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Title: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on January 25, 2016, 03:46:41 pm
Hi, Folks --

I'm trying to put together a better lighting show for my classic rock band for the shows we do at micro-venues (80-120 seat bars).  The current light rig is a couple of ADJ P36 LED pinspots and some cheap 10W 120 degree floods (non DMX).  2 of the floods are RGB and set on a smooth transition from colour to colour. 2 floods are white but I've added bastard amber gels.  One P36 is set is set to pink and the other changes colours randomly.

The current show is better than most of the other acts in the same venues, but is not even close to the product we get when playing the larger clubs in the area with, you know, real lights.

To that end, I've picked up an ADJ DMX Operator (I don't want a computer on stage) and a Microh LED Stagebar TRI38.  The Microh is just a bar with three RGB "Par 38s" on it.  Then I learned how to use the DMX Operator and the Microh, and came to understand just limited this gear is. A bit frustrating, the DMX Operator is limited to 6 chases total (regardless of bank selection) and can only run one chase at a time.

So, the basic plan is to set up the Microh bar some place innocuous (it's fairly small) in the bar, aim one light at each performer who might sing lead (four of us - 5 piece band, no vox bassist).  Then put the P36s on a T on top of one of the FOH speakers, and aim the two P36 pinspots at the two performers who sing most.

Not sure if I should make use of the leftover 120 degree LED floods at this point or not.  Perhaps colour-morphing side-fill?  Something for the drum hardware to glint?  Maybe a static (amber?) colour?

Next, I've got the DMX Operator set up so that each of the first 4 banks is centric to each of the 4 performers who might be singing lead.  Each bank gives me 8 scenes, of which I'm using 6.  The "main performer" for that bank is lit in white  (I'm worried about not being bright enough - 27W) and everybody else is lit with either pink, blue, or yellow. Half the scenes are bright washed-out colours, half the scenes are nicely saturated colours.

Then I can hit "auto" and pick a speed (tap tempo, slider, or music activated) and the DMX Operator cycles through the scenes in the current bank.   So what happens is the lead stays lit in bright white and everybody else gets their colour changing.  Tonight I plan to augment this so that the P36 on the main guy cycles through colours on its own and the other P36 stays off...hopefully this will make the main guy stand out well but not be just white.  (Or maybe the P36 should have a specific colour?  One guy is small and pale, one guy is big and red-faced. We're all old).

I haven't figured out what to do with my chases yet.  I also have a bank set up where each performer is the only one lit with the DMX lights, except for a very slight red or blue hue on the other performers.   If I use my non-DMX lights, I'm worried about ruining this effect, which I intend to use for true-solo sections.....imagine the intro to Poison's  "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" sung by one guy who is also playing acoustic guitar. Or the intro to "Kryptonite".  You get the idea.

Any thoughts on what I'm doing?  Can I use my resources more effectively?  I can't do any fader-fiddling throughout the night, as I am also mixing and playing keyboards, so I really need to be able to push a button or two on the controller and forget about lights for the rest of the song.

Is there anything interesting and easy I can do with the lights in solo sections for songs like Don't Fear The Reaper, Twilight Zone (Golden Earring), etc?  My plan was to light the lead guitarist as if he was the lead singer and double the speed of the chase?

Also, I'd like to light up the dance floor at some point in the future.  I was thinking about getting an ADJ Revo II (there is one for sale used nearby), but the manual suggests that I won't be able to use it in sound-activated mode under DMX control.  I don't think it would look good just to leave them on in sound-activated mode all night long, but I'm not sure that programming them into the band-centric scenes makes sense, either.

Thanks for any advice.  I'm pretty tech savvy and handle complexity well, but about all I know about lighting is "don't use green".  I have two group rehearsals before the next show, and I will be rehearsing my lighting changes along with everything else.

Wes

PS: I eventually plan to tie scene changes into performance changes from my stage piano, but that's out of scope for the time being.  Feel free to suggest awesome ideas if you have any, though. :)
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 25, 2016, 05:00:37 pm
Hi Wes,

I think a lot of what you're looking to do comes down to personal opinion and how much you're looking to expand your system.  You got it right in that the ADJ DMX Operator is very limited in nature.  Is there a reason that you don't want a computer or laptop on the stage?  I know it can seem like a lot at first, but the computer solutions are by far the best bang to buck controllers and without a doubt the cheapest way to get the kind of control you're looking for.  While there might be one or two exceptions, you generally won't find that kind of power in a physical console for under 1K, and most 'real' light boards start around 4K and go up from there (last time I was in the market).  The Jands Stage CL is an exception and might be worth a look if it fits your needs.  Unless you're looking to drop that kind of cash though you really are better off with a computer solution.  When I use software to drive a show I run it on a Tablet PC, so it actually feels okay versus the finicky nature of point/click/drag.  There are also many consoles that accept MIDI commands, so that can really help you out since you seem to have a lot to handle during a show!

