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Author Topic: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?  (Read 10318 times)

Stephane Desormeaux

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Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« on: March 28, 2011, 09:43:19 pm »

I am a musician playing with bands (2 or 3 at the same time) for the past few years.

We do bars, clubs, private parties, small corporate stuff, etc....

About 2 years ago, after many years of collecting here & there, I had a killer lighting kit for my bands. 4 Clay Paky scanners, 2 Studio Due moving heads, 6 Chauvet colorstrips, and a few led pars.

But, I almost never brought the whole kit to a gig. Too long to setup, and especially tear down at 2h15am saturday night. Plus I saw many bands playing the same venues we had with little or even zero lighting.

I sold everything.

But I do miss it. Especially setting it all up at home to create macros and scenes. Those are super cool toys. :)

I guess I'll just use a few pars, and rent extra stuff if the venue needs it. :(

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duane massey

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 09:57:42 pm »

Lighting is fun to play with, and the new LED stuff is really cool, especially if you "roll your own" programs. Lot easier to set up as well, and a lot cheaper as well.
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Duane Massey
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Drew Huber

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 10:50:10 pm »

I hate to admit that I'm old enough to remember the day when there were a ton of bands playing the club scene that had some great light shows. I toured with several back in the day as well as some larger acts. Most venues don't pay enough to support a full production anymore.

I have to admit that going LED has sure made it easier to step up the quality of light shows for the smaller acts. Less fixtures and lower power demand makes for a quick setup. 
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Martin Primus

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 11:19:06 pm »

When my band bought PA + Lighting, we bought our rig big enough to cover 90% of our gigs...all but the biggest ones.  As such we carry 12 PAR64 LED's for the backline and 4 more for the front (all white).  Very little power draw and creates a nice show.  Nothing too fancy, but like has been mentioned, lights are great except for having to put them up and take them back down every weekend.
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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 09:38:07 am »

We are a bar band.  I carry 15 ft Global Truss.

Back truss:
4 Martin MX-4 Scanners
1 Martin MX-1 Scanner
6 Par 36 LEDs
2 Lasers

Front lighting:
8 P64 LEDS
2 Martin MX-4 Scanners
2 Martin Mini Macs (one Maestro and one Wash)

Radiance Hazer

We use this in bars that hold 200 people or so.  If we play bigger places we add 20 ft of front truss with the above front lights and then add 6 more P64 LED cans and 2 Mega Bars. The smaller setup runs from a Martin Freekie or DMXIS.  If we use the larger setup, I run Bluelite.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 09:42:12 am by Stuart Pendleton »
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Matt Melberg

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 11:26:09 am »

I play in a bar band as well, and we carry far too many lights, but damn it looks good!  Setup isn't too bad because I pre wire everything so it's just plug power and DMX and go.  I think it gives the band an edge over others that don't carry stuff of their own.
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Matt

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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 11:41:35 am »

One of my guys commented this weekend after the hours of setup that it is a LOT of work, but when finished "it looks damn good."  Everything is prewired so we just have to hang the scanners on the truss and mount the movers. Takes a while but who cares when it makes the production stand out. Nuff said.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 07:47:02 pm »

the last lighting rig I hung had a little over 400 fixtures in it...

and it wasn't even a rock show :)

you can never have too many lights
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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 09:57:50 am »

But James, you are a lighting guy for a living, and I am a weekend warrior SOUNDMAN that dabbles in lights. 400 lights won't even fit in my trailer.

I have to admit that I have gotten where I enjoy lighting more than audio, but am not nearly as good at it.  Fifty years of playing music gave me a good ear for what it ought to sound like, but I have only been involved with lights for the last 5 so I have a lot to learn.  It looks easy...until you try and do something more than move a few faders for cans.

I wish I had a better eye for it.  I am still waiting for one of those AHA! moments when it all comes together.  Something about making moving lights look good that escapes me to a certain extent. I find myself feeling like I have gone to a disco sometimes. There seems to be a good balance for the right amount and speed of movement that I haven't honed in on yet, but I am working it every show.

Maybe I need to hire you for a weekend to fly down and go through it with me.....like I could actually afford that.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 11:25:57 am »

But James, you are a lighting guy for a living, and I am a weekend warrior SOUNDMAN that dabbles in lights. 400 lights won't even fit in my trailer.

I have to admit that I have gotten where I enjoy lighting more than audio, but am not nearly as good at it.  Fifty years of playing music gave me a good ear for what it ought to sound like, but I have only been involved with lights for the last 5 so I have a lot to learn.  It looks easy...until you try and do something more than move a few faders for cans.

I wish I had a better eye for it.  I am still waiting for one of those AHA! moments when it all comes together.  Something about making moving lights look good that escapes me to a certain extent. I find myself feeling like I have gone to a disco sometimes. There seems to be a good balance for the right amount and speed of movement that I haven't honed in on yet, but I am working it every show.

