Uplighting not bright enough

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Background first: I do 99% teen dances. Like most of you, my lighting rigs have changed several times as new technology has come out. Several years ago, I bought four uplights direct from the Chinese manufacturer. (Yes, I know, and we won't go there today). Each light had 96 1W RGBW LED's. Since it's not a mainstream manufacturer, I don't know the lux output. In any case, they were relatively bright and served my purposes pretty well. However, reliability has (no surprise) been an issue, and I've had to replace several components. So late last year, I pulled the trigger and bought four Blizzard Toughstick RGBAW's. I knew I'd be losing programming flexibility, since they have much less DMX channels. But with 60 3W LEDs and 11,000 lux @ 1m I thought I'd have all the light I could ever need!

The problem is that as I've used them, they really don't seem to brighten the room a lot more than the old uplights. I've tried them with and without diffusion, and it's about the same. I've had to resort to using two or three of the old uplights with the new ones, just to have things be bright enough. The venue we perform at the most is a typical middle school gym. Besides the uplights, we have four S&P's in a box on the floor, aimed at various spots on the gym ceiling.

Any recommendations on what I can do better? And on a related note, can anyone tell me whether a projector or a TV brightens a room more? We currently run video loops on a 46" TV, but I've been looking at a Benq 1080ST projector (2000 lumens) to go with a 80-100" screen.


Active Member
Let me start by saying.. if I were uplighting a room the size of a gym I'd be using about 30 fixtures.. not 4, and that quantity will brighten a room some but it depends what color you use... a primary red, green, or blue not so much but white yes. So IMO you can't rely on uplighting to color wash a room, for that you need a bunch more pars of some type overhead. So what else do you have in your lighting rig?


Active Member
I guess I don't understand, you're using the Toughsticks as up lighting, NOT dance floor lighting? That would solve your issue right there, I think, putting those each on its own stand in each corner, raised up nice and high.

I do this at my school dances, lighting from all directions, and usually 2 layers. So I have my main pars/strips, and if I choose to black them out, I still have some secondary effect providing some lighting or will assign a few pars to a different DMX channel to provide just a tiny touch of light.


For uplighting the walls, Eternal's CUBEecho or ECHOicon System 20's would be the way to go. Battery operated with wireless IR and DMX. The CUBEecho's feature four 18w RGBAW +UV diodes and the Icon's offer eight.

Bounce your ToughSticks off the ceiling for ambient lighting levels.

2000 lumens is not bright enough for large screen projection, I'd recommend looking at 3500 lumens and up.


Gear and Equipment Moderator
Switching from your old LED PARs to the ToughSticks only provided an additional 12w of light per color which isn't much. Also given the fact that the ToughSticks beamspread is much wider, you'll most likely lose what you gained with the 12w increase over distance. Remember that brightness drops to 1/4 each time the distance is doubled. Additionally the ToughSticks are a pixel based fixture which is more "eye candy" than just flood fill ... a totally different effect light. I do agree more fixtures would be the order or the day. As to which ones, that's entirely your choice and there are many. My recommendation for a typical gym would be at least 12 Blizzard Fab-5's for up lighting and then use your TouchStcks on the dance floor as was recommended.

The last HS homecoming dance I did in a gym (about a year ago) I used 24 static color Chauvet SlimPAR-64's for uplighting, then had a 5 ft T-Bar for dance lighting with four Puck Q12+'s, with an ADJ Revo-3 and a Chauvet Circus on the underside with an X-Laser Mobile Beat RGB laser as my centerpiece. I use QuickShow to drive the laser Graphics & Text.
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wuz here when it was Red.
Ditto on what everyone else said :)
Projector: need more then 2000 ansi.

uplights: need more then 4
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