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Author Topic: Small(ish) stage, low(ish) ceiling. Suggestions for fixtures and placement.  (Read 518 times)

Mark Wesley-Smith

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I've been asked by a friend, who is adding a live music room to his bar, to suggest what lights he should buy and where to place them to best light up the performers on stage and look good to the audience.

The stage is a curved wedge (think quarter of a pizza shaped) in one corner of the live music venue.

The straight edges of the stage are 5 metres long.

The stage will be 30cm high.

The room height is only 3 metres.  Giving only 2.70 metres from stage to ceiling.

For a standard live band set up of drums, bass, guitars and vocals, the drums will be back in the corner, backline either side of the drums, and musicians towards the front of the stage, on or near the curve.

My friend and I think that we only want a simple set up of some LED pars or bars for colour washes and some mini moving heads for interest.

With such a low ceiling, would you recommend wide angle led pars or would led bar lights be better?

Which ever we choose, they will have to be placed at a steep enough angle over the performers so that they don't get blinded.

Should we have some pars/bars backlighting the band also?

As for the mini moving heads, please take a look at the attached photo.

Where do you think the best placement for these would be?

Also, what would be the simplest controller(s), hardware or software, to operate during a gig, from song to song. Most appropriate for a small venue, with an easy learning curve for beginner operators?

Many thanks for any advice/suggestions  :)
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John Fruits

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Welcome markws, the first advice would be to change your displayed name to your full name as per forum rules before the thread gets locked.  Oh, and good luck with your project.
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"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

Mark Wesley-Smith

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Thanks John Fruits.  Done!

Any advice for my friend's project?

With front pars/bars only a couple of metres away from the performers, do you think led light bars would make more sense than wide angle led pars?

Could you recommend a dmx controller for this basic set up? (A few led pars/bars + 8 mini moving heads (2x4))

Any other recommendations?

Cheers!
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Jeff Lelko

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Hi Mark, a few thoughts...

With front pars/bars only a couple of metres away from the performers, do you think led light bars would make more sense than wide angle led pars?

It really depends, and in your case hitting the right angles is a more important consideration.  At least when lighting in a theatrical sense, what you do with shadow and darkness is just as important as how you use brightness.  In other words, a little darkness isn't a bad thing - it can help to show dimension and depth of your stage.  At the same time, I don't care for lighting designs where you can't see the people performing.  It's a balance really... 

For lighting talent I'd take spots over bars any day.  Try to mount your primary wash fixtures around 45 degrees up and out - so in this case, along your walls pointing down and inwards.  Side lighting and backlighting can give you a lot of creative options as well to supplement your front fill.  I'd opt for a decently wide-angle fixture that can produce nice whites and ambers.  You can splay them a bit too to allow some gradients in your wash. 

As for the mini moving heads, please take a look at the attached photo.
 
I'm not a fan of these types of fixtures for a few reasons...  To begin with, they are roughly equivalent to a Maglite on a servo - not bright.  They also tend to have a very narrow beam angle.  If the room is dark enough and if you have sufficient fog and tasteful programming they can sometimes look okay, but more often than not they don't give a sophisticated look that you might expect from moving lights.  Speaking of fog, are you using any? 

Also, the particular unit you linked appears to have two PowerCon inlets.  If that's the case I'd wonder what other electrical mishaps the unit has going on inside.

In terms of movement and effects, I'd advise against moving lights of any type and look to effect lights or similar.  A unit such as a Martin Wizard Rush will have no trouble filling a room, can produce a wide variety of effects, and looks good both with and without fog.  Aim it upwards a bit to keep beams out of your patrons' eyes and I think it'd work quite well.  Alternatively, use more Pars to do some creative uplighting or backlighting.  Some tasteful programming will add plenty of movement to your stage and still look good with or without fog. 

Could you recommend a dmx controller for this basic set up? (A few led pars/bars + 8 mini moving heads (2x4))

This is the "Subs on Auxes" question of the light world - the question is asked nearly every month at least once without fail.  Hardware vs Software.  For what I presume you're looking to spend it's software all the way.  Martin's (Elation's) M-PC with an M-Touch is currently the best budget offering and one of the few truly sufficient options available for under $1000.  Yes, there are cheaper things out there, but unless you just want simple off/on, the cheap hardware controllers will leave you wanting more.  I'd suggest reading up on M-PC and downloading the free demo.  For ease of use I believe M-PC can be MIDI-triggered by a volunteer operator without much trouble.

Hope this helps!
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