Maybe I need to hire you for a weekend to fly down and go through it with me.....like I could actually afford that.
hey now, i'm not that expensive....

although I did book 53 dates during the summer yesterday plus my house gig so my schedules a little packed....

not many people can afford 400 lights, let alone the crew to hang a rig that big...I think it was only about 40 points though, kinda small ;)
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John Strzalkowski

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 10:16:51 pm »

the last lighting rig I hung had a little over 400 fixtures in it...

and it wasn't even a rock show :)

you can never have too many lights

Completely agree. Sometimes if I have extra space in the truck to try out some new lights at a job, I will toss them in and see how it goes.
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alan hamilton

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2011, 02:04:22 am »


I guess I'll just use a few pars, and rent extra stuff if the venue needs it. :(

Anyone in the bar circuit should balance the coolness of their light show versus what it really gains them. If anyone's light show means the bar staff has to stay 2, 3, 4 etc hours after closing time while you load out, let alone dealing with feeder cable and tie-ins and other things they'd rather you not do (like taking ceiling tiles out, cables across walkways to find more circuits, etc).... then you might find that the large light show is a hindrance to the band's bookings more than a help.
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Matt Melberg

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 10:37:18 am »


I guess I'll just use a few pars, and rent extra stuff if the venue needs it. :(

Anyone in the bar circuit should balance the coolness of their light show versus what it really gains them. If anyone's light show means the bar staff has to stay 2, 3, 4 etc hours after closing time while you load out, let alone dealing with feeder cable and tie-ins and other things they'd rather you not do (like taking ceiling tiles out, cables across walkways to find more circuits, etc).... then you might find that the large light show is a hindrance to the band's bookings more than a help.

Agreed, but these days most everyone at that level should be looking at LED fixtures.  The power draw is minuscule and with lightweight fixtures, bringing in portable stands and or trussing is a simple matter.  I bring in about 30-40 fixtures and our total power draw is less than 15amps!
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James Feenstra

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 11:22:33 am »


I guess I'll just use a few pars, and rent extra stuff if the venue needs it. :(

Anyone in the bar circuit should balance the coolness of their light show versus what it really gains them. If anyone's light show means the bar staff has to stay 2, 3, 4 etc hours after closing time while you load out, let alone dealing with feeder cable and tie-ins and other things they'd rather you not do (like taking ceiling tiles out, cables across walkways to find more circuits, etc).... then you might find that the large light show is a hindrance to the band's bookings more than a help.
agreed...obviously you can't pack 40 mac 700s into a small bar

once you get above the 20-30a circuit for lighting at that level you've got too much

it's all about putting the kind of show into a place that will look good and not be ridiculously over the top (unless you're TSO ;))

personally i'm not into 'lights on' shows (even before I became a LD), people are paying good money to see whoevers performing, and they should get a little extra for their ticket than just some guy/girl/band/whoever playing 10 songs off their album.

at any level it's always the bands that put in a little extra effort that get noticed.
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Steve Hurt

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 04:26:47 pm »

..........I think it was only about 40 points though, kinda small ;)


1 point is too many for the average club gig!
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Jason Vanick

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2011, 05:01:08 pm »

at any level it's always the bands that put in a little extra effort that get noticed.

Definitely true... when my small bar band added lights (first few gigs were just sound-activated), the amount of dancing went up, as well as the amount of liquor sales.  In the few gigs after the first 'light' show, our attendance nearly doubled as well.

So, Lights == Happier/More Fun Audience == Better Bookings == More Money for the band.

Of course, we're not going to take a 40 point setup with us, qty 16 led cans are plenty for what we're doing.

4 trees pre-wired isn't that much extra to haul, and I'm lucky that the 2 guitarists will do the setup while I'm setting up the pa gear and the drummer is setting up his kit.

-J
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Steve Hurt

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2011, 05:19:17 pm »

Definitely true... when my small bar band added lights (first few gigs were just sound-activated), the amount of dancing went up, as well as the amount of liquor sales.  In the few gigs after the first 'light' show, our attendance nearly doubled as well.

So, Lights == Happier/More Fun Audience == Better Bookings == More Money for the band.

Of course, we're not going to take a 40 point setup with us, qty 16 led cans are plenty for what we're doing.

4 trees pre-wired isn't that much extra to haul, and I'm lucky that the 2 guitarists will do the setup while I'm setting up the pa gear and the drummer is setting up his kit.

-J

Running your show from the stage?  Got video? 
This is the size show that is about max for where we play and I am very interested in what others are doing.
We need to increase our light show to step the show part of the experience up, but the band will not pay for truss and labor. 
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Jason Vanick

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2011, 06:13:36 pm »

Running your show from the stage?  Got video? 
This is the size show that is about max for where we play and I am very interested in what others are doing.
We need to increase our light show to step the show part of the experience up, but the band will not pay for truss and labor.

I don't have any video at the moment... but, we don't have any trusses, just the 4 tripod trees and that's it.

