ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Down

Author Topic: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade  (Read 1896 times)

Jeremy Young

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 140
    • Brown Bear Sound
Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« on: September 06, 2017, 10:05:58 pm »

Hey Folks,

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  For some background, I'm a sound guy, not a lighting guy.  Not yet anyway, unless you count some high-school musical experience with a follow spot.  When my boss left us suddenly and I started building up my own rig I picked up a few cheap LED fixtures not really knowing what I was looking at.  Here I am five years later, still in the lounge level as a weekend warrior, but my sound rig has expanded, my gigs are getting larger in scale, and yet I can't light a stage to save the universe. (Pun intended?).  I've been doing some self education on this site and many others, and I'm starting to familiarize myself with all the terminology and different units of measure for lighting fixtures (just when I realized I can't trust audio spec sheets, here I am trying to compare lighting spec sheets!).  I'm paying close attention to what the other small-providers in my area are offering.

I'm trying to keep everything simple and compact.  Nothing flown at this time and I'm OK with that.  However, if that prevents me from getting the results I need, feel free to be my wake up call.  I have succeeded so far with my PA being one-person manageable, but I'm struggling with lighting as the lighting designs I seem to like (and required infrastructure to effectively pull it off) would take up more space than I can effectively store, transport or set up. 

I don't know if truss is going to be in my future; I'm thinking four t-bar tripods, one at each front corner for front wash, and two in the rear for the fun part.  If I can fit the lights (prewired) inside some box truss, that could save enough storage/pack space that I might be able to pull off 20-30' of it on some ST-132 type stands behind the band, and use it for totems when that's not practical.  Anyone currently doing something similar?

So, the compromise begins and I'm trying to begin a budget for some minimal but effective and flexible fixtures to provide basic stage lighting that I can run myself while also doing sound (FOH & Monitors) that will hold the audience's focus.  Mostly static lights, but I'd light to do some programming as I get more comfortable. 

Most of my work is with bands at this point, and the stages are indoors and out, ranging from 10-30' wide and 12-24' deep, with up to 11 musicians on stage at a time.  Trim heights will be 13' off the ground (for low stages) or off the deck if it's taller.  I like my ST-132's for my PA and would buy more.  I'm hoping to find some fixtures I could "grow into" as I learn and experiment that won't completely break the bank (or back, or go obsolete).  Simple right?  haha. 

I do not intend to be a full-time lighting supplier anytime soon, I'm OK taking this slow but I do need to address my front lighting deficiencies before next spring.  Some of the events I've worked at recently had staging and lighting provided by some local AV companies and I've really come to appreciate some solid front wash when done effectively.  Those gigs used Lekos, and darn did they look sharp. (more puns)  I always wrote off non-LED fixtures in my mind for fear of heat (burning myself during load out)/power (or lack thereof)/weight (for my back), but the more I read about LED's and warm-whites, the more I realize that might just be what I need.

I own 8 of the ADJ Dots Par RGB 36w COB LED fixtures (great uplights, work OK for lighting the band from behind with a par-can style homogenized beam for a rock and roll look, but not loving them as front lights due to the tricolour limitations I initially ignored), 4-way optical DMX splitter, and an Art-net DMX node with WAP, iPad and Luminair App.  The rest of my stuff will probably be sold off as party toys since it really doesn't hold up. I'm trying to avoid that happening again (buy once, cry once).

Ideas: My first thought was LED wash lights, RGBAW+UV for some flexibility, IP65 for the seasonal outdoor shows I do since they'd be on ST-132's or similar, lighting the stage from the front at either side. (45 up and 45 out would be the goal). Thinking something like the Elation Sixpar 200 IP or 300 IP, two per side. Also considering the offerings from Chauvet's Colorado line (what others are providing in my area now).  Those are all in the range of 900-1500 CAD retail each but they'd pack small and be very flexible as I increase inventory (move to rear wash).

