ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down

Author Topic: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit  (Read 504 times)

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« on: September 14, 2018, 07:32:32 am »

Hi. We have a two-person play that we plan take on the road to small towns and cities and stage in small performing spaces, 80-200 seats, many of which do not have installed lighting. So we're looking for an inexpensive portable lighting kit to take along with us.
It is a single set play, an apartment, and 80 percent of the time, it's just unchanging lighting on the apartment and actors. At several points, the lights on the apartment dim and lights come up on the front of the stage for a flashback scene. At one other point a light goes on downstage right, when someone is at a pay phone.
What should we be buying? I'm guessing a couple of 12-foot light stands with a T-bar to start with.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
Logged

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1197
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 03:21:11 pm »

Please see the (strict) rules requiring your real name.
No one will answer until you fix it.
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 07:10:06 pm »

Please see the (strict) rules requiring your real name.
No one will answer until you fix it.

Put in my real name in the profile but it hasn't seemed to go through yet. I'll check back in tomorrow.
Logged

Jeff Lelko

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 963
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 09:53:19 pm »

Hi Stan, glad to see you got your display name all sorted out!  So a few things to consider here...

The way I see your situation, there are three things you need to invest in - fixtures, trussing/tripods, and a controller.  Speaking of investing, whatís your budget and how big is your stage?

Fixtures run a wide range of options with varying brightness, coverage, and quality just to name a few.  Whatís a reasonable solution will depend on your budget.  Many people are going all LED with their rigs, and while thereís nothing inherently wrong with that, good LED fixtures cost money.  Coming from a theatrical background myself, I can agree that despite being simple in nature you still want good, natural-looking light - not the cheap LED lighting that gives a cold harsh look.  If LEDs are out of reach you can always go with the cheaper halogen Par 38s that can be had for a mere $20.  Youíll need a dimmer pack to go with those, but those arenít terribly expensive either.  Itíll all depend on budget.

In terms of a controller, I normally recommend a true theatrical console for theatrical work, however, in your case Iíd take a hard look at QLab or Show Cue System.  Both can handle simple lighting (depending on the license you buy) and are made specifically for scripted playback in a theatrical environment.  While there is better lighting software out there for more complex applications, my vote is for one of those two programs.  On the plus side, you can also fire audio and video cues from the same program.  You can even automate the entire production if you so desire.

Lastly, I agree that a pair of tripods and T-bars are your best bet.  Generally, you want to get your lights around 45 degrees up and out, cross-aiming the fixtures so that each area on stage is hit from at least two opposing fixtures.  Now, as you probably know in most theaters we have dozens (and usually hundreds) of fixtures shooting from all different locations to give the lighting designer as much creative freedom as possible.  Since I imagine thatís beyond what you need right now, a pair of tripods is a good start.  Iíd look at the offerings from Ultimate Support and Duratruss.

Hope this helps and good luck!
Logged

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 09:10:31 am »

Hi Stan, glad to see you got your display name all sorted out!  So a few things to consider here...

The way I see your situation, there are three things you need to invest in - fixtures, trussing/tripods, and a controller.  Speaking of investing, whatís your budget and how big is your stage?

Fixtures run a wide range of options with varying brightness, coverage, and quality just to name a few.  Whatís a reasonable solution will depend on your budget.  Many people are going all LED with their rigs, and while thereís nothing inherently wrong with that, good LED fixtures cost money.  Coming from a theatrical background myself, I can agree that despite being simple in nature you still want good, natural-looking light - not the cheap LED lighting that gives a cold harsh look.  If LEDs are out of reach you can always go with the cheaper halogen Par 38s that can be had for a mere $20.  Youíll need a dimmer pack to go with those, but those arenít terribly expensive either.  Itíll all depend on budget.

In terms of a controller, I normally recommend a true theatrical console for theatrical work, however, in your case Iíd take a hard look at QLab or Show Cue System.  Both can handle simple lighting (depending on the license you buy) and are made specifically for scripted playback in a theatrical environment.  While there is better lighting software out there for more complex applications, my vote is for one of those two programs.  On the plus side, you can also fire audio and video cues from the same program.  You can even automate the entire production if you so desire.

Lastly, I agree that a pair of tripods and T-bars are your best bet.  Generally, you want to get your lights around 45 degrees up and out, cross-aiming the fixtures so that each area on stage is hit from at least two opposing fixtures.  Now, as you probably know in most theaters we have dozens (and usually hundreds) of fixtures shooting from all different locations to give the lighting designer as much creative freedom as possible.  Since I imagine thatís beyond what you need right now, a pair of tripods is a good start.  Iíd look at the offerings from Ultimate Support and Duratruss.

