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Author Topic: 100% newbie question about lights  (Read 1808 times)


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100% newbie question about lights
« on: August 01, 2004, 08:59:48 pm »

Hey everyone, I'm part of a college group that meets in a large lecture hall.  We have a band on the somewhat small stage.  We're looking to get some lights...and we have no idea where to start and could use some recommendations.

A few things to consider:

-We setup and tear down for every meeting, so they must must be portable.

-space is limited...we probably can't do the overhead kind of lights, only ones that lie along the ground in front.

Remote/offstage dynamic color changing a must of course.

If anyone can recommend where to start looking, that'd be great.


Brian Ship

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Re: 100% newbie question about lights
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2004, 10:46:07 pm »

I thake it for granted it's a frequent thing these shows you do and such lights cannot be rented or borrowed from the theater such as a few 200w Wide or Medium PAR 46's or 300w Wide or Medium PAR 56's or if necessary and possibly with a dimmer, 500w Wide or Medium PAR 64's set in down stage as some simple up lighting you request.
An internet surf or searching past posts here on used gear sources such as used lighting gear .com or light broker .com amongst a lot of used lights or used stage light sources.  Or search this website for "I'm building a band's lighting where do I get stuff from."  This than than should get you any number of PAR fixtures sometimes with lamp for around $30.00 each from various sources selling off their own used gear or selling off other people's gear.  
Than perhaps about five more dollars for a floor base and another five for Edison plug.  The smaller the fixture with lower the wattage lamp and wider the beamspread the better in your case I think.  Your school's theater can otherwise probably outfit you with some plywood floor bases and ensure the fixtures you buy are wired properly and safe after you get them.  Seek supervision in what you do both for intent of use and you get what you pay for in sometimes the fixtures needing some work.  Remember that you are liable for the gear you bring into the space you visit.  If it's not safe or installed properly that could be a problem - a big problem in that you did your own thing - this would include any band gear you bring in.

Remember however that up lighting no matter the angle as you intend is amongst the most harsh lighting you can do to yourself for more than effect when balanced by other lighting for general illumination.  The less the wattage of the accent uplight, the better chance when with what ever other lights you have already on stage, the better it will look.  Say the floor lights for your flashing colors but the house stage lights for illumination especially if you have any control over them or their zones of lighting.  Accent and rock lighting is one thing, looking good from a uplight or seeing the performers is often another if it's just floor lights available for your effect.

Alternative and sometimes better sources in small lighting fixtures for floor mount:

Super Ace Hardware Stores and other furnishing and hardware stores even the WalMart types otherwise infrequently offer  what I call PAR Ball units or other floor cans designed to be set on the floor and shine upwards or in the case of a PAR Ball at an angle from the floor. The PAR ball would be a round ball of a lighting fixture frequently sold with a curving floor base to it so you can focus the ball where you want it, this fixture has a stable base to it than also.  A floor can otherwise is a tube of a can fixture designed for pointing upwards that otherwise should be safe enough to have a set of legs mounted to it for diagional use.  Legs such as even some 4" bolts drilled and bolted to the can so it than sits on an angle.

Such fixtures floor cans and par balls can normally take up to a PAR 30 or R-30 lamp which can go up to a wattage of 150w in R lamp or about 75w in halogen PAR for the short version in this size which should be sufficient for your needs in flashing some color on you.  All above fixtures also normally come with some form of removable baffle which can be removed than re-inserted to hold a gel into place for coloring the light given you don't go with a colored lamp version - a little less easy to find in a useful wattage for this size of lamp.

These fixtures while questionable in their being polorized but normally not grounded for your application should sell for about $10.00 per fixture with out lamp and provide a useful coloring when foot switched for effect without pulling too much wattage or putting out too much gastly lighting.

Another option would be going low or line voltage MR-16 but that gets complex.

Above these general base of colored wash lights, perhaps a few more on the drummer as both front and back much less side light, than a minor sound activated moving light or effects light might be of use at some point.  Go low budget if all you have is the floor to set it on and probably sound activated in either changing colors if not patterns so you don't have to do much to it once plugged in.  Lead singer finds his little center mounted moving light and that's it for effect.  

You could otherwise go with all moving light/effects type of light which could also change colors in providing changing washes of light.  This would save you from the say three or five fixtures per color, but also cost you more eventually at least in lamps if not in initial cost.  Three or five color changing sound activated fixtures could save you the cost of say 15 manually operated fixtures in three to four colors, but the color pallet would be both random even if often more in actual colors.

Such are your choices if any help.
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