. Each one serves a different purpose. I even have some channel locks and pliers and things. Again, each one of them serves a different purpose, so I use the right tool for the job. I don’t always need a power screwdriver to take a screw out of something. Sometimes just a handheld is fine. So there’s part three. What fixtures should you buy? I hope I gave you an idea.

Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time. Practice and enjoy.


Brian S. Redd Brian S. Redd (38 Posts)

Although he can be seen Djing in places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or even the UK & Europe, DJ Brian Redd is proud to call Milwaukee home. Brian specializes in mobile events such as wedding receptions, corporate events, quinceañeras, parties and special occasions. He has also been a resident DJ at several major Milwaukee night clubs and also performs at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. From the beginning Brian has had a passion for music. His talent emerged at the young age of 13 when he was asked to DJ at a local skating rink. After realizing his calling he progressed on to weddings and mobile gigs and by age 18 he was DJing regularly at nightclubs. He understands people & what motivates them music wise, which helps keep them on the dance floor. Brian has been recognized for his work in various DJ publications both domestic and abroad. He has made a name for himself in the DJ community where he is known and respected as an industry consultant. This recognition has led to his contributions as a writer for Disc Jockey News. A true international DJ, Brian travels worldwide to not only perform but to educate and share industry ideas and concepts with DJs everywhere. His career has gone to the next level working with industry leading manufactures bringing new products and services to his peers helping them become better DJs.

Filed Under: Lighting for Mobile DJs, Mobile DJ Equipment