Tag Archives: Wedding

Bistro Lighting

Bistro Lighting Styles for Weddings, Corporate Events & More

Bistro lighting is one of the most popular wedding lighting options, and The Lighting & Sound Co provides every style of bistro lighting you may need!

Also known as string lighting, festoon lighting, or cafe lighting, what we refer to as bistro lighting, is an individual strand with bare lightbulbs dangling down at even intervals.  Bistro lights provide a classic, timeless look with a warm glow. The lights are often hung over a reception area, but can also go over a dance floor, patio, or entrance area. Typically, our technicians will install multiple strings of bistro at an event site, arranged in a particular pattern.

One of the best features of bistro lighting is that it can be used nearly anywhere. We commonly install bistro light strings in tents, but have hung them in barns, over open fields and courtyards, in hotel ballrooms, on top of swimming pools, and around food courts and skating rinks. It also neatly complements other types of lighting including uplighting and chandeliers.

Styles of Bistro Lighting

Following are several styles of  lighting installations. This is by no means an exhaustive list but includes our most commonly-provided services:

Tracing Bistro

Typically installed in a frame tent or other space with exposed rafters, this style follows the roof supports. This style uses simple bistro which, while not as bright as classic bistro, offers a great look when used for tracing, and is great for shorter tents.

Tracing bistro wedding Lighting

Tracing bistro lighting on a tent for a wedding at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

Fanning (or festooning) Bistro

Often used outside, all of the strands of lights fan out from one point, on a building or other support structure.

Festooning bistro lights wedding

Festooning Bistro Lighting for an Event at Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, VA.

Traditional (or Zig-zag) Bistro

Our most common service which provides a classic glow in any space, be it a ballroom, tent, or open field. If there is no place to hang the bistro from, we will bring appropriate support structures that don’t distract from your event.

Gathered Bistro

Commonly used to gather all the strands together over a key spot like a dance floor.

Gathered bistro cafe lights outdoor

Gatherered Bistro Lighting for an outdoor event. Photo Courtesy of Tampa Lights

Parallel Bistro

Effective where there are balconies, buildings, or roof structures that create a long rectangular area.

Bistro lighting paper lanterns dance floor

Parallel bistro lighting with paper lanterns over a dance floor. Picture Courtesy of San Diego Events.

Crossing Bistro

An excellent style for tents, because some tents are shorter than others. A stylish way of hanging bistro lighting, great for frame tents and long but thin indoor or outdoor areas.

Crossing bistro lights chandeliers

Crossing Bistro Lighting with chandeliers at a networking event for Richmond Weddings.

 

Bistro Arch

Also good for shorter tents, but works in any tent; bistro strings follow the angles of the roof to leave plenty of headroom for guests.

Bistro event lighting

Bistro Arch inside a tent for an event at Tredegar Ironworks.

Custom Monogram wedding gobo

Stephanie & Justin’s Wedding

Got a call from Stephanie on Tuesday for a last minute wedding the coming Sunday. Stephanie needed uplighting for her wedding reception at The Hotel John Marshall here in Richmond. Summer is a busy season for weddings, and while we already had other jobs going on that day, we were easily able to accommodate another event. The next day, Stephanie told us she was also interested in a custom wedding gobo with her and Justin’s names on it. Fortunately, we are no stranger to rush jobs and manufacturing a last minute gobo before the date of her wedding was no trouble. We went through the design process with Stephanie, and had the custom gobo just in time!

Stephanie wanted a warm color for the uplighting on the beautiful walls of the ballroom, we suggested our champagne look, always an amazing look in there!

Wedding Uplighting hotel John Marshall

Total Room Transformation

To show the power of event lighting, we set up some of our most popular wedding lighting services in an abandoned basement. This helps to give a better idea of what wedding and event lighting can do to completely transform a room for your wedding reception, ceremony, or any event or party you have at all.

While all the individual pieces that make up the perfect wedding or event are equally important, lighting is the only one that can change how everything is perceived. Lighting can change the look and feel of the entire event, from the mood, to the color the place setting appear to be, make sure you have the right team handling your event. You can learn more by checking out our informational article on wedding and event lighting. Take your event lighting to the next level.

