A natural progression for many mobile events company is to move into providing production services for bigger events. It not only allows technically-minded entertainers to make the most of their creative potential, but also opens up new business opportunities. A great example of someone enjoying success in the production industry is Marvin Ventura of Hawaii Events Unlimited, who recently provided the lighting rig for a large dance event featuring an international guest DJ.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Marvin started his career as a DJ straight out of high school. Initially he worked in all-age clubs before transitioning into the world of mobile DJing. Having now spent 21 years in the entertainment business, Marvin has gained a large amount of experience both as a DJ and a lighting designer. His Oahu-based company, Hawaii Events Unlimited, offers a wide variety of services including DJs, MCs, photo booths, photography, and all kinds of lighting and effects.
Having established himself as a mobile DJ, and with a growing arsenal of audio and lighting equipment, Marvin and his company expanded slowly into providing technical production. Through friends and industry contacts, Marvin initially got involved working on bigger events himself and then, when opportunities arose, he offered the services of his company and equipment inventory.
Last month Hawaii Events Unlimited provided the lighting production for a dance event, hosted by local promoter Livewire, at popular Oahu entertainment venue Hawaiian Brian’s. The event, dubbed ‘Livewire Takeover’, featured internationally-known Hungarian DJ Shane 54 and attracted a 500-strong crowd of music fans.
Positioned on a collection of stands and truss podiums set at varying heights across the venue’s stage, eight ADJ moving head spot fixtures provided the backbone of the lightshow. Marvin used four Inno Spot Pros alongside four Focus Spot 3Zs to fill the large space with fast-moving beams of colored light and sharp GOBO projections.
Discussing his choice of moving head fixtures, Marvin told us, “I started off with Inno Spot Pros. Then, when the Focus Spot Three Z came out, I looked at the features and knew, at that price, I just had to have them! Now that I’ve got them, I really like the prisms – the choice between linear and circular prisms is very useful – and I also love the motorized focus. For the price, you really can’t beat the Focus Spot Three Z!”
As well as moving heads, which are standard for all large-scale productions, Marvin also made use of more DJ-oriented effects. He mounted eight LED-powered Mini Dekker units – which are the inexpensive derby-style fixtures from ADJ’s Startec series – at various heights behind the DJ equipment riser. These were angled to point straight out at the crowd from behind the DJ position, so that their myriad of beams created a unique blinder-style effect. The fixtures were then programmed to create chasing and strobing patterns that could be interspersed with the moving head programs, particularly for breakdowns and buildups in the music. The results were truly impressive, proving that low-cost fixtures can still be used to great effect even for larger events.
Commenting on his use of the Mini Dekker units Marvin said, “I originally bought a pair for my DJ setup, to provide dancefloor lighting, and used them in Auto mode. Then, one day at a wedding, I was playing with the Mic Sensitivity knob and the beams started moving real slowly. I thought that was a great effect, so decided to buy two more for my other DJ system. This was around the time that I first started getting into DMX control and I thought I could probably do a lot more with them using DMX. When I hooked them up to my control software, Elation COMPU Show, I fell in love with the effect and decided to buy four more. Now I still take them to smaller events, but also make use of all eight together for larger shows like the Livewire Takeover.”
Marvin also positioned 6 ADJ 5P HEX par fixtures part-way down the various on-stage truss podiums, for use as more traditional-style audience blinders. These powerful fixtures, which each utilize 5 x 10-Watt 6-in-1 LEDs, provided added depth to the lightshow. Marvin could create classic blinder effects using the LED’s amber element, but also use the other colors – including UV – to fill the room with subtler washes.
Finally, the finishing touch on the lightshow was a collection of four ADJ Mega Flash DMX strobes. These 800W fixtures offer 0-100% dimming as well as variable strobing speed to provide lighting designers lots of creative potential. In Marvin’s words, "They are awesome, really bright, and great value for money!"
This unique combination of 26 ADJ fixtures made for a truly awe-inspiring lightshow at the Livewire Takeover event. Using creative programming, and by constantly switching between powerful moving head GOBO projections that sliced through the haze-filled atmosphere and the blaze of pin-sharp beams emitted by the Mini Dekkers, Marvin kept the lighting fresh throughout the five-hour party. By adding in rich color washes, powerful blinder effects, and regular bursts of strobing light, he was also able to keep the energy levels in the room high right through to the very end of the night.
Marvin’s lighting rig at this event is a great example of how mobile entertainers can branch out into event production, especially as all the fixtures he used are staples of many DJs’ setups. It’s an industry where a little technical knowledge and plenty of creative flair can go a very long way. And, for DJs like Marvin who are willing to put in the effort, it can prove to be very lucrative as well as creatively satisfying.
Event: Livewire Takeover, Hawaiian Brian’s Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Lighting Designer: Marvin Ventura
Photographer: Flynn Slyntazama
ADJ Gear List:
4 x ADJ Inno Spot Pro
4 x ADJ Focus Spot 3Z
6 x ADJ 5P HEX
8 x ADJ Mini Dekker LED
4 x ADJ Mega Flash
ADJ WiFLY EXR Transceivers
Elation COMPU Show DMX Software
Check out a Facebook video of the event here (You've got to see this!):