posted by Michael Raia
Need a way to get some simple ambience lighting for a youth room or retreat venue without spending a fortune on professional stage lighting? Consider this simple solution that allows flexible mounting solutions and basic color functions such as static, chase, and fade.
First, purchase an inexpensive track fixture from a home improvement store. I bought a black 4-head GU-10 MR16 track fixture ($45). The kit comes with track, 4 heads, and power adaptor (cord included, hardwire optional), and is cheaper than buying the components separately. However, you can add addition heads to the track (usually up to 8 total). You may opt for the white track kit if your mounting surface is lighter in color.
Next, you will need to purchase several remote control multi-color LED MR16s ($45). While they are available from many distributors, they can also be found on Amazon. Consider buying them in bulk, like the 10-pack I bought. Each lamp will come with a remote, which means you have plenty of spares! If you do purchase the 10-pack, you can make 2 tracks with 5 heads each. Make sure that the lamps you select match the fixture (GU-10 or Edison socket). As a variation on this project, consider using the MR16 white halogen lamps that come with the track kit if you simply need bright white spotlighting.
Finally, you'll need to mount your new track. Here you'll have 3 options: permanently ceiling-mount as recommended by the manufacturer, zip tie to lighting pipe, truss, or mic stand, or floor mount on painted wood bases for flexibility and/or portability. For the third option, just use whatever scrap wood you can find (I had a nice piece of 1x6 in my garage that I cut into two squares and painted with cheap matte black spray paint ($2). Just fix them to the bottom of the track on either side so the heads point up. You can use stick-on rubber feet for use on a smooth resilient floor like tile or concrete. Keep in mind this solution will have limited brightness, so you'll want to keep the lights close to whatever they are lighting (at the base of a worship leader's feet or a back wall, for example). However, in a dark room, it's quite effective at adding a little color and allowing you to kill whatever harsh room lights you may be dealing with.
That's it! For under $100 and only a couple of hours of effort, you have a great DIY stage / accent light that you can use when and where you please.