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DJ Effect Lighting: A Guide for the Perplexed

By BulbAmerica Editor

If you've ever shopped for DJ lighting effects you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the numerous types there are. What doesn’t help is that very seldom can you find a guide that enumerates the different effects, rather than just the different fixtures themselves. In this article I will go through the different effects and explain the differences between the effects and what you can expect from them. So, let’s get started. The simplest effects in the DJs arsenal, and the ones of with which people are most familiar, is the strobe. The strobe, which is now very commonly powered by LEDs, can either be white light or colored and flashes light at a variable rate, creating the unbeatable robot-like strobe effect. The beacon is another fairly popular choice for DJs. This inexpensive technique features a colored plastic cylinder or cone with a rotating bulb inside. Beacons are great for being placed on top of a speaker or anywhere where a little extra flair is desired.

Beam effects are one of the most widely used effects. Beam effects come in specific beam effects fixtures like the Chauvet LED Mushroom, which features a rotating series of colored lenses mounted in front of an LED light source. The effect created is a cluster of spinning, independent colored beams. Moving heads, like Elation's Beam Design heads, also are capable of producing beam effects. Don’t forget when you consider using a beam effect to consider getting a fog machine, these two effect units go perfectly together! A sub-family of beam effect is moonflower effects and derby effects. A moonflower effect, like that produced by Chauvet’s Vue 4.1 DMX LED, produces many different colored beams that collect on the surface it is directed at and form a pattern. Moonflower fixtures often produce numerous patterns and feature impressive color changing abilities. Derby effects are also another common beam effect. Derby effects feature the creation of many moving beams that can be layered on top of each other to create a multi-color beam effect. The derby effect, like all DJ effects, has a built in microphone that automatically syncs its pattern to your music.

The other main family of DJ effects is barrel and scanner effects. A barrel is usually a rotating cylinder with multiple mirrors to fixed to its exterior that reflects the light shined upon it from the bulb’s lamp. Optima’s Excalibur scanner features a barrel which creates many quickly alternating and rotating beams. Barrel effects also use gobos which are then rotated and use color changing to create a dynamic performance. Scanners create a similar effect and work similarly. Rather than use a rotating barrel, a scanner features a light source that shines on a single mirror which usually features XY rotation or rotation horizontally and vertically.

Of course there are other effects, like blacklights, lasers, snow machines, and bubble machines, which are easily distinguishable from the rest. BulbAmerica has all of these effects in stock and at unbeatable check us out today. Post any questions or comments you have on the blog or our Facebook or call 1-877-622-0897.

By Victor Lopez | | effects, light, news, scanners | 0 comments | Read more

Let it Snow with Snow Machines from BulbAmerica

By BulbAmerica Editor

Snow machines are a fantastic lighting effect that rapidly transforms any stage or space into a winter wonderland. There is a blizzard of snow machines to choose from so hopefully this article will help you navigate the options. My favorite snow machines are offered by American DJ and Elation. In particular I like American DJ’s Snow Flurry Snow Machine and Elation’s Silent Snow Effect Machine.American’s DJ’s 2,000 cu. ft./min Snow Flurry has a 2.2L tank capacity to keep you pumping snow for a long time. The Snow Flurry stays cool with its ECO thermal control system so the machine does not overheat; this also ensures the Snow Flurry’s durability. The Snow Flurry also features intelligent pump protection (IPP) so when the machine gets low on fluid, it does not continue to run and damage the machine. The Snow Flurry can be controlled easily with either an included remote control and has adjustable volume level to control the volume of snow produced.

Elation’s Silent Snow is an excellent snow machine option that is great for clubs, theatres, and movie sets. It can produce any amount of snow fall from a light flurry to a steady snow fall. One feature that sets the Silent Snow from American DJ’s snow machine is that the Silent Snow can be controlled via a DMX controller, thus allowing you to integrate it directly into your lighting system. If you do not want to use the Silent Snow with a DMX controller, the Silent Snow comes with a remote control that features a knob that allows you to adjust snow volume as well as an on/off rocker switch. The Silent Snow features the same great construction and performance that all Elation products have, so you know that it is a trustworthy piece of equipment.


