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Author Topic: Small band lighting- any suggestions?  (Read 9116 times)

Alex_C

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2004, 03:41:19 pm »

Quote:

god it must be sweet to have an open budget when producing a show


Exactly - which is why I would hesitate before recommending rental as an option for small bands. Sure, these major international acts rent, but they do have a budget of several $1000s for lighting each show.

I think the bottom line is this: If you're only rarely doing gigs in clubs/bars with little or no stage lighting, then yes, spend a few hundred on renting a good lighting rig and someone competent to operate it.

If, on the other hand, you'll be needing to sort out your own lighting regularly, then buy a small rig. It may not look as good, but it should pay for itself in 5-10 shows, whereas the cost of renting will probably be taking quite a large proportion of your night's pay at each show.

Just my $.02,

Alex
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2004, 03:35:34 pm »

Quote:

   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.
     




At the local and regional level, renting is not an option. The prices for even a small lighting rental will far exceed what the band is making for the entire gig!

While some rental houses have put together very basic systems for rent (like 2 trees with 4 pars each, tree dimmers and a small controller) that may be reasonably cheap, the fact is that to rent any moving lights at all will cost over $100 ea!  A small system like you described (4 Color Commanders and 2 moving heads will start at about $800 including labor and skyrocket up! Most local and regional bands don't even make that kind of money per gig to spend it all on a simple (and probably boring with so few fixtures) light show.

Craig
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len woelfel

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2004, 03:54:52 pm »

[quote title=Craig Leerman wrote on Fri, 04 June 2004 20:35]
Quote:

 

At the local and regional level, renting is not an option. The prices for even a small lighting rental will far exceed what the band is making for the entire gig!

While some rental houses have put together very basic systems for rent (like 2 trees with 4 pars each, tree dimmers and a small controller) that may be reasonably cheap, the fact is that to rent any moving lights at all will cost over $100 ea!  A small system like you described (4 Color Commanders and 2 moving heads will start at about $800 including labor and skyrocket up! Most local and regional bands don't even make that kind of money per gig to spend it all on a simple (and probably boring with so few fixtures) light show.

Craig


A.  Rentals aren't that expensive in every market.  4 moving head and 2 color commanders can be rented for around $450 in Chicago.  Labor would be another $200.  But then, you'd have a professional show.  

B.  They'd only be boring if the programmer doesn't have any imagination.  In my hands even a crappy band would look good.  Maybe not sound good, but they'd look good.

Craig Leerman

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2004, 05:42:19 pm »

Quote:

    A. Rentals aren't that expensive in every market. 4 moving head and 2 color commanders can be rented for around $450 in Chicago. Labor would be another $200. But then, you'd have a professional show.

B. They'd only be boring if the programmer doesn't have any imagination. In my hands even a crappy band would look good. Maybe not sound good, but they'd look good.        



A.  $450-650 is still more than most bars bands make per night!  I also wouldn't call a 6 fixture rig a "professional show". While it may be comprised of 6 expensive fixtures, its still just 6 fixtures.  Also, 4 moving heads are quite heavy. In most clubs your rigging options will be limited, unless you want to ground stack the units or place them on trunks. Otherwise, you will need additional rigging to hang them (like trees or truss) adding to the cost of the rental. And last, many moving fixtures need more than a simple 15-20 amp Edison outlet for power. Many units require 20-30 amps or more per fixture, or even 220 volts. Most clubs are hard pressed to get enough power for the band's backline and PA. Adding high power movers may not be an option, and even if the club has the available power, you will have to rent a PD or other power accs to make the show happen, adding more cost to the rental.

B.  There is only so much you can do with 6 fixtures.  While I'm sure a good programmer can make them move around and look cool and different for every song, the fact remains that there are only 6 fixtures. You can barely light up a trio in a club with 6 wash fixtures!  One of the main goals of stage lighting is to ILLUMINATE the performers so the audience can see them. For that you need an adequate stage wash. 2 Color Changers are not what I call an adequate stage wash, even for a trio.

A way better choice for a small local type band is lots of smaller wattage Par Cans or color changers and if you must have some movers, go with smaller moving mirror fixtures like Martins or  HE TrackSpots. But get a bunch of wash light on the band so they are illuminated!


