Lighting Hire London: The Ultimate Guide
Lighting hire may not be the first thing that pops into mind when planning an event or function, but it can make or break the entire deal.
In this comprehensive guide, we’re explaining why lighting is essential in any event and how you can choose the right lighting hire for your needs. We’re also sharing some of the most popular types of light you can rent today.
Let’s get started!
Why Is Lighting Important for Events?
Adding a lighting system to your event venue is about a lot more than just enabling attendees to see what’s going on around them.
Lighting can make an event memorable and it can also make it a flop — it all comes down to planning and incorporating the right elements and technology.
Lighting doesn’t just control the visual aspects of a function, if done properly, it can actually affect the way people feel, think, and act.
The importance of lighting in an event, whether it’s a small intimate wedding or a huge raging concert, is monumental.
The following points will shed light (no pun intended!) on the advantages that a good lighting system can offer to take your event to the next level:
1. Provides Illumination
You probably know this already, but it’s so crucial that we have to discuss it first.
The main purpose of a lighting system in an event is to provide illumination. However, many people assume that this means simply turning on some light bulbs so that attendees can see and you can get on with the show.
Of course, the guests need to see what’s happening. Otherwise, they’ll probably lose interest and leave the venue.
But illumination is about more than that. Through professional lighting, you can control where you want the audience to be looking and what you want them to see at a certain moment.
For example, if you want to highlight hosts, performers, or structures inside the venue, all you need to do is shine more light on them. Similarly, if you want to conceal the background -such as in plays-, you’ll direct light away from it.
2. Controls Focus
The previous point brings us to our next reason for the importance of lighting in functions, which is controlling the focus of the audience.
Lighting is one of the easiest and most basic ways you can direct the attention of attendees to a person or an object throughout the event. You can determine the focal point of the event at any given moment using clever lighting.
Lighting can also help you keep the guests engaged, especially during long functions that demand prolonged periods of giving attention.
Of course, the highlighted element(s) of the event depends on your program or agenda. For example, in concerts, you’d typically focus on the performers. In product launching events, you’d want the “star” to be the new product, so you keep the lights on it to guide people’s eyes to it.
One of the most common types of lights used for controlling the focus of an audience is spotlights. They literally resulted in the expression “being in the spotlight”!
Just as lighting can be used to direct an individual’s attention toward someone or something, it can also serve to take focus away from it. You can create dark spots or cast shadows to hide things from the field of vision of the audience.
For example, if you don’t particularly appreciate the wallpaper or you want to subtly work on part of the room to prepare for an upcoming portion of the event, you can simply cover it up with a lack of lighting.
3. Sets the Mood
One of the most prominent effects of a lighting system in an event is its ability to set the mood of the attendees.
Just imagine being in a dull, poorly lit room that’s supposed to be a party or a concert venue. It doesn’t feel too appealing, does it?
You’re right. The vibes of the event aren’t what they’re supposed to be. They lack the excitement, vibrancy, and warmth that proper professional lighting can bring, and you better believe the audience’s mood will reflect the boredom.
If you’re planning a high-energy event, you want the lighting to deliver bright intensity, bold colors, and interesting patterns. This is how you can effectively liven up the event, elevate people’s emotions, and lift their spirits.
We’ll talk about this in more detail next, but you can also apply the psychology of light colors to spark various emotions in your audience. Use reds for passion, yellows for joy, blues for calmness, and so on.
A lighting set-up that’s tailored to your event needs, audience, message, goals, and marketing value is an invaluable tool for not only setting the atmosphere and tone of the event but also adding a wow factor to your production.
Common types of lights used to create a certain mood include uplights that produce a soft ambiance and harsh lights that create unsettling vibes.
4. Stirs Up Emotions
In addition to setting the mood, lighting also has the power to stir up a wide array of emotions within your attendees. This heavily contributes to the immersion factor of the event, making people feel as if they were really living the experience, not just witnessing it.
How is this possible you ask?