BulbAmerica has a great selection of snow machines that will provide your show with a wondrous snow effect. Check out what we have and let it snow!

By Victor Lopez | | effects, light, machine, news, snow | 0 comments | Read more

Bubble Trouble: Great Bubble Machines from American DJ and Elation

By BulbAmerica Editor

The bubble machine is one of the most fun and easy to use effects around. Bubble machines can turn a stage or a dance floor into a whimsical and exciting environment with the flip of the switch. In this article I will review two of my favorite bubble machines, American DJ’s Bubble Blast and Elation Professional’s Professional Bubble Machine. The Bubble Blast is a high performance bubble machine conveniently placed on wheels for easy transport. The Bubble Blast produces 100s of bubbles per minute with its primary and secondary fan system which lifts the bubbles into the air and disperses them. The Bubble Blast is as easy to use as it gets. Simply fill the tray with bubble juice and flip the switch on the back of the machine and watch the bulbs fly. The Bubble Blast has a low current draw and solid construction to make it easy on the electric bill and durable, so you won’t have to worry about it being damaged in transit. The Bubble Blast also comes with an option remote control that can control the power, the duration of bubble blasting, and other features.

Elation’s Professional Bubble Machine is another formidable bubble machine option. Unlike the Bubble Blast, Elation’s bubble machine has a yoke on it that allows you to mount it on a truss like you would any other lighting fixture. Elation’s Professional Bubble Machine is powerful; it is able to widely disperse its bubble with its four separate bubble wheels and a trio of fans at the back of the unit. Another feature that sets Elation’s bubble machine apart is that it is also capable of being integrated into a lighting system via its DMX connectivity. This unit also includes a remote control that can serve as a timer and shut the Bubble Machine down when you believe enough bubbles have been created.


BulbAmerica has got the bubble machine for you. Come check us out today!

By Victor Lopez | | bubble machine, effects, news | 0 comments | Read more

Elation Beam Design Moving Heads: Moving and Turning Heads Like None Other

By BulbAmerica Editor

As moving head light fixtures become more popular and more ubiquitous, it is harder and harder to choose the one worth your money and that is right for your needs. In this article I will discuss Elation Professional’s Design Beam series of moving heads and what I believe makes them unique and warrants an extra look. So, let’s get started. One feature that sets the Elation Design Beam series is their versatility. The Elation Design Beam 300 and Design Beam 1200 Compact can serve as spot, wash, and beam projectors with their respective 7.5˚ and 6.7˚ beam angles and by opening and closing the head’s frost filter, which changes the hardness of the beam’s edge. This versatility allows you to change the role of your moving heads as well as the look of your lighting effect on the fly. The Design Beam moving heads silently pan 630˚or 540˚ (user selected) and tilt 265˚, allowing for lively performances. The Design Beam and 300 and 1200 Compact also share nearly identical gobo performance with the ability for dynamic gobo prism and rotation effects. The Design Beam 300 and 1200 compact, however, have some distinguishing features that are essential to highlight.

The Design Beam 300 is distinguished from the 1200 Compact foremost by their different lamps. Both moving heads feature Philips MSR HID lamps. The 300 features a 300w MSR that puts out an impressive 33,150lux at 30ft. The 1200 Compact features a 1,200w MSR which produces an extremely bright 107,500lux at 25ft. One of the key differences between the 300 and 1200 compact is obviously their power and luminosity. In selecting between the two you want to consider how much power you have available, how high your trusses will be from the stage, and how much other light is being produced by other fixtures in your system. Another important difference between the two moving heads regards their color capabilities. The Design Beam 300 and 1200 Compct both feature CMY color changing, but the 1200 Compact also offers variable color temperature orange (CTO), in order to correct colors and make their rendering precise.

Elation’s Design Beam 300 and 1200 Compact are high quality and powerful moving heads. What sets the Design Beam heads from other moving heads is their unique frost filter that allows you a great deal of flexibility in deciding how you will use them. In short the Design Beam 300 and 1200 are an outstanding choice for performance spaces of all sizes.BulbAmerica has both moving heads in stock right now, so check it out today!

