Category Archives: Blog

Choosing your color palette wisely

Color Palette4_revised

Color scheme makes a huge impact on every single event ever done for two reasons:

(1) As a culture, we associate certain colors with specific holidays. For example, red and pink are common colors for Valentine’s Day while black and orange are typical for Halloween.

(2) Color has the uncanny ability to evoke emotions in people. Some people see red and get a warm, lovey, romantic vibe. Others see red and feel extremely angry!

Whether you pick colors based on a theme or how it makes your guests feel, the psychology behind color is a worthwhile topic. To learn more about the emotional and behavioral impact of colors, this article from 99designs is an easy read.

If you’re just looking for some quick color tips, we’ve got you covered! Our event experts put together this valuable advice when selecting your color palette:

  • Don’t put green on food. Green makes food look incredibly unappetizing.
  • Take some time to experiment! Play with different colors to see what makes the room pop. Learn which colors look good together (blue and purple) as well as those that don’t (orange and green).
  • Look at the décor. For weddings and galas, you typically want to choose colors that enhance the colors of your tablecloths, linens, chairs.
  • Choose a theme that allows you flexibility in color.
  • Use more than one color. It’s very hard to pull off one color by itself, unless you incorporate a lot of textures and various shades of the same color. For most events, a two-color complementary mix, such as blue and magenta works beautifully.
  • For a pulled-together look, keep colors in their families. Feeling confused? This handy visual from Sherwin Williams shows how colors are segmented into 9 different color families: Reds, Oranges, Warm Neutrals, Cool Neutrals, Whites, Yellows, Greens, Blues and Violets.
  • Every color can be turned into a natural no-color! It’s a way to use the color you want, in a very subtle and natural way. With this method, you’ll pull a tiny bit of the same color from your décor by using a no-color gel. It allows you to highlight tables, dance floors and people – anything that would benefit from natural light.

Now you have the knowledge to make your next event look fabulous! If you need help from a reputable & creative event design team – we’re here for you. Simply CONTACT US today!

How LEDs Have Changed The Event Lighting Industry


Since 1879, we’ve all been using the same incandescent light first created by Thomas Edison. Until about five years ago. That’s when LED technology popped up, and began radically changing the lighting world.

On a similar note, you’ve likely heard a smattering of information about switching to LEDs at home. Although the focus of this post is on LEDs in event lighting, many of the topics listed below will also apply to how LEDs are used in homes. For that reason, we’ll explore how LEDs stack up to incandescent bulbs as well as CFLs (compact fluorescent lights).

  • An LED has a longer life span. LEDs last longer because they require less energy to work properly. An Incandescent bulb lasts around 1,000 hours before it completely blows out and becomes unusable. In comparison, a CFL bulb averages 8,000 hours of usage while an LED bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours!

{TIP} As your LED approaches the end of its life, the light will become dimmer. Buying bulbs with built-in heat sinks will help your bulbs remain cool to the touch and ensure a long lasting LED.

  • An LED has reduced power consumption. The power consumption of an LED is significantly less than an incandescent bulb, and slightly less than a CFL. A 60 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 13-18 watt CFL and an 8-12 watt LED. The lower power consumption results in a lower energy bill, which means more money in your pocket.
  • An LED has decreased heat output. All light bulbs put out heat. And as anyone who’s touched a working light bulb knows, they can get quite hot! Any additional heat buildup leaks out into the surrounding space, causing your air conditioner to work harder at cooling down the air. Here’s how much heat you can expect from each type of bulb:

One 60 watt incandescent bulb produces 205 Btu’s/hour. An equivalent LED bulb produces 27 Btu’s/hour, and one CFL produces 44 Btu’s/hour. In this real world example, the incandescent is generating 7.5 times as much heat as the LED!

{TIP} You can easily convert any wattage to Btu’s/hour using the equation: 1 watt = 3.414 Btu’s/hour.

