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Author Topic: Front lighting  (Read 2410 times)

Justin Waters

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Front lighting
« on: March 03, 2017, 03:44:21 pm »

Background/gear:  I run sound/lighting for a band that I am in.  We play small bars/clubs and some outdoor gigs.  Lighting rig consists of 4 x ADJ Inno Spot Pro movers that sit on the floor and/or cases and 2 x 6.5' global truss totems with 4x ADJ Dotz pars on each.   Main speakers are RCF 4Pro 2031-A that have the flytrack flypoints.

We are starting to play more and more places that have no lighting at all (we were playing a lot of gigs that had only front light).  I like to use the totem lights as back lighting but I cant do that when there is no front lighting.  So, I am looking for some fixtures that I can use as front lighting.  Preferably I would mount them on top of the speakers or even clamp them to the poles that are between the speakers and subs.  Preferably only 1 per side due to power concerns and set up/tear down times, but I could probably make 2 per side work fine as well.  They dont have to be exclusively CW/WW fixtures.  Budget is as cheap as possible, Im just trying to gauge the cost right now so there technically isnt a budget. 

Anyone have thoughts on a product?

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Lance Hallmark

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 04:04:59 pm »

Background/gear:  I run sound/lighting for a band that I am in.  We play small bars/clubs and some outdoor gigs.  Lighting rig consists of 4 x ADJ Inno Spot Pro movers that sit on the floor and/or cases and 2 x 6.5' global truss totems with 4x ADJ Dotz pars on each.   Main speakers are RCF 4Pro 2031-A that have the flytrack flypoints.

We are starting to play more and more places that have no lighting at all (we were playing a lot of gigs that had only front light).  I like to use the totem lights as back lighting but I cant do that when there is no front lighting.  So, I am looking for some fixtures that I can use as front lighting.  Preferably I would mount them on top of the speakers or even clamp them to the poles that are between the speakers and subs.  Preferably only 1 per side due to power concerns and set up/tear down times, but I could probably make 2 per side work fine as well.  They dont have to be exclusively CW/WW fixtures.  Budget is as cheap as possible, Im just trying to gauge the cost right now so there technically isnt a budget. 

Anyone have thoughts on a product?

What about some of the light bars on this page:
http://www.adj.com/industries/band-stage/led-wash-lights-pars/led-linear
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Lance Hallmark
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 04:07:56 pm »

You'll want at least 2 per side for coverage and make sure they have a wide angle. Ideally when I light up bands I like 2 per band member (1 each side) but the logistics of that doesn't always work out. Front lights should be set up 45 degrees to either side and 45 degrees above you. That's what looks the best and keeps the lights from blinding you, with LED's they can be very hard on the eyes. With you're proposed layout on the speakers you might have a hard time getting that angle. Warm white looks way better then cool white on faces, if you had to pick one I'd go with the warm white. Although if you have 2 for each band member then having one side a warm hue (reddish, orange, yellowish, etc) and the other side a cool hue (blueish, purple, etc) it gives a nice effect with the warm light on the faces and the cool lights filling in any shadows. Power really isn't a concern with LED lights.
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Justin Waters

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 04:19:52 pm »

What about some of the light bars on this page:
http://www.adj.com/industries/band-stage/led-wash-lights-pars/led-linear

I'm just not sure if any of those will work ideally.  Was trying get a little more info than just throw up some light bars and hope for the best.


You'll want at least 2 per side for coverage and make sure they have a wide angle. Ideally when I light up bands I like 2 per band member (1 each side) but the logistics of that doesn't always work out. Front lights should be set up 45 degrees to either side and 45 degrees above you. That's what looks the best and keeps the lights from blinding you, with LED's they can be very hard on the eyes. With you're proposed layout on the speakers you might have a hard time getting that angle. Warm white looks way better then cool white on faces, if you had to pick one I'd go with the warm white. Although if you have 2 for each band member then having one side a warm hue (reddish, orange, yellowish, etc) and the other side a cool hue (blueish, purple, etc) it gives a nice effect with the warm light on the faces and the cool lights filling in any shadows. Power really isn't a concern with LED lights.

We all know whats ideal and what we actually get.  I'm always fighting floor space so if I can get away with not having lighting stands I would prefer that route.  Power is a slight concern due to venues I play at.  Half of them dont even know how the circuits are laid out let alone if they have more than 1.  You add in the other lights, speakers, amps, pedalboards, haze machine, and all the other stuff we push limits on breakers. 
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 04:44:48 pm »

The Mega Systems Q70 Baby Color might work well.
http://megasystemsinc.com/shop/architainment/indoor-lighting/baby-color-q70/

It's a 70 watt RGBW unit built as solid as a brick.
It comes with a diffuser (frosted plex) that gives about a 40 degree beamspread...roughly 4' wide at 6' throw. Specs say 25 degrees with diffuser, but it's closer to 40. The diffuser makes it a lot easier on the eyes too.

I've used them on small stages with low ceilings and they do a great job.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 04:46:54 pm by Scott Hofmann »
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Scott Hofmann

Jeff Lelko

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 06:42:49 pm »

Power really isn't a concern with LED lights.

