Much of the lighting for dance floors comes from ceiling lights. From cutting edge LED ceiling lighting systems to some more basic ideas for ceiling configurations, ceiling lights play a disproportionate role in determining your club’s overall atmosphere. Knowing how to combine different kinds of ceiling lights is crucial for creating the effects that you want for your dance club, nightclub or bar. So, in order to help you get some sense of what the options for your nightclub design are, here is a primer on ceiling lighting:
Dancefloor Ceiling Lights
When it comes to lighting your dance floor from above you want to think in terms of the following kinds of lights:
- Parabolic Canister Lights: “Par Cans” are the most basic and most common kind of ceiling lights used in discos. In fact, you can find par cans in everything from nightclubs and live theaters to DJ equipment and movie sets. You will recognize the Par Can if you see it. It is just simply a light bulb or reflector with a metallic can around it to help direct the light. Technically you could say that a spotlight is a form of can light. The par can can also be used with a number of kinds of lighting and can be combined to create different kinds of effects. For the specs on Can Lights, see Can Lights for Your Bar or Nightclub .
- Moonflowers: Moonflowers project lights over a dance floor in a pattern. These circular lights often will have more than one pattern overlay. You might think of them as an expensive alternative to creating patterns with an LED dancefloor. Disco balls can be used similarly by shining lights directly on them.
- Beam Lights: Beam lights (sometimes called “beamers”) can create a more layered feel on large dance floors by dropping shafts of light over the clubbers. This is especially effective when connected to DMX controller and put in motion.
- Strobes: Strobes create their effects by flashing lights. They can create the slow motion effect that so many dance clubs love. For more on strobe lights, see Night Club Pro Guide to Strobe Lights for Your Club or Disco.
- Lasers: Similar to beam lights are lasers which create even more well defined beams of light. Lasers are often used in combination with a fogger for creating dramatic effects.
- Black Lights: Black lights can’t actually be seen directly, but their effects can. They will cause lighter materials such as white shirts and make-up seem to glow. Goth clubs are especially fond of this effect because of the way it can make powdered faces glow.
Other Ideas for Ceiling Lights
One of the very best ideas for ceiling lighting is to use LEDs right on the ceiling itself. The same controlled effects that can be created on an LED dance floor can be created on an LED ceiling. These effects can be coordinated so that both ceiling and floor synchronize with the ceiling.
Though the effect is eye-popping, the cost can be prohibitive, comparable to getting an LED dance floor. In addition, there is the extra expense of mounting your LED’s to the ceiling. If you do decide to go with this option, however, it is definitely the kind of effect that can help distinguish your club’s experience from other clubs.
For both your LED ceiling and for the other kinds of lights we have mentioned before this, you will need to have a DMX controller in order to coordinate the effects. For more on DMX controllers see How to Use a DMX Lighting Controller in your Bar or Nightclub.
Pendant Ceiling Lights
If you have high ceilings, pendant lighting can add ambiance and definition to an otherwise shapeless area. This can help to create special areas or to help people find their way to around your club.
Like chandeliers, of which pendant lights are the umbrella group, pendant lights are as much a form of ceiling decoration as well as a source of light. That is, they are used to catch the eye and draw it up in the way the earrings are meant to catch the attention. For more on the ceiling requirements for pendant lighting, see The Nightclub Lighting Chandelier for Your Bar or Nightclub.
Mounting Consideration for Ceiling Lights
Trusses: Ceiling lights, of course, also need to be mounted properly. The most common way to do this is to attach them to metal trusses along your ceiling. This form of mounting requires a little bit of extra space to hang down from your ceiling, so it is not always the best choice if you have low ceilings. If this is the case, you may consider mounting lights from walls rather than having them cramp head room.
Tip From the Pros: Finally a note about ceiling color in relation to ceiling lights: If you have a low ceiling and want to make it seem higher, you should either paint it a lighter color (light colors like white make rooms seem larger) or put some kind of reflective material on it. Both effects can make the ceiling seem less ominous and taller. On the other hand, if you have high ceilings that make your room seem to airy, you can paint them dark colors and use pendant lighting to try to mitigate this effect.
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