Here is a shot from a rig I designed for a small band. The back lights are 12 Par 46 cans that all plug into 1 NSI tree dimmer. The rear also contains two Par 56 cans, 2 Mini Moon Stars, and 2 AMDJ strobes.  Front lights are 4 Par 56 cans.  The entire system runs on 2 20 amp circuits.  While the picture is a little dark (I used a film camera with the wrong settings and then a flatbed scanner to get it to digital), the small light rig does provide a lot of light on two outlets, and was very affordable.

They have since added 8 AMDJ Pocket Scans and got rid of the Mini Moons and added two more Par 56s to the front wash (now it is a three color wash). The Pocket Scans put out enough light to be effective, and having 8 of em is a really big look!

http://www.angelfire.com/biz/harborsound/par46.jpg
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Brian Ship

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2004, 10:04:24 pm »

Imagine being the moving light department for them in getting that order...  Not only did they have to prep that many instruments at short notice but because it's video it's also very likely that most if not all moving light lamps had to be brand new.   I would assume that there were some grumpy tech people that day at least as grumpy as our tech people get when that happens to us.  He he he.
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len woelfel

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2004, 09:32:07 am »

[quote title=Craig Leerman wrote on Fri, 04 June 2004 22:42]
Quote:

   


A.  $450-650 is still more than most bars bands make per night!  I also wouldn't call a 6 fixture rig a "professional show". While it may be comprised of 6 expensive fixtures, its still just 6 fixtures.  Also, 4 moving heads are quite heavy. In most clubs your rigging options will be limited, unless you want to ground stack the units or place them on trunks. Otherwise, you will need additional rigging to hang them (like trees or truss) adding to the cost of the rental. And last, many moving fixtures need more than a simple 15-20 amp Edison outlet for power. Many units require 20-30 amps or more per fixture, or even 220 volts. Most clubs are hard pressed to get enough power for the band's backline and PA. Adding high power movers may not be an option, and even if the club has the available power, you will have to rent a PD or other power accs to make the show happen, adding more cost to the rental.

B.  There is only so much you can do with 6 fixtures.  While I'm sure a good programmer can make them move around and look cool and different for every song, the fact remains that there are only 6 fixtures. You can barely light up a trio in a club with 6 wash fixtures!  One of the main goals of stage lighting is to ILLUMINATE the performers so the audience can see them. For that you need an adequate stage wash. 2 Color Changers are not what I call an adequate stage wash, even for a trio.

A way better choice for a small local type band is lots of smaller wattage Par Cans or color changers and if you must have some movers, go with smaller moving mirror fixtures like Martins or  HE TrackSpots. But get a bunch of wash light on the band so they are illuminated!
http://www.angelfire.com/biz/harborsound/par46.jpg


A small stage (less than 30 x 12 deep) can be illuminated by 2 CC.  4 is better for color mixing but 2 will do fine.  And they're not color CHANGERS, they're color mixers.  Each light can produce a much wider range of colors than any bunch of pars ever could, especially for the price, the size, and the power draw.  And 8 par 64 with 500 watt lamps will pull 4000 watts if all on.  That's roughly 40 amps.  4 good quality movers, such as Studio Spots or Mac 250 series will draw about 1/4th that.  Yeah, they could be run off the floor or off cases.  Trussing isn't that necessary.  Likely the only way to put a truss up in most small to mid sized venues is to use ground support.  Rigging would be too costly.  Which is another reason why movers are more economical.  Less time and less expense in set up.  So you drop movers around the stage and they become spotlights for each performer, in addition to adding effect lighting, gobos on the cyc (the back wall), strobing, etc.  And each one could likely be aimed at 2 or 3 performers as needed, as opposed to pars, which can't be moved once the show starts.  

Nick S.

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2004, 10:15:54 am »

len wrote on Fri, 04 June 2004 20:54



A.  Rentals aren't that expensive in every market.  4 moving head and 2 color commanders can be rented for around $450 in Chicago.  Labor would be another $200.  But then, you'd have a professional show.  

B.  They'd only be boring if the programmer doesn't have any imagination.  In my hands even a crappy band would look good.  Maybe not sound good, but they'd look good.




len wrote on Sat, 05 June 2004 14:32

A small stage (less than 30 x 12 deep) can be illuminated by 2 CC.

