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Author Topic: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer  (Read 990 times)

Graham Spice

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Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« on: July 14, 2017, 01:26:54 pm »

Hello lighting gurus-
   I host a singer/songwriter event every week in a local restaurant. I'd like to light the 3 performers with a single fixture that will be mounted about 20' feet away above a bar about 10' up. This light will be the only direct light although there is indirect lighting throughout the restaurant.

   Ideally, I'd like a fixture like an ellipsoidal where I could shutter off unwanted areas and focus the light just on the performance area. This fixture should cost less than $200. A used fixture is definitely an option for this application.

   Finally, I plan to plug this fixture into an on/off switch and a small dimmer. I would like to use an inexpensive rheostat of something similar and am open to your ideas.

   Do you have any suggestions of a fixture and switch/dimmer that would meet these simple needs? I'm having trouble finding a good picture of this setup but I am attaching a shot taken from the side of the "stage" so you can get some idea of what I'm trying to light: three performers sitting on stools from about 20' away.

Thanks very much!
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 01:38:13 pm »

Hello lighting gurus-
   I host a singer/songwriter event every week in a local restaurant. I'd like to light the 3 performers with a single fixture that will be mounted about 20' feet away above a bar about 10' up. This light will be the only direct light although there is indirect lighting throughout the restaurant.

   Ideally, I'd like a fixture like an ellipsoidal where I could shutter off unwanted areas and focus the light just on the performance area. This fixture should cost less than $200. A used fixture is definitely an option for this application.

   Finally, I plan to plug this fixture into an on/off switch and a small dimmer. I would like to use an inexpensive rheostat of something similar and am open to your ideas.

   Do you have any suggestions of a fixture and switch/dimmer that would meet these simple needs? I'm having trouble finding a good picture of this setup but I am attaching a shot taken from the side of the "stage" so you can get some idea of what I'm trying to light: three performers sitting on stools from about 20' away.

Thanks very much!
Graham, a light 10' in the air 20' from the performers is going to be projecting almost horizontally into the performers' faces.  In addition to being uncomfortable for the performers, the light quality will be poor.

There's no magic $200 light that will produce good results in this challenging situation.  You should really have two lights firing both to the sides and down onto the performers, ideally at around a 45 angle in each axis.  Close range lighting requires wide fixtures. 

A pair of ETC S4 pars with either the included wide flood lenses or the optional extra wide lenses are probably a reasonable starting point.  If you lamp them down to 375watts you could theoretically put each one a standard dimmer switch, but you would need one dimmer per light, since most wall dimmers are rated at 600 watts.

Alternatively, you could look at a basic video lighting kit, which may be a reasonable fit.

FWIW, most cheap LED fixtures tend to be pretty narrow beam because they aren't very bright.  I'm not aware of an inexpensive wide beam 50 LED par light, though it's possible they may exist.
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Graham Spice

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 01:43:06 pm »

I guess the location I'm looking at to mount the light could be more like 12' up as it is above the bar. The performers sitting on stools are going to be around 5' off the ground. I agree that it could be a little much in their faces but there are some limitations in this restaurant. I'll see if I can swing by there and take a quick picture of the interior to post so that this makes more sense...

Thanks for your insights, much appreciated!
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 01:48:04 pm »

I guess the location I'm looking at to mount the light could be more like 12' up as it is above the bar. The performers sitting on stools are going to be around 5' off the ground. I agree that it could be a little much in their faces but there are some limitations in this restaurant. I'll see if I can swing by there and take a quick picture of the interior to post so that this makes more sense...

Thanks for your insights, much appreciated!
If this is a weekly thing that you plan to do for a long time, you may want to look into having the restaurant put in a piece of track lighting track on the ceiling.  The cost could be as cheap as maybe $500 installed if there's easy ceiling access and wiring to tap into or prohibitively expensive, but that would be a nice result.  Putting it just on the talent side of that air duct would be about the right placement.
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Graham Spice

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 01:55:15 pm »

Do you think a PAR can with barndoors would work?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 02:12:59 pm »

Do you think a PAR can with barndoors would work?
A par can in the right place and the right beam angle would work, yes.  Placement and beam angle are more important than light fixture type.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 02:40:59 pm »

As Graham stated, you really need 2 lights, coming down at 45 degree angles. I would recommend 2 Par light with 150 W bulbs, which will work with a simple rotary dimmer. I use a wash of Par 38's with 90 W bulbs for my front lighting. They work great but only have a 25 degree beam angle. For my use, the 90 W bulbs are plenty. I use a Rosco Rose gel, which is a very slightly pinkish color that looks great on faces.
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 06:36:11 pm »

I think the idea of using two PAR38's at 45 degrees horizontal and between 45 and 60 degrees vertical is a great suggestion.
You could take it one step further and get 90 watt equivalent LED PAR38 lamps for the cans and cut down on the heat and power/dimmer requirements and lamp replacement issues. Probably a 40 degree beam spread and of the dimable variety.
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Scott Hofmann

Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 11:39:31 pm »

Because you want to be able to frame the performance space, your choice of fixtures might be limited to by the availabilty of barn doors that will fit the fixture. I don't know of any "DJ" quality par fixtures that have optional barn doors. As long as you can find barn doors to fit whatever you decide upon, you are good to go. 
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Steve Garris

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Re: Recommendations for 1 small fixture + switch/dimmer
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 02:36:56 pm »

I think the idea of using two PAR38's at 45 degrees horizontal and between 45 and 60 degrees vertical is a great suggestion.
You could take it one step further and get 90 watt equivalent LED PAR38 lamps for the cans and cut down on the heat and power/dimmer requirements and lamp replacement issues. Probably a 40 degree beam spread and of the dimable variety.

That's what I use - a 90w equivalent to 120w output. I looked them up and yes, they have a 40 deg flood option. Two of those would be perfect for the OP.

This is the can I use:
https://www.bulbamerica.com/products/bulbamerica-par-38-lighting-can-black-w-socket-power-cord-par38-gel-frame?CAWELAID=120150920000548100&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=11242068966&CATCI=pla-128221590966&catargetid=120150920000806621&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjw-qbLBRB7EiwAftBCIz24P2ehZnPeFr66h8TkTDJX0uhq1HHWy7tlGvbTKeYpLyd-AzIs5RoCp4gQAvD_BwE
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