However, for a fraction of the price (500 CAD retail each), I could pick up some ETC Source 4 Jr Zoom lekos and have two per side that could light most stages I work on if I'm doing my beam angle math right.  Not IP65, but perhaps the heat will evaporate a slight drizzle?  Haven't had a downpour yet, but I'm in a rainforest, and my mains all have UndercoverNYC FS/W weatherproof covers, so that part is ready.  Flying solo I wouldn't have much time to react if the weather turns on me quickly.  I guess it depends where I can mount the stands but the manual zoom would allow me to make quick adjustments at set-up time.  Downside of these is that they would require more power than equivalent brightness LED's, some DMX dimmers (added cost), and they don't pack particularly small. 

Other ideas I've had include blinders (used for front wash at first, but could be moved to blinder duty later as I add inventory).  thinking the Chauvet Strike 1 or similar, retails around $1.5k CAD each. Maybe one per side on a tripod. Kind of a one-trick pony, but blinders are quite popular around here.  I don't know how well they would control the beam, but that's a trade off. Anyone been silly enough to experiment like this or would the big-boys just scoff at me?

I've also entertained something like the Rogue 1 wash, two per side on a tripod (TJ I read all your posts here and elsewhere) but I'm hesitant to get into movers since I don't really have the control experience to utilize them properly yet.  Typical retail around 1.5K CAD it seems, but I'd need some road cases for those, and then there's the weather concerns for outdoor shows.  The upside of those being flexibility, brightness, and if the tripods aren't ideally located I don't have to climb a ladder to zoom or aim them.  They'd certainly "look" pro, which might help justify some higher rates.

I'm sure there's more out there, and I'm all ears.

Power: On the small gigs where I only have 1-2 20A circuits to power everything from, my existing Dotz Pars could do the front wash duties for now unless I replace them altogether with something like a Chauvet slimmer pro hex (400 cad retail each but not IP65), so that leaves me with two 20A circuits on my existing distro that I could set aside for lighting duties on the larger gigs where I'm falling flat. 

Business: (Because Ray will ask).  I'm losing out on some gigs because I can't provide a basic stage wash along with audio.  Perhaps I can make some friends with the local lighting suppliers and work together (smartest thing I've said so far) but I don't like relying on others all of the time so need to be somewhat self-sufficient. 

For the number of uses I would get out of these on the short-term, there would be no reasonable directly-measurable ROI for anything I have in mind.  However, I need to start somewhere, and my pride keeps me from wanting to drop money on more no-name toys when I take the presentation of my equipment as seriously as I do.  My day job affords me a flexible budget for now, but once I'm "set up" I intend to move into this full time again which will put the spending to a halt and I want to be reasonably geared up by then.

Basically, I'm hoping to increase the quality of my productions to elevate my company's standing and allow me to compete in my market.  Lights might end up being my "freebie to land the gig" for now until I'm better at it, but you can't practice without the tools.  Everything in my audio rig has been treated with the "buy once cry once" attitude, and it has treated me well. 


Thanks to all who provide insight for me.  I can't put into words how invaluable this forum has been to me over the last few years.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 08:26:55 pm by Jeremy Young »
Logged
Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

John Fruits

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 550
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 08:12:14 am »

I think the first thing to do is take care of the front lighting.  Yes, incandescent S4's look great, but require lots of infrastructure.  Power, dimmers or dimmer packs, lots of heavy cable, large size, multiple lens tubes....the list goes on.  Oh yeah, the S4 juniors are limited to 575 watts and aren't really that much cheaper or smaller.  Then there are LED versions, at much higher prices.  There are white light only ones (Chauvet even has an IP rated warm white one) and color ones. 
I understand the charm of the itty-bitty hotbox/puck/slimpar fixtures but they are fixed beam spread.
For front lighting using two fixtures on each side I would look at zoom fixtures.
The Phillips Showline Par 155 used to be the best one but it is a manual zoom.
Then there is the Martin Rush Par 2, with motorized zoom.
The hot ticket right now seems to be the Elation FUZE series, and some are IP rated. 
http://www.elationlighting.com/fuze-series
With lighting support at the corner of the stage you would want a wider wash on the near side and a tighter beam on the far side. 
As far as blinders, one history claims that The Who was the first big act to use them.  5K fresnels upstage behind the band.
http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/pa/lighting.html
In addition to the Chauvet Strike, also take a look at the Elation DTW units, the 350 and the 700 are also IP rated.  Good luck with your search.
Logged
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side."-Hunter S. Thompson

Jeff Lelko

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 628
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 10:39:35 am »

Hi Jeremy,

There are a number of ways you can go about this depending on what you need right now and what can wait, and where the money should be spent.  The nice thing about lighting is that there is no "set" way of doing things.  While some techniques are more industry-standard than others, it's easier to shoehorn things on lighting than it is for sound, at least in my experience.

