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air wall lighting track clamp

Do I Need a Light Stand for My Rental Light?

blacklight stand rental

Example of a blacklight mounted to a tripod light stand

Do I need a light stand for my light?

It depends on how you’ll be using your light and the space, different options are available for mounting and setting up your lights.

Think about light stands if:

  • You expect 100 or more guests at your event
  • Want to get the most effect out of your light rental
  • You want the easiest setup

Generally it’s a good idea to get a light stand.

Below are the stand and mounting options we offer and what’s recommend based on the light and your space.

Types of Light Stands and Mounting Options

Tripod Light Stand (most popular)

Compact, three leg stands extend upwards of 8-10ft, foot print of 3ft in diameter. We match each stand to the light being shipped so it’s a perfect fit. Plenty of room to project above your guests.

super clamp

Super clamps attach to anything 2in in diameter or less.

Recommended for:

  • Gobo lights
  • Texture lights
  • Monogram Lights
  • Bliss lights
  • Black lights
  • Cake and table washes

Super Clamp

Attach light fixtures to anything 2in in diameter or less. Existing light stands, speaker stands, pull up bars, volleyball posts, basketball hoops, truss, deck, railings, chain link fence, etc. Offers a lower cost option to mount lights using elements you already have.

drop ceiling lighting clamp

Drop ceiling clamps attach to the strips in between tiles in a drop ceiling. Good for lightweight light fixtures.

Recommended for:

  • Gobo lights
  • Texture lights
  • Monogram Lights
  • Bliss lights
  • Black lights
  • Cake and table washes
  • Pin-spots

Drop Ceiling Clamp

Clamps clip onto existing drop ceilings and allow mounting of lightweight light fixtures. Improper mounting can result in damage to the ceiling or serious injury to guests.

Recommended for:

  • Cake and table washes
  • Video lights
  • Cake spots
  • Pin-spots
air wall lighting track clamp

Air wall clamps attach to the air wall track available in some venues.

Air Wall Track Clamp

Clamps attach to air wall track in hotel ballrooms. These allow for advanced hanging and configurations. Recommended only for event professionals.

Recommended for:

  • Any of our rental lights

Why would I need a light stand, don’t the rental lights already have a built in stand? 

A light stand elevates the lighting fixture so you can project light exactly where you want it. Stands are most helpful for:

  • Increasing the effectiveness of the light by projecting down on guests
  • Raising the light effect so it doesn’t project in guests eyes
  • Clearing guests heads so they don’t create shadows or block a projection
  • Keeping curious guests from “adjusting” your light during the event
  • Create more useable space in the room
  • Getting the light to the optimal angle for projecting the best effect

Think of your rental light like a flashlight, wherever you aim it light will appear. If something walks in front of the light it will block the effect.

Tripod light stand

Tripod light stands increase the effectiveness of the lighting effect.

All of our lights have basic built in bases. These can be put on sturdy flat surfaces and allow minimal movement adjusting the light fixture. If you have area(s) where you can place the light out of the way of guests or don’t mind guests walking in front of the light, the built in stand may be a good fit.

Lights that may work well with the built in stand:

  • Blisslights (aimed up at ceiling)
  • Blacklights (less than 100 people)
  • Cake Spotlights

We always recommend a stand for gobo/monogram lights, if you don’t elevate the light people will walk in front and block the projection.

Bottom Line on Light Stands

You know your event and the event space best. Make sure you have a place to mount or set the rental lights that is out of the way of guests and people walking in front of them.  This will allow you to achieve the best lighting effect possible.

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Glow pep rally high school easy blacklight

Glow Pep Rally – Black Light Pep Rally Ideas

glow-pep-rally-cheerleaders-high-school-gym-blacklight-imp

Cheerleaders leading a cheer at a high school glow pep rally.

A glow pep rally is a great way to boost school spirit for homecoming, football and basketball games. Using blacklights for a pep rally is an inexpensive way to transform an entire school gym, football field or cafeteria into an entirely different and cool space. Most of the decorations (neon clothes) and glow items are brought in by the students on the day of the event so a glow pep rally can be very cost effective.

Most single, full court school gyms are at least 120ft long x 60ft wide with 16ft – 24ft high ceilings. That is a large amount of space to fill with glow light so you need to get lights that are designed to fill the entire gym with blacklight.

