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Author Topic: How would you light this space for $2000?  (Read 1859 times)

Jeremy D. Clark

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How would you light this space for $2000?
« on: January 27, 2018, 01:38:40 pm »

My three piece psychedelic rock/jamband has somewhat of a permanent residency at this place, where the lighting leaves much to be desired. I'm very new to lighting, but have been lurking on this forum and gathering information.

Goals:

  • Color washing to make the band clearly visible and provide depth is more important than movers and effects. Positioning ourselves to expand into effects with the infrastructure we buy now would be great though.
  • Something that is portable so we can use it at the other gigs we play, many of which are similar to this one.
  • Controllable if we have someone available to control it, or automated in some fashion if we don't. Open to hardware controllers, laptop approaches, tablets, anything really. But we're not too interested in using foot pedals to control it, because it's hard enough to play, sing and work with our complicated pedal boards for our instruments.

Based on the research I've done so far, my budget puts me in more of the "DJ" tier such as the Chauvet DJ or American DJ product lines, and I've been focusing mostly on hex LED pars from this type of company. That being said, there seem to be quite a few different manufacturers out there, so I'd love to hear about how some of them compare at this price point.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 01:40:41 pm by Jeremy D. Clark »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2018, 10:57:17 pm »

Hi Jeremy, welcome to PSW.  I think you have a reasonable goal and budget here, so let me offer a few opinions.  Iím sure others will join in!

I vote for your ďStep 1Ē to be selecting a controller - the reason being is that the cost of one can be all over the place depending on what you select.  As Iím sure youíve read here already, software controllers tend to be a solid option for most casual users and even some big-name ones.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two popular choices but there are others.  Both programs allow you to download a free demo to play with the interface a bit before investing in any hardware.  The available ďwingsĒ help to add some hands-on control if desired, still while costing far less than a true hardware console of equivalent horsepower.  Thereís a bit of a learning curve to this, but if set up properly you can run this with as much or as little input as desired and still have loads of room to grow in the future.  Even for twice your total budget, the number of hardware boards worth owning are very few (but exist), so Iíd settle this first and go from there.

Fixture-wise, things can be a little more open.  As you correctly pointed out, the first thing you want to address is your front fill for facial light.  Normally Iím not a huge fan of putting lights on speakers, but in your case with such little space to work with that might be your best option.  The angles look about right for that too.  Given the short throw distance youíll want something with a wide beam angle.  Seeing as you mention the RGBAW-UV fixtures, Iíd look to the SlimPar Pro offerings of those.  If you drop in some diffusion you might be wide enough with 1 fixture per side, but thatís a tough call (depending on how wide of a fill youíd like).  Some of the COB fixtures can do a much wider fill, but Iím not aware of any Hex-LED versions of those yet (something Iíve been waiting on myself). 

Regarding everything else, how portable things are and what youíd like to do is up to you.  If it were me lighting the venue, Iíd just do a pair of uplit totems behind you to help add a little dimension to things and maybe throw some sort of eye-candy effect on the top.  A pair of moving heads wonít be too useful there in my opinion, so Iíd call on my inventory of Martin Mania EFX600s - one per totem.  Theses particular units are discontinued, but the Martin Wizard Rush is similar.  A pair would be beyond your budget, but that type of effect is something to think about.  Looking at your audience, Iíd aim the units so that the beams stay on the walls and ceiling (and not in your guestsí eyes).  These types of effects look good with or without fog (if thatís allowed there?) and can produce a very wide variety of looks and movement.  You could also clamp a few LED pars onto the sides of the totems to do some tasteful movement and color changes, but itís really up to what you think will fit your act and audience the best!  Good luck and hope this helps!
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 01:21:50 am »

Building a lighting rig takes more than the fixtures and a controler.  Figuring out how to get your lights "up in the air" in a limited-space venue can be challenging. A single, tall tripod stand with a "tee" top (a/k/a a light tree) for backlighting is probably the minimum for your purposes. The taller it is, the wider the tripod base is required for stabilty (and safety).  Any light hanging overhead (not placed on the floor for up-lighting) will need a clamp and a safety cable as well. It's worth thinking about how (and where) you will place the lights before you start spending money buying light fixtures.

Note also that wired DMX control for lighting has to be daisy chained from one light to the next - you can't use a simple wye cable to spilt the signal. (There are isolated optical splitters that are built for that purpose, however.)  as a consequence, you may need more cable than you might otherwise plan.  Using mic cables instead of data cables ("dmx cable") isn't recommended, but it is done by some folks. Anyway, the extra costs will eat into your lighting budget.  You've been forewarned....  Good luck, and have fun.
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Allen Smith

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 04:20:47 pm »

My three piece psychedelic rock/jamband has somewhat of a permanent residency at this place, where the lighting leaves much to be desired. I'm very new to lighting, but have been lurking on this forum and gathering information.

