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Author Topic: Small band lighting- any suggestions?  (Read 9020 times)

Sean

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Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« on: May 27, 2004, 06:44:02 pm »

Hi, I play in a band and we are now to the point where we are thinking about lighting rigs for our show. None of us has any experience with this and dont even know where to begin. Any suggestions on where to start?

Thanks in advance.

-Sean
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Alex_C

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2004, 06:12:49 am »

Can you be a little more specific:

- What size venues are you playing in?
- What kind of budget do you have?
- What type of music do you play?

Alex
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Sean

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2004, 04:14:10 pm »

alexc wrote on Fri, 28 May 2004 06:12

Can you be a little more specific:

- What size venues are you playing in?
- What kind of budget do you have?
- What type of music do you play?

Alex


1: 300-400 cap
2: Lets say $1000-$1500
3: Heavier stuff...not metal...but a heavy rock thing.
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Alex_C

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Small Band Lighting - The [Almost] Definitive Guide
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2004, 06:03:21 pm »

Hi Sean,

That narrows the options down a little! Lighting equipment eats up the cash prety quick - a single moving head light will cost more than that.

Basically, what you need is:

1. A controller ("desk")
2. Dimmer pack(s)
3. Lights
4. Stands
5. Cables & Connectors

I don't know that much about this end of the market, but to give you some idea, let's address each one of these in turn:

1. Controller
Behringer Eurolight LC2412 (~$200). This is a budget 24-channel DMX (digital) console, but has a lot of features for the price. Some people have mentioned reliability problems, but we've had one in our rental stock for almost a year and not had any reports of problems. Maybe someone else can make some other recommendations in this area.

2. Dimmer Packs
2x 4-Channel Dimmer (~$150+ each). I was about to recommend the 6-channel Behringer LD6230. It's a cheap, competent, DMX-controlled rack-mount dimmer. Then I remembered the American DJ DP-DMX4B. This is a little over half the price of the Behringer, and has the advantage of being small and light enough to mount on the lighting stand. It also has all the output sockets built-in, whereas you'd have to make up input and output cables for the Behringer.

3. Lights (aka. Fixtures Smile)
8x PAR56 Cans & 300W Lamps (~$50-60 each inc. lamps). The PAR can has for years been the foundation of rock lighting. Large shows will use 50, 100, or even more 1kW PAR cans in addition to the 'intelligent' moving-head stuff, but 8x 300W PARs is a good starting point. You will also need gels - the color filters which you cut to size to put in the fixtures' color frames.

4. Stands
2x Tripod Lighting Stands (~$50 each). Pretty self-explanatory. Each one holds 4 fixtures. You can pay about $20 more for stands with additional side-bars, allowing them to hold 8 fixtures each. It might be worth spending a little bit extra on these if there's any chance you'll want to upgrade in the near future. Also, the side-bars would be a good place to hang the American DJ dimmer pack from - it's designed for truss mounting.

5. Cables & Connectors
The PAR cans will come (usually) with a short heat-resistant cord, probably about 2-3ft. If you get stand-mountable dimmer packs (like the American DJ), you might be able to get by with the included cord, in which case you'll just need to buy a 3-pin Edison plug for each fixture. Otherwise, you'll need to make up (or buy) some appropriately long extension cords. The cost of these can mount up surprisingly quickly. On the subject of cables, you'll also need DMX cables to connect the controller to the dimmer packs, and a terminator to connect to the last pack in the chain. The cables go:

Controller --> Dimmer 1 --> Dimmer 2 + Terminator
Where '-->' represents a cable

The total for everything here, excluding cables & connectors, is about $1100. The cables could add anything from $20-$200 to that, depending on what you need.

Hopefully I've covered everything you need to know here...

Good luck,

Alex.


