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Author Topic: advice on covering large outdoor area  (Read 6583 times)

Brian Muth

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advice on covering large outdoor area
« on: August 23, 2011, 10:58:02 pm »

I'm doing a band event outdoors on a patio that's maybe 70x150ft total including crowd seating. It has close to zero lighting,and is a dark hole at night.  I place  a 4x par64 led tree on each side of the band and it covers the small stage area wonderfully.
Here's where I need some advice:
For a high dollar fundraiser there, they will be doing an auction from the stage. I've been informed that it needs to be well lit... duh... but the issue is that the auctioneer needs to see the crowd (he can't be blinded by lights), so they want the entire crowd area lit too... BUT with NO ONE "blinded" by lights in their eyes.... this seems pretty tricky to me since I can't put lights entirely above their heads in the ceiling that doesn't exist! Basically they want it to be like an indoor setting, very bright but with no visible lights...

I'm looking for any and all advice on the subject. I expect the answer is in a quantity of dimmer lighting as opposed to fewer/bright lights. I've got a total of 12 ledpar64 currently, and six of the 9ft trees. I know the par cans have fairly narrow patterns, and expect they're the wrong light for the job... I'll spend some money here on additional lights. but would need advice on how to best spend the money-obviously the cheaper the better!
As for the par cans...Perhaps some diffuser gels to mellow out the cans?  How about some uplighting, is there any benefit to that?  Any experience with battery powered led cans?

I really appreciate the advice guys. I need it!
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James Feenstra

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 01:31:49 am »

uplighting won't really light up the crowd

your best bet would be to see if they'd rent a tent to cover the event that you can hang lights off of and/or light up so it disperses the light over the crowd

failing that, can you build a truss box around the crowd to do crowd lighting from the top? it's unlikely that you'll be able to light everything without some light being in someones face
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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 08:47:19 am »

We have rented lights for something similar.  Not sure what the unit is called.  It is a pull-behind generator with tower for two large lights, similar to what road crews use for working at night.  we had it brought out for a backyard party for a group of wealthy boaters that wanted the yard and docks lit by the water while we played.  It would cover the area fairly well.  Not sure what the rental cost was.
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John Moore

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 01:58:18 pm »

We have rented lights for something similar.  Not sure what the unit is called.  It is a pull-behind generator with tower for two large lights, similar to what road crews use for working at night.  we had it brought out for a backyard party for a group of wealthy boaters that wanted the yard and docks lit by the water while we played.  It would cover the area fairly well.  Not sure what the rental cost was.


they work very well, but are quite noisy running, since they are not muffled very well.....mostly seen on the freeway for night construction.


if you can get the lights up high enough, some 500w halogen type work lights would be sufficient. and would not be that blinding if you can get 14-16 feet in the air..
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John Livings

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 02:12:14 pm »

Have you considered having an Electrician give you an estimate to install a permanent sub panel with output options?

Sometimes the cost is close to that of generator rentals, without the Noise or set-up time.

Find out what the total load might be for lights, sound and..., double that and get a bid.

I don't know your set up, however if this is next to a commercial building or power, this could be an option.

Regards,  John
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Brian Muth

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2011, 11:49:44 pm »

Thanks for the answers guys. As I thought, getting them up in the air as high as possible is gonna be the key. They aren't going for the expense of tent/ trussing. Of course... they didn't get to be members of a ritzy club by spending their money, did they? 

There's plenty of power to be had on site, so that's not a concern. It's good to hear others confirm the things I suspected... exactly what a forum like this is designed to do!
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Rob Spence

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 01:20:19 am »

Maybe rent some crank up lifts and put some 500w pars up there?
I am sure any large A/V rental place will have both.
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Tim Padrick

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2011, 03:29:27 am »

Rent a blimp to hover over the site, and hang lights on that :-)
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2011, 09:08:28 am »

Rent a blimp to hover over the site, and hang lights on that :-)

Have bidders signal the auctioneer by using their cell phones as signal lights.
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Tim Palmer

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2011, 02:47:19 pm »

Do the gig in the daytime
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2011, 10:11:47 pm »

i picked up a few 400 watt metal halide highbays like you see in Home Depot , Lowes , and other stores with an exposed celing. heres a foto of one i used to light the car in the foto. they are probably the same as the type you rented. these have multi-tap ballast and i wired mine for 120v. they draw less current then a 500 watt halogen work light and produce way more light. i have seen these on ebay real cheap to. you could use someting like an a/c duct lift to hang them on or ?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 10:15:11 pm by Jeff Harrell »
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DanGlass

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 01:27:21 am »

If you are going to do it with pars I would suggest side lighting the crowd and stage.  Putting the stands at each fornt corner of the stage ( to light the auctioneer) will probably work but you will get much less complaints if you move them farther away at the same angle.  This will keep them out of the eyes of the auctioneer while he is searching the crowd for bidders.  The crowd you can light from the exteme sides shining back at them.  This will keep the light out of their eyes while they are focusing on the stage.  Adding a very light diffusion will give you more coverage but be careful because it will cut down on the amount of light output.  If you are using LED pars they already do not put out alot of light.  Remember to add weight (i.e. sandbags) to the bottom of your stands because now you will have the lights in an area where the audience could be walking <cringe>.  Please do EVERYTHING you can to insure that the audience is safe and cant hurt themselves.  One of the tricks to getting the auctioneer to not feel blinded is to make sure the audience is lit slightly brighter than he is.  This will keep his eyes from focusing on the bright circles of light shining on him and stay focused on the crowd.  The difference is called contrast.  If you shine al light into someones eye as they are staring into darkness the iris of the eye will close down to block out the light causing you to squint but if the person is staring into a bright room the iris will not close as much and the person will feel more comfortable.  Sorry if I rambled.  I hope you have a great gig and make sure they realize that even if they did the event during the day you still have the bright sun to deal with.
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 12:16:50 pm »

This may sound a little different, but give it a try. Get a few strings of C7 christmas lights and buy white frosted bulbs. Each string can be 50' long for the cheap ones. I've used these type of lights for all kinds of things and they have great output. You can even put them on a dimmer. It works great.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: advice on covering large outdoor area
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 12:16:50 pm »


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