  • An LED has fewer cables. LEDs need fewer cables because they need less power. Since each cable is limited in the amount of power it can handle, the only way to add more power is to add more cables. LEDs are a great workaround to this particular problem. Using incandescent bulbs, you can only get 3 fixtures on one cable. With LED bulbs, you can place 30 fixtures on one cable. That’s 90% less cable required for the same amount of light output!
  • An LED has a lower long-term expense. The cost of an LED bulb has greatly decreased since they first hit the market. Although it’s still more expensive to initially purchase an LED, you will pay less over the long-term because you won’t have to replace them nearly as often as a CFL or an incandescent bulb. What’s more, those energy savings we mentioned previously should also be taken into account when viewing your long-term expenses.

At Bay Stage Live, we’re big supporters of LEDs! They’re easier to work with, they save energy and money, and they last far longer! Most companies agree, and are making the change to LEDs; however, some are still hanging onto the old technology.

The next time you need lighting for your event, choose a company that utilizes the newest technology and equipment!

For questions, concerns or guidance – call us at (813) 877-1089.


Getting Started with LED Lights, Fixtures and Colors


In the world of event lighting, it’s all in the details. As lighting often plays a large role in how your event looks and most importantly, how your guests feel, getting it right is crucial.

The Good and the Bad

To start with, there are good LEDs, and then there are not-so-good LEDs. Besides price, the major difference is typically quality. Typically… but not always. Unfortunately, a lot of non-reputable rental companies will buy the cheap LEDs yet still charge the high price of a quality LED! However, you can easily avoid this situation by choosing a trustworthy company.

When you purchase or rent LEDs from a reputable establishment, you’ll notice the better quality ones are also a bit more expensive. In return, these lights provide optimum performance, lasting for a number of years. In fact, if you ran a high quality LED 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it wouldn’t even begin to wear out for 20-30 years! Furthermore, if you want your LED colors to match (i.e. all the blues are the exact same shade of blue) then you need a high quality LED. If you opt for the cheap version, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The drastic differences in appearance occur because each LED manufacturer has their own process for color matching LEDs. Each color is made in its own batch, such that red LEDs are made in one batch, while the blue ones are made in another. Trustworthy manufacturers give you the most consistent color from your LEDs by (1) Sending LEDs from the same batch and (2) Spending extra money testing and calibrating machines to ensure each batch uses the same color mix.

Wired vs. Battery-Powered Fixtures

ColorBlast, Wireless and Hex all refer to LED lighting fixtures. Some are wired (ColorBlast), while others are wireless (Hex). Fixtures also come in various sizes and styles, making it pretty easy to find what you need.

When comparing wired and wireless LED fixtures, we find the wireless to be pretty incredible! They save on labor charges because they don’t require our lighting experts to run a bunch of cable. They also save money on electricity charges due to their energy-efficiency. Additionally, wireless is more user-friendly for anyone interested in running the lights for their own show.

Besides the lack of cables, the biggest distinction between wired and wireless fixtures is their output. Wireless components don’t yet provide the same output as their wired counterparts. As such, these battery-powered units are best for events which last 18 hours or less. At that point, the lights have to be removed from their location and placed back in their cases to recharge the batteries.


Every fixture is built to create certain colors. Each letter correlates to a color, such that R = Red, G = Green, B = Blue, W = White and A = Amber. Using this guide, an RGBA fixture can provide red, green, blue or amber color combinations.

For most events, an RGBA or RGBW fixture will suffice. They both use red, green and blue to create numerous color combinations. Keep in mind that RGBA will produce warmer shades, while RGBW provides cooler variations of the same color.

RGBWA contains red, green, blue, white and amber which allows you to make any color imaginable! It’s a little more expensive than the RGBA or RGBW so make sure you really need all the colors before choosing it. This type of fixture is ideal for live TV and video recorded events.

The RGBAU is a UV fixture which makes an amazing black light! RGBA or RGBW can “kind of” make a black light but the RGBAU is your absolute best option for a themed event. The UV offers that extra bit of punch to make your lights really stand out. While the RGBAU is versatile, offering many colors in addition to the UV option, it’s higher price and lack of wireless options make it more of a specialty fixture.

By now you should have a good grasp on how to choose the right LED for your next event! Avoid overpaying for low quality LEDs or fixtures you don’t need by choosing a reputable event lighting company like Bay Stage Live.

Our family business has been around since 1957. We have a tremendously talented team of designers, producers and production support ready to customize your next event. In fact, see what our past customers have said about us on our TESTIMONIAL PAGE. Then CONTACT US to discuss your event lighting options!

