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A Few Things About Mood Lighting

Uplighting-LondonSoundandLight

A Few Things About Mood Lighting

I often get asked by customers how many uplighters they need for their event and what type of light would be suitable. There is no simple answer for these questions, but hopefully in the article, I can shed a bit of light on the topic (pun totally intended!).
So let’s get into it….

Type Of Mood Lighting

Mood lights-LondonSoundandlight

There are many types of light that can be used for mood lighting. At London Sound and Light we offer a selection of these for hire. Below you will find a list of these lights and a run down on the pros and cons.

Wired Uplighter

These are the cheapest form of uplighter. The low price tag does come at the cost of having to run cables which besides being much less tidy, is also more labour intensive. Another factor is the options for control. With these lights, if you wish to change the colour at will, you need to connect DMX cables between each light, set the channels, and then use a DMX controller. While this is a much more work, the main benefit is that you can easily create custom fade options, and you have no worries when it comes to battery life.

Wireless Uplighter

Wireless uplighters are by far our most popular type of light. The ease of use is hard to ignore, and with modern technology, these no longer need to weigh more than small elephant. In fact, with the Chauvet Freedom Par, you can actually carry 4 in each hand with very little strain. The remote control makes changing the colour as easy as changing a TV channel. The battery will last for up to 15 hours on a single colour, but this is reduced to approximately 8 hour on some programs. For most events, this is more than enough, but for events spanning multiple days, recharging these lights is definitely something that needs to be considered. Usually, these lights are only suitable for indoor use, but Chauvet do also offer an IP rated range.

LED batten

Another type of light which is often used for mood lighting is the LED Batten. These lights offer incredible brightness and functionality. We use the Chauvet ColorPix USB. I’ve found that these work great not only for stage lighting, but also placed behind sofas and other units and they wash a much wider space on a wall. I do feel these should be used sparingly in most cases but when appropriate, there is nothing quite like it.

Thought Process

Let’s take a closer look at some questions you should ask before lighting a venue:
1) What affect are you after? Would you like to completely wash out a room in colour, or just highlight the main features?
2) What aspects of the venue lend itself well to uplighters? *Plain walls and corners work really well. Columns, arches, domes all work great. Think about how the light will reflect, and also consider shadowing.
3) What is your budget for the lighting?
4) Is there easy access to plug sockets or do you need to go wireless?
5) Do you need to change the colour of the lights mid event?
6) Is part of the event outdoors? Do you need IP rated lights?

Case Study

West Reservoir Centre
Picture A

In image A, you can see a venue we often work at called the West Reservoir Centre. With the very high ceilings, white walls, and unique architectural layout, the venue lends itself very well to uplighting. When I first walked into this venue to do a recce, the immediate thought that crossed my mind was the amount of natural light flooding in. This is a huge consideration for daytime events, especially during summer, as the effectiveness of any light will be reduced massively by this alone. I always make a point of discussing this with the client, even if the event starts earlier and will go on into the evening. The reason is that first impressions count, and I don’t want the client to be underwhelmed by the lighting when the walk in. It’s important to keep expectations realistic. As the night goes on, mood lighting really comes into its own.

West Reservoir centre - Uplighters
Picture B

In image B, you can see the uplighters on an overcast day. The lights we used are Chauvet Freedom Pars which are battery operated. This means there are no unsightly cables running anywhere and everything can be kept clean and tidy. Due to the placement inside the RSJs and the fact it was overcast that day, the lights look really vibrant. As you may be able to tell from the image, this event wasn’t due to start for another few hours, so by the time the Bride and Groom arrived, it was already evening.

With most forms of lighting, symmetry is a key consideration. When deciding how many uplights are needed for this venue, I walked around and made a mental note of key places they would work. Now in this venue it was quite easy – 1 on each pillar (front, facing the door way), 2 on the back wall, and symmetrically coming down the room, another 4 lights. Through all of the events I have done here, this has proven to be the winning formula. Most people have agreed that you don’t need lights on the back of the pillars as it would be too bright and overpowering. The other consideration here is always cost, and it’s important to balance quality and quantity. Using more lights is not always better.

Wrap Up

Mood lighting is not the most complex of effects, but it can take a bit of practise to make it really effective. Take time before plaing any lights to assess the venue and choose the right placements. Consider symmetry a priority, and try not to overdo it. Stick to these rules and you can’t go far wrong. For very large venues, it may be worth consulting a company, such as London Sound and Light, who can walk around the venue with you and give you professional advice.

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London Music: The Sound Revolution

The United Kingdom has been the birthplace for numerous acts that revolutionized the music industry on an international scale. Artists that were not only talented, but years ahead of their time emerged, and with them came new ways of making and performing music. This new sound is what became affectionately known as The London Sound.