Check out a full display of our services here.

Everything you need to know about DJ Expo 2015!

Each August, DJ Times presents The DJ Expo at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Produced by DJ Times and its publisher Testa Communications since 1990, the Expo remains the DJ industry’s best-attended, most-successful trade show and convention. Lighting companies geared towards mobile DJs and consumers, such as American DJ and Blizzard Lighting, often have enormous booths made of truss and huge assortments of the newest lighting gear and tools. Walking into DJ Expo is a little bit of a surreal experience as you move the relative quiet of the hallway turns into what can only be described as organized chaos as you enter the show floor. The space is enormous, dimly lit, and very hazy. Every booth vies for your attention with loud electronic music and flashy light shows, and as with any expo, free stuff.

This was our first year at DJ Expo, but we were lucky enough to be accompanied by local DJs and seasoned veterans of DJ expo, Mike Beene and Eric Cunningham, who showed us around and introduced us to everyone. DJ Expo 25 was a great opportunity to network with pretty much everyone who is anyone in the DJ world, including Jim Tremayne, editor of DJ Times Magazine. That’s what DJ Expo is, now here’s what you need to know:

Blizzard Lighting
We spent a lot of our time looking at Blizzard Lighting’s booth, conveniently located at the front of the expo. This is great for them, as the only booth in front of theirs was audio electronics giant Pioneer. If you don’t know who Blizzard is, I don’t blame you, but maybe you should. Blizzard was started in 2010, so it has only been around for 5 years! Yet, they have a pretty tricked out product line of various movers, LEDs, and their aptly named Pixellicious, which is an awesome name. While Blizzard hasn’t been around long enough to establish an extensive reputation, they have a commitment to quality that is evident in their products.

Cosmic-Truss-U-Torm-Tree-Photo

The GLP U-Torm is a versatile and innovative trussing solution.


GLP’s U-Torm

The U-Torm is a flexible solution to hanging drop fixtures and finding tormentor positions, for lighting, projection, and other equipment in a completely modular solution from Cosmic Truss.

Comprised of lightweight modules and sections, the U-Torm allows endless configurations fro single fixtures, double hangs or ladders of multiple fixtures, either rigged or floor mounted.

The U-Torm is available in two standard sizes, but can be built upon and customized using the standard cosmic Truss F31 range of 2″ pipes, T-Sections, spigots and corner adaptors. These all fit seamlessly into the U-Torm allowing you to create hanging positions or structures in an unlimited variety of combinations. The U-Torm 50 is able to take a center point load of up to 110 lbs. / 50 kg, and if hung in a ladder configuration, it is possible to mount up to 10 units together. The brackets are available in a natural aluminum or black finish as standard, and other colors can be provided on request.

In the custom event industry, having a highly versatile and dependable support structure is very useful!

Nimbus low fog machine ground fog

The Nimbus helps us to provide an affordable low fog solution for our clients.

Chauvet’s NIMBUS Pea Souper (Ground Fog)

Nimbus is a professional dry ice machine which produces thick, white fog that hugs the floor and dissipates without rising. This powerful machine heats enough water to create fog from 10 lb of dry ice to provide 6 minutes of run time. Output and flow are easily controlled, thanks to an adjustable multi-level control arm. Dual heaters allow for faster heat-up and recycle times. We saw a demo of Nimbus at the expo, and picked one up to add to our ability to create a custom atmosphere. We’ve often used an LSG fogger before to achieve this “ground fog” effect, but with the Nimbus, we can provide a more affordable option to our clients, with almost no drawbacks! 

 

Pin Spotting for weddings

Wireless and light-weight, Chauvet’s new pin spots can hang from almost anything.

 

Chauvet EZpin IRC

EZpin IRC is a battery-powered LED pin spot, perfect for lighting centerpieces, cakes, and focal points. Its magnetic base affixes to most metal surfaces, eliminating the need for clamps, and the scissor clip with eye loop easily attaches to drop ceiling supports, for quick setup and cable management. Wireless on/off operation is available with the optional IRC-6 remote, and we can easily achieve multiple lighting looks with the included gel pack.  With the ease of setup these new fixtures provide, we can cut down on setup time, allowing us to offer more affordable wedding pricing for pin-spotting, which is a popular wedding lighting look. 

