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Author Topic: What went wrong with my lighting plan??  (Read 2362 times)

Wes Garland

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What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« on: April 09, 2017, 11:37:25 pm »

I was stuck behind the piano most of the night, but I don't recall things looking as bad as the social media videos show.  Any idea what's going on here?  My plan was for light pinks and purples.  I have seven RGB fixtures pointed at the band from the sidelines and a few feet in front.  I believe they are 18W and 25 degree.  I also had four 120 degree floods, two blue and two light amber washing the band from house-left.

I'll let this video speak for itself -- https://www.facebook.com/clifford.trott/videos/vb.607280099/10154869497580100/?type=3&theater

Thanks for any input,
Wes
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Ben Lutz

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2017, 12:08:56 am »

I was stuck behind the piano most of the night, but I don't recall things looking as bad as the social media videos show.  Any idea what's going on here?  My plan was for light pinks and purples.  I have seven RGB fixtures pointed at the band from the sidelines and a few feet in front.  I believe they are 18W and 25 degree.  I also had four 120 degree floods, two blue and two light amber washing the band from house-left.

I'll let this video speak for itself -- https://www.facebook.com/clifford.trott/videos/vb.607280099/10154869497580100/?type=3&theater

Thanks for any input,
Wes

There's a few possible things going on. The quality of the camera recording will be different than the audiences eye. That said, it is more than likely that you overpowered them with leds. Leds have a harsh image, and if you happen to find a solid led par, you will likely still see a reddish tint if you're going for face light. The most important thing in lighting It to see your subjects. I would suggest using par 64s (or your floods if they aren't LED) something that will give a nice face light. Gel it bastard Amber and cross light.
Let the leds be accents, not your main source of visibility.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 06:59:43 am »

There's a few possible things going on. The quality of the camera recording will be different than the audiences eye. That said, it is more than likely that you overpowered them with leds. Leds have a harsh image, and if you happen to find a solid led par, you will likely still see a reddish tint if you're going for face light. The most important thing in lighting It to see your subjects. I would suggest using par 64s (or your floods if they aren't LED) something that will give a nice face light. Gel it bastard Amber and cross light.
Let the leds be accents, not your main source of visibility.
I agree. Colored lighting on people is iffy, and LEDs are narrow-band emitters that can screw up the light meters of cameras. Your video shows the blue channel of the camera clipping.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2017, 07:08:23 am »

Cameras do not necessarily "see" things the way humans do. Different cameras respond differently.
Start with a general wash of basic white light and add colour as an accent.
It doesn't take much white to bring out the flesh tones. Those white jackets may be an issue though.
Always test with a camera to see the result before the show.
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Jano Svitok

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 08:04:54 am »

In the video I can see running horizonal lines (though quite weak). This may be a sign of too low PWM rate. If you can reproduce the situation (same lights same camera), try to put the lights on full to see if the lines disappear. They may become stronger as you lower output. If the lines do not change with intesity, the problem is somewhere else (e.g. different refresh rate of camera and video on FB, problem in recoding).
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Jay Barracato

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2017, 08:57:40 am »

If I have a professional photographer/videographer working with the band I usually ask which of my front light scenes works best for them.

I think I tend to use more white/amber up front than many rock shows, but I want to see natural faces.

I have seen some really impressive photos taken of performers on my stage.

For the record, all I have on my front truss ( about 20 feet out and 10 feet above the stage, limited by roof height) are cold white, warm White, amber LEDs. All the color is directly above or behind the performers.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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Jay Barracato

John L Nobile

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2017, 10:47:58 am »

I only use warm and cool gels to light performers from the front. Colour comes from back and side lights

Disclaimer, I'm not a lighting guy but I play one on the gig when I don't have a budget for one. Which is almost always.
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Wes Garland

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2017, 11:07:50 am »

Thanks, all.   Some very useful feedback here!

I wound up throwing this together at the last minute, when I found out the venue's house lights were pointing at a completely different part of the room -- they re-arranged to accommodate the larger-than-usual anticipated crowd, and somehow couldn't understand that lighting the audience but not the band had limited utility.