As far as actual fixtures go, a proper console will work wonders to get the kind of control you're looking for, so you might be okay with what you already have.  Blizzard lighting also sells many budget but acceptable solutions, so you can replace or augment what you already have with a couple of hotboxes for a very reasonable cost.  Effect lighting-wise, I've never been impressed with the LED 'dot' fixtures...  In the right venue they can be very effective, but for the kind of work I do they just don't have the look I'm usually going for.  I'm much more of a fan of discharge-based effects like the Martin Wizard Rush and similar, but of course that all comes down to personal preference.  Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on January 26, 2016, 09:29:43 am
Hi, Jeff!  Thanks for the follow-up.

The no computer rule -- this half emotional and half pragmatic.  On the emotional side, I work with the damned things day in and day out, and the last thing I want to add to the fun part of my life is another computer.  On the pragmatic side, I worry about managing complexity and stage real estate: I'm already operating a three-board keys rig, singing, and mixing.   I need to be able operate the lights with my left hand and mostly by feel; this means dedicated buttons, good automation, and hopefully a simple UI.

That said, the DMX Operator UI has a few gotchas that make it not totally ideal for this; the biggest are that it takes too many keystrokes and visual feedback to cancel the active chases, and selecting a scene that you've already selected blacks out your lights.

Ironically, my plan for eventual MIDI integration is going to require custom software development and the addition of a wallet-sized Linux PC to my rig.  Maybe I should consider going whole-hog and adding DMX capability to that thing, rather than going into the DMX Operator.  But, that's a longer term goal..I want to get through my next couple of shows first, hopefully they will help me learn what I don't know better.

Thanks for the recommendation on the Jands unit, BTW.  Pricey, but something like that really pushes my elegant-UI buttons, and a good UI is really key to managing everything I do.  The hue/saturation dials are great, and being able to put scenes on the faders is brilliant.

Quote
 
Effect lighting-wise, I've never been impressed with the LED 'dot' fixtures...  In the right venue they can be very effective, but for the kind of work I do they just don't have the look I'm usually going for.  I'm much more of a fan of discharge-based effects like the Martin Wizard Rush and similar, but of course that all comes down to personal preference.  Hope this helps!

So, in addition to the band, I'm trying to light something like a 20x20' dance floor from 8-9' in the air, immediately adjacent to the dance floor, or perhaps 10' away.  *micro venue*.  Normally lit by venue ambient lighting, I just want to kick up the excitement a bit to feel more like our club shows.  Even something like a disco ball with the right DMX properties would help.  A moving gobo with the band branding would be pretty amazing, too  (fantasies are healthy, right?).  No lasers, though, I don't believe I'm competent to run them safely.

That Martin Wizard Rush looks insane and would definitely kick things up a notch. Or ten.  But -- does it work well enough without haze to make it worth the price tag?  Also, can a custom gobo be added to this fixture? If I understand the manual correctly, the answer is "no", as it's just one big wheel. But that would be a sweet selling point.

Thanks!
Wes
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Jano Svitok on January 26, 2016, 11:34:30 am
Ironically, my plan for eventual MIDI integration is going to require custom software development and the addition of a wallet-sized Linux PC to my rig.

Wes,

QLC+ (http://qlcplus.org) runs on Raspberry PI or any linux computer that has enough power (RPi1 is enough for running, but not for editing the show; RPi2 is enough for both; I use Odroid C1 with full ubuntu desktop). It can be controlled from MIDI, so if you add USB-MIDI interface maybe you can control lights from your keyboards (along with MIDI CLOCK to set tempo). I didn't try the MIDI clock myself, so I can't comment how it works.

Note: I'm one of the developers.

Jano
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on January 26, 2016, 01:23:04 pm
Hi Wes,

When I use software to drive a show I run it on a Tablet PC, so it actually feels okay versus the finicky nature of point/click/drag. 

Which software do you use and which tablet if you don't mind me asking?
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 26, 2016, 09:31:47 pm
I definitely understand your worry about adding another computer to your life!  Unfortunately in this day and age, you almost need a degree in computer science to piece together a large, complex light system along with the media servers and whatnot.  Even most larger light consoles are just a computer under the hood with a fancy I/O device attached.  Most of ETC's consoles run Windows 7 Embedded!  All of that said, in 10 years of running MagicQ PC I've never had a crash, which is more than I can say for some of the hardware desks I've used.  Of course you can throw most lighting programs on your personal laptop in a pinch, it really helps reliability-wise to be using a dedicated machine that runs nothing else, hence why ETC can run Windows 7 in their desks without issue.  If a touchscreen or stylus won't cut it for you on a software solution, most accept MIDI input too.  Not only can you control that with your keyboard, you can also buy one of many third party interfaces such as those from Enttec to help give you the hands-on control that you need. 