The first thing you'll need to settle on is a controller.  This is a mandatory purchase and I think you're going to want to tackle this now - Luminair has numerous limitations, especially for moving lights.  As you might already know, controllers currently come in two flavors - a standard "hardware" console and those that run on a PC or laptop, with or without a "wing" to give some hands-on control.  Martin's M-PC with an M-Touch is one of the cheapest ways to get a capable control solution that can grow with you.  ChamSys's MagicQ is another popular software controller, though the cost of their wings and accessories is a little bit higher.  I used MagicQ PC for nearly a decade before growing to a dedicated hardware console.  Decent hardware boards will set you back several thousand, so a buy once cry once kind of thing, but if done right it'll last you a long while.  You just have to decided how much of your budget you want to allocate to a board.  Personally, I find it better allocation of money to buy a board you can grow into versus buying fixtures you can grow into. 

Regarding everything else, you have a multitude of options with reasonable flexibility.  I've done pre-rigged and pre-hung truss before.  It can definitely save time if done correctly, but at the same time box truss can be a bit much for a single operator to handle if you try anything much beyond a totem.  Transportation logistics also increase when moving carts of box truss.  ST-132s, T-bars, and I-beam style truss is much more manageable at least to me, plus you can always grow to box truss if needed.

Fixtures are another variable that can really be all over the place.  I agree with John that you need to get your front wash taken care of first.  I personally do my washes with halogen pars and supplement as needed with my 700w discharge CMY moving washes.  Getting back to what you're looking for, it's really a case of you get what you pay for.  The cost of LED Pars is all over the spectrum.  In my personal opinion, front wash acceptable LED lights don't really run under $500/ea. and go up from there.  This would be your Elation SixPar and Fuze Series as well as the Chauvet Colorado Solo Series and similar.  The questions is...is the higher cost of even these types of fixtures really worth it when compared to a conventional fixture or a more budget option such as a SlimPar Pro?  For what it's worth I've never had a major problem with non-IP-65 fixtures in rain, but one storm can change that and everyone is different.  If outdoors is a regular thing I'd consider it, but for 2-2.5 the price of a non-IP-65 equivalent?  Tough choice, and one I'll need to make sooner or later when I buy a few dozen of the latest-generation LED Pars...  Granted they should last longer as they're sealed for dust as well, but with the pace this market keeps evolving I'm not sure I'd want to sign up to a fixture purchase that'll take a few seasons to make back.  If you business model supports it then go for it, otherwise sometimes being cheap and minimal is the best idea from a business perspective.  Instead, spend the cash on something with more longevity to it such as a console.  Flip side, the S4s, S4 Pars, and the like aren't going anywhere this decade.  That's a more future-proof purchase right now versus the latest and greatest LED...which will be superseded next year by something "better".  Just my opinion though.   

Zoom is nice to have as well but for a little bit more you can have a moving wash, which to me has been a much more useful tool.  At least with the direction my rig continues to evolve - go cheap with the generic eye-candy Pars, get something decent (either halogen or higher end LED) for overall front wash and strong facial light, and add a few moving zoomable washes for your "specials" and other effects.  Just remember that while LED is usually lower wattage than halogen, it's not negligible!  Best of luck!
Logged

Nate Zifra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 54
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 12:48:51 pm »

Glad to see some activity again here on the lighting forum!

As a mostly single operator, I can appreciate where you are coming from.  I love good lighting, it makes such a difference.  However, what I find is the setup and tear down times it adds doesn't always allow for what I am able to setup.  As a result, I have truss that is rarely used, and some fixtures that remain in the trailer. 

What always comes out of the trailer is front lighting.  I use the warm white/cold white Cob fixtures, a pair per side.  They are perfect for front lighting.  The only complaint I get is typically from the performers, as they are very bright when looking directly at them.  I may look into some type of diffuser for them, but I digress.  I have no complaints, and can choose to operate them on dmx for dimming or blackout, or just standalone in a pinch.  They also make excellent work lights for cleaning up in the dark. 