Goals:

  • Color washing to make the band clearly visible and provide depth is more important than movers and effects. Positioning ourselves to expand into effects with the infrastructure we buy now would be great though.
  • Something that is portable so we can use it at the other gigs we play, many of which are similar to this one.
  • Controllable if we have someone available to control it, or automated in some fashion if we don't. Open to hardware controllers, laptop approaches, tablets, anything really. But we're not too interested in using foot pedals to control it, because it's hard enough to play, sing and work with our complicated pedal boards for our instruments.

Based on the research I've done so far, my budget puts me in more of the "DJ" tier such as the Chauvet DJ or American DJ product lines, and I've been focusing mostly on hex LED pars from this type of company. That being said, there seem to be quite a few different manufacturers out there, so I'd love to hear about how some of them compare at this price point.



I have been very satisfied with my Chauvet 4bar TRI USB bars.  You should be able to get four of them in your budget.  They are bright, come with stands and a rudimentary controller but can controlled by DMX as well.   I have posted some photos and videos on other threads if you want to see them in action.  One other benefit I love is they can be controlled wirelessly as well.  For club work there is nothing better.
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Jeremy D. Clark

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 04:42:11 pm »

I vote for your ďStep 1Ē to be selecting a controller - the reason being is that the cost of one can be all over the place depending on what you select.  As Iím sure youíve read here already, software controllers tend to be a solid option for most casual users and even some big-name ones. MagicQ PC and M-PC are two popular choices but there are others.

I feel like software is the way to go too. One barrier is that I don't currently have a laptop. I'm in the market for one for many reasons other than just lighting, so I don't consider the cost of it part of my lighting budget.

One thing my band uses is a Behringer X-Air 18 digital mixer for our sound that connects to wifi and is controllable via our iPads and Android phones. Are you aware of any lighting controllers that can be fully managed via tablets/phones? I'm wondering if I could set up a wireless network at gigs to handle both the audio mixing and the lighting and use tablets exclusively.

Seeing as you mention the RGBAW-UV fixtures, Iíd look to the SlimPar Pro offerings of those.  If you drop in some diffusion you might be wide enough with 1 fixture per side, but thatís a tough call (depending on how wide of a fill youíd like).

The Chauvet SlimPar Pro has been on my list. What would you say are the main advantages of it over their SlimPar H6 ("non pro")?

Regarding everything else, how portable things are and what youíd like to do is up to you.  If it were me lighting the venue, Iíd just do a pair of uplit totems behind you to help add a little dimension to things and maybe throw some sort of eye-candy effect on the top.

Totems are something I hadn't discovered yet until reading your reply. Do you have an example of something that would be portable enough to travel with? One thing I've been also wondering about are stands that hold one light rather than a "tree" of lights. Something that could be stable without needing a super wide base that could host a moving light or an effect light that shines on the ceiling or back wall, as you mentioned. Some of the stages we play are limited in size so a smaller base would be beneficial. I feel like something like that would also be easier to transport than what I currently understand a "totem" to be.
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Ted Christensen

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2018, 05:19:50 pm »

What such a small budget and if you don't have a light guy it can be tricky to get a really good product.
Looking at the photo of the room I would put lights in places where you can't see the actual light but it's hitting something and not blinding the audience.

Would also consider getting a Martin controller since s the cheapest bang for buck. Program some looks and have someone in the band or friend run in the show. Stick with LEDs, maybe some schedule 40 pipe as front side light.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 07:11:13 pm »

I feel like software is the way to go too. One barrier is that I don't currently have a laptop. I'm in the market for one for many reasons other than just lighting, so I don't consider the cost of it part of my lighting budget.

One thing my band uses is a Behringer X-Air 18 digital mixer for our sound that connects to wifi and is controllable via our iPads and Android phones. Are you aware of any lighting controllers that can be fully managed via tablets/phones? I'm wondering if I could set up a wireless network at gigs to handle both the audio mixing and the lighting and use tablets exclusively.

Thatís completely understandable.  One thing Iíd mention though is that whether you buy a computer for lights, sound, or other tasks, you generally donít want to have a single machine sharing tasks during a gig.  I mean weíve all done it (or at least I have), but you generally want dedicated computers for each show-critical funtion that you need.  As far as tablets go, Luminair 3 is more or less the current standard for wireless tablet control.  Short of a brief experiment I canít claim any experience with it, but there are a number of users here with positive results.  Itís a little more limited than MagicQ PC or M-PC, but in the right application thereís nothing inherently wrong with it.  Just make sure you have a way to connect into your rig manually if you lose WiFi for some reason!

