Lighting is essential to developing a mood, whether you are a high-energy DJ, or want to create any effect from exciting to scary. From wash lights to spot and black lights, there are many options available to help you generate the impact you are looking for.
One particularly dramatic type of illumination is laser lights, which have been used at concerts and in nightclubs since the 1970s. These intense, bright lights are sometimes thought to be potentially harmful – lasers are used for powerful medical and industrial applications, after all. Here’s what you need to know in order to safely use laser stage lighting:
Laser Stage Light Regulations and Dangers
Most professional laser lights used in the entertainment industry are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the stage or club lights you are considering are approved by the FDA, then the light complies with FDA regulations, and is safe to use. These approved lights use internal filters to protect people from any danger. A light show or entertainment laser that is considered safe is typically a Class 3R laser with restricted beam exposure.
Using FDA approved lights is a great first step toward keeping your guests safe, but be aware that there are potential consequences from using even the compliant laser lights. As with any other beam of light, there can be issues with direct, or long exposure. The powerful beams from these lights have the potential to overwhelm your eyes, and even cause flash blindness. Flash blindness is scary but temporary, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. People with certain medical conditions can be more susceptible to this, and can even experience photosensitive epilepsy and seizures.
How Can You Be Sure You Are Using Laser Stage Lighting Safely?
If you are hiring a DJ, lighting company or looking at purchasing your own stage or club lighting, make sure that you only consider using FDA approved professional grade lighting. Discount or off-brand lasers may lack the filters needed to ensure that you can use the light safely.
When controlling or programming your laser lights, you can add an extra layer of safety by NOT scanning your audience. This happens when laser lights are “scanned” directly into the crowd. Blasting your party guests can create an intense experience, but is it worth the potential problems? Audience scanning is legal as long as you have safe, professional equipment, but it can still be risky.
Overall, laser stage lighting is an amazing and dramatic tool that may be just what you need to take your performance or party to the next level. Always remember that it is essential to make sure you are using both equipment and techniques that will keep your audience safe.