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Author Topic: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig  (Read 6448 times)

Mike Sullivan

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Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« on: March 17, 2017, 11:54:27 pm »

I have plans to purchase some fast setup lights for bar shows, mostly because most systems are a hassle.  I'm probably going to get Chauvet's 4BAR Tri Flex with a couple SlimPar Pro W's for the front, a pair of Gigbar 2's for the rear with possibly a set of Initimidator Spot Duo 155's on the poles underneath for rear wash/effects.  This is going to be your garden variety bar rig (16-20ft x 12-16ft stages, dark rooms, etc, not intended for national acts, outdoors, or any of that ( I have access to other lights for those types of events )... nice thing is all of the Chauvet products are wireless capable with the D-Fi system, so I can use a D-Fi transmitter or controller.

The goal of the system is fast set up and tear down, wireless control, and simple to control.  All the lights have automatic programs or sound active programs that can be used, but I'd like a way to control it externally and maybe program basic scenes that I can hand off to someone to push buttons with.  Computer control with ShowXPress would be nice but I'm trying to keep it simple.  I was looking at the Obey 40 D-Fi which is the most likely bet, as it has room for 12 fixtures and up to 192 channels, which would be more than plenty.  Any other recommendations?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 12:03:07 am »

I have plans to purchase some fast setup lights for bar shows, mostly because most systems are a hassle.  I'm probably going to get Chauvet's 4BAR Tri Flex with a couple SlimPar Pro W's for the front, a pair of Gigbar 2's for the rear with possibly a set of Initimidator Spot Duo 155's on the poles underneath for rear wash/effects.  This is going to be your garden variety bar rig (16-20ft x 12-16ft stages, dark rooms, etc, not intended for national acts, outdoors, or any of that ( I have access to other lights for those types of events )... nice thing is all of the Chauvet products are wireless capable with the D-Fi system, so I can use a D-Fi transmitter or controller.

The goal of the system is fast set up and tear down, wireless control, and simple to control.  All the lights have automatic programs or sound active programs that can be used, but I'd like a way to control it externally and maybe program basic scenes that I can hand off to someone to push buttons with.  Computer control with ShowXPress would be nice but I'm trying to keep it simple.  I was looking at the Obey 40 D-Fi which is the most likely bet, as it has room for 12 fixtures and up to 192 channels, which would be more than plenty.  Any other recommendations?


Sorry, won't work.   You can't simplify the process.  There are many threads on this.


The problem is you want to control many fixture types.  The board doesn't support that it sends 16 channels of DMX per fixture.  Each fixture assigns it's channels arbitrarily so without any intelligence in the middle to translate the operation of each fixture into a common language (color, brightness, focus, zoom, prism rotate, gogo select etc.) that you can then programmatically control you  are forced to abstract the raw DMX setting for each step by moving fiddly low resolution faders while you visually assess the outcome.


You will also be losing fixture capability as you will have to address the 4-bar as a single fixture.


If you can't get by with a high end fixed system like a Blizzard Weather system then you have to take the plunge to computer control. 





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Phoenixx Neil

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 01:50:19 pm »

The setup you have seems to sound just right for your application, but what I think Scott was trying to say is that using the obey 40 to control your lights may not be as easy as using a console that will be able to show you what attributes you will be controlling when you move your faders, I.e. You will end up having to try and memorize what channel does what and at what DMX value. This isn't all that ideal any longer since our industry has come a long way, we have cheap, more advanced ways of simple lighting controls. I would suggest moving over to a computer and dmx dongle to control your lights- with that at least you don't have to play a memory game with the fixture's attributes all the time. ENTTEC makes some great  USB-DMX converters that are compatible with a plethora of freeware type lighting control software that you can play around with and see what you like. TL;DR it's probably for the best to move away from the obey 40 to a more "smart" lighting controller (in which case a PC and dongle)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:38:51 pm by Phoenixx Neil »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 09:11:50 pm »

Computer control with ShowXPress would be nice but I'm trying to keep it simple...Any other recommendations?

ENTTEC makes some great  USB-DMX converters that are compatible with a plethora of freeware type lighting control software that you can play around with and see what you like...