Well, one of the main characteristics of light that’s responsible for evoking emotions is color.
Many studies have been conducted to analyze the impact of light color on emotions and the psychological well-being of individuals. Research also proves the effects of light color on feelings, mood, and productivity.
The psychology of light colors is a largely discussed and established topic. Professionals apply scientific principles of light color psychology when planning a lighting system for an event based on the type of emotions the performer or organizer wants to stimulate in the audience.
Here are a few examples of light colors and their corresponding emotions:
- White is linked to feelings of pureness, genuineness, and peace.
- Red is the color to provoke feelings of anger, danger, and passion.
- Purple elicits feelings of sophistication, regality, mystery, and power.
- Lavender is associated with feelings of softness and tenderness.
- Blue produces a feeling of calmness, serenity, and coolness.
- Yellow stirs up feelings of warmth, joy, and happiness.
- Green is used to evoke feelings of optimism, growth, and positive emotions tied to nature.
So if you’re aiming to spark certain emotions in your attendees, lighting can do the trick.
You can even start the process before the actual show begins to get everyone in the preferred mindset that supports the success of your event. If you want a subtle opportunity to promote your brand during the event, you can use your signature brand colors.
What’s more, you can stir up emotions in your guests by pairing lighting with audio elements. The combination of visual and sound effects allows you to engage two of the most important senses involved in evoking emotions.
5. Affects the Energy
Another reason why lighting is ultra important for any sort of event is the way it can affect the energy of the whole affair. In the same sense that a bright room can make you feel awake and active, a dimly lit space can make you feel relaxed or sleepy.
Different characteristics of lighting include color, pattern, intensity, and angle. Combining and playing with these properties produces a wide range of effects that you may find useful for the success of your event.
Not only can these lighting aspects change the whole appearance of your venue, but they can also completely transform the vibe perceived by your attendees. For example, a hazer or strobe light can add energy to the room and encourage people to get moving.
If you’re planning a day-long event, adjusting the lighting system can help you provide different experiences at various times.
6. Shares in the Show
In several types of events, the lighting can be an integral part of the experience.
For example, if you’re holding a fashion show, you can use lights to tell a certain story or give off a specific vibe that complements the theme of the line. Similarly, if you’re holding an award show, you can use lights to trigger suspense and emphasize the presence of a host or winner.
In other words, a reliable lighting system is essential to creating a highly-immersive show.
7. Helps in timing
Creating a customized lighting system for your event can help with timing aspects, especially if there’s a live performance involved.
Performers can use the various lighting effects to cue the start or finish of different parts of the show. As such, lights can aid in putting together a smooth-running event with as few delays and errors as possible.
8. Serves as Decoration
You may not realize this right away when you start planning an event, but one of the most evident applications of lighting is that it can serve as a decoration component.
The type of lighting you choose for the venue can give it a distinct personality and deliver an ornamental effect as well as establish a general impression of the function.
For example, fast-paced, color-changing lights can give off party vibes and make the venue look like a club. Similarly, soft white and blue lights can produce “cold” vibes and make the venue look like it’s set in a wintery time.
9. Encourages Sharing on Social Media
If you’ve ever browsed through photos shared on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, chances are you’ll notice there’s a common factor between all the images that look particularly nice or cool.
What is it? Well, lighting of course!
Providing your venue with an elaborate, alluring, or decorative lighting system can encourage your guests to take more selfies, group photos, or even pictures of the place. From there, they’re likely to share these images on social media, presenting your brand with free, organic promotion.
10. Supports Security and Safety
Last but not least, incorporating lights in your event improves its safety.
For starters, your guests will be able to walk around and navigate the place without bumping into other people, furniture, or equipment. They’ll be able to find different utilities without having to keep asking for directions from random strangers or getting lost.
Additionally, a lighting system helps security guards do their jobs more effectively. Having a clearer view of the venue allows them to survey the location better and keep an eye on everyone.