Wes,

QLC+ (http://qlcplus.org) runs on Raspberry PI or any linux computer that has enough power (RPi1 is enough for running, but not for editing the show; RPi2 is enough for both; I use Odroid C1 with full ubuntu desktop). It can be controlled from MIDI, so if you add USB-MIDI interface maybe you can control lights from your keyboards (along with MIDI CLOCK to set tempo). I didn't try the MIDI clock myself, so I can't comment how it works.

Note: I'm one of the developers.

Jano

I concur that this sounds like a great task for a Raspberry Pi!  Sadly I'm not aware of many lighting programs that can run on the Pi's ARM processor, but QLC+ is one of the few.  I can't comment seeing as I've never really used it, but I'd certainly give it a look.  Similarly, ETC sells a mini computer called the Nomad Puck that emulates the EOS and Cobalt platforms, so that's another direction to consider.  Many options available if you go the route of software!  Luckily, most vendors offer free demos to download and play with.  That way you can experiment and see which one feels right to you before spending any money.

That Martin Wizard Rush looks insane and would definitely kick things up a notch. Or ten.  But -- does it work well enough without haze to make it worth the price tag?  Also, can a custom gobo be added to this fixture? If I understand the manual correctly, the answer is "no", as it's just one big wheel. But that would be a sweet selling point.
 
Absolutely.  These are dynamite lights with outstanding coverage.  With a properly set up controller you can nail a lot of diverse and unique effects.  I would say yes, they're certainly worth the price and look decent without haze.  Though I have yet to add the Wizard Rush itself to my inventory, I use my Martin EFX600 units (which are older 150w versions of the Wizard Rush effect) without haze all the time and think it works just fine, so the brighter Rush would only be an improvement.  Naturally, haze makes for a killer effect, but these units have such wide coverage and overall impact that even without haze you're sure to impress.  Put it this way, they will far surpass what you'll get from an LED dot light without haze...  No custom gobos on these, but they won't work well for a custom gobo anyhow.  The gobo is inserted upstream of the mirror dish, so any gobo would be too small to read once bounced off the dish, not to mention the optics of such a unit don't allow for perfect focus of each beam.  For that you'd want to use a dedicated barrel scanner producing fewer but larger beams.

Which software do you use and which tablet if you don't mind me asking?

It's just MagicQ PC on an Ubuntu OS.  I do say Table PC, meaning an old but trusty laptop (Toshiba Portege M400) with the flip around screen and stylus...back before tablets as we know them existed!  A modern Lenovo Yoga would get you the same result.  I haven't gone fully wireless with mine yet - simply haven't needed to, but it's on my list of personal projects to play around with one of these days!  I will say though that even just having a touch screen works wonders in making a software solution feel more natural.  Hope this helps! 

Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on January 27, 2016, 03:39:17 pm
QLC+ -- thanks for the link, this looks really interesting.  I'm actually planning to use Olimex Limeboards (built on AllWinner A10 SoCs), but that's largely because I've got a bunch of them and have a complete dev toolchain up and running at work.  Very similar to R-Pi, though; Debian on ARM.  They also have an RS485 module, which I suspect can be used for DMX without fuss. MIDI will have to go USB.

I did a bunch more programming last night, and it's frankly amazing to me how primitive the DMX Operator is...and I'm a n00b!   It's really not much more than a clumsy interface for throwing numbers down a wire. I could do a better job given the same hardware, source code, and a few weeks.

Even so, I got some decent scenes and functional chases out of it last night.  One big thing I was missing was to make the transitions between steps smoother - the flick flick is too jarring to run on autopilot all night long.  You have to just barely move the "speed" slider on the DMX Operator to get scenes to change quick enough to fully saturate, but slow enough not to be jarring. It's finicky, you have to watch the LED readout while making this adjustment.

I also set up my four non-DMX 10W 120 degree floods BEHIND the instruments in the rehearsal hall last night, and this seems to really make things like the drums "pop".  I'll see what it looks like during rehearsal tonight.  If I like it, I'll have to pop for an 8' light stand to safely get them up high enough in the bar.

Any suggestions for constant colours that work well in a rock show?  The center lamps are very dumb and currently have bastard amber gels. The edge lamps are set to sweep through the colour palette at a sedate pace.

I'm not satisfied with my overall brightness, though. I'll see what it looks like during our first show and decide what I'm going from there.  Perhaps four of those "HotBoxes" to replace/augment my Microh bar would do the trick.  Does the amount of back lighting I use affect how much front lighting I need?

I also haven't figured out what I'm doing for dance floor lighting, if anything at this point.  I learned the "Buy once, Cry once" lesson with pro audio, but the failure profile isn't as big in my situation for lights.  It's also tough to justify spending real money to use a couple of times a year, in places where "none" seems to be an acceptable light show.  But I LOVE lights. LOVE. When I'm on stage and realize that somebody running the lighting desk is paying attention to the show and doing a good job, it totally makes my day.