By Victor Lopez | | effects, lasers., light, moving heads, news | 0 comments | Read more

The American DJ Galaxian: Bring Your Show to Life with Lasers

Lasers are one of the most exciting and attractive lighting effects. There is no sight like a vibrant, sharp laser cutting through fog or creating a beautiful star-field pattern on the dance floor. Even better, most lasers are now small enough, and light enough, to be carried easily by a DJ on-the-go, ensuring that his or performance will be an unforgettable one. But which laser to choose? In this article, I am going to draw attention to what I think is one of the best lasers available today, the American DJ Galaxian. 

The Galaxian’s lasers aren’t the only bright thing about this lighting effect. One of its best features is its capacity to be controlled intelligently. The Galaxian has DMX inputs and out puts for either stand alone control via a controller, or a master/slave configuration. The Galaxian can also be placed in a sound activated mode and react to the music. This laser effect needs this degree of control because it features red and green laser beams, built in macros, and rotation abilities. These features, combined with the Galaxian’s ability to create up to 500 laser beams and a 90˚ beam angle ensures that your lighting will capture the attention of your audience. Don’t forget about the Galaxian’s fast/slow strobing either! These features make the Galaxian one of the most high performing lasers in one of the smallest packages.

The Galaxian is extremely versatile. It can be mounted on a wall or a ceiling and project on either of these surfaces, thus ensuring that the Galaxian can be part of your performance regardless of the venue’s limitations. Furthermore, the Galaxian will not strain the power sources of your venue, it has a meager energy draw of 110mW.Lastly, American DJ’s Galaxian weighs only 6lbs, making it easy to transport, mount, and dismount. The Galaxian and our other strobes are mesmerizing and will add tons of excitement to your performance, check them out now!

By Victor Lopez | | effects, lasers., led, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

LED Strobe Lights: An Essential Effect for the DJ on the Go

Strobe lights are one of the DJ’s go-to lighting effects. Their flashing light creates an incredible ambiance and brings the dancing and music to life. Today many of the new strobe lights being manufactured are comprised of LEDs rather than a single lamp. There are a number of reasons for this. One important reason is that LEDs stay cool and have a life hour rating of anywhere between 50,000hr and 100,000hr making them extremely durable and long lasting. Strobe lights are particularly good choice for mobile DJs, as they are usually compact, lightweight, and produce a bright and noticeable effect.

American DJ offers two LED strobes perfect for the DJ on the go. The American DJ Flash Shot DMX is a portable and powerful strobe that emits an intense white light with its 234 LEDs. The Flash shot is DMX compatible and be can be controlled using a lighting controller. It features three modes of operation: master/slave, stand alone, and sound activated. If you are not using the strobe with a controller, the Flash Shot’s strobe speed and dimming can be controlled via two knobs on the rear of the can. American DJ also offers a color strobe, if you RGB color changing in addition to your strobe effect. American DJ’s Color Shot, like the Flash Shot, is DMX compatible and features the same three modes of operation: master/slave, stand alone, and sound activated. The Color Shot’s RGB color changing can be controlled using a controller. The Color Shot is seriously light and easily portable, it only weighs 5lbs!

DJs on the road should make strobe lights one of the first acquisitions for their lighting effect systems. They are light, relatively inexpensive, and can be even operated without a controller. LED strobes have made them even more ideal for the mobile DJ because they are now even lighter and require less maintenance than before. We have even more strobes available, check them out!

By Victor Lopez | | effects, led, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

LED Scanners: An Illuminating Lighting Effect

Scanners are one of the latest DJ lighting effect technologies to adopt LEDs. In addition to their low energy draw, long life, and durability, LEDs are an ideal bulb technology for scanners because the light is highly directional, thus making the reflected pattern coming from the scanner bright, precise and sharp. LED scanners are available at numerous different price points and can be used in all types of venues from swanky clubs to community centers and churches.

