How To Use *relatively* Inexpensive DJ LED Lights to Light a Set

How To Use *relatively* Inexpensive DJ LED Lights to Light a Set

Hi, John Hess from Filmmaker IQ – in this
little IQ BiTs video I wanted to talk about using these relatively inexpensive DJ lights
to light a set. This year I decided to redo the lighting on
our set from these old bulky PAR Lights, these incandescent to these smaller, more efficient
LED lighting. There were a number of reasons why – first
I was I encountering a power issue. I had about 5 Parlights each running these
500 watts bulbs – with all of them running at full blast that’s just over 20 amps – enough
to blow the fuse. Now with my set being quite small, I rarely
ran them at full power, closer to 10-25% of full power which meant they ran very warm
color balance wise – somewhere in the 2500-2700K range. And they were warm not just in the color temperature
sense either and since my studio isn’t temperature controlled, with the oncoming Southern California
summer – I wasn’t looking forward to shooting under these lights. Now I had stayed away from LED because I had
always thought they were more expensive per fixture. But I began seeing more LED pars on the market
on Amazon and decided to pick up a few just to experiment with . I was also afraid that
the dimming mechanism might use cheap PWM dimming and create weird camera effects but
it apparently they don’t and it looks just fine on camera. After some quick initial tests I was pretty
happy with the fixtures and ended up redoing the entire set. So let me break down the set up and hopefully
give you some ideas on how to use these lights in your own small studio for vlogging or live
streaming. Primarily we use two kinds of DJ lighting
– the first I got were these smaller DJ lights – they’re called Lixada, it’s a brand I’ve
never heard of before, I’ll put a link in the description. If you pick up 10 of them, you can get them
as cheap as $18 a unit. They’re only 15 watts, have a 25 degree
coverage – which is really quite small and they are really best used as accent lighting
from relatively close up. If you’re in a very confined and small space,
they could definitely be used for key lighting. On our stage, I use them for accent the columns
behind me and as hair lighting. For key lighting, I needed something with
a little bit more punch. So I went with these Coidak, again a name
I’ve never heard of, 60 watt fixtures. These are also 25 degree angle but because
they have much more power, these will throw much farther than the 15 watt light. But 25 degrees is still relatively narrow
– if you want to wash the set with light you may be better off using a fluorescent box
– here I set up a couple Limostudio fluorescent I had lying around the studio that I didn’t
particularly care for for using on location. They work better here as a general wash light
if I wanted to give the studio a lower contrast day look like we’re in right now. Let’s talk about how all these are wired
up because that’s probably the biggest leap when going from traditional incandescent lighting
grid to a LED DJ LED lighting set up. With the traditional incandescent lighting
setup, we have these dimmer packs that are controlled by a dimmer board. Each channel on the dimmer board can be assigned
to a pair of outlets on this dimmer pack: so DMX channel one on the dimmer board would
be this set of outlets her, channel two could be set to this set of outlets, three and four. This way each channel controls how much voltage
flows from the outlet thereby controlling how bright the light are that are connected
to that outlet. We can daisy chain these dimmer packs and
then assign a starting DMX number, say this second dimmer pack we assign to channel 5
so the first pair of outlets is addressed to channel 5 and the second is addressed to
channel 6 and so on. Well the DMX setup with these LED DJ lights
is a bit different. Instead of one DMX channel controlling a light,
each light is controlled by 8 channels – we’ll go over what the different channels are in
a second. Instead of one of these sliders controlling
the brightness of the light – these eight control different aspects of a single light. So to address different lights we need to
be able to switch between different groupings of channels. And on this mixboard those groupings are selected
using fixtures buttons on the left. Each fixture is a set of 16 DMX channels – so
fixture one is channels 1-16, channels 1 through 16, fixture two is 17-32 and so on. This mixboard communicates with the lights
using a wireless DMX transmitter and a wireless DMX receiver. Then the DMX signal is daisy-chained across
all the lights. Now to assign the lights to a specific fixture
number we set the light’s DMX to the starting DMX channel number of the fixture number. Say I want this light to be operated when
I press fixture 12 on my mixboard – so I need to assign this light to DMX 177 because that’s
the grouping that fixture twelve covers: 177-192. We can assign more than one light to a fixture
setting – in fact that’s usually a good idea to group lights together depending on
their function. Actually if we really wanted to, since each
light only uses 8 channels and each fixture has 16 available channels, we could double
up the number of lights we could independently control by simply adding 8 to the DMX channel
we assign to the light and use the Page A/Page B function of the mixboard… but frankly
12 lights, 12 fixtures is enough for me. Anyhow let’s get back what the channels
actually do. The first channel will control the mode – there
are preset modes from static colo… there’s jump color, there’s fade, there’s a sound
activated version and then there’s strobe. But for our lighting a set, I will put it
at zero which is the DIY color setting. Channel 2 controls preset colors – again since
I want full control we want this at zero. There’s an idea of the all the preset colors
that it comes with right there. Channel 3 sets the speed of the strobe and
that’s not important to me because I’m never going to use strobe or the fade. Channel 4 is the master dimmer and Channels
5, 6, 7 and 8 control the red, green, blue and white . With all four channels, let me
get this shining into my face… with all four channels going, I think the color looks
a little too bluish for 5600K – so I bring down the blue a little bit, and sometimes
I just have to kind of tweak the green just a tad bit to get what I think looks like a
neutral 5600K looking white. And of course should I ever feel like it I
can always go crazy and create all kinds of crazy colors for my shot. Now one thing I had to realize was this DIY
coloring only works when Channel 1 and 2 were set to zero – otherwise the preset colors
kick in and you can’t control the colors individually. And there you have it, that’s a basic rundown
on how these DJ LED lights work in a studio production setting. I’m still learning, I’m still experimenting
and seeing what works for me and what doesn’t. And you know what, It is pretty warm in here
but at least I’m not dying of heatstroke under these lights and I shouldn’t be blowing
any fuses. I hope you got something useful out of this
little behind the scenes. If you liked this video make sure to hit the
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think of a better insult than to drop a couple of hundred bucks into our Patreon just to
teach us a lesson. Well until next time, I’m John Hess and
I’ll see you at