Wes
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 28, 2016, 07:29:54 pm
Any suggestions for constant colours that work well in a rock show?  The center lamps are very dumb and currently have bastard amber gels. The edge lamps are set to sweep through the colour palette at a sedate pace.

It all depends on what kind of look you're going for.  Yellow/Amber, Magenta, and Blue/Cyan are my go-to colors for most rock-style shows, but it's really up to you and what you think looks best.  Lighter colors tend to be brighter than darker ones assuming conventional lights and gels.  You can also mix things up a little by using conventional lights gelled in 'normal' colors for facial light and then use LED cans or CMY mixers to add color to things.  It's really very open-ended on that side of things!

I'm not satisfied with my overall brightness, though. I'll see what it looks like during our first show and decide what I'm going from there.  Perhaps four of those "HotBoxes" to replace/augment my Microh bar would do the trick.  Does the amount of back lighting I use affect how much front lighting I need?

Generally not.  Thankfully, light waves can pass harmlessly through each other without causing interference.  That said, there are a few caveats that are an exception to my 'generally not' claim.  The first is if you're using a lot of fog or haze - in that case too much light in the back can saturate the fog so to speak and make the face look dark due to the amount of contrast from back to front.  The other caveat is if you are filming the performance or especially if working in a studio - sometimes cameras do weird things with brightness if they're pointed at or towards bright lights.  In those cases such as when filming for television, that sort of thing is very important.  I'm not a camera guy so I can't really elaborate further, but from what I can gather in your case you don't have anything to worry about.

But I LOVE lights. LOVE. When I'm on stage and realize that somebody running the lighting desk is paying attention to the show and doing a good job, it totally makes my day.

Great!  I'm glad to see that dedicated Lighting Designers are still appreciated by some!
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on January 29, 2016, 02:10:44 pm

Generally not.  Thankfully, light waves can pass harmlessly through each other without causing interference. 

When I used to set up big Par 64 shows, we had some lights green and some pink (pars with color gels). Where they cross - you get no light! I was always surprised by this. No other color combo would produce this effect.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 29, 2016, 08:35:13 pm
When I used to set up big Par 64 shows, we had some lights green and some pink (pars with color gels). Where they cross - you get no light! I was always surprised by this. No other color combo would produce this effect.

Really?  That's very interesting!  I'll have to give that a try myself and see if I can reproduce the results.  I'd be curious to hear what would cause this to happen.  I recall a few physics experiments back in college that dealt with similar ideas, but I've never heard of that happening in the real world, at least not without a medium to act upon. 
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 01, 2016, 10:09:34 am
Ha!  When I was mentioning front vs. back lighting, I wasn't thinking of beams cancelling out -- more like maybe burning out the image so that the eye sees too many shadows on the performers.

I was in a Long & McQuade on Saturday to pick up a new HF driver for one of my speakers and got to play with an ADJ Revo Burst while I was there.  Pretty underwhelming, but really cheap, so I bought it anyway.

It's an interesting light for the micro-venue, where the light can be REALLY close to the dance floor, but I wouldn't want to use it more than 12 feet off the ground, nor to cover an area bigger than 20x20.  I learned an important lesson by buying this light, though...It's big, compared to my other stuff, and I had a very difficult time mounting with my existing hardware, particularly for the venue I am targeting next Saturday...the dance floor has an 8' ceiling, there isn't room for a dedicated light stand beside the stage area, and the speaker has to go right next to the wall.  It took me over an hour to figure out how to hang it.

Here's what the rig I'm bringing to that gig looks like (you can't see most of the "dance floor").  I'll be counting on the house's ambient lighting to bring the brightness up a bit. The Microh Stagebar and ADJ P36 LEDs  are providing the front wash and I don't they are going to be enough to do what I want.  For the show, I'll be able to raise the front lights about a foot and the rear lights as high as I want.  The Microh Stagebar will be be farther away and way stage left, so I won't be able to light the individual performers as accurately as I'd like to, and the apparent brightness will be down.  My basement is too small for an accurate dress rehearsal, even for such a small club. :)

https://youtu.be/fixlAZeltKY

I won't make up my mind about my next lighting purchases until I see the results "in the field", but I'm currently leaning toward more front wash, some very bright RGBW or RGBAW fixtures like the Blizzard Hotbox.   Although it would be nice to find something smaller that was "good enough".  Transportation and setup time are also very important criteria.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Rob Gow on February 01, 2016, 10:35:54 am
I use either 1 Hotbox RGBAW per side or 2 Fab5's per side deoending on the room. With my full light rig I'll have the front lights on the band with Amber at 100% and white at around 75%. If there's no back lights then I set the Hotbox on each side to a slow fade. No controller needed.

http://youtu.be/PON5LQiYXDw

Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on February 01, 2016, 12:52:09 pm
Ha!  When I was mentioning front vs. back lighting, I wasn't thinking of beams cancelling out -- more like maybe burning out the image so that the eye sees too many shadows on the performers.

