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Author Topic: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow  (Read 5025 times)

Yoan Geay

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[Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« on: December 19, 2017, 12:12:11 pm »

Hi Everybody,

Brand New here, I've been browsing tons of Forums for a few days now, lots of Topics have provided me many valuable informations.
But I've decided to Post my own thing & collect some advices from you. You seem to be the most active Lighting Forum Community out there, and here is probably the best place for me to start a conversation with you guys.
So I hope it's not too late to join the Family & that you'll be able to enlighten me. [Pun intended]

So Yeah, I'm diving into the DMX World for the First time, [Someone has to do it...]. I've found plenty of informations here & there around the Internet but yet, I still got Questions that has been left unanswered, aside to the fact that I'm asking for some help to accomplish the vision I have.
  • Which is to Light my Band the Best way I possibly can with our Budget.

Speaking of Budget, first things first, I'm planning on a ~1500€ Budget. [Roughly $1800]
But aside from which Fixtures/Lights I'm going to buy, this topic is mostly about what do I need in order to accomplish what I want to do.

So here we go, the Goal is as follow :
  • Be able to Control all the Lights, from Stage (in Bars/Clubs), via a Footswitch (Like the FCB1010 from Behringer).
  • I need something that allows me to configure :
    [BANK 1 = SONG 1] 8 or 10 Scenes are in this Bank : [(Scene 1) Intro - (Scene 2) Verse - (Scene 3) Chorus - (Scene 4) Solo - [Etc...] - (Scene 8+) Ending] - Etc
    [BANK 2 = SONG 2] 8 or 10 Scenes are in this Bank : [(Scene 1) Intro - (Scene 2) Verse - (Scene 3) Chorus - (Scene 4) Solo - [Etc...] - (Scene 8+) Ending] - Etc
  • I'd like to be able to Blackout every Lights via the Expression Pedal at the end of SONG 1.
    Then, Tap Up to call BANK 2, Select "Intro Scene", then Dimm every Lights Back On with the Expression Pedal.
  • Basically, I'd like to Control everything via a Footswitch, meaning :
    Pilote Scenes 1-8+ > End of song 1 > Blackout via Expression Pedal > Call Bank 2 for the Next Song > Song 2 begins > Bring the Lights back On via Expression Pedal > Pilote Scenes 1-8+ > Etc.
  • So on & so forth through the whole Setlist. (let's say 20+ Songs)
  • Extras
    If possible, when I set a Scene, say the Solo Scene with its own Colors >>> Be able to bring a Strobe effect at the pinacle of exitement.
    Or when the Drummer lose control of himself basically  ;D. But that's minor, don't worry about it.

Ok so let's stop here for now & Resume a little bit :
Another thing is that some manage to do this via a Computer.
But I'd rather want a DMX Controller instead, that will allow me to do all of this with the FCB1010 Footswitch (or something similar with One or Two Expressions Pedals for Blackouts).

So the Question is : Which DMX Controllers/Footswitches would you advice me to get, or whatever it is, in order to accomplish all of this ?
Maybe a simple look, [Stage Wise], at what I'm planning to do could help :


Thanks a lot for any inputs you'd take the time to bring on the table.


EDIT : For now, I'm looking at :
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 12:45:04 pm by Yoan Geay »
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Steve Garris

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 02:23:52 pm »

The controller looks very typical of many low-cost units I've seen, and will probably be ok for simple scenes and chases. Not sure how well it will handle movers though.
Bigger question is how to input midi to that pedal board. I think you need to be looking at software based dmx, in which you would skip the controller completely. Hopefully more knowledgeable posters will reply (I need to learn midi!).
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Yoan Geay

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 03:13:29 pm »

Hey Steve !
Thank you for stoping by, it's already cool to have your point on the situation.

Yeah, I've seen people managing to do all of this without a DMX Controller, but using "DMXis Software" instead, then pilote everything with the FBC1010 Footswitch.
Like I said, avoiding having a Laptop on Stage would be great, because I don't have one to begin with  ;D, and would probably cost more than this 180€ DMX Controler.