Atmospheric Effects 101: Fog versus Haze

Fog      Concert Haze resized

If you’re looking to create atmosphere, both fog and haze do a wonderful job. Though they may SEEM similar, each of these effects creates something slightly different. Below, we’ll explain what each effect actually is, as well as the best way to use it.

Fog, Fog Machines and Foggers

Fog is a thicker density smoke frequently used in movies, concerts, live theatre and amusement parks. It’s perfect for hiding or accenting an object. Additionally, fog is often used to set up a scene. It’s perfect for producing particular moods such as dramatic, mysterious and spooky.

The smoke from a traditional fogger will rise, due to the vapor’s warmth. A “low lying” fog is an alternative solution. It’s quite similar to traditional fog except its smoke remains close to the ground.

While there are cheap fog machines you can buy at local convenience stores, these do not perform nearly as well as the professional ones. Imagine buying a bubble gum ring as opposed to a wedding ring. The distinction is that big.

Recommended Usage: It’s best to use fog only a few times throughout your event. Overuse can easily turn this interesting effect into a boring one. We recommend one to two times for most occasions. Keep in mind that fog generally dissipates within several minutes. If you’re looking for a longer lasting atmospheric effect, haze is your best bet.

Haze, Haze Machines and Hazers

The primary purpose of haze is either to enhance or diffuse beams of light. It’s generally a more subtle effect than fog.

A haze machine places particles in the air, similar to dust. In fact, you can think of it as “liquid dust”. You’ll often find haze at concerts where it’s used to create the common “light fingers” effect. Haze has become synonymous with live events. Without haze, the lights just wouldn’t look right.

Recommended Usage: Haze can be used throughout your entire event. When positioned properly (and if the right-sized hazer is being used), haze can linger anywhere from an hour to several hours.

Oil-based VS. Water-based Hazers

Hazers are either oil-based or water-based, which refers to the type of fluid required to operate properly.

In the past, most professionals have preferred water over oil because oil could more easily set off a fire alarm. This no longer matters. Fire alarms are so touchy these days that either type of fogger has the potential to set one off. There’s only one real difference between oil and water hazers; it’s easier to clean water off anything it falls onto.

No matter which hazer you end up with, using the right fluid is imperative. Always read the instructions before filling (or refilling) the liquid in your device! Certain machines could be ruined by trying to substitute water for oil. Additionally, some manufacturers reserve the right to void the product warranty if you choose to make and use your own fluid. Most people (including professionals) buy their solutions because they don’t want to risk ruining such an expensive piece of equipment.

All in all, both foggers and hazers are comparably priced and provide similar effects. When working with a professional, it’s best to be clear on what effect you want to achieve so they can decide what machine and fluid to make it happen.

Interested in incorporating atmospheric effects at your next event? Contact Bay Stage Live today.

A basic introduction to the wonderful world of LED walls

BSL blog post - LED WallMaybe you’ve heard of an LED wall, maybe you’ve seen one. Either way, you’re probably wondering what the heck it is.

It’s exactly what it sounds like – a wall full of LED screens.

Only that’s just the beginning. The viewing quality of these super-sized screens is already awesome yet it’s still continuing to get better! The screens are brighter and crisper than ever before, thanks to persistent progress in technology. Additionally, the software is becoming easier to use, empowering more people to seek out the LED wall as a cool feature for their events.

Did you know that you can use an LED wall to display your logo, change color and showcase special effects? There are really no restrictions to what you can do, especially since you can now upload anything you want.

Want custom graphics? Done! Would you like to do a live feed? You got it! The LED wall is nothing if not versatile. And, as it becomes more mainstream, it’s a good bet that everything associated with it will become less expensive to do. That’s the beauty of electronics.

As we discuss the greatness of the LED wall, we realize there are some people who will try to measure it against the projector. There is no comparison. An LED wall does everything a projector does, and better. An LED wall is brighter, crisper, and it allows more creativity & customization.

Yes, video mapping may be the one area where the projector still reigns supreme. But let’s be honest… video mapping is not what most people will need and want from an LED wall. And if you so desire, the same mapping effect could ultimately be achieved with a mounted LED wall.