I was in a Long & McQuade on Saturday to pick up a new HF driver for one of my speakers and got to play with an ADJ Revo Burst while I was there.  Pretty underwhelming, but really cheap, so I bought it anyway.

It's an interesting light for the micro-venue, where the light can be REALLY close to the dance floor, but I wouldn't want to use it more than 12 feet off the ground, nor to cover an area bigger than 20x20.  I learned an important lesson by buying this light, though...It's big, compared to my other stuff, and I had a very difficult time mounting with my existing hardware, particularly for the venue I am targeting next Saturday...the dance floor has an 8' ceiling, there isn't room for a dedicated light stand beside the stage area, and the speaker has to go right next to the wall.  It took me over an hour to figure out how to hang it.

Here's what the rig I'm bringing to that gig looks like (you can't see most of the "dance floor").  I'll be counting on the house's ambient lighting to bring the brightness up a bit. The Microh Stagebar and ADJ P36 LEDs  are providing the front wash and I don't they are going to be enough to do what I want.  For the show, I'll be able to raise the front lights about a foot and the rear lights as high as I want.  The Microh Stagebar will be be farther away and way stage left, so I won't be able to light the individual performers as accurately as I'd like to, and the apparent brightness will be down.  My basement is too small for an accurate dress rehearsal, even for such a small club. :)

https://youtu.be/fixlAZeltKY

I won't make up my mind about my next lighting purchases until I see the results "in the field", but I'm currently leaning toward more front wash, some very bright RGBW or RGBAW fixtures like the Blizzard Hotbox.   Although it would be nice to find something smaller that was "good enough".  Transportation and setup time are also very important criteria.

Looking at the column, I see plenty of light getting to the stage in your basement. I'm one that doesn't like flashing - color changing lights on performers faces. I always use a fairly dim, natural flesh tone front wash. The real light "show" is what goes on around and behind the band. I use a ton of cheap lights and fog to get the effect. Also, my typical performer is older, so I don't want to light them up too much.

This photo shows a bunch of $18 ebay lights, some $80 MCM lights (on the tree), a pair of 4-Plays on their white setting, and ADJ Mega Bar, 2 Blizzard Hotbox 5's (behind drummer), and 2 Slim Par lights. The front wash is made up of 4 of the $18 ebay lights.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 01, 2016, 12:53:17 pm
Hey, Rob!

That looked really great - and that's exactly the type of "micro venue" I'm talking about.  I also dug the blacklight look in D26 NE BJ.

Do you ever try to light performers differently for different songs?  The reason I started out with 4 wash lights is that we have four different guys that sing lead, and I'm trying to draw focus to the lead singer and/or the soloist for a particular section.  Maybe that's more work that I need to do; your lighting looks great, and it's bright.

Any idea what fixtures were on the dance floor?  In D26 UJ HAF  I see what looks like an ADJ Revo pattern stage right, maybe another stage left also.  There's clearly some kind of moving fixtures on the go too.

Thanks for the reminder about the Fab5.  I remember you mentioning those on Harmony Central a couple of years ago.  They were out-of-the-question expensive then, but I have almost finished spending money on other stuff..
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on February 01, 2016, 12:56:15 pm
Here's another pic. The club brought in a "snow" machine, which is that white shit you see everywhere. The ebay lights are the ones mounted up to the ceiling (club lights).
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 01, 2016, 01:26:42 pm
Hey, Steve!

Some great advice there, and brings in to focus a mental imbalance I've been having wrt colours on the performers. Maybe I should video tape my rehearsal tomorrow night.  I probably AM throwing too much colour on people's faces; I wonder if I should switch my front and rear light stands around, leave the stage right speaker alone, and continue to use its P36s as front wash, but with a static colour.

Your age observations are on target, too, we are all just a bunch of old guys playing classic rock.  Which is why I run amber gels on my white flood lights. :)

How long does it take to set up a stage like the one you've posted?  My complete setup, without lights, takes about two hours from curb to first song, and getting into the venues earlier is sometimes not possible/practical.  If I am going to expand my light rig, I am definitely going to have to learn how be faster.

Re colour changing -- the demo is what I would call "nearly max energy".  I have been trying to divide my requires into four energy levels:

 - Minimal Energy - focus on a single performer at the start of a slow song, e.g. Let Her Cry, Every Rose Has It's Thorn.
 - Low Energy - Slow to mid-tempo rockers .. A Whiter Shade of Pale, Mary Jane's Last Dance,
 - Moderate Energy - La Grange, White Wedding, My Sharona, Born To Run
 - High Energy - Extended Solo sections in Twilight Zone, My Sharona

Minimal Energy: I've been bathing everybody in dark blue and putting a white light on the lead guy

Low Energy: Slow and gradual shift through the colour palette while the lead guy gets one white light and one sloowly colour-shifting light

Moderate Energy: Same as low energy, but the colours change faster  (I use tap-tempo for this, one per bar or two bars)