Types of Blacklights

Short Throw: These blacklights are designed to throw the light a short distance. Perfect for living rooms, bedrooms, these lights are designed to be cheap and fill a small space with blacklight. These lights may look like fluorescent overhead lights or lights that fit into a standard lamp socket. These lights will not help you light your gym.

Long Throw: Designed to throw blacklight a long distance and cover a huge amount of space with blacklight, long throw lights are designed to bathe and saturate large spaces with blacklight. These lights are expensive and come in a variety of configurations. For a high school pep rally you want to go with a LED based long throw light fixture. These lights are durable, stay cool, easy to use, and provide some visible purple light which is what you want for a pep rally.

We rent the highest powered, lowest cost per watt, long throw, LED blacklights available designed for glow pep rallies.

Glow pep rally high school easy blacklight

High school glow pep rally with students and glow sticks getting ready for homecoming.

How Many Lights Do We Need?

The way your pep rally is configured and how many students you’ll have will tell us how many lights you need. Not all blacklights are created equal, we’ve calculated all of the numbers below specifically using our high power blacklight rental lights.

Here are a few sample configurations that are the most common.

1. Students on both sides of the basketball court sitting in the bleachers: You’ll need at least 4 blacklights put in each of the corners of the gym aiming across the gym to the other side. If you have a lot of activity in the middle of the court or have more than 800 students we suggest putting an extra one to two lights at the ends aiming towards the middle.  (4-6 blacklights)

2. Students on one side of the basketball court sitting in the bleachers: You’ll need at least 2 blacklights for under 300 students, 3 blacklights for 600 students, 4 blacklights for 1000 students, 6 blacklights for 1500 students. We’d also suggest for large areas of the basketball court an additional one or two blacklights to light up  the performers. (2-6 blacklights)

3. Half size gyms, smaller gyms and spaces: Generally you want at least 2 blacklights to light up a smaller gym space in opposite corners facing where you want backlight. Generally we recommend an additional blacklight to light up the court area where performers are as well. (2-3 blacklights)

4. Football field pep rally: For football fields think about how many people you will have and how much space they will fill. A blacklight generally will cover a 60ft x 60ft area. If you have people in the stands half the space of a football field (50yds = 150ft) centered on the 50 yd line going up in the stands 80ft you’d need 5-6 lights to cover the stands and an additional 2 blacklights to cover performers on the track / field. If you have performers covering more of the field you’d need more blacklights to cover them. For best results you’ll want to be able to turn off the field lights. (5-10 blacklights)

glow bracelets and blacklight go well

Blacklights enhance glow bracelets and any other item that is blacklight responsive.

Glow Items for Blacklight Pep Rally

There are a lot of various glow items that are perfect for a glow pep rally. Some items that are the most popular are:

Glow Tape: Fluorescent gaffers tape is an excellent and inexpensive way to outline times in the gym or create designs with tape that will glow with blacklight. It comes off easily, is safe for painted surfaces, and won’t leave  sticky residue.

Glow Balloons: Using standard helium with glow balloons is an easy way to create displays and pops of fluorescent color in the stands.

Glow Makeup: Glow makeup is easy to apply and comes in mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, nail polish and will illuminate performers and cheerleaders really well.

Fluorescent Clothes: T-Shirts, hats, socks, gloves, glasses, shoes, can all look amazing on students. White shirts work really well too and can be drawn on with regular highlighters.

Glow Necklaces and Sticks: Glow necklaces and glow sticks that glow on their own are amplified to glow even more with blacklight. They work really well together.

Throw a Glow Pep Rally

Throwing a glow pep rally is easy and all you need to do is rent the blacklights. Check availability and throw a glow pep rally for your school!

 

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blisslights compared in a video

Video of Blisslights Compared

What’s the difference between a Blisslight 15 and a Blisslight 50? How do the blue Blisslight models look like compared to the green ones?

We did a head to head test of the Blisslight 50 (Green), Blisslight 15 (Green), and the Blissilght 15 (Blue) to show you exactly what each light looks like under the same lighting conditions.