I wouldn't necessarily say that.  Most of it comes down to what level of LED lights you're using.  They certainly draw much less than a halogen Par, but at the same time I wouldn't go so far as to say their power consumption is negligible, particularly when you start using lights in quantity.  A better way to phrase what I think you're getting at is that you can easily put something together for the application at hand that will fit on a fraction of a 20A circuit.  How big of a fraction you can allocate depends on what else needs to go on that circuit.  Ideally you should split your lighting and sound onto different circuits, but from what you're saying that doesn't always seem possible. 

Was trying get a little more info than just throw up some light bars and hope for the best.


We all know whats ideal and what we actually get.  I'm always fighting floor space so if I can get away with not having lighting stands I would prefer that route.  Power is a slight concern due to venues I play at.  Half of them dont even know how the circuits are laid out let alone if they have more than 1.  You add in the other lights, speakers, amps, pedalboards, haze machine, and all the other stuff we push limits on breakers. 
 

If you want to do more than just hope for the best you'll need to start holding your clients to a higher standard.  Your contract should specify the electrical needs of the system you're bringing as well as the physical footprint you'll need to set up everything properly.  If the client fails to provide adequate performance conditions as specified in the contract, it's up to you if you want to "wing it" with the system as spec'd or downsize on the fly.  The occasional bands I work with hate me for it, but I hold them to power management plans.  I strongly suggest that if you're looking to take a step up in your performance you figure out a power plan too.  That way you'll be getting the most from your circuits while also having a high degree of confidence you won't pop a breaker...until the catering staff plugs in a coffee urn... 

As far as the fixtures go, try to get them 45 degrees out and up from the stage.  There are some topics floating around here regarding mounting lights on your speakers to minimize floor space.  I personally frown on the idea due to vibration and balance issues, but many people do this successfully so long as you think it out ahead of time.  I'd just go with RGBA, RGBW, or RGBAW fixtures with a decently wide beam angle.  Some of the COB lights have massive coverage, though you could argue they're not the brightest option available compared to a more narrow beam option.  I know you don't say you have a budget, but what's at least a ballpark figure?  You can spend anywhere from $35 to $2000+/fixture!  Short of ebay options, you start getting some nice choices around the $150-300/fixture price point.  The more you spend the better quality you get, dimming curves get better, frequency gets higher, etc.  One other thing to consider is fan noise.  A lot of the cheap lights have noticeable fan noise.  If you're just playing rock gigs that probably wouldn't matter, but if you get into things like weddings and corporate work, noise like that can be a problem. 

Hope this helps!
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 09:07:33 pm »

Justin, have you tested any of your ADJ Dotz Pars in this application? 

I have four, and I use them mostly for front lighting for small bands as you describe.  A few more might do the trick?  I picked up a couple of On-stage stands LSA7700P side-mount lighting crossbars for those times where I have nowhere to mount them other than the speaker poles/tripods.  With a couple 5-lb fixtures hanging off the side of your stand you'll lose a little stability but I haven't yet had an issue.

To me, when it comes to programming lights, I'd rather have more of the same light than a bunch of different fixture types with different channel counts and designations.  I've been thinking about picking up some more of the Dotz Pars myself, they have a great range of colours available.  Then again, depends on your controller and what you want out of them. 

Disclaimer: I'm more of a lighting enthusiast than professional.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2017, 10:00:13 pm »

I suggest looking at the Blizzard "HotBox" fixture in the RGBA or the RGBW variety. Pretty good luminous intensity, various dimmer curves to try. Small and fairly lightweight, they are also good for up-lighting.  Cost is on the lower end of the price range for decent lights mentioned above.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 06:07:10 pm »

I've tried various LED options, including the Hotbox 5 which was the worst in my opinion (too narrow beam, extremely bright so had to be dimmed considerably). I have a bunch of cheaper lights for the backline but for front spots I've simply done no better than a $30 Par 38 can with a Rose gel, screwed to the flypoints on my JBL speakers. Mine have 70 watt screw-in flood bulbs, and they're plenty bright in small stage environments. I would guess about a 30 degree beam.

I's not perfect, but far better than a tree or stand sitting out in front of the PA. I have 3 boxes of bulbs that were given to me for free, so I plan on using these for a while.

I'm contemplating making a small bar that would screw down allowing for 2 lights per speaker. I just plug mine in and go, takes only a few minutes to set it up. Eventually I'll move to an LED, perhaps one of the cob units. One thing I don't like about the lower cost COB's is that they're typically only 3 color RBG, and I want amber for front wash.

http://www.pssl.com/Mega-Lite-Mass-LED-WW-100-Watt-Warm-White-Light
http://www.proaudiostar.com/chauvet-corepar-80-usb.html?utm_source=Google_Shopping&gclid=CjwKEAiA6OnFBRDcgt7YmPKI33ESJACJoTJYOY-GTAbxPwJs8FWCr-_LDyb5xDzxg3xNOjaE7VSEbhoCpQfw_wcB

This would be the best, but too much $$ for my needs:
http://www.adj.com/cob-cannon-wash

Here are my little pars:
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Front lighting
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 09:13:39 am »

...I've simply done no better than a $30 Par 38...

Yep, I've got about 3 dozen of those in my inventory and they still see regular use.  If you catch them on sale you can generally do around $16 for the can and another $20 for a 250w name brand lamp, so very hard to beat!
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