London is perhaps most famous for its Rock scene during the 60’s as this is what gave way to acts such as Iron Maiden, The Clash, Led Zeppelin and most popularly, The Beatles. The Beatles could easily be regarded as the pioneers of the 60’s “London Sound” as their experiments with the way they recorded their music greatly influenced the rest of the industry later on. Because of this, the music recording and publishing company, EMI, granted The Beatles unlimited access to Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles didn’t have to pay for studio time so they were free to spend as much time experimenting with the sound equipment. This led to The Beatles becoming the first artists to record using multi-track recording technology; where overdubbing a record became possible, as opposed to the older one-track method where a record was essentially just a live, in-studio, performance on record. As a result, Abbey Road Studios was one of the first studios in London to offer this technology to musicians.

The Beatles - Abbey Road
The Beatles – Abbey Road

As studio technology changed, so did the live performance equipment. The Beatles were said to use the RCF brand of speakers for their live performances at Brixton Academy. RCF was a new brand founded only 10 years before the prime time of The Beatles, yet they were popular among Rock and Pop artists because RCF was the first to manufacture and make use of transducers; creating a higher quality sound. RCF was at the forefront of the audio industry in the 1970’s.

One of The Beatle’s most successful UK tours consisted of a performance at The Roundhouse. The Roundhouse is a live music venue that also offers live performance and in studio recording. RCF was the main brand of speakers used in The Roundhouse because of their distinctive sound quality.

The Roundhouse quickly became one of the most popular live music venues, with performances from other industry pioneers such as The Rolling Stones, during their 1971 United Kingdom tour.

The Rolling Stones are said to be industry pioneers because of the way they merged genres of music. They were the one of the first bands to incorporate the blues, soul and country into rock music. The Rolling Stones were extremely popular with London’s younger crowd because of their hard rock sound. They were a lot edgier than The Beatles and their music constantly pushed the boundaries and ventured into unchartered territory, giving way to a totally new sound.

Sound equipment manufacturing companies were forced to up the standard as the sound evolved. The Rolling Stones began recording with 8-track technology which “brought the sound to life” and was supplied and manufactured by Meyer Sound. Meyer Sound quickly overtook RCF in popularity and the Wembley Stadium in London, where both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones performed during their respective tours; was fitted with the top of the range Meyer Sound equipment.

As the main stream Rock and Pop genres evolved, so did the underground UK music scene. Rap and Reggae music were gaining popularity and this made the entire industry in general gravitate towards a louder sound consisting of harder drums and deeper bass. Around the same time night clubs became popular in the 90’s, this new underground sound evolved into rave music which was basically a mix between reggae, rap and dance music. These genres where constantly trying to outdo each other by incorporating new, faster drum-lines and electronic bass. This new wave gave way to the sub bass culture that laid the path for Electronic Music (EDM). Despite its growing popularity, this sound was ignored by mainstream record companies because it was edgy and the audience that identified with it was seen as rebellious.

By 2002, EDM had evolved and given way to house music, trance music, grime and dubstep. These were all recognized as the mainstream sound of the London youth. Just as the music genres had evolved, sound equipment had changed to accommodate this new sound. Speakers that could withstand the heavy bass and drums became popular and the Mackie speaker brand was at the forefront of this revolution in technology. Mackie introduced three-way speaker sound systems that could not only keep up with the heavier sound but improve the sound quality as well.

There was an ongoing fight within EDM genre for who could produce the loudest sound with the most bass. The same competitiveness could be seen amongst sound equipment manufactures as well; each company wanting to top the next by producing a clearer, higher definition sound. The overall zeitgeist was “Bigger, Better, Louder” and as a result, many new types of speakers gained popularity as opposed to the 1970’s where one brand would monopolize the music market.

Creating waves in the present day is the Flare Audio brand of sound equipment that’s widely popular for its high definition sound. The founder, Davies Roberts created loudspeaker designs based on the theory of Waveform Integrity which states that the loudspeaker should be sonically invisible, neither adding nor detracting from the clarity of sound produced by the driver. Flare Audio has set a new standard in professional audio as they are constantly trying out new loud speaker technology such as Nanoflow driver alignment and Vortex porting technology. Flare Audio is always improving their sound and that makes them one of the sound companies to watch in 21st century.

The fight for the best sound is never-ending. As the music industry evolves, shifts and changes so does the sound technology and that is perhaps, the best thing about the UK music scene as a whole.