And I don't know, I'm holding back on using a Laptop on Stage because I'm not really sure where I'm going to put it, [on a Safe Spot you know]. If I buy an Occasion Laptop, & it crashes in the middle of the Show, [Doesn't Restart for whatever reason] then the whole Show is F**ked...

I'm not entirely closed to this eventuality but, in my mind, a DMX Controller that accept to be driven by a MIDI Footswitch is much more reliable. I virtually can put the DMX Controller anywhere, with little to no risks at all. Though, I could be totally wrong here...

And I know I'm asking for something relatively complex to accomplish... But, that's whats great about it, it's interesting & if somehow I can manage to do it, I'd put on a really cool Lighting Show !
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Rich Grisier

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 03:34:57 pm »

Your planned setup looks very similar to the one I use with my bands.

The first thing we need to address is your budget... I'll tell you right away that $1800 isn't going to get you to your goal.  Small movers like the Chauvet Intimidator 255 IRC are going to run about $500 each. Putting 4 of those on your back truss is already going to blow your budget.  Don't go any smaller than that for movers.  You won't be happy with the results.  Any smaller and your washes will overpower the movers.

That being said, let's put budget aside for now and define a modest system based on your layout:

Movers: (4) Chauvet Intimidator 255 IRC
Washes: (9) Blizzard Lighting LB Par HEX
Truss: Global Truss Arch
Controller: FCB1010
Computer: Nothing super fancy needed.  I use a small Lenovo X130E.
DMX Software: DMXIS... maybe MPC.  I'm using DMXIS with a DMC Ground Control (Original, not Pro) foot controller. It can do all the controls you've described.
Hazer: Antari Z-350
Misc: Clamps, DMX Cables, Midi Cables, Hazer fluid, Cases

AND... I'm making a BIG assumption that you have a means to transport it all.

The VERY rough price on all that would run about $6000 USD.

IF your goal is to meet your vision, then work on building up to it.  Buy the good stuff up front.  Don't fall into the trap of getting some washes or movers that "work for now".  You'll end up taking a loss.  You could start with 6 washes, and hold off on the movers for now.

Now, if you are willing to modify your vision and are looking to get the most bang-for-the-buck... I've seen top local bands using a couple Chauvet Gig Bars in back, a few washes out front, and a fogger from Halloween Spirit store.  It gets the job done.  Total investment in something like that would be around your budget.
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Yoan Geay

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 04:26:27 pm »

Hey Rich ! Thank you !

Yes, we have what's needed for Transport (Two Members have Vans)
You're absolutely right though, Moving Heads is something I've put on the "Stage Configuration Image", but I should've mentionned that it's something that will happen "Down the Road", not straight ahead.

In fact, many things will happen with time, I'm just showing the Global Thought I have in my mind.
If I had to point you what is going to happen straight ahead, [Roughly], that'd be :
  • & finally the DMX & Footswitch mentionned before.

I know that everything that I've linked sounds Cheap & Unworthy, but I'm trying hard to get the best that I can get with what I have...
If I stick to these links, the whole package goes up to ~1350.40€.
[If 6x RGBA Cans for Backlight & 4x RGBW Cans for Front]

So yeah, mostly we'll go for PARs at first.
I see that you're also pointing towards a Laptop Configuration... Maybe I should start moving my mind in that direction. There's no way a simple DMX Controller unit can do the Job ? (Coupled with the FCB1010)

Many Thanks to you again, you've been a great source of help & direction to go for.