Hope this helps and good luck!


Wow! Jeff, incredibly helpful answer! Our budget is as small as we can possibly make it and still do the job. But the advice to go with older halogens which are much cheaper is the key for me. Being ignorant of lighting generally, I was only seeing LEDs. So that suggestion right there will probably make this possible for us.

I have run sound boards for local production and have used QLab for that, a free download. I'll look into it for lighting.

Again, incredible answer and we all appreciate it!
Logged

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1197
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2018, 12:05:01 pm »

You can probably find some used incandescent PAR cans for next to nothing.
When they convert to LED, these get tossed.
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.
Inventor.

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2018, 12:54:12 pm »

You can probably find some used incandescent PAR cans for next to nothing.
When they convert to LED, these get tossed.
Thanks, I was looking at Par can par 38's on Amazon and they have a well-rated one for $18 (Amazon prime). Bulb included. So I may go with that. According to the info with it, you can use LEDs with it
Here's a link to it.
Acceptable for a small theater space?
https://www.amazon.com/Eliminator-Lighting-Par-Black-lamp/dp/B000GATTME/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1537030374&sr=8-7&keywords=par+can+par+38

Logged

Jeff Lelko

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 963
  • Cape Canaveral, FL
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2018, 01:39:21 pm »

Glad I was able to help!  So since you think that halogen Pars are a good fit for your budget, here are some specifics:

These are what I use: Link.  They're not fancy and made cheaply, but the 3 dozen I have in inventory have survived the past decade and still see regular use.  They get the job done for a basic Par can, and I know a few other members here use them as well.  You'll also need a lamp to go with them.  I lamp mine to the full 250w capacity with these, though it appears this specific lamp is hard to find these days...mine are definitely living up to the 4500hr life span!  Any E27 socket flood lamp will fit in there, so it doesn't need to be anything specific though generally the wider beam angle the better.  I know others have done just fine with lesser wattages - most of my work is on stages at outdoor amphitheaters so I need all the lumens I can get!  I'm sure the Par Can itself you linked to on Amazon is just fine from a mechanical standpoint, but the lamp might be questionable.  It's hard to tell and I've never used that particular kit.  Not all lamps are created equally, and for this particular application you'll want a good one! 

As a full disclaimer, there's no one reason over another to buy these (or any) specific Par can - I just use them because they're very cheap and are a great utility fixture to fill in the gaps between my larger fixtures.  You could also consider Par 64s or something higher end like a Source Four Par - all of which can be had very cheaply via ebay these days.  The only caveat is that once you start getting into higher wattage fixtures you start needing heavier-duty dimmers, which get expensive quickly...

Speaking of dimmers, here's what I generally recommend for light-duty use - link.  With a pack like this you'll be able to connect up to 8 Par 38s, controlled in groups of two (it's a 4-channel pack).  Even with 8 250w units running full-on I've never had an issue with them keep up so long as you use moderation.  Anything with lesser wattage should be able run full-on indefinitely.  You can find dimmer packs for less, but the reason I like this one is that it will hold its last command should your DMX signal fail.  Not all cheap dimmers do this - some immediately blackout and that's not what you want happening in the middle of a performance!

Seeing as you mention LEDs in the Amazon link, yes, mechanically you can use the LED Par 38 lamps in anything with a fitting socket, however the dimmer usually doesn't work well with them.  Mileage varies significantly on this, so I've always been of the mindset to use either halogen as it's intended or to buy a proper LED Par fixture built for entertainment uses.

You'll want some gels and maybe a little diffusion to shape/color your beams to a fitting choice (you almost never use a naked lamp in theater), but I'd think you'll want softer colors just to add life into your lighting design.  If you buy a packaged lighting tripod they usually come with holes drilled in the T-bar for mounting fixtures, otherwise you'll also need a clamp for each fixture you buy.