In place of the truss up stage, I find it the quickest to have LED pars prewired on t-bars.  Usually I use two tbars, but sometimes three total if it is a wider stage.  While pars only can seem boring, I think chases are often overlooked by a lot of beginners.  Most seem to go for the color wash fade, but some simple varying chases with each par dimming (pulsing) or completely on/off can add a lot of movement to your static lights.  Program some of these chases, use a program that allows you to change the speed, and maybe add some bump buttons for all on, or full white for some some quasi blinder action.  You can also vary your chases by using different colors instead of having all the pars the same color. 

My T-bars for upstage have 4 prewired LED Pars, and then for those events I can use haze, I have some small 60 watt moving head spots I attach, two per T-bar.  It doesn't take too long to throw them up, add power and dmx. 

To start, I agree with what was mentioned.  Get your front lighting sorted first, find a controller like M-Touch that lets you expand to the future.  For now, continue to use your COB's for upstage, but consider programing some chases.  Then you can decide how you want to proceed, you could expand your existing inventory of Cobs for larger stages, and look into added some portable movers.

Hope my experience helps you.
Logged

Jeremy Young

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 140
    • Brown Bear Sound
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 08:08:42 pm »

I think the first thing to do is take care of the front lighting.  Yes, incandescent S4's look great, but require lots of infrastructure.  Power, dimmers or dimmer packs, lots of heavy cable, large size, multiple lens tubes....the list goes on.  Oh yeah, the S4 juniors are limited to 575 watts and aren't really that much cheaper or smaller.  Then there are LED versions, at much higher prices.  There are white light only ones (Chauvet even has an IP rated warm white one) and color ones. 
I understand the charm of the itty-bitty hotbox/puck/slimpar fixtures but they are fixed beam spread.
For front lighting using two fixtures on each side I would look at zoom fixtures.
The Phillips Showline Par 155 used to be the best one but it is a manual zoom.
Then there is the Martin Rush Par 2, with motorized zoom.
The hot ticket right now seems to be the Elation FUZE series, and some are IP rated. 
http://www.elationlighting.com/fuze-series
With lighting support at the corner of the stage you would want a wider wash on the near side and a tighter beam on the far side. 
As far as blinders, one history claims that The Who was the first big act to use them.  5K fresnels upstage behind the band.
http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/pa/lighting.html
In addition to the Chauvet Strike, also take a look at the Elation DTW units, the 350 and the 700 are also IP rated.  Good luck with your search.


Thanks for the reply John!  I had looked at almost every fixture you've mentioned in my search (except the Phillips).  I think 575w would be all I could afford (power wise) but having no hands on experience with Lekos i had not considered the lenses etc.  Sounds like a lot of infrastructure (space i don't really have).  I just wish there were more LED fixtures with a known effectiveness like the S4's that had some solid staying power.  Since this will be a long term investment, it makes sense to me to avoid gimmicky products and try for "timeless" fixtures.


I'll stick to (motorized) zoom fixtures for the convenience/flexibility; the Fuze series did intrigue me.  I do like the look of a COB fixture more than a multi-LED looking fixture, hence my inventory of Dotz Pars.  I just wish they had more effective whites and ambers (the ADJ's).


Thanks for the link on The Who, that'll be an interesting read!
Logged
Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

Jeremy Young

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 140
    • Brown Bear Sound
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 08:26:22 pm »

Hi Jeremy,

There are a number of ways you can go about this depending on what you need right now and what can wait, and where the money should be spent.  The nice thing about lighting is that there is no "set" way of doing things.  While some techniques are more industry-standard than others, it's easier to shoehorn things on lighting than it is for sound, at least in my experience.

