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Author Topic: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade  (Read 2077 times)

Jeremy Young

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2017, 11:40:08 am »

Good point Mark.  I intend to stick with multiples of the same fixture, whatever I select for front wash.  My upstage lighting is RGB-only COB LED, but all the same model.  My use is typically live bands with some talking-head type gigs mixed in, maybe a comedian or two, nothing theatrical.  Still, as this matures it's good to keep things like that in mind so that I don't create my own barriers to new avenues of revenue.
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Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

Jeff Lelko

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2017, 08:07:35 pm »

Jeff, don't apologize.  Stay safe out there, I'm not on a tight timeline and you've been very generous with your time already.  If you ever find yourself in Victoria I think I owe you a beer or two! 

I'm on the fence between some Altman 65Q-type fresnels with barn doors (simple, flexible, semi-controllable stage wash) or maybe an ETC parnel; or going LED with a Colorado M Solo or similar (variable colour temp, IP65, homogenized beam face, motorized zoom).  Both have pros and cons.  Maybe a combination wouldn't be a bad thing.  Still thinking two per side on tree's and hoping that'll get me some reasonable face coverage.

I do think that I'm going to put off the movers for now, since that will also give me time to settle on a controller upgrade.  I've also come to terms with the fact that I don't have the pack space nor the time to focus something like a Leko to do it justice.  I'll stick to soft-edge washes for now.  If I go IP65 LED, I'll convert my cables to powercon true1 and that'll at least get me some reasonable protection up until my tarped, non-wet-location distro.

You've made some excellent points, I've gotta do some more thinking/budget analysis and see if I can get myself a demo locally on any of this.

I will definitely be picking up some 88-key keyboard cases for my upstage t-bars though, very happy about that concept!

I'll update this thread as my rig expands.  Thanks again everyone!

Oh, it's all good.  That's the point of these forums!  I'm still very much a learner in many areas and I'm happy to share my advice where I can. 

So if you're looking conventional, the benefits of a standard fresnel can't be argued with.  If you're going to look at the ETC Parnel (or PARNel as they put it), also have a look at the standard ETC Par.  They have a set of 4 interchangeable lenses that give you some decent beam control without the "oddities" of the Parnel (which is a love/hate type of fixture).  If you do go with an LED option like the M Solo, be sure you're happy with the output before making the purchase.  Though I've never A/B'd them, I can say with near certainty that an ETC Par lamped with an HPL 750w will stomp all over the M Solo in terms of output in all but maybe the darkest colors.  That may not be a bad thing though if you simply don't need that much output to begin with.   

Mark brings up an excellent point.  Not all LEDs are created equally and different brands are not always 100% interchangeable.  Even more so, new LED units and old LED units don't always match in output either.  Some manufacturers factory calibrate their units to help mitigate this.  Some light boards can also do similar compensation (another reason to upgrade your controller), but in short, try to buy all your LED lights of any given type at once and try to minimize the fixture variety.  That'll help to ensure consistency between everything.  Conventional lights are more friendly to phased purchasing.  Good luck though and keep us posted!
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Steve Garris

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2017, 07:23:57 pm »


51-1/2" x 6" x 18", so it looks like some of those 88-key keyboard cases might do the trick, thanks for the idea I never thought of that!  I've seen some of your posts, you've gotten some great light shows with some inexpensive fixtures in large quantities, keep up the great work!  What are you using for a controller?

I ordered that case knowing it was about an inch plus too narrow, but because it is a soft case it worked perfectly.

My current controller is an obsolete Magic 260. It is excellent for single scene and chase programming, but useless for busking. I am in the process of migrating to Luminair 3. Either board works really well for me, but most of my lights are fixed and I just need cool scenes.

Those Par 38's are fantastic for front spots. I have 2 per side, and just plug them in with 90W bulbs. I made a bracket that sits on top of my speaker mains, and bolts to the speaker fly point with one 10 mm thumbscrew. They go up in minutes, and work very well. I'll post a pic when i get back from vacation.

Thanks for the complements. I only wish I could afford or have the cargo space for your JTR or Danely mains!
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2017, 08:51:21 pm »

Hi Steve, good to know the fit is a bit flexible! 

I have read posts (perhaps yours, can't recall) on here about mounting front lights to the fly points of the mains.  I would like to avoid this.  I generally use tilters on my mains and crank them up high to get a better coverage/consistency of the audience area, so this would throw off my center of gravity, as well as be a compromise between the best PA coverage location and best lighting coverage location.

Great idea, and certainly falls under the "quick", "compact" and "neat looking (when compared to more tripods nested near each other)" categories but I'd rather have the freedom to position the front wash lights and mains separately for each intended purpose.