Blisslights were resting on the floor aimed up at a white ceiling. The ceiling was 6.5ft away from the light fixture. The room was 15ftx16ft and each light was able to more than fill the room at that distance with laser stars.

All Blisslights tested:
– Have a slow moving blue nebula effect that can be dimmed
– Nebula effect is approximately 2.5ft of diameter throw for every 1ft of distance to the source it’s projecting onto up to about 25ft x 25ft
– Stars slowly move
– Will easily cover the ceiling over any dance floor

The Blisslight 50:
– Much more powerful laser and multiple holographic elements that create a more realistic universe of stars.
– Effectively covers a 50ft x 50ft area (double the Blisslight 15)
– Needs to be used with a stand

The Blisslight (15) Blue:
– Stars appear more realistic in color
– Stars are slightly blurry compared to Blisslight Green versions

Check out our rent blisslights page for more information on reserving any of the blisslights for your event.

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Evergreen Country Club Haymarket, VA Wedding Reception Lighting

Will Uplighting Work in a Room With Windows & Natural Light?

Light Blue Uplighting at Evergreen Country Club in Haymarket, Virginia

Uplighting works well even when there are windows letting light into the event space.

Q: The space we are using has a lot of windows, will uplighting look good even with all of the windows and the daylight coming in the room?

A: Uplighting works well even when there are windows and daylight in the space. Using uplighting with natural light can create some really elegant lighting effects.

When you are uplighting with natural light, think about the timeline for the event. Most events start with cocktails earlier where having a less saturated lighting look is an elegant touch. As the evening progresses through dinner the sun sets and less natural light is coming into the room, the effect of the uplighting is enhanced.

Evergreen Country Club Haymarket, VA Wedding Reception Lighting

The effect of uplighting naturally grows stronger as the evening progresses and as the natural daylight in the room fades.

When dinner is over it will naturally feel like the room has been slowly transformed with the natural light leaving the space and the uplighting taking over. This transitions really well for dancing and the rest of the evening.

Venue: Evergreen Country Club – Haymarket, VA

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Punches of color in a room. Multi-level spaces need more lights to cover both levels to make the room feel larger and bring your eye up in the space.

How Many Uplights Do I Need For My Event?

Thompson/Hamlin wedding April 7th, 2013 Atlanta, GA. NFL player Kenneth Hamlin. Featured on Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta

Before and after uplighting. Always think of specific room features like columns that may need more lights.

It’s easy to determine how many uplights you need for your event using our online calculators. These formulas are specifically tailored for our wireless uplights to get the best effect possible.

You have three different ways to determine how many uplights you’ll need for your event.

  • Room Dimensions
  • Total Square Feet
  • Number of Guests

How many uplights you’ll need will generally be more accurate when based off of room dimensions than off your total guest count.

Many venues will provide you the exact dimensions of a space usually given in ft x ft. With this calculation we use the following method to determine how many uplights you’ll need. This is widely viewed as the most accurate way to estimate how many lights you’ll need.

Most venues provide you with the total square footage of the space(s) you’re renting. Based off the square footage you can get fairly accurate approximation of how many uplights you’ll need using the following formula. This method does not account for specific room features you might want to highlight like columns, alcoves, stages, or other architectural elements you might need to highlight with additional lights.

Generally this is the least accurate of all the ways to estimate uplighting. It doesn’t take into account specific room features that may impact the overall lighting effect.

Example of how many uplights you'll need in a room.

Example of how many uplights you’ll need in a room using the formulas on this page.

How many uplights? Look at the big picture. 

There are differences in each way of determining the number of lights needed for a space. Every space is unique and ultimately we can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Think about the space you’ll be in. Look for photos of the space online or take photos on your visits to the space.

  • Are there columns in the room?
  • Are there alcoves or other abnormalities that might need more lights to make the room feel balanced?
  • Are there multiple levels to the space?
  • Are there stage areas or bumpouts in the room that would need more lighting?
  • Do you want lighting for an exit, under table lighting, or other focal areas you want uplighting?
  • Are there multiple rooms you need to light?
  • Can you move or reuse lights between spaces?

When uplighting columns generally you’ll need one uplight for smaller columns (columns you can hug) or columns up against a wall. You’ll need 2-4 lights for columns you can half hug or for larger columns you’ll need 4 or more uplights. This is because columns are round and multiple sides are exposed to guests. To get an even look around the column you might need to have lights on either side of a column or all around the entire column.