How to Choose a Lighting Hire for an Event
When it comes to choosing a lighting hire for your upcoming event, it’s all about determining your needs. This is the only way you’ll be able to pick the right type of lighting from the myriad of options available.
That said, here are some pointers to help you on your mission:
First things first, you need to figure out where you want the lighting to occur within the venue.
Granted, you may not know this sort of information just by sitting at your office or home, so we recommend you go down to your venue to get a clearer image.
You should schedule these visits during night time to have a better understanding of the locations that require lighting and the ideal placement of fixtures and equipment.
For example, if there’s a stage, do you want to illuminate the entire venue or just this area? This question also applies to other locations such as parking, food service, and bleachers spaces.
The answer depends on the type of your event and what serves its purpose best.
- Remember to factor in the safety and convenience of your attendees when making such decisions. In any case, you want to provide enough illumination to prevent accidents.
Once you have a plan for your light placement, you can choose the appropriate type of lighting hire more effectively.
Speaking of light placement, you should keep in mind the dimensions of the light beams so you can accurately determine their ideal locations.
Imagine every beam of light directed towards the area(s) you want to illuminate, then think of the width of each beam and the distance its source needs to be at to deliver proper illumination.
Not only do these aspects affect the choice of light output needed for your illumination goals, but also the angle of the beam and its spread level.
Unlike square-shaped projector images, light beams possess circular outlines. This means you need to consider the missing space at the edges when planning the illuminated area.
Outlets and Cables
While you’re planning the light placement for your event and considering the dimensions of beams, you should also take into account the outlets and cables required to support the lighting system.
It may seem like we’re stating the obvious but if your event will include lighting hire, you need to plan it around the electrical outlets present within the venue.
It helps if you can get your hands on a sketch of the venue with the locations of the outlets marked. This way, you can easily arrange for the lighting equipment to be close to the outlets and keep the podiums, tables, seats, and other elements that don’t demand access to electricity farther away.
Another advantage of knowing where the outlets are located in your venue is that you get a chance to check for issues with the original lighting plan of the event. If you’ve chosen a certain spot to place a light fixture but it turns out to be too far away from an outlet, you get to make changes now rather than later on when it’s more complicated and costly.
Now is a good time to pick up on any discrepancies between how your event is planned and where you plan to use lighting. Make sure you have lighting arranged in such a way to make your event possible, safe and comfortable.
You want your lighting to work seamlessly with the venue and the event’s activities. The lighting system should be as safe and functional as possible while complementing the rest of the elements making up your event.
- Since we’re on the subject of outlets, be sure to avoid overloading them beyond their recommended capacity. Consider using power strips for extra safety when operating multiple pieces of equipment.
When it comes to cabling, you need to know whether or not the venue offers in-house connections.
If it’s a ‘yes’ from the venue, your next step should be determining the start and end of each cable as well as the sort of sockets and plugs they’re compatible with.
Additionally, you need to know the length of these cables so you can determine if you’ll need to use extensions (don’t forget to use cable covers to prevent tripping accidents). Once you’ve learned how long the cables are, compare them against the following:
- The distance from the power supply to distribution boxes.
- The distance from the power supply to dimmers.
- The distance from distribution boxes and/or to the light fixture.
- The distance between the dimmers and the control desk.
- The distance between the data buffers or control desk and light fixtures.
Amount of Light
Now that you have a distinct plan for the location of the lighting, it’s time to determine how much illumination and, consequently, how many fixtures your event will need.
To answer these questions as accurately as possible, you should discuss your lighting needs with a technician or representative from the service you’re considering for a lighting hire.
At London Sound and Light, we offer a team of experts who’ll gladly answer your questions and walk you through the process.
If you want to be even more involved, you can check out the descriptions of the different products we offer to find out how much light is emitted by these fixtures and models.
Once you’re more familiar with the various outputs of light fixtures and models, you can judge this information against the area you’re looking to illuminate. From there, you’ll be able to pick the right options.
Although it can be tricky to figure out the amount of light your event will need to operate smoothly and safely, this is one case where “less is more” doesn’t apply at all.