EDIT : By the way, for Front Lighting, what is recommended ? RGBA - RGBW - RGB ? 36-48-56-64 ?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 04:39:25 pm by Yoan Geay »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 04:39:53 pm »

Hi Yoan,

Congratulations on diving into the fun world of DMX, and it's great that you're asking questions before spending money.  I agree with Steve - you're going to want a more capable controller.  It doesn't have to be a computer, but any of the very cheap controllers such as what you listed are difficult to program and struggle with even the most basic of programming concepts.  It's really a "you get what you pay for" thing here.  While you certainly don't need anything high end, you'll be hitting the wall with this controller way too quickly and it'll leave you wanting more.  I'd honestly suggest getting the controller "right" on the first attempt and going from there.  That way you'd have a strong foundation to grow from.  Using a PC really isn't that bad.  If the idea of a laptop on stage scares you, you can always consider using a rackmount PC.  Most larger lighting consoles these days are just computers on the inside, so while mishaps do happen, with proper care you'll be just fine.  Alternatively, there are solutions on the market that you essentially download scenes or "looks" into and then just use the standalone box for playback.  Pros and cons with everything, but food for thought.

Buy the good stuff up front.  Don't fall into the trap of getting some washes or movers that "work for now".  You'll end up taking a loss.  You could start with 6 washes, and hold off on the movers for now.

While I don't entirely disagree with your point, disposable fixtures are a reasonable way to get up and running without a huge investment.  No, you certainly can't expect the world from them, but if it's a quantity versus quality versus nothing at all kind of thing, I see lower cost fixtures as a reasonable compromise.  There are also a number of users here that base their whole rig on disposable (or sub-$100) fixtures with quite good results!  Just my vote, but I'd personally push more money to the controller and get that right first, and then upgrade the fixtures as needed/wanted.  I'd also vote to go with a cheaper trussing kit, but a lot of that comes down to artistic vision as well.  Hope that helps!
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Rich Grisier

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 05:06:20 pm »

You're welcome! Happy to share ideas here.

I went down the road of trying to get midi foot controllers to work with stand alone DMX controllers.  For some reason, the DMX controllers I had (Chauvet Obey 70, Elation Magic 260) look for Midi NOTE commands to change scenes. These are fixed in the DMX controller.  The DMX controllers have a very limited amount of available control when it comes to Midi.

Computer based DMX control offers a LOT more flexibility.  After the expense of the computer and Midi foot controller, You might be able to get away with some free software (Freestyler, or MPC), A cheap USB to DMX adapter like THIS, and some way to get midi from the controller to the computer (I use a Midisport 2x2).  I'm not very familiary with Freestyler or MPC so maybe someone else can chime in on their MIDI capabilities.  DMXIS has a lot of MIDI capabilities built in.  MIDI PC's can be used to change the Scene, or Bank of Scenes.  MIDI CC's can be used to control any virtual faders. 
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Rich Grisier

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 05:25:36 pm »

EDIT : By the way, for Front Lighting, what is recommended ? RGBA - RGBW - RGB ? 36-48-56-64 ?

For front lights I'm using two Blizzard RGBW RokBox's per side.  Before that, I used one Chauvet 4-Bar per side.  The RokBox's were a HUGE improvement.  Light output was like 3x brighter. The 2 RokBox's made it look like the 4-Bars weren't even on.

I got a good deal on used RokBox's (on PSW as a matter of fact), but I wish they were RGBA.  I use Blizzard Q12A's (also got here) across the back line. I find that adding the W- even a little- just washes out the color a bit too much. I rarely use it unless I want a pink or an icy blue... or when I'm tearing down at the end of the night.  Adding in some A gives things a healthier happy glow so my vote would be RGBA's.

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Yoan Geay

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 05:35:00 pm »

Hey Jeff ! Thank you for the warm Welcoming :)

Awesome feedback here, really valuable, I'll definitely consider investing more on the Controller as you suggest, & build from here.
You did get the point to all of this, the Goal is to have decent results for a small gigging Band like us, the plan is definitely not to Light up Wembley Stadium next weekend. [Just Kidding ;)]

Anyway, I'll keep track of your take on the Subject, & work around it.

PS : I think we've been posting together at the same time, got my previous post listed just above yours, if you happen to take a look at it.