To be clear, we feel the awesomeness of the LED wall is quickly turning the projector into the eight-track of the event lighting industry. We’re not the only ones.

We’re excited to continue exploring the world of LED walls and sharing what we’ve learned. If you’re interested in including an LED wall at your next event, simply contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you!

What You Need To Know About InfoComm 2015

InfoComm1 resizedInfoComm is a yearly executive conference exclusively available to live events professionals like Bay Stage Live! Here’s an inside look at what’s old and new in live event technology.

Old and New Technology

There were so many cool things at InfoComm! First off, there were a LOT of video walls. We’re starting to see LED technology become more universal. As more and more people embrace the LED, the focus has turned to fine-tuning it. We really liked the mesh walls you could line a truss with. It’s similar to a ticker that goes around the seating sections of an arena. We’d love to be able to line all of the trussing on any given show with the video mesh for added effect.

Throughout InfoComm, we noticed the excitement and tension in the air. The next big thing is going to be released soon and we’re all waiting for the moment when it happens.

In preparation, anyone still using and distributing old technology, such as projectors, are looking to sell these items. Now may be the time to get a deal.

Trending and Future Technology

There’s no green tech yet, but it is coming. There are a number of new technologies (out within the past few years) where we haven’t even scratched the surface in what they can fully do.

Sunbelt’s solar-powered light tower is one such example. The Tesla battery is another newer technology which could eventually be incorporated into the event & lighting industry. That would be revolutionary. Harnessing the power from the sun and turning it into event lighting is one of Bay Stage Live’s ultimate goals.

We also sense hologram technology will be improved on, maybe in a year or two. Right now, it’s very limited. We’re just getting to a place where we can do some cool stuff.

We’ve been waiting for the day when the lighting expert and video expert become the same person. It looks like that’s happening now. As all of the LED video technology continues to be used for lighting effects, the lighting professional must be well-versed in LED video technology in order to keep up with the times.

Understanding technology trends and how to use them to make your event incredible – is our job. If you would like our help in creating your next event, call us at (813) 877-1089.

Charley Belcher Visits Bay Stage Live


A couple weeks ago, we had a very special visitor. Charley Belcher of Fox 13 visited our facility and got a crash course in all our services, design and even looked larger than life on our 30-foot LED wall.  Charley, his cameraman and our crew showed up bright and early on a Friday morning and set up some of our equipment to show off!

CharleyBelcher2     CharleyBelcher1

Most of the team was on hand to demonstrate our fog machines, lasers and LED wall.  Yvonne, Nicole and Danielle walked him through the history of Bay Stage Live from its inception in 1957 to today. Charley reminded us of so many wonderful memories of Elvis and JFK.

CharleyBelcher4 300x225     CharleyBelcher3

To bring it full circle, Greg Utley, VP of Design, walked Charley through a stage design and set up for the Margarita Festival and Smashmouth. Charley was amazed with all the technology available today to ensure that your stage and production give you the best look and feel for your room, event or festival.

Not such bad work for a rookie, Charley! If the Fox 13 gig doesn’t work out, we’re hiring!

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Event

10 Ways to Save Money on your Next EventSure, everyone wants to save money, but how do you accomplish that without giving up quality? After creating hundreds of events, we’ve learned 10 ways to do just that. Here they are, in no particular order…

#1: Negotiate with your Venue. You have the most negotiating power before you sign a contract. Take your time and really think about everything you’ll need for your event. Ask your venue to include as many of these items as they’ll agree to. Make sure everything is included in the final price.

#2: Go Paperless. Wherever possible, rely on digital instead of paper. Send evites instead of paper invitations. Create an event page on Facebook where guests can get information or communicate with you about the event. Also, provide online access to any event or speaker materials. For marketing, use social media, your blog, website and eNewsletter instead of paper flyers or postcards or hard copy newsletters.

#3: Reduce Food and Beverage Costs. Forgo the full liquor bar, instead offer wine and soda. For dinner, choose buffet style over plated food.

#4: Get Sponsors. Seek out one or two who are relevant to your event. They’ll cover some of your event fees in exchange for brand awareness and marketing at your event. Write up a contract so everyone understands their obligations and what to expect from one another.

