The Laser Lowdown

July 14, 2016 by Arnoldo Offermann

Lasers: These are some of the most impressive effects you can add to your lighting arsenal. As they have evolved, DJs can get more power than ever out of them. But we also have to be more careful than ever about which lasers we buy and how we use them.171-djtphotobooth-arnoldo

I see a lot of DJs using lasers now, and the more DJs I see using lasers, the more I understand why the FDA takes event lasers so seriously. These aren’t medical devices, but one wrong move and you just gave your clients free LASIK. This is the one industry where importing lasers directly from China is not only dangerous, it’s most likely illegal.

Perhaps you already own a laser, or maybe you want to get into one. Perhaps you have an illegal laser but want to go legit. Whatever the case may be, do not assume that because you haven’t been caught that all is fine. The FDA now has a laser police: your local fire marshall. If you’ve read enough of my articles or seen any videos of mine, then you know how much I stress to NEVER piss off the fire marshall. He or she will come around and check for variances. Yes, people recently have gotten arrested, paid nasty fines, and even had to settle with additional civil suits. Before we even get into this, let’s discuss the serious- ness of this awesome effect:

You can seriously injure someone when using lasers.

When you get caught, fines now range up to $250,000 each time.171-snapstagewertz-arnoldo2

You may face a possible 3rd degree felony for using illegally imported laser equipment.

A few people have already been prosecuted.

They will take your lasers.

You know how I feel about importing lasers from China. Stop it. It’s not worth losing your business or worse, your freedom.
I’ve been using lasers for quite some time, enough that I wanted to write this article. The good news is that a lot of this is common sense. For example, high-powered lasers (such as class 3 or 4) should never be used to crowd scan, unless you have the proper variances and licenses to do so.

So what happens if you have laser dots? Those are usually class 2 lasers and pretty much “toys” compared to the big laser projectors. Price is not what distinguishes a power tool from a toy—it’s class. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Class 2 lasers are often aimed at crowds and they will not cause the damage a class 3 or 4 laser would. These are the lasers you see at concerts, clubs, or other large venues. Technology has brought down the price considerably enough that we can afford them. So remember, don’t crowd scan. Or else.

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Arnoldo Offermann Arnoldo Offermann (40 Posts)

Arnoldo Offermann is the president of 4SchoolsOnly, a national phenomenon in school dances. In a market where DJs cry about $500 school DJs, 4SO sees 10-20x that price tag per event. Arnoldo is also the creator of Master School Dances, the leading educational tools for DJs wanting to get into this great market. He is a sought-after speaker, reviewer, and DJ tech-writer. You can learn more at

Filed Under: 2016, Lighting for Mobile DJs