The first thing you'll need to settle on is a controller.  This is a mandatory purchase and I think you're going to want to tackle this now - Luminair has numerous limitations, especially for moving lights.  As you might already know, controllers currently come in two flavors - a standard "hardware" console and those that run on a PC or laptop, with or without a "wing" to give some hands-on control.  Martin's M-PC with an M-Touch is one of the cheapest ways to get a capable control solution that can grow with you.  ChamSys's MagicQ is another popular software controller, though the cost of their wings and accessories is a little bit higher.  I used MagicQ PC for nearly a decade before growing to a dedicated hardware console.  Decent hardware boards will set you back several thousand, so a buy once cry once kind of thing, but if done right it'll last you a long while.  You just have to decided how much of your budget you want to allocate to a board.  Personally, I find it better allocation of money to buy a board you can grow into versus buying fixtures you can grow into. 

Regarding everything else, you have a multitude of options with reasonable flexibility.  I've done pre-rigged and pre-hung truss before.  It can definitely save time if done correctly, but at the same time box truss can be a bit much for a single operator to handle if you try anything much beyond a totem.  Transportation logistics also increase when moving carts of box truss.  ST-132s, T-bars, and I-beam style truss is much more manageable at least to me, plus you can always grow to box truss if needed.

Fixtures are another variable that can really be all over the place.  I agree with John that you need to get your front wash taken care of first.  I personally do my washes with halogen pars and supplement as needed with my 700w discharge CMY moving washes.  Getting back to what you're looking for, it's really a case of you get what you pay for.  The cost of LED Pars is all over the spectrum.  In my personal opinion, front wash acceptable LED lights don't really run under $500/ea. and go up from there.  This would be your Elation SixPar and Fuze Series as well as the Chauvet Colorado Solo Series and similar.  The questions is...is the higher cost of even these types of fixtures really worth it when compared to a conventional fixture or a more budget option such as a SlimPar Pro?  For what it's worth I've never had a major problem with non-IP-65 fixtures in rain, but one storm can change that and everyone is different.  If outdoors is a regular thing I'd consider it, but for 2-2.5 the price of a non-IP-65 equivalent?  Tough choice, and one I'll need to make sooner or later when I buy a few dozen of the latest-generation LED Pars...  Granted they should last longer as they're sealed for dust as well, but with the pace this market keeps evolving I'm not sure I'd want to sign up to a fixture purchase that'll take a few seasons to make back.  If you business model supports it then go for it, otherwise sometimes being cheap and minimal is the best idea from a business perspective.  Instead, spend the cash on something with more longevity to it such as a console.  Flip side, the S4s, S4 Pars, and the like aren't going anywhere this decade.  That's a more future-proof purchase right now versus the latest and greatest LED...which will be superseded next year by something "better".  Just my opinion though.   

Zoom is nice to have as well but for a little bit more you can have a moving wash, which to me has been a much more useful tool.  At least with the direction my rig continues to evolve - go cheap with the generic eye-candy Pars, get something decent (either halogen or higher end LED) for overall front wash and strong facial light, and add a few moving zoomable washes for your "specials" and other effects.  Just remember that while LED is usually lower wattage than halogen, it's not negligible!  Best of luck!


I was hoping you'd chime in Jeff.  I've learned a lot from your posts on here.  Having no movers, i hadn't yet run into the limitations on Luminair so that's good to know upfront.  I didn't mention it, but i do own a Chauvet Obey 40, but I'll do some more research on the consoles you've suggested.  I like faders and knobs over touchscreens most days, so I can see where having my own controller (even if i cross rent fixtures occasionally) would be helpful so I'm familiar with the layout/programming.


I could see Truss getting out of hand quickly for a one-person operation, good to know it's not a mandatory thing.  I like the look of staggered height totems behind the band, but really works best with some good moving spots on top (which i don't have).  I currently keep my Dotz Pars pre-wired on t-bars (daisy chain power and DMX with a terminator at the end) and it works pretty well but it still tough to transport safely.  They are too long to fit in any of my road cases and although the fixtures have rubber feet on them, it doesn't sit solidly and has to sit on top of everything else in the van.  Might start getting serious about rigging up some suspension points in the the roof of the van. My hope was truss could do some "protecting" too, but the added weight and complexity of making sure the mounting works for stored versus gigging configurations seems to be asking too much. 