I'm glad to hear you have QLab experience!  I don't think a license that includes lighting is free, but definitely look into it.  To go with that you'll need a USB-DMX interface such as this.  I have one, and while not the cheapest out there it's compatible with just about every piece of lighting software that accepts 3rd party interfaces (QLab and Show Cue System included).  Get yourself some real DMX cable (not mic cable), a terminator for your last dimmer in the daisy chain, and good quality 12/3 power cords (ideally SO or SOOW to be NEC compliant) and you should be all set.  Lastly, if you want road cases to move all this in, I've had good luck with the offerings from Audiopile, though companies like Road Cases USA offer dedicated lighting cases with the ability to customize to fit.  Just make sure you get at least 3/8" thickness if you go that route.  Happy researching and best of luck with the production!

Logged

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2018, 01:52:39 pm »

Glad I was able to help!  So since you think that halogen Pars are a good fit for your budget, here are some specifics:

These are what I use: Link.  They're not fancy and made cheaply, but the 3 dozen I have in inventory have survived the past decade and still see regular use.  They get the job done for a basic Par can, and I know a few other members here use them as well.  You'll also need a lamp to go with them.  I lamp mine to the full 250w capacity with these, though it appears this specific lamp is hard to find these days...mine are definitely living up to the 4500hr life span!  Any E27 socket flood lamp will fit in there, so it doesn't need to be anything specific though generally the wider beam angle the better.  I know others have done just fine with lesser wattages - most of my work is on stages at outdoor amphitheaters so I need all the lumens I can get!  I'm sure the Par Can itself you linked to on Amazon is just fine from a mechanical standpoint, but the lamp might be questionable.  It's hard to tell and I've never used that particular kit.  Not all lamps are created equally, and for this particular application you'll want a good one! 

As a full disclaimer, there's no one reason over another to buy these (or any) specific Par can - I just use them because they're very cheap and are a great utility fixture to fill in the gaps between my larger fixtures.  You could also consider Par 64s or something higher end like a Source Four Par - all of which can be had very cheaply via ebay these days.  The only caveat is that once you start getting into higher wattage fixtures you start needing heavier-duty dimmers, which get expensive quickly...

Speaking of dimmers, here's what I generally recommend for light-duty use - link.  With a pack like this you'll be able to connect up to 8 Par 38s, controlled in groups of two (it's a 4-channel pack).  Even with 8 250w units running full-on I've never had an issue with them keep up so long as you use moderation.  Anything with lesser wattage should be able run full-on indefinitely.  You can find dimmer packs for less, but the reason I like this one is that it will hold its last command should your DMX signal fail.  Not all cheap dimmers do this - some immediately blackout and that's not what you want happening in the middle of a performance!

Seeing as you mention LEDs in the Amazon link, yes, mechanically you can use the LED Par 38 lamps in anything with a fitting socket, however the dimmer usually doesn't work well with them.  Mileage varies significantly on this, so I've always been of the mindset to use either halogen as it's intended or to buy a proper LED Par fixture built for entertainment uses.

You'll want some gels and maybe a little diffusion to shape/color your beams to a fitting choice (you almost never use a naked lamp in theater), but I'd think you'll want softer colors just to add life into your lighting design.  If you buy a packaged lighting tripod they usually come with holes drilled in the T-bar for mounting fixtures, otherwise you'll also need a clamp for each fixture you buy.

I'm glad to hear you have QLab experience!  I don't think a license that includes lighting is free, but definitely look into it.  To go with that you'll need a USB-DMX interface such as this.  I have one, and while not the cheapest out there it's compatible with just about every piece of lighting software that accepts 3rd party interfaces (QLab and Show Cue System included).  Get yourself some real DMX cable (not mic cable), a terminator for your last dimmer in the daisy chain, and good quality 12/3 power cords (ideally SO or SOOW to be NEC compliant) and you should be all set.  Lastly, if you want road cases to move all this in, I've had good luck with the offerings from Audiopile, though companies like Road Cases USA offer dedicated lighting cases with the ability to customize to fit.  Just make sure you get at least 3/8" thickness if you go that route.  Happy researching and best of luck with the production!

Again Jeff, incredibly helpful. We've got a good play and good actors, but we have little experience with proper stage lighting. I'll let you know how we do. Thanks, Stan
Logged

Stan Freeman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Need advice on a simple portable stage lighting kit
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2018, 02:04:33 pm »

Jeff, one more question. I went looking for the Sylvania 250W halogen and you're right - they are hard to find. But I found a Sylvania LED 250W which they tout as a subsitute. What do you think? It says dimmable.

https://www.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-Equivalent-Replacement-Halogen-Dimmable/dp/B01B0M9T44/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1537034443&sr=8-3&keywords=250+Watt+-+PAR38+halogen
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.082 seconds with 21 queries.