Cheers!  Enjoy your vacation, I'm off tomorrow for mine!  You shouldn't hear from me for a couple weeks on this thread, or I'm vacationing all wrong.  :)
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Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

Jeremy Young

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 04:59:15 pm »

Hey Folks,

Back from holiday and back on topic.  So I've done a lot of thinking about my application, and decided that IP65 is important to me.  I had a look at the Altman Outdoor Par64 for my front wash idea, but the power draw and cabling/dimmers/etc for conventional lighting is pushing me over to LED.  Plus having some color-mixing would be beneficial for those events where house lights are already covering front wash duties so my inventory has more flexibility.

Movers are out.  Too much potential for wear and tear, too early in my lighting career to invest that heavily in stuff that will require road trunks and a better controller, and the lack of IP65 ratings sealed the deal for me.


I started comparing spec's on the Elation Six Par IP series (no zoom, no COB, but very flexible and since it's not zoom it's shallower - 6" versus 12" roughly - and therefore easier to pack).  Having dedicated amber to mix with the whites could be useful, and a nice looking amber would be appreciated.  UV, well that could be fun to experiment with, but it's not something I "need".

I'm thinking perhaps less is more, and two per side of their 300 IP model might be just what I need (or for similar money four per side of the 100 IP's for more coverage area but less output).  Point and shoot, if I need to cover more area just add more fixtures.  More fixtures has the advantage of more chases and angles, but the disadvantage of more cables and setup. 

I can handle the beam width math, but I'm having trouble with the required footcandle/lux/candella math to determine what will be enough, and what will leave me wanting more.  I've read and learned a lot, and there doesn't seem to be a simple answer (go figure).

I know I want something brighter than my 36w COB's currently used for upstage backwash, but maybe going too bright will overpower my existing inventory and be a waste of money?  You can always dim, but once you're on full, you're on full.  I realize ambient lighting will affect this requirement, but I read somewhere that 50 footcandles on the performer's face was a good target for theatre - anyone heard anything similar?  I don't usually work on stages more than 30'wx20'd and these would be no more than 15' off the deck, often less.  And this would not be theatre, but rather rock, blues, country, R&B, metal, reggae and pop bands.

A big part of this quest was a better white and amber than what I'm getting from my current RGB COB LED's.  In searching for IP65 zoom COB type LED's, I can't seem to find anything beyond RGBW without leaving the COB format.  Am I missing something, or is COB technology still not quite at the 6-in-1 stage yet?
In the youtube videos I've watched of the Elation Fuze series and Chauvet Colorado series, they don't seem to showcase the yellows for very long (usually quickly faded to green, which is the hue my current yellows seem to bug me most with).   Perhaps the addition of the white will help rendering some nice yellows without a dedicated yellow, and the fact that the Chauvet Colorado line seems to have adjustable colour temps (again, primarily lighting performers) makes me feel a bit better, but still hesitant.  Has anyone had a chance to A/B the Fuze series against the Colorado series?  Or has anyone tried one and have any comments on front wash applications?  Spec and price wise they are obviously going after the same market and are near the top of my list.


That was, before I found the Z19 in the sixpar series (6-in-1 with zoom!).  It looks like a great fit, if only it weren't so costly ($1645 retail CAD) compared to the similarly spec'd (no zoom) 300 IP at $797 CAD retail.  It's even priced well-above the largest in the Colorado Solo line, and the Fuze line, and it seems to be too new to have any reviews available yet. 

If I went that way, and only bought two for now due to budget, would I be fighting shadows all the time tring to light the performers in the back?  Several of the bands I work with include horn sections and backup vocalists, sometimes 11 people on stage at a time (shoulder to shoulder in smaller venues though).  Is it better to use more fixtures spread wider apart to deal with things like that?  Reason I ask, even fully zoomed out these are nearly as bright as some of the smaller non-zoom wash lights i was looking at.  I'd have them one per side, mounted on top of a tripod with something like this: https://www.avshop.ca/lighting-amp-effects/lighting-stands/prox-x-ls79-speaker-stand-lighting-mount

One per side means I could nest the tripod close to my PA tripod since i'm not worried about the width of a t-bar getting in the way of my mains, and opens up the sightlines a bit from the audience perspective.

