More often than not, when event lighting details are discussed, planners eyes glaze over and they defer to their tech team to do what they have done in the past. It’s time for a change! I won’t get techie on you here, but in layman’s terms, here’s the latest: LED is not just the future, it’s right now.

You still need conventional lighting fixtures, but consider LED lighting. What’s the big deal? One fixture easily does what 20 used to do! So fewer fixtures are needed. LED moving lights give you a sense of energy and have more powerful and higher-quality lenses: That means more sizzle. These fixtures use a fraction of the power of old-school lighting, so your power needs and costs are lowered. The fixtures and bulbs last longer, so you save on repair and replacement. And LED lighting is safer because it’s nowhere near as hot as conventional lighting. Finally, LED lighting is in line with the latest “green” meeting specifications.

What’s the Catch?
You will spend a bit more on the new LED fixtures and technology, but you should save significantly (at least 30 percent) on labor costs. There will be less time spent refocusing the lights between events because most of it can be done on a computer and programmed from your general session to your gala evening. Additional last-minute focus and angle adjustments also are made from the control board computer, which means no need to pay for a power lift or ladder—and labor—to make those changes. With larger events and larger budgets, LED walls are the latest trend. The images are amazing and they work in tight spaces because there is no need to set up projectors. They also work great in daytime outdoor venues or in ballrooms where stage lighting can wash out a conventional screen.

Be sure your production team is up to date on lighting. You need a trusted designer and supplier to help you spend wisely on new technology—not on labor for old-school systems.

Bill Hopkins has spent 25 years performing, coordinating, and producing event entertainment. Find more at his Web site.