 

 

Powered Line Array Sound

The KLA12 is a powered 12″ line array that packs a punch

QSC KLA12 Powered Line Array


QSC’s incredible KLA12 line array speaker combines astounding power, amazing flexibility, and road-ready dependability in a surprisingly lightweight package that sounds absolutely stunning. The KLA12 is powered by a 500W x 500W module that provides plenty of clean, clear power to the 12″ LF driver and the 1.75″ HF compression driver. Ar-Q frequency optimization lets you tune the KLA12 to the array; in fact, you can adjust for the number of speakers in your array and get the most out of your KLA12.

This is another piece of gear we saw at DJ expo that we are adding to inventory. The size of the KLA12 makes it easy to transport and use at mid-size to large events. This line array can be used to create quality, affordable, and powerful sound solutions for weddings, corporate events, parties, concerts and more. The quality that comes behind a QSC product means we won’t have any issues with equipment failure.

 

 

DJ friend David Sporn will be doing a followup to this post shortly from a DJ’s perspective. 

7 Things You Need To Know About Wedding Lighting

Lighting up your special day? Here are some things about wedding lighting you should know:
Wedding entertainment is an extremely competitive business. Many couples are shopping around looking for the most affordable solution, while wedding vendors are providing crossover services that they are often unqualified to perform correctly. Uplighting is a fairly new addition in wedding lighting, but since early 2000, it’s been one of the fastest growing services offered by production companies.

google Up-lighting trends since 2005

Uplighting has been becoming increasingly popular since 2006. Graph courtesy of Google Trends.

With LED technology becoming more affordable and more widely available, companies are able to offer lighting services which greatly improve the overall look of a wedding or reception. We compiled this list to help brides and grooms avoid common mistakes, and become more aware of what is available to take their weddings to the next level. This list is in no particular order.

Pattern gobo bubbles

Pattern gobos, if used right, can change a boring wall into something beautiful.

1. What the heck is a gobo?

A gobo is a template — made of glass or steel — that is inserted into a lighting fixture to obtain a projected image. Steel gobos are typically more cost effective, while glass gobos yield a higher quality image. Some common applications of gobos include:

  • Monogram names of bride and groom projected on dancefloor at wedding
  • Sponsor company logos projected at event
  • Logo/Brand projected in retail shop / gallery
  • Logo projected at entrance of hotel / restaurant
  • Pattern gobos used on walls, floor, ceiling to create textured look (as pictured above)

Today, a monogram gobo at a wedding is practically required, and is usually most recommended by photographers, who love having shots of the bride and groom with the monogram in the back.

2. Be careful using businesses that offer wedding lighting as a secondary service.

Many mobile DJs and tenting companies also offer services such as uplighting, but it’s usually best to avoid such companies for lighting services. You wouldn’t want your DJ bringing in your catering, and in much the same way, you probably don’t want them doing your lighting either. While a tenting company may be able to offer you a great price on LED uplights that they purchased at Guitar Center, professional lighting companies are more likely to have the best, most powerful, (and most reliable) equipment on the market. Professional wedding lighting companies will also have a lot more knowledge about lighting, color theory, power consumption, and are going to be able to do far more than just uplighting.

Wedding Lighting and drape suspended from truss

With professional lighting services, brides and grooms have unlimited possibilities.

3. Wired vs. Wireless LEDs and how they impact your wedding lighting.

We often find that brides and grooms are misled by companies into thinking wireless solutions are the only way to go. Be wary of companies that claim to only use battery powered LEDs and use phrases such as “no messy wires.”  The truth is, any professional production company should be able to offer both solutions. Many times, wireless LEDs are required for areas that it’s impossible to get power to, but wireless LEDs run on batteries with lives of 4 – 8 hours, and this number decreases over time as the battery wears out. Wired LEDs are far more powerful, i.e. all of the ambient lights don’t have to be off in order to see the beam and color. Wireless LEDs are great time-savers, and can be extremely useful, but good lighting companies know how to hide all wires out of sight anyway, so make sure you go wireless for the right reasons!

