Professional lighting has the power to make a huge impact, whether it is being used as a part of a high-energy live performance or a precise still photo shoot. The actual lights that you use are obviously important, but they can’t do much on their own without an operator who has access to the right tools. Here are our top products that expand and transform what you can do with your professional lighting (and how easily you can do it).
Do More With The Lights You Already Have: Gels and Gobos
If you are feeling limited by the light fixtures in your church, theater or concert venue, but don’t have room for a major upgrade in your budget, consider gels and gobos. These affordable lighting tools allow you to change the looks and effects your lighting system can produce.
Gel filters are used to change the white light produced by lighting fixtures to the colors that you need in order to create anything from a surreal effect to the illusion of sunlight indoors. Made of heat resistant polyester, gels can be purchased in a sheet, a roll or even in a tube.
Gobos are flat pieces of steel, glass, plastic or wood which are placed in the optical path, or in front of a lighting fixture to project an image. They can project patterns, or even text and graphics like a date, phrase or logo in black and white, or full color. Gobos come in many sizes. Two of the most popular are size ‘A’ and ‘B’. Both of these sizes can be used in most full size ellipsoidal fixtures. ‘A’ gobos are larger,cover more area and project bigger images, while the ‘B’ size is a better choice for bringing more overall focus to very detailed images.
Our Favorite Tools That Make Lighting Work Easier
Whether you spend your weeks on tour or just help out locally on the weekends, you always need the right tools at your disposal. Here are four of our most popular tools that can help anyone who needs to work with professional lighting.
- The Stagejunk 7280 RT Ratcheting Ultimate Focus Tool is a versatile device that works with standard C-clamps and select star knobs, plus it has holes for 1/2″ socket bolts, wing nuts, moving light thumb screws and more. This tool also features an LED continuity tester for Edison connectors, Stage Pin (Bates) connectors, twist lock connectors, loose lamps and a pin splitter.
- An indispensable tool for all professional lighting technicians and installers is Blizzard Lighting’s BUDDHA™, a handheld DMX measurement and cable testing tool. You can use it to send and receive DMX, sACN and Art-Net data, test 3- and 5-pin cables, test MIDI signals, monitor and analyze incoming data, program sequences, store data via SD card and more.
- To keep your tools protected and organized, use a waterproof case like the 3i-2011-7B-TR from SKB. This model features fold out dual trays with plastic dividers on both sides of the case with a clear covered middle section that can be snapped down to keep connectors and other small pieces in place. When the case is closed, the fold-out trays sit on each other, keeping the contents from shifting around. The storage area below the trays measures 20.5” x 3.375” for additional storage. It has a built in pull handle and wheels for easier transport.
- Many new lighting stands offer amazing features that can make your life much easier, and protect your valuable equipment. If you are struggling with installing, moving or adjusting your lighting set-up, new stands might be what your need. Features like auto-locking, lifting and lowering assistance, leveling legs, and crossbars and sidebars ensure that you can safely set up your equipment a flexible and easy-to-use arrangement.
Do you have a favorite tool or effect that lets you get more out of your lights? Let us know in the comments below.