The Chauvet SlimPar Pro has been on my list. What would you say are the main advantages of it over their SlimPar H6 ("non pro")?

If weíre comparing the H6 to the Pro H, the biggest difference is that the Pro H has twice the LEDs as the H6.  Youíre essentially getting twice the fixture for less than twice the price.  Another nice thing about the Pro H is that it allows for 7.5Ē accessories such as barndoors or diffusion, whereas to my knowledge any accessories you see in use with the H6 are homemade (but can be done, and there might actually be a magnetic gel frame available for these).  H6s can easily slide into 12Ē box truss...the Pro H can be a bit trickier depending on your trussing model.  The ďProĒ models are also a little more rugged, but honestly theyíre both nice fixtures for the money.  If itís between 2 Pro Hs or 4 H6s, Iíd probably go for the 4 H6s.  I personally favor a strength in numbers approach versus just a handful of more capable fixtures, but thatís also very situational.  I think the H6 would also be more at home in the size of rig youíre trying to deploy, but again, thatís rather subjective!

Totems are something I hadn't discovered yet until reading your reply. Do you have an example of something that would be portable enough to travel with? One thing I've been also wondering about are stands that hold one light rather than a "tree" of lights. Something that could be stable without needing a super wide base that could host a moving light or an effect light that shines on the ceiling or back wall, as you mentioned. Some of the stages we play are limited in size so a smaller base would be beneficial. I feel like something like that would also be easier to transport than what I currently understand a "totem" to be.
 
The quick and dirty totem that most of us use is just a random piece of box truss with an appropriate base and top plate.  Thereís nothing really too special about them minus a top plate that you might drill to fit a particular bolting pattern for a light fixture.  The trouble is as you point out, box truss can be a pain to travel with.  A number of companies sell slightly more portable solutions.  Global Truss Glow Totems are an example of a design that breaks down flat.  I believe Trusst sells a similar package.  The catch with these though is that theyíre rather restrictive of what you can put on the top.  Smaller units are usually fine, but any large/heavy moving head will ďtwistĒ the totem when panning.  Pros and cons.  Iíve recently seen a product thatís similar but uses two I-beam trusses instead of 4 straight segments, helping with that problem a bit.  I canít recall or find an example though...

There are also ways to make a single upright per your question - usually just with a heavy base and threaded pipe.  Altman makes a pretty common product used for this, but there are others too.  The trick becomes from a loading standpoint, whatís up top (multiple fixtures versus single fixtures) is just another factor to account for when determining stability.  Clamping single static fixtures on the end of a pipe w/base is common practice (using sufficient ballast), but moving lights get tricky.  Again, the momentum of the moving head isnít trivial in most cases, so youíd really need to keep this in mind.  Iíve done a pair of 50 pound moving heads on a tree (tripod, not round base), but that was about my comfortable limit for such a thing.  Iíve never done a single moving head on a poll but deploy single static fixtures or scanners like that quite frequently.  Theyíre a little easier to clamp securely and donít have much (or any) momentum from moving.  A single Wizard Rush would be fine on a pipe so long as you use a decent tripod and/or sufficient ballast on the base.  Hope all this helps!
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 08:50:05 pm »

Wireless DMX works with the 2.4 gig band also, room to cause more trouble because it is in the wifi band.  I have not had much trouble with using this because I use the RACK 32 mixer on a Dual Band Router.  2.4 or 5 gig.  5 gig is where my Ipad runs the mixer.  The wireless DMX uses other radio technology that the 2.4 wifi does not recognize.  Using two or more receivers and 1 transmitter on the lighting system can make the cabling problem go away.  These systems also add to the cost. 

Also you can add in a software package like luminair with a Ethernet dongle off the laptop providing the DMX link.  DMX King for the dongle.  This luminair works with again a second Ipad to control the lighting.   Ethernet dongle connects to the wifi you use with the mixer. 

If you place one on the left and one on the right speakers you would still want a second light on each side to keep the white light balance and the second light is you color choices.  White should be dimmed as low as possible to give you better color response on the stage.
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William Schnake

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 09:57:51 pm »

I feel like software is the way to go too. One barrier is that I don't currently have a laptop. I'm in the market for one for many reasons other than just lighting, so I don't consider the cost of it part of my lighting budget.

Jeremy, here is some free advice getting a laptop for lighting.  We run Martin M-PC as our controller.  I purchased a dual core 2.2 ghz laptop with 8 gig of memory and a 250 gig hard drive.  I replaced the drive with a 250 gig SSD and the laptop flies.  For $300 total including the SSD, we have a lighting laptop that works great.  The Martin M-PC software is free.