American DJ offers one of the best lines of scanners available. American DJ’s Electra LED scanner is ideal for the mobile DJ or a smaller venue like a roller rink or community center. It is lightweight, consumes little power, and is easily mounted and dismounted, making it easy to move and store if needed. Its simple design and 100,000 life hour rating for the LED light source makes this scanner is not only low cost, but low maintenance too. The Electra LED produces a great moon-flower effect and has multiple sound-activated macros pre-programmed to get your scanner going out of the box. American’s DJ’s XScan Plus LED represents the forefront of LED scanner technology. The XScan plus is DMX intelligent and has 8 channels, giving it the capacity to be controlled with a lighting controller. The XScan Plus can be ran in either in a master/slave or stand alone configuration. One great feature that this scanner has is a pan/tilt inversion mode that, if using four scanners, will make scanners 1 and 3 sync opposite scanners 2 and four, creating a really exciting effect. The XScan features 8 colors plus a separate gobo wheel to give you nearly endless lighting options. This scanner also has an amazing degree of adjustability: between the audio sensitivity knob, the manual focus, and motors for microstepping, you can really make the XScan Plus perform exactly how you want it to.

Obviously between American DJ’s Electra LED and their Xscan Plus LED there are plenty of scanners with different combinations of features and abilities. The scanners featured in this article should give you an idea of what is out there, and what to expect with a top of the line scanner versus a more entry level scanner. You simply cannot go wrong with either; your choice should be dictated by what you need and what your preexisting lighting system can handle. Feel free to leave a question or comment on this article, our Facebook, or call us at 1-877-620-1762 for any remaining questions you may have.

By Victor Lopez | | effects, led, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

Out of the Fog: A Fog Machine Guide for the Perplexed

Fog machines have long been one of the most popular effects in theatre and stage lighting. Fog not only sets ambiance, but it can also be used to emphasize lighting and laser effects as they pass through it. There are many fog machines with diverse specifications and features to choose from. This article is aimed at helping you sort through some of the product information and eventually choose the fog machine right for your needs. You will immediately notice that fog machines come in a wide price range, from about $38 to $1,400. The low-end fog machines are separated from the high-end fog machines by level of fog output (cu. ft./min), heater power, rate at which the machine heats, machine quietness, and other criteria. You should note that although fog output is one of the central criteria in fog machine specifications, there is no industry standard for this measurement: different manufacturers measure this differently and thus making a decision based on this spec alone would be premature.

Fog machines work by heating up the ’fog juice’ (often a mix glycerin or glycol mixed with water) and thus produce fog. Higher end fog machines have heating systems that heat up at faster rate. The Elation 800w Portable Fog Machine, for example, heats up in only 100 seconds. Fog machines with fast heat up feature stainless steel or nickel-aluminum alloy to ensure rapid and efficient heat transfer. Higher end fog machines will also have DMX universes so that they can be controlled remotely by a lighting controller and integrated into a larger lighting system. In addition to rapid heating-up, higher end fog machines, will feature fine tuned fan systems that are nearly silent and are ideal for noise sensitive events.

Low end and high end fog machines are also differentiated based upon the quality of the fog they produce. High end fog machines produce fog with a perfect haze of fine-particles that is also low in residue and thus requires less cleaning than a lower end fog machine. The dense and low hanging fog of dry-ice fog machines has long been the industry standard for fog. Dry ice fog machines, due to the difficulty in handling dry ice, have been replaced with fog juice based fog machines. Therefore machines that can replicate dry ice fog, like the Elation Low Lying Fog DMX Cooler, are often more expensive because they require additional technologies to ensure that the fog is adequately cooled after it is heated so it can hang low.

There are many fog machines out there with many different capabilities and features. Check out our comprehensive range of fog machines and see for your self how they differ. BulbAmerica stocks many different fog machines at many different price points so whatever you determine you need, we have it!
By Victor Lopez | | effects, fog machine, led, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

Great Options for LED Lighting Effects Are Here

By BulbAmerica Editor

A DJ’s performance is a spectacle of not only of sound, but also sight. The DJ’s lighting is essential to creating an environment where the music can come alive and entertain the crowd. Derby effect lighting is one of the most popular types of lighting effects in the DJ’s arsenal, and with the application of LEDs to these lighting effects, their lights are that much more powerful. Two lighting effects fixtures are particularly exciting. Chauvet’s Kinta X and American DJ’s Shooting Star LEDs are two of the brightest stars in DJ lighting and whose features will be highlighted in this article. Both the Kinta X and the Shooting Star LED use LED bulbs, allowing these fixtures to light up and switch colors incredibly quickly while remaining cool. These lightweight and high power fixtures both provide overall great lighting performances, but they do have some key differences.