LED pars ARE all over the place.  Man, talk about paralysis by analysis.  The cheaper they are, the more scant they are with photometric data.  Makes comparison hard without a demo or a reliable user review, especially with the typically short lifecycle of these products.  I don't do a lot of outdoor gigs now, but there are a lot in my area and once this is my full-time thing again I will be faced with surprise showers.  Good to know about your experiences, but I may just play it safe and go IP65 anyway.  *sigh* it's only money right?  Front wash will get regular use, so the ROI once up and running should be reasonable.  Should be.... that's why i kept going back to the idea of conventional lighting.  Most bang (lumens) for your buck, excellent staying power.  I know they'll look good on camera and people's faces.  Speaking generally of course, but it seems like I can get similar output from LED fixtures at a third the wattage of conventional, at triple the cost. 


Moving zoom wash makes a lot of sense to me, but also feels a little gimmicky (well sorry, spot would be more gimmicky) for me to buy four now with no other intelligent lighting and some moderately bright upstage fixtures....?  I can see the value and flexibility though.  Maybe gimmicky isn't the right word.  I worked in an audio/lighting repair shop and we worked on a lot of dusty chinese movers from clubs that were always having issues. More moving parts, more maintenance, more careful packing... still gotta think more on that.


Thanks for taking the time.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 08:37:25 pm by Jeremy Young »
Logged
Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

Jeremy Young

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 140
    • Brown Bear Sound
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2017, 08:34:35 pm »

Glad to see some activity again here on the lighting forum!

As a mostly single operator, I can appreciate where you are coming from.  I love good lighting, it makes such a difference.  However, what I find is the setup and tear down times it adds doesn't always allow for what I am able to setup.  As a result, I have truss that is rarely used, and some fixtures that remain in the trailer. 

What always comes out of the trailer is front lighting.  I use the warm white/cold white Cob fixtures, a pair per side.  They are perfect for front lighting.  The only complaint I get is typically from the performers, as they are very bright when looking directly at them.  I may look into some type of diffuser for them, but I digress.  I have no complaints, and can choose to operate them on dmx for dimming or blackout, or just standalone in a pinch.  They also make excellent work lights for cleaning up in the dark. 

In place of the truss up stage, I find it the quickest to have LED pars prewired on t-bars.  Usually I use two tbars, but sometimes three total if it is a wider stage.  While pars only can seem boring, I think chases are often overlooked by a lot of beginners.  Most seem to go for the color wash fade, but some simple varying chases with each par dimming (pulsing) or completely on/off can add a lot of movement to your static lights.  Program some of these chases, use a program that allows you to change the speed, and maybe add some bump buttons for all on, or full white for some some quasi blinder action.  You can also vary your chases by using different colors instead of having all the pars the same color. 

My T-bars for upstage have 4 prewired LED Pars, and then for those events I can use haze, I have some small 60 watt moving head spots I attach, two per T-bar.  It doesn't take too long to throw them up, add power and dmx. 

To start, I agree with what was mentioned.  Get your front lighting sorted first, find a controller like M-Touch that lets you expand to the future.  For now, continue to use your COB's for upstage, but consider programing some chases.  Then you can decide how you want to proceed, you could expand your existing inventory of Cobs for larger stages, and look into added some portable movers.

Hope my experience helps you.


Thanks for the input Nate!  As a single operator, your experiences are extremely valuable to me.  I was afraid of exactly what you describe, truss that collects dust.  I already struggle with setup time with my basic lighting and (not so basic) audio rig.  Which COB fixtures are you using?  Regarding the complaints about brightness, how much higher than head level do you typically mount them? 


Yes worklights for load out !  Now we're talking multi-use!  Been there, done that, killed the van battery with headlights once while wrapping cables.  Try finding someone to give you a jump start in the middle of nowhere at 3am!  haha, I digress.


A third t-bar of ADJ Dotz Pars wouldn't set me back terribly and would add to their flexibility as uplights for larger corporate spaces.  I'll definitely play around with chases more.  This is the kind of stuff I was hoping to hear.  I've seen a lot of "movement" come from fixed lights that were well-programmed so I'll experiment more with that and my existing inventory.


Thanks for the thoughts!