4. Wash vs. Beam: What’s the difference?

If you’ve been in the market for wedding lighting for a bit, you might have heard these terms tossed around. The difference is pretty simple: a beam light will be more like a straight column of light, while a wash will have more spread. The important thing to note is that LED lights come in all shapes and sizes, and the thing that distinguishes the width of the beam is the beam angle on each particular fixture.  There is no rule as to what looks best, but you should be asking your vendor questions about the options they have available for you.

Make sure that you have options to choose from, and don’t corner yourself into using a look that you’re not in love with.

wedding lighting bistro lighting

Bistro lighting can add a beautiful classic look.

5. Is Bistro Lighting for bistros?

Also known as festoon lighting, bistro lighting is strings of evenly spaced miniature light bulbs. Bistro has become incredibly popular as wedding lighting, and is great in conjunction with uplighting; with both, there is a nice color wash, but also a classy incandescent ambient look.  The important thing to know about bistro lights is that they can be a safety hazard if installed by the wrong company. Make sure your lighting vendor is using properly rigged aircraft cable (very strong, thin, cable) for runs over 20 feet.  Anything more than a 20 foot run begins to get very heavy, and all of the weight is held up by the thin electrical cable that is powering the lights. The last thing you want on your special day is string lights falling onto your guests from improperly rigged lighting.

If it looks unsafe, it probably is, and safety should always be the primary concern.

 

6. Waterproof Lighting

If you’re expecting to have lighting outside, don’t hire any company that can’t provide you with waterproof lighting. The technical term for equipment rated for outdoor use is “IP 65.” Nobody wants it to rain on their wedding day, but sometimes, bad weather cannot be avoided. Make sure your event isn’t left in the dark while your lighting vendor scrambles to collect all their equipment to avoid damage.

Chauvet Slim Panel 24 Waterproof IP65 LED Lighting

IP65 LEDs are rugged, sealed, and can stand up to most any type of weather. Photo courtesy of Chauvet.

7. RGB vs. RGBW (got hue?)

We’ve been throwing a lot of acronyms around, but this is one that you may be familiar with. RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. LEDs use these three colors of light in order to mix to millions of different colors. Until recently, we were limited to using Red, Green, and Blue, but with newer technology comes more versatility. RGB LEDs work fine to mix to many colors, but doesn’t have a lot of control over hue.

Color Spectrum RGB

Achievable color spectrum with RGB LEDs.

The addition of white LEDs gives far more color control, and makes achieving brilliant pastels a viable option. The white LEDs also help to bridge the spectrum gap between colors, making a far larger variety of colors possible.

Color Spectrum RGBW

White LEDs make a wider selection of color options possible.

 

That’s a brief primer on the world of wedding lighting. If you have any questions related to wedding lighting, feel free to give us a call! Ready to start planning lighting for your wedding? Click here to get started! The Lighting & Sound Company is located in Richmond, Virginia, and provides lighting support all over the east coast.

 

 

 

About the Author:
Dylan is a lighting designer from Richmond, Virginia that’s been in the business for over a decade.  He holds a BFA in Lighting Design from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Dylan currently works as Director of Design for The Lighting & Sound Co.

 

Amanda & Vladimir’s Wedding

Wedding Up Lighting, Brooklyn New York

Amber up lighting and a blue wash on the walls.

It was a busy weekend for us in New York, we had three weddings on three consecutive days, spanning from White Plains, to Brooklyn, and finally New Jersey. We setup some wedding uplighting for Amanda and Vladimir’s wedding in Brooklyn, New York. The venue(26 Bridge Street in Brooklyn), had beautiful wood floors and tall brick walls, and after some wash lighting and a few gobos, we got it looking really nice! Our friends at URE provided the DJ and MC for the wedding, and they did an incredible job.

Wood tables, New York

Hand-made wooden tables took a few hours to bring in and reconstruct. Uplighting was done in orange, with a blue wash on top of it.

We managed to get a time lapse of the event setup, you can check it out right here:

 

The Rig:
24 x Optima Incandescent Up Lights
2 x VL 2500 moving lights
5 x GLP Impression LED moving wash
4 x ETC Source Four Leko
3 x Pattern gobo
1 x Custom name gobo