A small stage can be illuminated by a domestic lightbulb, but it doesn't mean the illumination is any good. I don't peronally believe from my own experience that 2 fixtures that you suggest (Mac 250s) can illuminate a 30x12 stage - at one venue in a smaller space than you give I've seen 6 fixtures plus pars, floods etc. for a single stand up act.

len wrote on Sat, 05 June 2004 14:32


Yeah, they could be run off the floor or off cases.  Trussing isn't that necessary.  Likely the only way to put a truss up in most small to mid sized venues is to use ground support.  Rigging would be too costly.  Which is another reason why movers are more economical.  Less time and less expense in set up.  

I'm glancing over now at my local supplier's hire costs - Mac 250:
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len woelfel

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2004, 02:35:26 pm »

First, I said that I could illuminate a 30 x 12 or smaller stage with 2 color commanders, not 2 Macs (or any other moving spot in the 250 +/- watt range, for that matter.  The diffusion isn't wide enough).  

What you can rent stuff for and what I can are 2 different things.  I have rented fixtures of that caliber for that price.  

Finally, if you'll go back and read my original post, it was meant to illustrate that there are other reasons to rent as opposed to buying.  My point is that there's more to a purchase than just what to purchase.  It's how to purchase (cash vs. credit, lease to own), where to buy from, what to buy, etc.  

With renting, you get:

less concerns about equipment maintenance, storage, etc.

less skills to learn

less time in set-up for the band

if the band breaks up, less equipment to sell

And one more thing:  if you find that you like a certain set-up, then you can go buy it, assuming that it makes financial sense.  But rather than tie up a larger money outlay up front, you can rent something and not be married to it.  No, renting is not the be all and end all.  But neither is jumping in with both feet and regreting a purchase in a month.  

Craig Leerman

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2004, 11:06:07 pm »

Quote:

   A small stage (less than 30 x 12 deep) can be illuminated by 2 CC. 4 is better for color mixing but 2 will do fine. And they're not color CHANGERS, they're color mixers. Each light can produce a much wider range of colors than any bunch of pars ever could, especially for the price, the size, and the power draw. And 8 par 64 with 500 watt lamps will pull 4000 watts if all on. That's roughly 40 amps. 4 good quality movers, such as Studio Spots or Mac 250 series will draw about 1/4th that. Yeah, they could be run off the floor or off cases. Trussing isn't that necessary. Likely the only way to put a truss up in most small to mid sized venues is to use ground support. Rigging would be too costly. Which is another reason why movers are more economical. Less time and less expense in set up. So you drop movers around the stage and they become spotlights for each performer, in addition to adding effect lighting, gobos on the cyc (the back wall), strobing, etc. And each one could likely be aimed at 2 or 3 performers as needed, as opposed to pars, which can't be moved once the show starts.    



I'm not trying to get in a pissing match with you dude, but 2 CC and 4 ground mounted movers is a LAME SHOW in a concert venue, and an impossible show in a club, no matter how you look at it.

First, I know what a Color Command is, as I think I'm the first one on PSW to actually report on them. I also have used them once, and while they are a nice fixture, they are EXPENSIVE! And 2 of them will not adequately cover a 30 X 12 stage IMHO.  Also, they draw over 750 watts of power each, so you may end up running out of power in most clubs, if you try to use a lot of them. Not to mention that if they are your sole source of front light, they will probably be limited to being used with just a few lighter colors, as they will be the main front wash.  For about the same money as 2 Color Commands, you can buy 6 Par 56s and 6 basic color scrollers and actually wash the stage and have 10 or more colors per fixture (Not that I think thats whats required for a local band, but way better than washing a stage with just 2 fixtures)


Second, the term RIGGING includes anything you need to hang your fixtures, including ground support, truss, sandbags or even safety cables. Unless you want to put movers on the ground (which is a pretty lame place for them if they are the only other light aside from your two front Color Commands) you will need some sort of Rigging to get them in the air. That could be as simple as mounting one on top of a lighting stand or tree, or as complex as hanging them off of trussing that is itself suspended by motors, or raise up on crank towers or stands.


While you have used a 30 X 12 foot stage as your model, I can assure you that most stages in bars, nightclubs and lounges are not that large.  I live in a casino town . Out of 12 casinos, the largest LOUNGE stage (where a local band would probably play) is only about 20 X 10' and the largest nightclub stage in town is about the same.  Back in Baltimore, most stages were smaller than 20 X  12. In fact, our most popular stage rental size for bars and nightclubs who were adding a larger stage for a big event like New years was 16 x 12!