----------------------------------------

Rich,

Alright, I'm going to work my head around all of this. DMXis seems like it's the way to go, [at First], I'll need some time to do some Research on everything you've provided me so far.

[Thank you for the hints on Front Lighting, I brought up RGBW but I was mostly tending towards RGBA as a first guess aswell, because of the "Warmer" global Feel around it]

You guys have been great, many thanks !
I'll surely keep in touch.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 05:56:59 pm by Yoan Geay »
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Yoan Geay

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Re: [Seeking Advices] - Setting Up our Band's Lightshow
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2017, 01:00:19 am »

Hey Guys ! I think I found something close to what I was looking for.
[Well, Sort of... Maybe ? ???]

I've been browsing the Web for the past 6+ hours, gathering informations here & there.
[I've literally Clicked & Red every single Forums Links through 30+ Google Pages lol]

So while I've been doing this, I sort of made a Compilation, copy/pasted lots of Comments on a "Windows Note Pad" just to keep them around.

& now that I'm thinking about sharing all that stuff with you, & discuss about it.
I figured out that I don't want to bother you & ask you what's your thoughts on each & every one of them. It would be a pain for everyone, & would consume to much of your time reading through them all.

So the best way for me to share a quick résumé with you is by this quick video I found from a man.

He's running his Obey70 with the FCB1010, & seemed to have successfuly accomplish something close to what I'm trying to do. The crazy thing is that he had it working just fine, straight out of the Box !
[Plug & Play Fashion] :o
It's weird because, earlier, Rich Grisier mentionned somes issues he had with the Obey70...
It seems like it turned out quite good for this man. Little bit confused here...

Here's the Video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TK3CO11BwA
[Poor quality as he kept touching his Phone's Microphone, but don't let that bring you down.
It turned out to be ok all along]

Few Comments under the Video :
  • Q : How do you have the FCB1010 programmed? I have all my scenes and chases programmed but I need to know how to properly program the midi foot board controller. Thanks man!
  • A : Hey man, with this pedal,  I literally just took it out of the box brand spanking new, plugged in a Midi cable and did as I showed on the video... No programming to the Fcb1010 at all, everything works fantastic.... Where mine was purchased brand new from Sweetwater, I'd assume that any new pedal would work the same without doing any programming... wish I could tell you more dude, but I have no idea how to do any programming on that pedal. I'm just glad it worked for me Plug and play out of the box....maybe I got lucky? If You figure anything out let me know that'd be great... thanks for watching hopefully this helps
          -----------------------------------------------
  • Nice Hint : I'm using the Obey 70 with a Tech 21 Midi Moose pedal. Works great and the switches are momentary like stompboxes, which makes it easier to find while you're playing.
    But also, wanted to add that you can program scenes for the other 15 midi channels as well, so you could actually have 128 scenes for midi channel 1, then another 128 for midi channel 2 and so on...so you could actually have 2,048 different scenes to choose from! Amazing stuff...
    Yeah, this setup has made my gigs easier as well, playing bass, singing and controlling lights at the same time. I feel like Geddy Lee sometimes! haha...ROCK ON!

Quite close from what I want, no ? What do you think about it, generally speaking ?

He demonstrates only one Expression Pedal, which seems to activate the Strobe Effect from his Fixtures, which is quite cool to me. It makes me wonder though :
  • Would I be able to "Configure/Program" the 2nd Expression Pedal to achieve the "Global Dimming" Effect I'd like to have for my Blackouts [& Dimming Back all Lights On] ? Feasible according to you ?
  • What about the other man's hint, pointing towards a Tech 21 - MIDI Moose Pedal, instead of the FCB1010 ? Any thoughts ? [Pros & Cons]
    I think he meant the Tech 21 coupled with the FCB1010, not sure.

I don't want to rush things out, but I feel like I'm slowly getting closer to what I had in mind at the beginning. Still thinking though !
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 02:05:42 am by Yoan Geay »
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