Trying to really think this through as this will be my first rather large investment in lighting fixtures for something that I haven't been able to do a lot of my own experimentation on.  Thanks to all who read and respond!
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Brown Bear Sound dot CA
Victoria BC Canada

Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2017, 06:37:21 pm »

Here is another nickel's worth of input:
1. There is no good way to compare lights without actually seeing them on stage. Try to get a demo in as close to performance conditions as possible.
2. If you are cross-lighting from a single position (off to side stage, with no truss across the stage), keep in mind that the performers closer to the light will be more brightly illuminated than those further away. With two or more fixtures per side, you can adjust the intensity as the focus distance changes.
3.  IMO, not being COB isn't a big deal. Performance is what counts (albeit performance can be measured by different metrics).
4.  If you can't buy a full rig all at once, think about a realistic plan to build what you need/want. Make sure that your initial purchase will do an adequate, although sub-optimal, job for most of your clients.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2017, 07:33:35 pm »

Thanks Mark! 

Sounds like two per side will be a minimum for me, as there's no truss in my immediate future.  In fact, that throws another point in the scoreboard for going to larger quantities of lesser output fixtures.  I guess I'll have to get on the phone and start trying to track down some demos on some of this stuff.

By the way, we got rid of the penny here in Canada, so no one can give two cents on anything anymore!  A nickel it is!  Appreciate it. 
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Brown Bear Sound dot CA
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2017, 07:21:09 pm »

Have you looked at the Chauvet Colorado solo 1 and 2?  RGBW with zoom and high PWM frequency for video.  That's what I'm currently using for the (smallish) shows I do.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2017, 09:51:23 pm »

Hi Dave, yes they are in my shortlist. That is, looked at them via the internet.  Haven’t pinned down any demos yet.  How do you find the yellows without having a dedicated amber diode? 

Or more to the point, do they look natural as front wash on skin? 

Do you find there to be a large output difference between the 1 & 2? 

How many do you deploy for a typical “small-ish” gig?

Thanks in advance for any answers you can offer. Cheers
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Making a plan for a lighting upgrade
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2017, 06:38:41 pm »

Glad to hear you're making progress Jeremy!  Your thought process is very rationale and methodical.  I hear you on the IP65, especially after getting caught up in a downpour coming in off the ocean last weekend...  No damage to anything though!

I started comparing spec's on the Elation Six Par IP series (no zoom, no COB, but very flexible and since it's not zoom it's shallower - 6" versus 12" roughly - and therefore easier to pack).  Having dedicated amber to mix with the whites could be useful, and a nice looking amber would be appreciated.  UV, well that could be fun to experiment with, but it's not something I "need".

Yet something else to consider - will these units ever be used inside 12" box truss?  Smaller and shallower fixtures such as a smaller SlimPar or a SixPar 100 serve this purpose nicely.  A SixPar 300 won't fit.  Even the smaller COB fixtures may or may not (and the larger ones definitely don't), likely depending on the style of lacing on the truss.  Not that this is a big deal for what I think you're trying to achieve, but when I add fixtures to my own inventory I like to make them as multi-use as possible.  Also, given the speed that this industry is evolving, it'd be nice to have the option of retiring your SixPars (or whatever you settle on) to truss warming duty when the time comes to upgrade to the next best thing down the road.

Mark is absolutely right though - we can compare specs all day long, but only a demo in person will tell you if something is fitting for your intended application.  Much like sound - a speaker may look great on paper, yet there is no specification yet that will tell you how "good" it sounds.

A big part of this quest was a better white and amber than what I'm getting from my current RGB COB LED's.  In searching for IP65 zoom COB type LED's, I can't seem to find anything beyond RGBW without leaving the COB format.  Am I missing something, or is COB technology still not quite at the 6-in-1 stage yet?

That's what I'm still holding out for - a 6-in-1 COB.  Maybe it matters to you and maybe it doesn't, and a lot of it comes down to application, but I personally prefer the even beam from a COB fixture along with its more conventional look.  Talking with one of my dealers at an event last weekend I couldn't get any hints as to if or when we might see such a fixture aside from one or two ebay products, but for what it's worth I was told a "Major Orlando Themepark You've Heard Of" recently purchased a few hundred SixPar 300IPs, so they at least felt that this product/technology was at a reasonable maturity to make such an investment.

Regarding the debate of fewer "large" fixtures versus more "smaller" fixtures, all I can say is that my Par 38s go out roughly twice as often as my Par 64s for events similar to what I think you're describing.  I'm a huge fan of strength in numbers.  Not only from a reliability standpoint, but also from a versatility standpoint.  You just have more options available to you by having more units in stock.  No matter your choice, still try to buy all the units you need at once.  While the consistency of name-brand units is much better than the Generic Chinese lights, I've still been inconvenienced (at best) by not getting all my fixtures from one batch.

Good luck and keep us posted! 

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