Skating in a roller rink should be fun and exciting, and not annoying. While the lighting system is an important facet of the rink atmosphere, if not done correctly, it can chase off customers. That’s why it’s imperative to find a skilled lighting designer to oversee this project. There are many options in rink lighting these days, and at a much lower price than it cost decades ago. With LED bulbs throwing off less heat, the power bill is also less expensive.
That means a plethora of lighting systems to choose from. But before you do, take note. Buying and installing the wrong system can be costly. It’s imperative the bulbs face the right way, otherwise they can burn into a skater’s eyes, either directly, or through glare off the floor. This can lead to disorientation.
Additionally, there have been numerous studies on the effects and influence of color on people’s moods. Experts say too much red, can elevate anger, or lead to arguments and fights. Orange is known to spur appetites. Blue and yellow are calming. Keep that in mind when deciding what color to paint the walls, or light the skate floor.
Moreover, flashing lights need to match the beats of the music. I’ve seen lights that wave back and forth and change color for no rhyme or reason. It looks cool in the photos and in the videos. But the experience can be unnerving after 90 seconds. Especially when the lights don’t match the beat of the music. Skaters need a downbeat. The lights help us find it.
These cloud type lighting systems should only be used for short bursts and special events, like bringing a birthday kid to the center of the floor, or the winning skaters to the top of a podium during a skate meet. But leaving them on for 3 hours straight during a session may cause headaches and aggravate people. I feel for those who are easily stimulated by the overuse of lighting, or those who are subject to seizures.
Consider that customers may leave and never return. And what about the employees? How do they feel working under the annoying rolling lights that belong more in Fun House Carnival Attraction than on a skating floor? Perhaps it’s time to bring back the disco ball. Sure, it makes the floor look like its moving, but skaters aren’t supposed to be looking down, anyway.
When designed by a professional, and operated by an experienced DJ, lights make a skate session a lot more fun and exciting. Mega churches understand this. It’s always best to hire a Lighting Designer who doesn’t sell products, for an unbiased opinion. And if you do purchase a system with all the bells and whistles, that doesn’t mean you should use it all. At least not at once. You may end up annoying your customers.
While they may be fun for the occasional visitor, the rink employees have to deal with this, day in and day out. They have to be there and workforce turnover is expensive. Parents, on the other hand, can choose to go elsewhere.
Finally, don’t take another’s word for how wonderful some of these systems are. Go visit a rink that has them and skate, hang out, and notice how it makes you feel after a few hours. Only then should you decide if these color clouds that blanket the ceiling and floor is worth the investment and right for your facility.