Just a thought.

Bill
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Steve Garris

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 01:44:16 pm »

My three piece psychedelic rock/jamband has somewhat of a permanent residency at this place, where the lighting leaves much to be desired. I'm very new to lighting, but have been lurking on this forum and gathering information.

Goals:

  • Color washing to make the band clearly visible and provide depth is more important than movers and effects. Positioning ourselves to expand into effects with the infrastructure we buy now would be great though.
  • Something that is portable so we can use it at the other gigs we play, many of which are similar to this one.
  • Controllable if we have someone available to control it, or automated in some fashion if we don't. Open to hardware controllers, laptop approaches, tablets, anything really. But we're not too interested in using foot pedals to control it, because it's hard enough to play, sing and work with our complicated pedal boards for our instruments.

Based on the research I've done so far, my budget puts me in more of the "DJ" tier such as the Chauvet DJ or American DJ product lines, and I've been focusing mostly on hex LED pars from this type of company. That being said, there seem to be quite a few different manufacturers out there, so I'd love to hear about how some of them compare at this price point.



I'm thinking your best solution is the 4-bar lights already recommended and a couple of 12' stands. Alternately, you could build your own light trees with very inexpensive led lights that are sold on ebay, for a fraction of your budget, which is how I've built my light system:

(2) 12' T-Bars - don't use the little angled supports. You can then set up the pole and in 20 seconds place the T-bar with pre-wired lights. I wire the lights up and have one 15' IEC to edison hanging down. Set some of the lights to sound active, and some to "color fade" mode. Now you can simply plug these in and you have a light show.

These plastic box ebay lights are very bright and weigh almost nothing:
https://goo.gl/NC9Ca9

The stands I use have great clamps and go to 12 feet:
http://www.pssl.com/American-DJ-12-Ft-Heavy-Duty-Light-Stand-w-X-Bar

Once prewired, you can purchase a $50 keyboard bag to hold each light assembly:
https://goo.gl/YTmbo9

Do your speakers have fly-points? If so, you can mount your front wash lights on the speaker with a 10 mm thumbscrew. I made a bracket that holds 2 small Par 38's and installs in seconds with a single knob.

If you decide to go led for your front wash, that is where you need to spend money for a good light that includes RBGA led's. This fixture looks interesting to me with its 30 deg beam angle:
https://goo.gl/ZNdsWz

I can post pictures of all of the above later today as I'm moving to a new pc.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 01:55:13 pm by Steve Garris »
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Jeremy D. Clark

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 08:37:59 pm »


These plastic box ebay lights are very bright and weigh almost nothing:
https://goo.gl/NC9Ca9

The stands I use have great clamps and go to 12 feet:
http://www.pssl.com/American-DJ-12-Ft-Heavy-Duty-Light-Stand-w-X-Bar

Once prewired, you can purchase a $50 keyboard bag to hold each light assembly:
https://goo.gl/YTmbo9
I can post pictures of all of the above later today as I'm moving to a new pc.

Good stuff! I'd love to see a photo of what your lights look like in the keyboard case.
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Steve Garris

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 10:37:08 pm »

Good stuff! I'd love to see a photo of what your lights look like in the keyboard case.

I'm just getting ready to program a bunch of new Chinese lights that are similar but have RBGAUV diodes. I sat down with one and had to create a user manual - the one that came with them was completely wrong LOL.

This is my standard light bar that I through in with any PA rental. It goes on that ADJ stand (made by Accustand) and includes the following:
(1) ADJ Megabar
(2) Chinese led's - the LiteBright kind with little led's, RBGA
(2) Blizzard Hotbox 5's

You could build the same tree just using the Chinese lights and it would be just as good.

The Blizzards are set to color fade, and the others are all sound activated. This tree is a complete light show in a bag, except for the front wash. I place it on the stand, and plug it in - light show is done in 5 minutes.




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Steve Garris

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 10:56:52 pm »

The top picture shows my speaker mounted Par 38's, with incandescent 100 W bulbs. The light bar is behind the drummer. It gets dark right at the end of these summer concert shows so it's nice to have some lights.

Some money shots below. Almost everything you see are cheap, Chinese lights with fog or haze.

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Steve Garris

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 10:59:34 pm »

A couple more. In the last photo, notice the yellow lights. The gold colored light have amber, the yellow have white (RBGW). I definitely prefer the amber lights.

This show is a combination of house lights, my lights, and the bands lights.
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Steve Garris

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Re: How would you light this space for $2000?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 11:05:20 pm »

Here's just my lights at a small rental gig. This was before I had the 2-light bracket mounted on the speaker. It's just a single Par 38 on each side.

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