Lights were 8' up in the air, it was the highest I could get them on short notice.

It looks like I need to get something I can use to light a frontman  better, and find a way to get the coloured wash behind the band (how???).  I find it difficult working with these lights at this distance, and the wall behind the band makes things difficult, too.  I keep thinking that a narrow spot at the back of a room might be nice, but I would need a different (and expensive) fixture for each room.  Is a single PAR64 overkill from these distances?  Do I really have to use incandescents, or will an RGBAW  be sufficient?  Is 25 degrees about the right beam angle for this type of layout?

I've attached a diagram drawn from memory, but I think it's pretty accurate.  The floods on top of the stage-right PA speaker were blue and amber - the amber was made by putting a bastard amber gel on top of a fixture that has a white LED array about the size of a postage stamp.

Wes
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 11:09:54 am by Wes Garland »
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2017, 11:45:11 am »

Thanks, all.   Some very useful feedback here!

I wound up throwing this together at the last minute, when I found out the venue's house lights were pointing at a completely different part of the room -- they re-arranged to accommodate the larger-than-usual anticipated crowd, and somehow couldn't understand that lighting the audience but not the band had limited utility.

Lights were 8' up in the air, it was the highest I could get them on short notice.

It looks like I need to get something I can use to light a frontman  better, and find a way to get the coloured wash behind the band (how???).  I find it difficult working with these lights at this distance, and the wall behind the band makes things difficult, too.  I keep thinking that a narrow spot at the back of a room might be nice, but I would need a different (and expensive) fixture for each room.  Is a single PAR64 overkill from these distances?  Do I really have to use incandescents, or will an RGBAW  be sufficient?  Is 25 degrees about the right beam angle for this type of layout?

I've attached a diagram drawn from memory, but I think it's pretty accurate.  The floods on top of the stage-right PA speaker were blue and amber - the amber was made by putting a bastard amber gel on top of a fixture that has a white LED array about the size of a postage stamp.

Wes
Wes, uplighting your back wall can work well - line up your fixtures on the floor and aim them for most even coverage.  Strip fixtures are the right tool for the job, but pars work well enough if you can manage the hotspot.

Ceiling height is a problem.  Lighting coming horizontally from the back of the room is almost totally useless.  For small rooms with low ceilings, wide angle fixtures close to the band and as high as you can get them is much better.  Ideally light comes from 45 up and 45 to the side of the subject.

RGBW fixtures make a better white than RGB or RGBA fixtures.  That said, getting a couple ETC Source Four PARs and a cheap dimmer pack might be a better solution.  The cost is very reasonable - in the range of an LED PAR and they come with different lenses so you can adjust the beam angle.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: What went wrong with my lighting plan??
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2017, 07:03:59 pm »

...Getting a couple ETC Source Four PARs and a cheap dimmer pack might be a better solution...

A lot of people do this, myself included.  Lighting doesn't have to be all LED or all halogen - a nice mix can work wonders.  My 250w Par 38s see the most use in this type of setting, though you have a number of good options.  A small ellipsoidal with a wide-angle lens will give you better beam control than a Par can but will cost a bit more.

As to "what went wrong", I'd say it's a poor reaction of the camera to your lighting...for the reasons already mentioned.  I've had something similar happen with a red halogen wash.  The light fixtures were of satisfactory quality however the camera in use was cheap, not white balanced prior to the show, and just inadequately deployed for its intended purpose.  Sure enough, I fire up the red wash and everyone's face just turns this ugly neon pink!  It looked great in person but not on camera!

Adding some amber and/or white to your wash will help if sticking with LED, but the true solution lies a bit deeper.  Most of this will depend on the expectations of your client, but in my case many of the shows I work are large and it's a given that there will be many iPhone recordings and whatnot capturing the show.  Because of this, I need to use fixtures of sufficient quality in proper placement so that the show looks just as great on camera as it did in person.  This can mean everything from higher quality flicker-free LED units to conventional Pars to simply proper balance of negative space.  As Jay mentioned too - if there's a professional photographer or videographer working the event, be sure to coordinate with them ahead of time so that any minor adjustments on either end can be made.  Good luck!
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