If going this route and you have time to shop, I'd almost say wait to see how the Chauvet acquisition of ChamSys plays out.  I'm sure that nothing will happen quickly but this could be a bit of a game changer, particularly if considering ShowXpress or MagicQ PC.  Glad to see that Phil is staying on though! (link)
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Rob Gow

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 01:36:29 pm »

DMXIS
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Allen Smith

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2017, 04:43:58 am »

You can indeed simplify the process.  I use four Chauvet 4BAR TRI USB with the OBEY40 DFI and a Behringer FCB1010 foot controller to control it all via MIDI.  The individual lights on the 4BAR can be addressed individually and essentially controlled as if they were individual lights.  This whole system can be set up in about 10 minutes at the gig and looks every bit as good as individual PARS.  You have to dig in to the specs but once you do you will see that the 4BR TRI USB is brighter than any of their entry level individual PARs until you step up to their prosumer stuff.  We use the DFI and although it cant be used to control lights from FOH, it works fine on a club stage.

I know where you are coming from being a bar band.  We have purchased equipment that is low to no compromise but sets up quickly and sounds great.  We have an 8 box EV QRX system and this light show and from the time we drop the ramp on the trailer to being ready to play can be as little as 60 minutes.  We are a three piece act with no production support.

The trick to programming the OBEY40 (which is admittedly not as intuitive as a laptop) is laying out your show and investing your time before you ever power up the OBEY controller.  I decided which lights I wanted to do which color, I actually did this in the free Chauvet software where I could use the 3D emulator.  I then created an EXCEL spreadsheet with all of the scenes in each bank I wanted and the DMX layout for each fixture.  Once you know what lights use what color in each scene it is easy to lay it out in EXCEL.  As far as colors that blend LEDs like purple, set up one fixture with the OBEY and play with it until you get the color you want and then enter that setting into EXCEL.  You can program the OBEY40 without even having your lights connected although having them connected ensures you identify any errors at the time you make them.

It sounds time consuming but it didnt take me any more time than it would have to do it fully in the PC software.  The benefits are the low cost of the controller, the ease of using DFI, and the super fast setup at a gig vs using a laptop/dongle/DMX cable.  The downfall is setting scene chase times is a little wonky during a gig and no PC backup of your settings although once the spreadsheet is created it is a backup of sorts.

I use a bank of scenes for each member of the band so each has a spot on when they sing/solo and a fourth bank of scenes for 'special' stuff.  It is easy and logical to run from a foot controller and the setup is super fast.

I am about to pull the trigger on 4 Chauvet Intimidator Spot 355.  I have looked over and over at the different movers and the 155s are not bright enough to keep up with the PARS, the 255s may be but I cant get a good feel for that, I know the 355s will keep up.  I will control the 355s with the OBEY 40.  The intent isnt to make individual scenes, I will use the movement macros programmed in the fixtures and turn them off via DMX.  If you watch enough videos of these fixtures, they coordinate their movements nicely when set to master slave and likely do a better job than any scenes I could create regardless of the controller.

One additional note, the beauty of these fixtures is they come with a wireless controller.  I was able to program the scenes in the Obey controller so we can scale the show for stage size etc.  We use 1 or 2 front trees with the RF, 2 front with a single rear using OBEY, 2 front 2 rear with OBEY, or 2 front 3 rear with OBEY controller.  I actually sold my fifth 4BAR since it was going to be rarely used and I thought movers added more benefit than a fifth bar.

I know this is a lengthy post but I wanted you to know what you want to do can be done.  Message me if you have specific questions, I would be glad to help you in any way I can.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 04:50:48 am by Allen Smith »
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Allen Smith

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2017, 06:18:39 am »

Here are a few pictures of the show.  The purplish one is from a show we provided sound and lighting, it uses 5 4bar tri usb.

The second picture is from a gig we played and is four 4bar tri usb.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 12:53:02 pm »

Looks great! I agree that if you're running lights from stage while playing, these self-contained light bars are the way to go. They're a little pricey, but probably worth it. They come down and transport in those cases very nicely.
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Terry Martin

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 02:15:26 pm »

We use a Show Designer 2 with about 200 scenes programmed.  Yep, lots of work on front end but it works well for our bar band. 
https://www.facebook.com/bombshellrox/videos/1521115501261797/


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Steve Garris

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 03:45:28 pm »

We use a Show Designer 2 with about 200 scenes programmed.  Yep, lots of work on front end but it works well for our bar band. 
https://www.facebook.com/bombshellrox/videos/1521115501261797/


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Nice! I like the scanners. Which are those?
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Terry Martin

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 04:28:20 pm »

Nice! I like the scanners. Which are those?
Chauvet Intimidator LED 300's.  Good features for bar band - lightweight - rotating gobos. 