#5: Use LEDs. These fixtures will save money and power consumption, especially in ballrooms where they charge you for power. There are lots of LED options available at an affordable price.

#6: No hanging fixtures. Utilize ground support fixtures only. Rigging equipment is a huge expense, cut this out entirely if you can.

#7: Try piggybacking. Before booking your venue space, look for another event happening around the same time you’d like to host yours. If the venue is available the day before or after, strike a deal with the planner of the other event to share the cost of setup, food, drinks, etc. There are lots of ways to use this to your advantage, but be prepared as it will make planning your event more complicated.

#8: Choose your guests wisely. If you’re having a 500 person event in Tampa Bay, you’re options for venue space are limited. For 1000+ person events, there are VERY FEW options.

#9: Hire Students to Help. Marketing, graphic design and photography undergrads get experience and in return, you get fresh ideas and cheap labor. It’s a win-win!

#10: Don’t Book Celebrity Speakers. Opt for lesser known, but still great speakers who live nearby. This will also save on flight and hotel costs.

If you want to cut costs at your next event, using these 10 tips will help you do that. Just remember to balance your cost savings by spending money on the items that are really important. NEVER cut costs when it comes to the safety of your guests!

Bay Stage Live is your one-stop shop for event creation. To discuss your next event, simply call (813) 877-1089 or visit us online at

5 Questions to Ask your Production Company BEFORE the Lights Go Up

 In the last few exhilarating moments before your event starts, the only question you should be asking anybody is, “Are you ready to rock?” And the answer should be a deafening – “YES!”

But to get there, you need to ask the right questions… Here are 5 very important questions you should ask BEFORE you hire a production company:

  1. Have you done an event like this before? Get some examples to make sure the production company can handle what you’re looking to do. Ask for recommendations. Request to attend one of their events to give you a sense of what to expect.
  2. Is all of your production done in-house or do you use outside suppliers? Bay Stage Live is a one-stop shop where all production is done in-house. It keeps everything running very smoothly and makes our client’s lives easier.
  3. How do you ensure all tasks are handled so that my event occurs on-time? A professional production company will have some sort of timeline tool to handle the numerous tasks involved with your event. Find out what that is, and how/if you will receive updates along the way.
  4. When the event is over, who handles the tear-down? What you’re really asking is, “Do I have to do anything and if so, what would that be?” Be aware of your responsibilities before, during AND after your event!
  5. Do you have insurance, and what/who does it cover? Get some specifics regarding what the production company is liable for, in case an issue should arise. At a minimum, insurance should cover the crew, guests, and venue.

Bay Stage Live welcomes any other production questions you may have! Contact us online or give us a call at (813) 877-1089.

Event Lighting: The Many Benefits of LEDs

LED lights are the #1 choice for your event. They’re safe, convenient, and as of 2015 they’re your best option for event lighting. If you haven’t heard – 2015 is the year when incandescent lights were officially outlawed. That’s right – these lights are no longer manufactured, and it took a lot of people by surprise.

It didn’t bother us a bit when incandescent lights were banned because at Bay Stage Live, we use LED lights. Why? They’re a superior light source! LEDs are safer, more lightweight and use less power than incandescent lights. It’s amazing how many lights you can truly utilize, due to their small size and weight. Both of which make transportation and setup much easier.

There are many options in LED lighting to suit your needs! If you need flexibility, choose battery-powered LEDs. There are no wires attached so this allows for more possibilities in placement, making wireless battery powered LEDs especially handy for uplighting.  You won’t be restricted by the location of power outlets or have to hide extension cords.

LEDs come in a variety of colors and you can get multiple colors out of one fixture. Newer filters now mimic a warmer look, similar to that of an incandescent light. Some LEDs even offer wireless communication –this is an exciting topic for another day!

Incandescent lights consumed a ton of power and became very hot. In fact, all that heat was necessary for the light to work properly. LEDs just don’t need that much heat to work. They do get hot, but much of the heat disappears through metal heat sinks, which wick away the heat from the light source itself. Less heat means less energy and that’s exactly why you get more life out of an LED light than you do an incandescent one.

Incandescent lights are history, and LEDs are here to stay. That’s just fine with us because we know LED lights are the best choice for your next event! If you have an upcoming event you’d like our help with, contact Bay Stage Live today.