Medium washes of color in a space.

Medium washes of color in a space.

Bottom Line

Using the methods above you should be able to get a good idea of how many uplights you’ll need for your event and the approximate cost of uplighting. Contact us using the form on the right to get in touch about specifics of your space and what types of uplighting might be a good fit for your event.

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chauvet zoom gobo 2.0 vs LED 40

How to Choose a Gobo Size

side by side comparison of different gobo sizes

Side by side differences in gobo sizes.

The gobo size that you need is based on the light fixture that will project that gobo. Many traditional theater style lights like a Source 4 ellipsoidal light or LEKO light will use a size B gobo (about the diameter of a coke can). Cheap DJ effect lights like the Chauvet Zoom or American DJ LED gobo projector use a custom gobo size that is about the size of a dime.

Why different gobo sizes?

It’s based on the the power of the light source.

More powerful light sources use bigger gobo sizes because there is more light to shoot through a larger template and the template needs more surface area to dissipate heat. Stronger light sources result in a brighter, bigger image but often comes at the expense of a larger sized light fixture.

Small cheap effect lights like the Chauvet Zoom, American DJ Gobo Projector LED are not recommended. These lights use teeny-tiny gobo templates to project with limiting detail and brightness. These lights may look good in a small dark bedroom or living room but don’t hold up to real life events of more than 30 people.

monogram wedding reception lighting mount ida farm

Example of a D-sized transparency gobo used at an event results in an extremely clear image.

Smaller gobo sizes mean there is less physical space to print detailed images. Smaller gobos are better suited for blockier, less detailed designs like the cross shape used in the smallest gobo in our example photo. More detailed designs like those used for weddings are better suited to larger gobo sizes (E-size or bigger).

When considering a gobo light this is what we recommend:

  • E-Size or bigger gobo
  • A light fixture that supports multiple lenses
  • At least a 30w (LED) light source

Common gobo sizes

Here is a table of some popular standardized gobo sizes and common light fixtures that use those gobo sizes:

Letter Size O.D. (mm) I.A. (mm) Notes
A Size 100 75
B Size 86 64.5 Standard Size for Ellipsoidal lights (Source 4, Source 4 Zoom)
M Size 66 48 Source 4 Jr.
G Size 65.5 48 For Clay Paky Goldenscans
D Size 53.3 38 Martin PR-1, LEDSpot 40
E Size 37.5 28 LEDSpot 25, LEDSpot 30
O.D = Outside Diameter; I.A. = Image Area

The OD (Outer Diameter) number is the diameter of the actual template itself. The IA (Image Area) number is the useable are that can be used to print the image used for the gobo. It’s important to know these numbers when ordering a gobo, especially the IA. The IA can change from light fixture to light fixture even for commonly used gobo sizes. Make sure you know the OD and the IA of the gobo size for your particular lighting fixture you’ll be using for your event. Also know what types of gobos your light supports.

chauvet zoom gobo 2.0 vs LED 40

Gobo sizes compared showing a Chauvet Gobo Zoom 2.0 vs. the LED 40 lights Superlative Events uses.

Bottom Line

When ordering a gobo know the OD and the IA of the light fixture you’re using. Realize that larger gobo sizes can support higher levels of detail in the resulting image. Most corporate gobos are B-size.

Questions, corrections, comments? Let us know in the comments below.

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before and after lighting in smaller hotel ballroom

How Can I Transform a Hotel Ballroom With Lighting?

First dance at a wedding reston hyatt regency with uplighting.

First dance with uplighting, tree candles, and texture lighting.

Hotel ballrooms are designed to hold business meetings, weddings, corporate holiday parties, conferences, and any other number of events. Hotel ballrooms aren’t designed to look amazing for every event, they are designed to be nice enough to not notice the room itself.

Or you might have the opposite end of the spectrum with the hotel that went headstrong into branding the room with a very specific design style that most likely does not fit your event decor (we’re looking at you kaleidoscope carpet Marriott’s). That’s where the lighting comes in.

DIY, Outside Vendor, Hotel’s Vendors?