26 thoughts on “How To Use *relatively* Inexpensive DJ LED Lights to Light a Set

  1. I helped upgrade our church's old lighting setup from incandescent to LED and basically figured all this out through trial and error. Figuring out the DMX addressing, and then realizing that activating the mode and color channels overrides the individual color channels, was quite a process. Hopefully this video helps others avoid that headache in the future.

    LEDs are certainly more complicated than incandescents, but the control you're allowed over the light, and the reduced power and heat, more than make up for it. I've always thought it would be neat to install these kinds of lights in my home, though I'm not sure if there's really a reason for it beyond it being cool.

  2. Nice topic. I was thinking about it, using DMX lights ar effect/accent lights. BUT you didn't say a WORD about CRI of this lights. Obviously their white light is complete garbage. White combined from RGB is more like pink-violet colour not white. If someone buy this really for keylight will be very dissapointed… There is obvious reason you used kinoflos for general light…

  3. Because I’ve Produced music for the past 35 yrs this concept is so crystal clear to me and makes so much sense

  4. Man!, I always learn something significant with your videos. I’m really surprised Hollywood has not recognized you in a way that I knew your name before I learned about this channel. You’re awesome doc…. no doubt. Thanks again!!!!! 🙂

  5. John, great video as always. Do I understand you correctly that you can ‘dial in’ the color temperature to a preset value e.g. 5,600 or 2,700 or do you just vary the colors to get the effect you like by eye?

  6. We use theese in school for stage lighting and they are quite dimm, but it would be interesitng to use them for filming.

  7. I love my pars, but yeah they get so warm. I wish someone would make good LED bulbs for them that just slot right in cause I like the form factor a lot. Bonus pouts if you can make them run off a V lock, preferably for cheaper than a 120d

  8. Nice, but one problem seems a bit of a showstopper for some applications; at 7:50 you move your hand between the light and your face and your face suddenly has red and green shadows on it. It's less noticable at longer distances, but still there is a disco-vibe to all shadows.

  9. oh yeah? check this out,

  10. a singular COB led will be alot better! Smoother light without those streaks of RGB. Like ADJ Dotz COB is very good sturdy cheap light.

  11. Dear Filmmaker IQ,
    Hey John you know the rolling shutter effect that is caused in video because the camera is scans each frame from top to bottom ?
    Why doesn't this effect still images, the camera is still scans the frame from top the bottom and not globally, at least cameras that use a mechanical shutter ?
    I did a small research but nobody talks / explains this.

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