(Note that my approximate prices were from a 10-second search on Google. You can probably get most of this stuff substantially cheaper if you look around.)
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Ray Abbitt

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Re: Small Band Lighting - The [Almost] Definitive Guide
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2004, 06:17:22 pm »

alexc wrote on Sat, 29 May 2004 15:03

2. Dimmer Packs
2x 4-Channel Dimmer (~$150+ each). I was about to recommend the 6-channel Behringer LD6230. It's a cheap, competent, DMX-controlled rack-mount dimmer. Then I remembered the American DJ DP-DMX4B. This is a little over half the price of the Behringer, and has the advantage of being small and light enough to mount on the lighting stand. It also has all the output sockets built-in, whereas you'd have to make up input and output cables for the Behringer.
Actually for about the same price as the ADJ you can get the Leviton/NSI D4-DMX which is 1200 watts per channel rather than 600 (although you are still limited to 2400 watts maximum), has breakers instead of fuses on the channels and (probably) has better reliability and more manufacturer support.

-ray
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Alex_C

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2004, 06:24:23 pm »

Thanks for the input Ray, I'll look into that one.
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Sean

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2004, 02:27:52 am »

Thanks for the help guys...this well definately get me started.
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Will Sanders

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2004, 08:35:47 am »

If you are looking for all inclusive packages with lights, controller, and dimmers, try looking at American DJ.  They have several packages to choose from.  Another option is to try www.cheaplights.com.  They have a package from Chauvet that has a 24 channel controller, two dimmer packs, cables, and four par 56's with lamps.  You can always add more to this.

Will Sanders
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len woelfel

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2004, 08:58:42 am »

I've been a dj for 25 years.  But I'd never venture into live sound reinforcement because it requires a totally different skill set.  If I were a band member and newly looking for lighting, I'd not buy anything.  I'd contact a rental house and see if I could hire them to run the whole thing for me.  A bit more expensive, but I'd end up getting more and better and newer.  

More:  they'll have someone who knows what he's doing with the lighting and can better utilize its features, i.e., you get more bang for the buck and the learning curve is shorter.

Better:  Instead of you buying and maintaining, they will do that.  Plus, if you're not working over the course of a month, all that investment is sitting there doing nothing.  The rental house will keep it working with other people.  

Newer:  Because they keep their stock working more often, they can afford to replace it more often.  

Plus, no new skills to learn, no extra load in and set-up time, no equipment you're stuck with if the band breaks up, no worries about who's responsible for bringing, storing, maintaining it, etc.  

So what would I specifically rent:

2 - 4 HES Color Commanders.  These are color mixing fixtures and will do the work of multiple par cans.  

2 - 8 moving heads.  A HES Studio Spot or Martin Mac series is what you want.  Depending on the venue, you'll want a combo of wash and spot fixtures.  If you're doing a higher energy set, you'll want more spots, a more mellow set, more washes.  You may also want to consider adding/replacing some moving heads with some scanners, such as HES Technobeams or Martin 918 or MX-10.  A moving head doesn't have the fast movements of the scanner, but has a wider range.  

The headliners (Sting, Jay Z, Rolling Stones, Rush, Britney Spears, Michael Buble, etc.) don't own their equipment.  They lease it.  When the tour's over, the equipment goes back.  No worries, no maintenance, no nothing.  

Mike Greene

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2004, 03:04:53 pm »

Just continuing from what Len said... I've worked with the HES Technobeams, and they are pretty nice fixtures... I'm doing a show in the fall with a bunch of them also.

Sort of off topic, but I thought I'd mention it...

I was in London last year a couple of days before Robbie Williams did his tour that started at Knebworth... During my private tour of VLPS London they had 4 tractor trailers loading up with basically the entire stock of VL1000's and Mac's that they had... Williams had something like 160 moving lights for the first night... turns out they called VLPS the morning I was there and said something to the extent of... "we're filming a movie opening night and want it to be a little better, so we'd like 80 more moving fixtures"... god it must be sweet to have an open budget when producing a show. haha.
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Mike
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