High Energy: You saw this, same as low energy but the colours flick instead of fade, and they do it faster

High Energy++:  Two P36s go white on faces of two main guys, 4-bar goes into music-activated mode

Any thoughts, let me know know. I am already trying to figure out if I can get good visibility with most of the colour changing happening behind the band rather than in front.  And if it will be at all visible without haze.  I am going to review some band pictures with venue lights and see what other guys have done, too.  I am super-smart when it comes to tech stuff, but being tech-savvy is not anywhere near the same thing as being good at lighting.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 01, 2016, 01:32:08 pm
BTW - those "eBay lights" - any idea which ones they are?  7 x 10W?
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on February 01, 2016, 01:37:52 pm
BTW - those "eBay lights" - any idea which ones they are?  7 x 10W?

See this thread for the lights I've mentioned. The $50 lights are the basis of my new show that I'm building.
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,157915.0.html
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on February 01, 2016, 02:13:30 pm
Hey, Steve!

Some great advice there, and brings in to focus a mental imbalance I've been having wrt colours on the performers. Maybe I should video tape my rehearsal tomorrow night.  I probably AM throwing too much colour on people's faces; I wonder if I should switch my front and rear light stands around, leave the stage right speaker alone, and continue to use its P36s as front wash, but with a static colour.

Your age observations are on target, too, we are all just a bunch of old guys playing classic rock.  Which is why I run amber gels on my white flood lights. :)

How long does it take to set up a stage like the one you've posted?  My complete setup, without lights, takes about two hours from curb to first song, and getting into the venues earlier is sometimes not possible/practical.  If I am going to expand my light rig, I am definitely going to have to learn how be faster.

Re colour changing -- the demo is what I would call "nearly max energy".  I have been trying to divide my requires into four energy levels:

 - Minimal Energy - focus on a single performer at the start of a slow song, e.g. Let Her Cry, Every Rose Has It's Thorn.
 - Low Energy - Slow to mid-tempo rockers .. A Whiter Shade of Pale, Mary Jane's Last Dance,
 - Moderate Energy - La Grange, White Wedding, My Sharona, Born To Run
 - High Energy - Extended Solo sections in Twilight Zone, My Sharona

Minimal Energy: I've been bathing everybody in dark blue and putting a white light on the lead guy

Low Energy: Slow and gradual shift through the colour palette while the lead guy gets one white light and one sloowly colour-shifting light

Moderate Energy: Same as low energy, but the colours change faster  (I use tap-tempo for this, one per bar or two bars)

High Energy: You saw this, same as low energy but the colours flick instead of fade, and they do it faster

High Energy++:  Two P36s go white on faces of two main guys, 4-bar goes into music-activated mode

Any thoughts, let me know know. I am already trying to figure out if I can get good visibility with most of the colour changing happening behind the band rather than in front.  And if it will be at all visible without haze.  I am going to review some band pictures with venue lights and see what other guys have done, too.  I am super-smart when it comes to tech stuff, but being tech-savvy is not anywhere near the same thing as being good at lighting.

The beauty of this show is that it goes up incredibly fast, but be advised that 8 of those lights are club installed.

Here's the system I'm building, and I would say I can do it all in 15-18 min:

From the photo's I posted, the center tree behind the drummer is pre-mounted and wired.
The Hotbox 5's (brightest) are Master Slaved to each other, and run a program that slowly fades through the primary colors. Not ideal, but I typically don't have time to run lights. The Slim Par looking (Lightbrights) that are behind the drummers head were some cheap Chinese lights that actually look great behind a drummer because they create a bit of movement, along with the Mega Bar. Those too are Master/Slaved and connected via dmx cables. The Mega Bar is awesome behind a drummer. It creates a lot of movement and its sound active program is excellent. I just walk in, expand the tripod, plop the T-Bar on it, push it up high and plug it in - everything comes on and it runs to the beat of the drums - very cool. Set-up time = 5 min.

For side wash I'm using (2) T-Bars, pre-wired with (4) each of the 7-10W leds (the $50 ones in my amazon link). These had a dissapointing "sound active" program, but they look so great I decided to use them in an auto "slow fade" between the primary colors - just like the Hotbox's. Because I'm using them this way, I didn't have to Master/Slave dmx them together, so no cords! Eventually I'm moving to a touch screen software dmx system, but this works for now and requires very little time. Set up time = 8 min.

Lastly, for my front wash I use speaker mounted Par 38's with gel'd flood lights in them. Why? Because I have 4 boxes of flood light bulbs my boss gave me, LOL! I plan on getting rid of these and going to led's once I have the rest of the system together. These mount on my PA speaker fly points, right on the corner of each speaker. This is not ideal for a front wash, but it avoids the hassle and concern of having light tripods out in front where people can trip on them. Set up time, about 8 min.