You have three options when considering lighting for your event. The most cost effective is DIY, using outside vendors is generally next expensive, or you can use the hotel’s recommended lighting vendor.

DIY lighting can be easy to transform a ballroom if you have the time and people to do it.

Leveraged DIY is an option that people don’t always consider. Use another one of your vendors, florist, planner, DJ, drape company to setup  the lighting for you. They will already be there at your event and you can save on the labor costs that way. We’re more than happy to work with them so that you get the effect that you are looking for.

Outside vendors: are usually the next best cost effective option. Expect to pay a premium for having someone come out, set up the lighting, come up with the lighting design, and make sure everything runs smoothly. Weddingwire.com is a great resource for finding lighting vendors and we usually send people there when looking for a vendor in their area.

reston hyatt before and after wedding lighting

Hotel ballroom before and after lighting.

Hotel lighting can be a very expensive endeavor. Not only do you have to pay for the lighting company, but you pay for the lighting company to rent space at the hotel to house their equipment, you pay for the hotel management, you pay a fee for having the hotel recommend the lighting to you, and you pay service charges on all of that. Hospitality speak it’s what ever the cost is plus plus.

From our price comparisons you’ll end up paying about a 35% to 55% premium to have the hotel provide lighting or A/V services for your event.

What Lighting Do I Need? 

before and after lighting in smaller hotel ballroom

Before and after lighting in a smaller hotel ballroom.

By the time you are done planning your event you’ll be an expert in lighting. A good place to start is this article types of event lighting that walks you through each step of types of lighting and what it creates.

Think of lighting as a way to enhance the features and design elements in your space and deemphasize elements that you don’t like. Hate the carpet and chairs? Use uplighting to draw guests eyes up and use texture lighting to add interest higher up on the walls so guests won’t notice the carpet or chairs. Then use candles or centerpiece lighting on tables to add extra light to each of the tables and draw guests eyes away from the elements you don’t like.

Find out how many uplights you’ll need using our online uplighting calculators.

amber uplighting at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VAWhat Can Lighting Do? 

Lighting can go a long ways to change elements of the room that can be very expensive to otherwise fix. Some elements it can fix are:

  • Big Space – Hotel ballrooms are notoriously large and cavernous devoid of feeling. Lighting helps warm the cold space up and helps make it more inviting.
  • Boring Walls / Air Walls – Airwalls and boring walls are perfect for texture lighting. Create the pattern and design that matches your other decorations on your walls with light.
  • Carpet – The entire floor is covered in it, uplights can fix them by bringing peoples eyes higher or changing the color of the carpet completely.
  • Chairs – Chiavari or similar replacement chairs can cost an extra $50-$100 per table, use uplighting at less than half the cost.
  • Dark Room – Sometimes venues are just dark. Lighting brightens up the space and makes it feel more warm and elegant.
  • Linens – Upgraded linens can cost $30-$120 per table, use uplighting to impart color and shimmer to standard white or cream colored linens.
  • Low Ceilings – Smaller ballrooms feel more like dungeons than ballrooms. Use uplighting’s vertical lines to make the room feel bigger and taller. Use a blisslight on the ceiling to make it feel more expansive and taller. Pin-spot centerpieces to make it feel more dimensional.
  • Ugly Art Filled Walls – Use light to control what people see. Cake spotlights, pin-spotlights, table spotlights can all redirect what people see and what they don’t see.
  • Terrible Lighting – Fluorescent lights are ugly. They make people look ugly, they make the venue look ugly, and otherwise are terrible light sources. Bringing in lighting will let you fix the bad lighting in a space.
  • Wall Color – Uplights can change the colors of any wall in an event space at the touch of a button.
cake spotlight with purple uplighting

W Hotel uplighting, pin-spots and cake spotlight at a wedding in Washington, DC.

Lighting can make a big huge difference in the look of your event space and is one of the most cost effective ways to transform the room. After all, no one can see your other decor elements if they are in the dark.

Transform Your Event

Whether your budget is $50, $500, or $5,000 we can help you find a cost effective way to light up your event and save money in the process. Check out all the diy lighting rentals we offer and what you can do to transform your event.

We’d love to hear what you think, leave your feedback, questions, or comments below.

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