Just writing out my original post was a good exercise in clarifying a lot of the thoughts and emotions I had bouncing around in my head.  It's good to get some supportive feedback that I'm thinking in the right direction.
Logged
Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

John Fruits

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 550
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2017, 09:17:46 pm »

Another thought for going with tungsten lighting for your front light.  Instead of using ERS (leko) spots, go with the classic fresnel.  In the US the frequent street price for the Altman 65Q is right at $50.  Gives you adjustable beam spread, no framing shutters like an ERS but you can use barndoors.  You can also use gels, for instance a very light cool from one side and a very light warm from the other.  That gives more depth. 
EDIT: Oh yeah that price is for used. 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 12:38:11 pm by John Fruits »
Logged
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side."-Hunter S. Thompson

Jeff Lelko

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 628
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 09:46:53 pm »


I was hoping you'd chime in Jeff.  I've learned a lot from your posts on here.  Having no movers, i hadn't yet run into the limitations on Luminair so that's good to know upfront.  I didn't mention it, but i do own a Chauvet Obey 40, but I'll do some more research on the consoles you've suggested.  I like faders and knobs over touchscreens most days, so I can see where having my own controller (even if i cross rent fixtures occasionally) would be helpful so I'm familiar with the layout/programming.

Glad I've been able to help you!  Luminair is one of those products that has a great niche with many happy users, several of which are frequent posters here.  Like everything though, it has its limits, and unfortunately once you get past the basic bar or small club rig you hit them pretty quickly.  Unfortunately I wouldn't peg your Obey 40 any higher...  It's an okay mini board for basic use, but it can be tricky to program and is still quite limited.  If you're really looking to get into lighting design as a service you're going to want a more capable controller.  Either M-PC or MagicQ PC with a basic Enttec interface will run rings around what you currently have for near pocket change.  You also won't be held back or limited by what your controller can do, so as you buy or rent fixtures down the road you'll be able to use them to their full potential.  Even since buying my Congo Kid a few years ago I still haven't reached its full potential, and that's really how I think you want it.  I get what you mean about wanting faders and knobs - I'm much the same way.  See what you think about PC wings such as the M-Touch.  I personally struggle with the touch pads, but a lot of people like it and it's one of the cheapest options out there.  As far as strictly hardware consoles go, an Elation Show Designer might be worth a look.  ETC's ColorSource Series is nice too, but be sure you understand their limitations.  Lots to think about, but I'd strongly consider making a new controller "Purchase #1" and growing from there.

I could see Truss getting out of hand quickly for a one-person operation, good to know it's not a mandatory thing.  I like the look of staggered height totems behind the band, but really works best with some good moving spots on top (which i don't have).  I currently keep my Dotz Pars pre-wired on t-bars (daisy chain power and DMX with a terminator at the end) and it works pretty well but it still tough to transport safely.  They are too long to fit in any of my road cases and although the fixtures have rubber feet on them, it doesn't sit solidly and has to sit on top of everything else in the van.  Might start getting serious about rigging up some suspension points in the the roof of the van. My hope was truss could do some "protecting" too, but the added weight and complexity of making sure the mounting works for stored versus gigging configurations seems to be asking too much. 
 
If all you want are strictly totems, there are some lighter duty truss options out there that might work and are a little more manageable.  Another option is something like the Global Truss Glow Totem (link).  These break down flat so they're extremely easy and compact to transport.  Seeing as you operate out of a van I can say first hand that there's a very finite amount of 12" box truss that you can fit in one, especially if you have other gear to haul too! 

One consideration that might be a dealbreaker to your pre-rigged box truss is the truss's lacing.  Oftentimes 12" box is so compact that the lacing prohibits most light fixtures from swinging into it for transport.  It'll work for very small fixtures, but something like a Fuze fixture almost certainly won't fit through the lacing.  16" box truss is a little more accommodating of this as is truss that only has lacing on two sides.  I've see touring truss that can retract arena-sized moving lights into it without unplugging a single cable!  Very impressive.  Just more things to think about.  If you stick with the simple T-bar idea, there are ways to build a "meat rack" style of case that can hold several pre-rigged bars all securely yet ready to deploy.  Dave Bednarski posted this a while back and is a great example of how it can be done. 