The club pic's I posted have my light bar behind the drummer, and the outer lights on trees are another band members - similar to what I'm using. The front wash are those $18 ebay lights, and they're actually quite effective.

All of these lights I mention will come back on to their last setting when plugged in, so they remember what you had running.

Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Rob Gow on February 01, 2016, 03:13:07 pm
Hey, Rob!

That looked really great - and that's exactly the type of "micro venue" I'm talking about.  I also dug the blacklight look in D26 NE BJ.

Do you ever try to light performers differently for different songs?  The reason I started out with 4 wash lights is that we have four different guys that sing lead, and I'm trying to draw focus to the lead singer and/or the soloist for a particular section.  Maybe that's more work that I need to do; your lighting looks great, and it's bright.

Thanks. Yeah those HotBox's put out pretty good. When I use them as a white/Amber light on a band I just keep it simple. I control my whole light rig with either a foot controller if I'm playing or an iPad if I'm providing. I keep the front lights the same to keep things simple. I'm able to dim the lights to have a silhouette look for effect, but this is for both sides at the same time. 

Quote
Any idea what fixtures were on the dance floor?  In D26 UJ HAF  I see what looks like an ADJ Revo pattern stage right, maybe another stage left also.  There's clearly some kind of moving fixtures on the go too.

Thanks for the reminder about the Fab5.  I remember you mentioning those on Harmony Central a couple of years ago.  They were out-of-the-question expensive then, but I have almost finished spending money on other stuff..

I was like that as well. First things first, I got my sound rig to where I was happy with it, then instarted investing in the light rig.

In the bar, they have a Revo or two, a couple ADJ Jellydomes and a bigger version of the  Chauvet Mini Kinta. I don't know the name, they are Chauvet fixtures, plus something like a Chauvet Swarm
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 03, 2016, 11:27:48 am
I did some more programming Monday to de-colour faces a bit, and ran another rehearsal last night, this time with my light rig set up at nearly correct distances.  Not bad, but definitely darker than I'd like. Rather than merely lighting the performers, I kind of want the stage bright enough to make the house seem a bit darker than it is.......if that makes sense?

But, the good news is, I'm getting comfortable enough with this rig and the DMX Operator to get somewhat creative during a show without impacting my playing too much.  I actually managed to spotlight myself during a piano solo last night.  Good thing I have a bass player to keep my left hand free :)   One thing I'm bumping into is that occasionally I briefly turn the lights off by accident.. Stupid UI on the DMX Operator that allows this  (selecting a scene twice blacks out your lights).  But all is not lost, my rear lights are not DMX, so there is still SOME light on the band...

Steve -- those eBay lights look like really good building blocks to get from where I am to where I'd like be.  Have you found any good Chinese pinspots yet?  I'm starting to understand that the front look I want needs to built with a combination of spot lights and wash lights.

Rob -- how long does it take to set up the lights for WOLF and what is your front wash?  Also, what do you stand your front wash on?

I've been shopping for a bigger van lately.  I'm wondering once I have one if it's practical to build some road cases so I can just drop Ts or truss members in, fully assembled...maybe build some crates with supports to hold them a foot above the bottom.

I also picked a Yorkville aluminium lighting stand that goes to 100" on Saturday.  I can't believe how much lighter it is than a steel speaker pole. I can use the same Yorkville Ts on it that I use on my speaker poles and/or my FOH speakers with a DIY pole mount (1" ID iron pipe flange bolted to 3/4" plywood, bolted to four fly points).
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Rob Gow on February 03, 2016, 06:38:43 pm
Rob -- how long does it take to set up the lights for WOLF and what is your front wash?  Also, what do you stand your front wash on?

It takes a solid hour to get them up. That's rolling the cases in, setting up the truss, putting the clamps on the movers, getting everything on the truss. Then we put on the safety cables, the power & DMX cables. 2 guys.

In the smaller halls/bars etc. I'll mount one Hotbox per side to a fly point on the main speakers. In wider halls I'll mount 2 Fab 5's per side on a tripod.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Wes Garland on February 08, 2016, 01:55:35 pm
Quick status update -- my faith in the value of lighting has been validated.  I deployed my new rig on Saturday night at a small bar I've played a few times before.  The place features music every Saturday night, but usually with no lights at all...the odd band will bring a couple of PAR38s and place them on speakers.

The feedback from the staff and patrons was outstanding.  Nothing about the lights in particular, but they were having a great time. Many of our regulars believe we've never sounded better...in fact, we have.  This is one of those bars that usually gets about half full and people swap in/out all night long...we managed to fill the place at one point.

The one thing that didn't go right was the breaks.  Since we played there last, the venue stopped providing break music, insisting that if the patrons want music, they can plunk money in the jukebox.  Between the lack of music and the lights going off between sets, we lost patrons and breaks and the energy in the room took a noticeable nosedive.  Hitting the "blackout" button on my controller was almost like deflating a balloon.

Do you guys kill the lights between sets, or just light the stage with something stationary?