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Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

Basis of Service

1.1 These are the terms and conditions of London Sound and Light (LSL). All hires and services provided by LSL are subject to these terms and conditions, and the customer agrees that by using the services provided by LSL, that they are bound by these terms and conditions.
1.2 These terms and conditions may, at any time, be amended by LSL. The customer is bound to the terms and conditions at the time of the hire, or, in cases where sufficient time remains before a hire commences, the customer shall be bound by any changes in the terms and conditions provided they are informed in writing and given ample opportunity to cancel/amend the hire.

Payments and Charges

2.1 The rates displayed on the website are provided as a guide only and LSL reserves the right to change prices and rates.
2.2 The customer agrees to the rate at the time of booking .
2.3 Unless expressly agreed in writing prior to the event/hire, the customer agrees to make payment in GBP. Where other currencies are accepted, LSL reserves the right to set the exchange rate, and if it is deemed necessary, apply a charge for this service.
2.4 Forms of payment that may be used are; Cash, Bank transfer, Credit/Debit card, Paypal, Cheque.
2.5 Cash payments must be made using direct deposit in a bank. Cash on delivery, or cash payments to an employee of LSL are not accepted.
2.6 Any discount noted on an invoice is subject to payment being made within the time frame specified. Any late payments will automatically void any discounts provided.
2.7 Payment must be made 72 hours or more prior to an event/hire date. Failure to pay in this time will automatically void any discounts applied and the full amount will be due.
2.8 Where payment terms have been agreed in writing, the customer agrees to abide by these arrangements. Failure to make payment when agreed will automatically void any discounts. If payment is made after the agreed date, LSL will apply a 5% fee for every 30 days the invoice remains unpaid.
2.9 LSL reserve the right to demand payment of an account, whether due or not, at any time.

Cancellation

2.2.1 Cancellation of an order must be made within 14 days of payment being received for the services outlined on the invoice. Any refund after this time period is at the discretion of LSL.
2.2.2 Where an event takes place within 14 days of payment being received, the customer waives all rights to refund as laid out in the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
2.2.3 Any refund issued at the discretion of LSL after the statutory 14 period may incur admin charges or 25%.

Identification

3.1 LSL may ask the customer for identification.
3.2 LSL may hold on to original copies of identification during the hire period.
3.3 Identification will be securely stored and will not be shown to anyone outside of the company without the express consent of the customer.
3.4 Should any illegal activity be suspected, LSL reserve the right to disclose the customers identification to the police or other relevant authority.
3.5 Accepted forms of ID are; UK Passport, UK Driver’s License, Utility Bill, Council Tax Bill. All ID showing an address must be current and from within the last 3 months.
3.6 LSL reserves the right to change the required ID at ANY time.

Ownership

4.1 All equipment hired by LSL remains the property of the company at ALL times. A customer must at no time sell, sub-hire or modify the equipment.
4.2 Any damage caused to the equipment must be paid for by the customer. The hire charge will be extended for every day the equipment is out of action.
4.3 LSL does not sell equipment that is used for hire. At no time should the client consider the equipment to be owned by them.

Use of Equipment

5.1 Although LSL staff may provide advice at times, it is ultimately the customer’s responsibility to make sure that equipment hired is suitable for purpose.
5.2 It is assumed that the customer knows how to use any equipment hired to them. If the customer is not capable of safely using hired equipment, the customer MUST ask LSL to provide technical support. LSL reserves the right to charge for technical support.
5.3 Equipment must be used within manufacturer’s guidelines. Manuals are available upon request.
5.4 Any misuse of equipment hired by the customer entitles LSL to recover the equipment without warning or penalty. Any damage will be chargeable.
5.5 If at any point the customer removes the casing from any item of equipment, they will be charged IN FULL for the item to be replaced whether damage is caused or not. The customer may keep the tampered item.
5.6 Should the equipment be stolen or lost, the customer is responsible for replacing the item. The full original purchase price must be paid.
5.7 The customer is required to have insurance for all equipment hired.
5.8 No service or repair is allowed to be attempted by anyone other than LSL or someone acting directly on behalf of LSL. No exceptions.
5.9 Any 3rd party equipment used in conjunction with equipment hired from LSL must be safe and properly maintained. Any damage caused to equipment hired from LSL as a result of 3rd party equipment, must be paid for.

Delivery / Collection

6.1 Delivery of items to an address on a dry hire basis will be to the front door or where adequate parking is not arranged, to the nearest available parking space.
6.2 The customer is responsible to collect and return the items to the delivery vehicle. All items must be returned in the order they were delivered i.e Clean, undamaged and packed away in the proper cases
6.3 If set up and pack down of the equipment has been booked, adequate parking will need to be provided within 50 meters of the event location’s entrance. If adequate parking is not provided, LSL reserve the right to charge for any costs incurred, whether this is additional time/ man power, or any parking fines.