If you’re not sure how much lighting you need to hire, it’s better to be on the generous side than to skimp. If you end up with more lighting than your event practically requires, you won’t be in nearly as much trouble as you’d be if you don’t have enough illumination capacity.
What’s more, having extra lighting gives you some backup in case of an emergency such as a malfunction.
Also, you may have overlooked some areas that turn out to be in need of lighting as the sun fades away. In such a scenario, having more lighting resources on hand will save the event and your reputation
Another crucial aspect you need to consider when choosing lighting hire for your event is the type or style of the function.
If your lighting style doesn’t match your event’s type, it’s likely that the attendees will notice and won’t be happy about it. They’ll start talking and eventually, word will spread that your event was a disappointment.
Just imagine going to a work conference and finding the venue buzzing with disco lights! Similarly, if you’re going to a tropical-themed party, you don’t expect the lights to be all-white classical.
If the lighting doesn’t complement the event, then what’s the point?
It’s not just that the audience will feel that something’s wrong, but mismatching the lighting with the type of the event can easily cause the whole thing to go under.
When you’re picking a lighting hire for an upcoming function, you may already have a vision of how you want the venue to be illuminated with certain effects and patterns.
If this is the case, don’t be shy to tell us (or whatever company you’re considering) what you have in mind. Our experts will take this information and recommend the sort of lighting that’ll best achieve your ideas.
Even if you don’t know whether or not your vision is possible to realize or you don’t quite understand how your desired effect will happen, don’t hesitate to ask.
Of course, you may not have a clue about the appropriate lighting effects for your event. This is another situation where we can help by offering you various options depending on the type of event you’re planning.
Let’s say you’ve decided on LED or intelligent lights for your event. Did you know that you don’t need dimmers to control the intensity of such lights?
Instead, you need mains power and a control console or desk such as the Chamsys MagicQ MQ40.
In addition to light intensity, a control console or desk allows you to manage the position of the lights’ heads and the direction of the emitted beams. You can also use it to adjust the shape of the beams and their colors with just a few buttons.
The number of lights and their complexity will determine the sort of control console or desk you need. As a general rule, the more sophisticated the lights, the more advanced the control console they need.
You can also use computer software to control lights via an interface. This gives you a simple way of managing advanced lights, but it poses the risk of computer glitches during the event.
Speaking of control, one way you can set the mood for your event is by adjusting the intensity of illumination throughout its duration. For example, as the sunlight fades and the darkness takes over, you’ll want to increase the illumination level to keep the function alive.
The goal mood or atmosphere of your event is heavily affected by the type of lighting you choose, so you need to be careful with what you pick.
If you want to induce a lot of excitement and energy within the attendees, strobe lighting and flashing effects are a great choice. If you’re looking to create a laidback soft aesthetic, LED string lights are more suitable.
When selecting a lighting hire for your upcoming event, you need to keep in mind the preference of the target audience.
The lighting equipment and effects should be appropriate for the age demographic of the attendees if you want the function to succeed. You need to take into account the expectations of the audience and how they’ll respond to the lighting.
For example, if you’re planning a techno concert, you’d choose energetic strobe lighting over generic ambient lighting. Similarly, amber lighting would be more suitable for a corporate dinner than flashing colored lights.
Last but not least, you must set a budget for the lighting aspect of your event and tell us about it.
Try to be as specific as possible with your estimation so we can properly guide you to the sort of equipment that fits your budget.
Additionally, knowing how much you can spend on lighting helps you keep your expectations realistic.
That said, seeking lighting hire is a budget-friendly approach to illuminating your upcoming event. Our professionals can inform you of the best cost-effective options you can use, effectively saving you money.
What Type of Lighting Can You Hire for Your Next Event?
When you consider lighting hire for an upcoming event, it pays off to be familiar with the different types of lights you can choose to incorporate.