Also, Large wattage and higher output fixtures are not the way to go when dealing with smaller venues (which is where local and regional bands play) Since the original poster was talking specifically of a local type band, your Color Commands and Movers are probably the worst fixtures for the application.  

Most venues that local bands play do not have high ceilings, adequate rigging points or areas, or hardly any power. In many venues you may have to put the light trees onstage with the band (for fear of having trees in the audience and having them tripped over or worse, pushed over) Many times fixtures are withing feet if not inches from the ceiling and performers. Large fixtures like Par 64s, Source 4 Pars, and YES, Color Commands are too large for most local bars and small venues.

Also, while Color Commands have an adjustable beam angle, they will not get wide enough to cover a stage at a very close distance.

Using movers in a small room presents its own problems. For one, most moving head gobo projectors are not designed for very short throw distances. In the small rooms like a bar, the pattern size will be very small.  While used in a big concert, the image may be as large as 10-15 feet across, but in a bar, the image may  be as small as 1 foot across.  Also, placing them onstage takes up performance space from the band.  Placing them in the audience is too risky from both a damage and a liability standpoint.

Also, how in the world are you supposed to use movers as "spotlights" as you suggested when they will be on the floor. While I guess a performer could stand in front of one (like it was a floor monitor), it would look pretty crappy. Not to mention you would have to dim it down as it would blind the performer at that distance.  Unless you had a way to get them up in the air and infront of the group, which is not an option in most venues, than they are useless as performer lighting. As for providing effect lighting on the "cyce"  you will be out of luck in most venues as well. While the casino lounges and a few nightclubs here in town do has back curtains and nice flat back walls, most bars and small venues do not. A local band is just a likely to be playing infront of a large Budweiser Beer Banner, as they are a plain wall or curtain.   Of course, gobos look great on the Bud Banners!  hehehe

Also in your example you refer to PAR 64s with 500 watt bulbs. Again, these are too large both physically, and in wattage, brightness for most smaller venues. Par 56s may even be too large for some venues. When I owned a company in  Baltimore, we had two basic light systems for rent to bands. One was based on 4 Par 56s with 300 watt medium bulbs on a tree. The other system was based on 4 Par 46s with 200 watt medium bulbs per tree. While we also had bars made up with 4 Par 64s that fit on trees, they were always too large for the locals clubs, so none of the bands would rent them. When I moved  my business across country and had a sale of used gear, the trees with Par 46s were the first thing to sell!

Again, we are talking about doing production in SMALL Venues, with limited ceiling heights, small stages, limited power, and of course ON A LIMITED BUDGET!  2 front Color Commands and 4 movers on the floor is not the answer!

Also, having movers will not save you any time during setup, unless you travel with a preprogrammed board! It takes a long time to program moving looks into most consoles, even for an experienced programmer.

And BTW, you need to figure in a decent console rental price into your budget as well (as well as a dimmer for the Color Commands as they require separate dimming for the bulb) Last I looked, you will not be able to rent a decent quality moving light board for pennies!

Craig

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len woelfel

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Re: Small band lighting- any suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2004, 11:59:41 am »

For the record, I disagree with your opinions.  And they are opinions.  But I'm bored with this so you can have the last word.  Except to say that yes, 4 movers and 2 cc is a lame show for a concert.  But you're the one who keeps mentioning concerts.  Not me.  And I've worked small bars with a big stage.  And big venues with small stages.  And ... and ... blah, blah, blah.  And done it with just that set-up.  And more.  And less  Spotlights on the floor?  Sure, it can be done.  Using all 4 or 2 opposite can be a pretty dramatic effect.  If done right.  And around here, if you rent a lighting show, delivered and set up for you, the board is included and is the choice of the programmer.  Not having a board included is just bad business.  Kind of like renting lights and not getting power cables for them.

But you need to read my original post.  And every subsequent one.  I never said that a moving show was the way to go for everyone.  For every circumstance.  I never said that 2 color mixers and 4 movers was best for every circumstance.  And in my very first post on this topic I said that renting may cost more in the short run.  I believe it was the last sentence in paragraph one.  My entire point has been and always will be that renting different things BEFORE YOU BUY allows you to test drive equipment and see what is best for you.  And in the end, isn't that BETTER than making a blind purchase based on no practical knowledge?
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