Wedding Planning, Styling & Design: Lighting Effects

Pin-spotting

Pin-spotting, or highlighting a specific area with light, has become increasingly popular at events in recent years. The most popular, being the pin-spotting of floral arrangements on tables – by projecting a single, narrow beam of light into the centre of the flower arrangement on a table at the guest reception, the arrangement is highlighted, whilst also providing low lighting for the table. This type of lighting creates a glow from the flowers, or centrepiece, giving extra emphasis to the décor. The dim lighting reflected from the pin-spot, creates a warm, cosy and romantic ambience in the room.

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Gobos

A gobo is a stencil, which light filters through and projects an image. These are usually made of metal, but are more recently being created from glass or glass with coloured oils.

Gobos are popular in intelligent (robotic) lighting, which is often used at wedding and events, using specific coloured lighting and effects to create a certain ambience. They can be used in lighting scanners (lighter and faster movement) and moving heads (heavier with 360 degree coverage), which are both popular robotic lighting systems. The gobos will usually project in black and white – in order to add colour, a coloured gel must be added to the projector, or a gobo with coloured glass can be purchased.

The gobos can also be personalised, with the Bride and Grooms’ names, initials or design often being projected onto the dance floor/ceiling/walls at Wedding receptions.

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Basic Rules of Lighting

–          Highlight the important and striking aspects of your event (less striking features are best left in the shadows) with pin-spotting

–          Choose lighting colours that make you look good

  • Stay away from purples, blues and greens (they can make you look dead, and surroundings – such as greenery – look artificial)
  • Ambers, pinks, peaches, apricots and honey are flattering colours, but are not always dramatic (utilize the correct colours in the correct areas)

–          Dim lighting can be romantic, but if made too dim it can make it hard for guests to eat/talk

–          Backlighting is very romantic

–          Blending pink and blue light can be very dramatic and aesthetically pleasing

–          Remember that too much light, is just as bad as too little light

–          White light is the only colour that should be used on food and flowers

–          Utilise white as an accent colour, surrounded by coloured light

–          Ensure you stand/sit in the area when using certain lighting to make sure it will no shine in the eyes of guests or reflect in the wrong areas

The Use of Intelligent Lighting

Robotic scanners, a type of intelligent lighting, are popular for wedding dance floor lighting as they are smaller and light –therefore, they can move quickly and efficiently. Scanners, such as the American DJ Pocket Spot, or the High End Trackspot are able to project light over a wide area (they aren’t ideal for spot lighting) and use motors that allow them to work hands free. The scanners project through gobos or various colours to create a certain ambience – in this case, the scanner could use colours to create a fun, fast-moving, dance floor. The advantage to this type of robotic lighting is that it is far cheaper than the moving head lighting, however it does tend to be slightly dimmer due to the smaller size of the appliance and the light bulbs used.

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Moving heads, another type of robotic lighting, are much heavier, and therefore slower moving, projecting light in a 360 degree circle – essentially throughout the entire event space. Moving heads, such as a High End Studiospot, or Martin Mac 250, are ideal for gobo lighting on the dance floor or event wall (i.e. a personalised stencil of the Bride and Groom’s initials, or a warm wish to the happy couple) as it heavy and can focus well in one spot – or slowly moving the gobo across points of the dance floor/wall/space. Another use for the moving head is creating a ceiling wash in the event area – this essentially means creating a pattern or colour highlight on the ceiling or the walls of the event space. Some event spaces lack a certain event feel, or ambience – by projecting a gobo pattern across the ceiling in a soft blue hue, or highlighting the walls in warm colours, the moving head can be used to enhance the overall mood and ambience of the event area. The moving head is ideal for this type of lighting, as it covers a vast space and has the ability to provide far more stable lighting, however it can be very costly.

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