Below are the most popular options out there (which we also offer by the way!):
1. LED Uplights
LED uplights are a type of lighting that illuminates walls, transforming them from dull and plain to fun and interesting. They’re an excellent way to liven up an event set in a four-walled venue where the last thing you want is for your audience to feel trapped.
LED uplights produce columns of shine against walls. This adds space to the room, makes its ceiling look higher, and adds depth to your venue.
You can choose warm or cool hues for your LED uplights. You can also choose different colors to make the ambiance more interesting.
2. Architectural Lighting
This type of lighting aims to provide illumination for a building or a location. It can also be used to set a scene, illustrate significance, or leave a strong first impression.
Architectural lighting establishes a balance between 3 aspects as follows:
- Aesthetics — architectural lighting serves to improve the appearance of the building or location by highlighting its points of appeal and shadowing spots that don’t call for much focus.
- Efficiency — architectural lighting should provide maximum energy efficiency by avoiding wasting energy either by unnecessary illuminating or lighting empty spaces.
- Ergonomics — architectural lighting should use light sources that deliver a user-friendly experience.
3. Moving Lights (Intelligent) Lights
Moving lights, also known as intelligent lights or moving headlights, are exactly what their name suggests; lights that can change the position of their beams.
Intelligent lights are lighting fixtures equipped with a movable head sitting on a rotating axis. This allows them to shine their beams in various directions depending on the way they’re programmed.
Intelligent lights can effectively add energy and excitement to any event. They can stimulate movement and action among an audience in a manner that no other lighting type can.
Versatile and flexible, there are 3 common forms of moving lights fixtures:
- Wash fixtures — intelligent beam lights are great for filling a large area with color as they produce wide casts.
- Beam fixtures — intelligent beam lights are perfect for creating effects similar to lasers. They use lenses with large diameters to produce long, fast-moving light columns.
- Spot fixtures — intelligent beam lights are ideal for highlighting a presenter, performer, piece of art, aerial effects, and more.
“Goes Between Optics” -or Gobos for short- is a lighting effect rather than a light fixture.
It’s one of the most widely used effects in event lighting, generated by placing a plastic, steel, or glass disc inside a lighting fixture. Then when the light is switched on, the pattern of the disc is projected as a sharp image on a wall, backdrop, or floor.
The gobos effect can be used with both static and moving lights. It’s a great way to display your brand’s logo while providing functional lighting for your event.
5. LED String Lights
It’s hard to be alive today and not have come across LED string lights at least a handful of times. From weddings and ceremonies to patio lighting and outdoor parties, LED string lights are one of the most flexible and versatile fixtures that you can hire.
These are simply ropes with a bunch of small light bulbs attached to them along their length. These lights come in a wide range of lengths, colors, and patterns.
Additionally, you can choose to have your LED string lights controlled individually or as a unit.
6. LED Pixel Tube Lights
LED pixel tube lights look like lightsabers or large glow sticks. They’re incredibly easy to set up and can be used to create endless lighting shapes and effects.
When the technology first came out, LED pixel tube lights were mainly used in filmmaking and TV productions.
Thanks to their unique look and impressive convenience, it wasn’t long until these tubes made their way into event lighting where they’re heavily used as creating illumination solutions.
The best thing about LED pixel tube lights is that you can practically mount them anywhere you’d like, from walls and ceilings to tables and floors. You can even fasten them to one another and make a 3D structure.
7. PAR Lights
PAR lights, or Parabolic Aluminized Reflectors, are a huge hit in the world of event lighting. While their design is minimalistic, their effects are massive.
Rock and roll concerts almost exclusively featured PAR lights before the introduction of intelligent lights. These fixtures were very durable and contained a reflector that concentrates beams to generate a large output of light in an oval shape that extends over a wide area.
PAR lights nowadays bring a nostalgic vibe to events. They’re also fantastic for adding warmth and washing spaces with bright light.
Lighting is essential to the success of any event, and seeking lighting hire is the smart way to get the job done. With dozens of types, effects, and patterns to choose from, you can trust that we have the solutions to all your lighting needs.