LED pars ARE all over the place.  Man, talk about paralysis by analysis.  The cheaper they are, the more scant they are with photometric data.  Makes comparison hard without a demo or a reliable user review, especially with the typically short lifecycle of these products.  I don't do a lot of outdoor gigs now, but there are a lot in my area and once this is my full-time thing again I will be faced with surprise showers.  Good to know about your experiences, but I may just play it safe and go IP65 anyway.  *sigh* it's only money right?  Front wash will get regular use, so the ROI once up and running should be reasonable.  Should be.... that's why i kept going back to the idea of conventional lighting.  Most bang (lumens) for your buck, excellent staying power.  I know they'll look good on camera and people's faces.  Speaking generally of course, but it seems like I can get similar output from LED fixtures at a third the wattage of conventional, at triple the cost.

Moving zoom wash makes a lot of sense to me, but also feels a little gimmicky (well sorry, spot would be more gimmicky) for me to buy four now with no other intelligent lighting and some moderately bright upstage fixtures....?  I can see the value and flexibility though.  Maybe gimmicky isn't the right word.  I worked in an audio/lighting repair shop and we worked on a lot of dusty chinese movers from clubs that were always having issues. More moving parts, more maintenance, more careful packing... still gotta think more on that.
 
Yeah, it's a tough decision on the quality versus quantity versus overall investment price.  Some members here have had excellent luck with the sub-$100 fixtures, even for facial light.  When you can buy a whole rig of Generic Chinese lights for the cost of 1 or 2 name brand lights it really makes you think for a second.  Some of the questions I'd consider are whether you ever plan to cross-rent (i.e. is brand pedigree important), how important is fixture reliability, and will your work end up being filmed for broadcast?  If these things aren't really issues to you, I'd suggest looking to the lower end of the spectrum - either Generic Chinese or the fixtures in the $150-$300 bracket.  I've had decent luck with everything from the $15 ebay lights to SlimPar Pros if you use them within their intended application.  If you do need to operate at a higher reliability and performance I'd agree with spending the extra cash on the IP65 variants and getting something a little higher end, such as a Fuze fixture.  One interesting side note about overall quality, IP65 rating, and "professional" performance is that a few hundred SlimPars, COLORdashes, and Nexus fixtures were used on American Ninja Warrior (link).  Maybe not what you'd expect to see, but apparently it worked for them!

Moving washes are a nice tool, but they're only a tool like everything else and it's up to the designer on how to best utilize them to achieve the vision.  Just because it's a moving light doesn't mean you need to have it scanning around the venue in "disco mode".  The reason I like moving washes is because they're extremely easy to aim and can be re-purposed many times over during the course of a typical show.  Static lights, with or without a motorized zoom still need to be aimed manually.  When hung way up off the deck this can be a rather tedious and time consuming process.  Not a huge deal in theater-world when a show might run for a few weeks, but when you're traveling on a daily basis it can be a pain.  With your moving washes, just hang and lift.  Once at show height you aim and focus from the comfort of your light board, usually just by updating a few focus and beam palettes - that's it!  I wouldn't say that all your front light has to come from moving washes, but it's a good way to speed up focusing and to get numerous positions hit from a single fixture.  I still use a mix of moving and static lights for front wash. 

You do touch on a good point though - moving lights mean moving parts, so repairs and maintenance will be something to consider.  It's just up to you to decide on which battles you want to fight!  At least with movers you can do truss totems the way you want, and then also have the ability to repurpose the lights when needing a bit more wash from the front. 

Hope all this helps!
Logged

Steve Garris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 898
Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 12:14:10 pm »



I currently keep my Dotz Pars pre-wired on t-bars (daisy chain power and DMX with a terminator at the end) and it works pretty well but it still tough to transport safely.  They are too long to fit in any of my road cases and although the fixtures have rubber feet on them, it doesn't sit solidly and has to sit on top of everything else in the van. 



How long are the light bars? I have 4-light bars that I place in Keyboard bags for transport. It works great IMO.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/road-runner-keyboard-bag/j23228000002004?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKCAjw_8jNBRB-EiwA96Yp1jZ8m_pfzCqQSuivtgS3dhGwS5vT1wUr5cYfu4sCGaoj0oTvtFrKVBoCiroQAvD_BwE&kwid=productads-adid^156727059247-device^c-plaid^62390521681-sku^J23228000002004@ADL4MF-adType^PLA
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.09 seconds with 17 queries.