If you have been to a big concert, theater production, or high end club recently, you have probably seen intelligent lighting in action. Intelligent lighting, also known as automated lighting, moving lights, or movers, refers to stage or party lights that can move in complex, dynamic ways. They are used in many situations, from romantic weddings to creepy haunted houses. These powerful lighting systems can create dramatic moods that can be changed almost instantly, often with less equipment than was needed to create similar effects in the past.
The earliest forms of intelligent lighting were controlled by cords that manually moved the lights. Today, innovations like motors, mirrors, digital controls, and LED technology have combined to create almost endless options that can bring your wildest visions to life. The two main types of intelligent lighting equipment that you may be considering for your band, DJ business, production company, or holiday display are Moving Heads and Scanners (or Moving Mirror Lights).
A Moving Head light fixture offers many color and pattern options, and can move in many ways including tilting, panning, and circular motions up to 360° degrees. These fixtures can produce impressive visual effects, and offer the most flexibly and the widest range of effect options.
Scanners, or Moving Mirror Lights, can also change colors and patterns. Instead of the light itself moving, a moving mirror allows this type of light to project patterns and colors across the stage or around the dance floor. Think of an old fashioned disco ball – they are very primitive versions of moving mirror lights. Scanners may be less versatile than moving head light fixtures, but they are faster and may be the right choice depending on the final effect you want.
How are Intelligent Lights Controlled?
Intelligent lighting can be controlled live by a controller, or by a pre-programmed sequence. Today’s intelligent lighting options are usually managed through a central console (or lighting control desk) using RDM, or Remote Device Management. RDM lets the lighting controller and fixtures communicate, making it easy to configure and direct your intelligent lighting set-up through the console. This console, and any sequences you program, guides the timing, colors, intensity, and movement of each light in order to create the effects you want.
Intelligent lighting systems are also used in places other than on stage and the dancefloor. Many buildings have intelligent lighting systems that can be controlled through a modern network, collect usage data, and can sense things like occupancy and sunlight. These lighting systems both help occupants and produce significant energy savings. Overall, intelligent lighting allows users to do more while using less energy, equipment, and effort, and can be an affordable way to upgrade your venue or special event.