Hopefully next show we should be able to have somebody shoot video and I'll grab some pics of the setup.

last show was in a small place and we lit from the sides and front, nothing rear.

the effect still worked nicely for the audience tho, IMO anything with some color and light changes synched a bit to the songs will help in a major way.
-J
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Steve Hurt

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2011, 06:21:53 pm »

I don't have any video at the moment... but, we don't have any trusses, just the 4 tripod trees and that's it.

Hopefully next show we should be able to have somebody shoot video and I'll grab some pics of the setup.

last show was in a small place and we lit from the sides and front, nothing rear.

the effect still worked nicely for the audience tho, IMO anything with some color and light changes synched a bit to the songs will help in a major way.
-J

I noticed you were doing it with 4 trees, not with truss, that's what got my interest!
That all we can handle at the moment ourselves.
Just looking to see how "big" people are making their show, while using a smallish light rig.

Maybe we can hire James one day to do a 40 point hang with a bazillion movers, but until then ......!
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Terry Martin

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2011, 11:25:45 pm »

The more the better!  ;)












SixtyFourEast - April 2, 2011 - Main Street Pub - Robinson, IL

I noticed you were doing it with 4 trees, not with truss, that's what got my interest!
That all we can handle at the moment ourselves.
Just looking to see how "big" people are making their show, while using a smallish light rig.

Maybe we can hire James one day to do a 40 point hang with a bazillion movers, but until then ......!
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Tim Palmer

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2011, 05:07:31 pm »


I guess I'll just use a few pars, and rent extra stuff if the venue needs it. :(

Anyone in the bar circuit should balance the coolness of their light show versus what it really gains them. If anyone's light show means the bar staff has to stay 2, 3, 4 etc hours after closing time while you load out, let alone dealing with feeder cable and tie-ins and other things they'd rather you not do (like taking ceiling tiles out, cables across walkways to find more circuits, etc).... then you might find that the large light show is a hindrance to the band's bookings more than a help.

Agreed, but these days most everyone at that level should be looking at LED fixtures.  The power draw is minuscule and with lightweight fixtures, bringing in portable stands and or trussing is a simple matter.  I bring in about 30-40 fixtures and our total power draw is less than 15amps!

My setup consits of 4 tripod stands and 4 sections of 5 ft truss. 8 small par led, 6 medium par led, 4 flat panle led, 2 star ball, 2 400 watt follow spots, 1 hazer. All will run off 1 20 amp ckt

Small bar setup - 2 tripods, each side / front of satge with 3 medium pars on each, each fixture pointing at a band member, clamp1 flat panel on each side and 1 star ball on each side, point these towards dance floor.

Medium bar set up - 2 tripods front/ side 3 pars each side for band member -  2 tripods rear to support truss, minimal 10ft wide, up to 20 ft wide depending on venue. put the 8 smaller pars and the 4 flat panels on that rear turss spread accrding to the width, back lighting and eye candy

larger shows, use the same type setup as medium, add the 2 follow spots at FOH areas and can move pars into whatever configuration looks best.
Use the hazer at all size where allowed, it makes all the difference in the world.
Run it all with bluelight
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Steven Leonard

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2011, 02:36:18 am »

I play in band and I do all the Sound and Lighting. Almost all of the Bars we play the sound and lighting is provided. Most of the time I am providing PA and Lighting it is for Corporate events and Weddings that we are playing at. These pay better so the added work is worth it. For lighting I usually send out:

2 Led trees on stands for back lighting. Each T bar has 2(sometimes 4 for larger shows) Elation Opti Tri Pars.

2 Elation ELED Strips. These go behind the band as either Cyc lighting for a rear wall or floor back lighting if there is no wall or drape behind the stage.

For front lighting I have 4 ETC S4 36 Degree Lekos split on two Global Truss Stands w/ T Bars. 2 Lekos per side aimed at the band frontline. The global truss stands are heavy but great. They go very high and are sturdy as a mother....well they are sturdy.

I also have 2 S4 pars that I either use for additional front lighting from the floor or from above depending on situation. I love the ETC stuff. Great quality.

I am pretty confident that are lighting is second to none in the local area. Honestly a lot of bands dont even provide anything! By offering it ourselves and for pretty cheap we are providing something other bands cant, and I think adding value. It is a good amount of work though! I custom wired all the trees back in December. The t bars with looms probably saved 20 minutes of setup time and it looks much nicer! See attached pic!
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 03:15:23 pm by Steven Leonard »
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Steve Hurt

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2011, 09:24:43 am »

Have pics of your rig in action at a show, Steven?  Like to see them if you do.

Especially like to see how you are using the strip lights
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Steven Leonard

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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2011, 11:19:45 pm »

Have pics of your rig in action at a show, Steven?  Like to see them if you do.

Especially like to see how you are using the strip lights

Below are some pics taken from my phone. By no means good quality but you get the idea.

Next time I'll try to get some closer shots of the Strip lights.

Thx!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 11:23:26 pm by Steven Leonard »
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Re: Bands & lighting, lots or little ?
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2011, 11:19:45 pm »


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