The Chauvet Kinta X features a huge beam angle of 135°, and at only a power draw of 24w, the Kinta X will make the dance floor bright while not using too much power. One of the best features of the Kinta X is its ability to be not only linked up via master/slave, but it can be directly linked to Chauvet’s LED Mushroom and Double Derby X and then mounted together in a vertical column via Chauvet’s XBRACKET. The Kinta X’s various light programs and strobing patterns make it a lively addition to your DJ lighting set up.

American DJ’s Shooting Star LED has a slightly smaller beam angle, 112°, than the Kinta X. The Shooting Star makes up for this with American DJ’s TRI Color LED technology. Fixtures outfitted with this technology feature a 1 X 10w 3-in-1 RGB LED cluster. By having the fixture’s LED consolidated in a cluster, exciting colors such as cyan, yellow, white, and purple can be created through the mixing of colors. The Shooting Star achieves amazing colors using only a maximum of 20w. Like the Kinta X, the Shooting Star features a ¼” input for optional remote control to avoid using extra wires. Remote control is especially useful for the DJ on the go who has limited space, or installing a lighting system in a room with limited space. The Shooting Star is slightly larger than the Kinta X, weighing 9-lbs and being 12”x9.25”x11” versus the Kinta X, which weighs 6-lbs and is 11.1” x 11.7” x 10.4”.

For a derby lighting fixture, either the Kinta X or Shooting Star LED is a fantastic choice. Luckily BulbAmerica has both, giving the most options and at a great price. Check it out!

By Victor Lopez | | effects, led, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

In the Spotlight #7: Choosing the Right CFL Shape

By BulbAmerica Editor

As CFLs become the go-to replacement for incandescent bulbs, they continue to multiply in the number of shapes they are offered in. What shape should you choose and why? These are good questions and in this article I will answer them for you, so let’s get started. CFL shapes can be broken down into two general shape categories, open shape CFLs and closed shape CFLs. Open CFLs refer to CFLs where the glass envelope is plainly visible such as in twists, mini-twists, and triple tube lamps. Closed CFL bulbs refer to CFLs where the envelope is concealed by another envelope such as with A-shape CFLs, globes, candelabras, bullets, and others.

The criteria you should use for deciding between closed and open shape CFL is the bulb’s application. Are you going to be using it in an enclosed fixture or in a partially exposed application like in certain wall sconces? For enclosed fixtures, most people go with open CFLs for two predominant reasons. The first is that open CFLs, such as mini-twists are often less expensive and less appealing to look at than closed bulbs, so people try to use them wherever they can get away with it. Furthermore, closed CFLs are often enclosed in an additional frosted glass envelope, further diffusing the light. Enclosed fixtures often come with frosted plastic or glass diffusers, therefore by using an A-shape CFL, or other such closed CFL, in an enclosed fixture you could be softening the light excessively or simply using redundant diffusers and wasting money. Put simply, my rule of thumb is that forclosed fixtures use open CFLs, and for open fixtures use closed CFLs. This should give you the light bulb and light you want.

When it comes to choosing between the different open CFL bulbs, you’ll again, want to take application into consideration. For lamps with shades, you’ll likely want to choose an open CFL with a smaller, more slender profile, such as a quad or triple tube bulb or a mini-twist. For larger fixtures, twist bulbs are a good choice. Similar considerations should be made when choosing among closed CFLs. Globe and Candelabra CFLs are typically used in more decorative or specialty applications like bathroom lighting or wall sconces, where the shape of the bulb itself is important. A-shape bulbs are good in many applications. Don’t forget about closed R (reflector) or BR (bulge reflector)bulbs either, they are typically used in recessed applications or ceiling fan fixtures. Hopefully this guide has been helpful and will assist you in navigating the numerous CFL shapes available.

Don’t forget to make BulbAmerica your one stop shop for CFLs. No matter what CFL you need, we’ve got it! As usual, leave us a comment or question on our blog or our Facebook. Also don’t forget to give us a call at (888)505-2111 with any further inquiries you have.

By Victor Lopez | | candelabra, compact fluorescent, globe, light, news | 0 comments | Read more

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