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Brian Garrett

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 10:27:09 am »

I'm new here, but I use MA-ligthing's dot2 onPC free universe to do a pretty significant show.  You have to buy a few components, like an Artnet to DMX dongle, but once you do that you have lots of capability.  I also use a midi board with foot switch inputs to control it while I'm playing guitar.  It's better when I'm running lights and not playing, but I can get by for my personal band. 

For less $'s than a single LED PAR would cost, you could be using the baby sister of the grandMA2! 
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Steve Garris

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 01:14:36 pm »

Chauvet Intimidator LED 300's.  Good features for bar band - lightweight - rotating gobos. 


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Ah, not surprised. Based on a lot of reading and looking at other light shows I decided my minimum for an LED scanner should be about 60 watts.
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Kevin Olson

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 10:25:01 am »

Here are a few pictures of the show.  The purplish one is from a show we provided sound and lighting, it uses 5 4bar tri usb.

The second picture is from a gig we played and is four 4bar tri usb.

Great shots. We're using an almost identical setup and I'm in the process of programming our lighting. The haze makes the lighting look all the better. What type of fog/hazer are you using? What are the pros/cons?


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Allen Smith

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2017, 04:07:45 pm »

Great shots. We're using an almost identical setup and I'm in the process of programming our lighting. The haze makes the lighting look all the better. What type of fog/hazer are you using? What are the pros/cons?


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We are using the Antari Z350.  It is awesome.  The only issue if you can call it an issue is that on its lowest setting it can be too much fog for a small venue on auto mode.  I just use the button periodically and it's fine.  Having used a few other foggers, the build quality and price of this one is pretty awesome.
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Wes Garland

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2017, 11:33:37 am »

I have a similar setup. An ADJ-branded Elation controller and Microh tribar LEDs.   This is NOT the most intuitive setup, but you *can* control the fixtures individually with the Microh and bet you can with the Chauvet, too.  I have mine set for 6-channel operation, which is confusing on a controller that is 8-sliders wide... but basically, I take the fixture number on the controller, multiply it by eight, and set the fixture for that DMX channel.  Then each slider pair controls R/G/B from each light.  Yeah, super-confusing, a computer would be easier to think about.

So how do I handle a show?  I program all of the looks I want ahead of time into scene, and I label each light.  I think of each look as being centric to a band member, and assign each band member a bank.  So, the front man is bank one, any scene in bank 1 should look good on him.  Scenes 4-6 are more saturated, less bright versions of scenes 1-3.  Scene 7 is focus-guy-only, rest of stage is dark (dim blue, actually). Then I assign chases similarly, chase 1 is bank 1 scenes 1-3, chase 2 is bank 2 scenes 1-3, chase 5 is bank 1 scenes 4-6, etc.

Now, live, I have less stuff to remember and I can actually make changes with my left hand while playing piano with the right.  I basically select either scenes or chases, pick a fade speed which gives me the side effects I want as my moonflowers cycle over the dance floor, and use "tap tempo" to pick how fast things should go.

I have been thinking also of sending scene changes via MIDI as I change programs in the piano......but I have finite time, and I don't know what happens if I send bad data.  If you pick the currently-selected scene in this controller, it goes to blackout mode. Grr.

Wes
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duane massey

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2017, 09:02:04 pm »

Wes, I am guessing that you have a Showdesigner 1? Very useful controller once you get up to speed on the programming method.
I set up a couple for bands a while back, and basically used one page of scenes for each song. With 99 pages you can do this, especially if you set up a few generic scenes at first.
Made running the system easy for the sound guy, as all he had to do was select the proper page and then step thru the scenes on cue for each song.
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Duane Massey
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Wes Garland

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2017, 10:27:14 pm »

No, not quite that fancy.  I have an Elation DMX Operator, although my specific unit was OEMd for American DJ.  It's a simple controller, but it has flexible enough data input and a bunch of buttons.  The bunch of buttons are really useful when you're multitasking.
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duane massey

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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2017, 09:34:27 pm »

Yep, there is a world of difference. If you watch you can quite often find SD 1's on Ebay for $200 or so.
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Duane Massey
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Re: Controlling easy-to-set-up Chauvet bar band lighting rig
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2017, 09:34:27 pm »


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