Rob - how do you mount lights on your speakers?  I made up some adapters for my flypoints that let me screw in 1" ID iron pipe.  It's not bad, but not perfect, the pipe should really be another 1/8" thick to fit my lighting Ts properly.  My Microh bar has a much smaller receiver, I used 1/2" ID pipe and a reducer bushing.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Rob Gow on February 08, 2016, 04:52:21 pm
Sounds like it worked out. Lights just make everything "seem more real"

I just screw the yoke directly to the top of my speaker. It's not real high, but it's good and solid.  Been thinking of a way to mount a T-Bar. Considered cutting a hole and mounting a speaker pole cup. Never got around to it.

In this video you can see the Hotbox mounted to the flypoint on top of the speaker. As you can see, a tripod would not work in this situation

http://youtu.be/NRRZC92CAxg

If the hall has no dance lighting I'll either put the wash lights on a slow fade, one color. Or I'll sometimes bring some DJ fixtures (Chauvet mini Kintas & ADJ Jellydomes) and run some DJ programs, all with the lights that light up the band turned off.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Nate Zifra on February 08, 2016, 05:15:32 pm
Quick status update -- my faith in the value of lighting has been validated.  I deployed my new rig on Saturday night at a small bar I've played a few times before.  The place features music every Saturday night, but usually with no lights at all...the odd band will bring a couple of PAR38s and place them on speakers.

The feedback from the staff and patrons was outstanding.  Nothing about the lights in particular, but they were having a great time. Many of our regulars believe we've never sounded better...in fact, we have.  This is one of those bars that usually gets about half full and people swap in/out all night long...we managed to fill the place at one point.

The one thing that didn't go right was the breaks.  Since we played there last, the venue stopped providing break music, insisting that if the patrons want music, they can plunk money in the jukebox.  Between the lack of music and the lights going off between sets, we lost patrons and breaks and the energy in the room took a noticeable nosedive.  Hitting the "blackout" button on my controller was almost like deflating a balloon.

Do you guys kill the lights between sets, or just light the stage with something stationary?

Rob - how do you mount lights on your speakers?  I made up some adapters for my flypoints that let me screw in 1" ID iron pipe.  It's not bad, but not perfect, the pipe should really be another 1/8" thick to fit my lighting Ts properly.  My Microh bar has a much smaller receiver, I used 1/2" ID pipe and a reducer bushing.

I have a break setting with just the downstage lights lit (all upstage truss lights off) on a solid color, no fade,  and dimmed to about 50%.  If break music is being played, in a bar type setting, then the opposite, downstage lights off and upstage lights to fade or sound active (dj) mode
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on February 09, 2016, 09:46:34 am
In a more concert-like setting, we usually have a pre-show cue (look) that provides a low level (fairly dim) color wash on the stage. Sometime there are a pair of lights set nearly parallel to the upstage wall or curtain, and shooting diagonally across the wall/curtain. At intermission/break we restore to that look. It is enough to provide something to draw the eye to the stage, and the expectation of that being the focal point for the show.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Steve Garris on February 09, 2016, 01:18:40 pm
I too have a break scene. (4) of (8) backlights (upstage) on red, dimmed about 50%. As others have said, it creates the notion that there's going to be some excitement on stage. I also think red is a good "mood" light.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Dave Garoutte on February 09, 2016, 03:59:55 pm
I like to light the stage blue at maybe 50% before the set and during breaks.
It gives some interest and lets the bands changeover or fiddle with their gear.
I always bring some break music.
Silence - BAD.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: duane massey on February 12, 2016, 12:07:33 am
No one has suggested the ADJ/Elation Showdesigner 1. It would be an excellent choice for your rig now and in the future. Way, WAY more powerful and useful than the Operator (or any similar controller) and street price is $750 or less. Easier to program than any other controller in the under $1K range, and has plenty of memory and capacity to do anything you want in your market.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Scott Holtzman on February 12, 2016, 12:57:13 am
No one has suggested the ADJ/Elation Showdesigner 1. It would be an excellent choice for your rig now and in the future. Way, WAY more powerful and useful than the Operator (or any similar controller) and street price is $750 or less. Easier to program than any other controller in the under $1K range, and has plenty of memory and capacity to do anything you want in your market.

I have one of the older Elation Magic 260's which is an older version of the Showdesigner.  Both the I and II are nice boxes but the 1 is  limited to 16 fixtures where the 2 supports 48. My Magic supports 24 and that gets tight, I think 16 fixtures would jam me up.

I also use the Chauvet ShowExpress and I find I can do a better job running sound and lights with the control surface of the Elation.

 
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Mike Karseboom on February 13, 2016, 10:29:19 am
I like to light the stage blue at maybe 50% before the set and during breaks.
It gives some interest and lets the bands changeover or fiddle with their gear.


+1 and if you have a couple of uplights on drum kit they look really nice during the break.  With dim but tasteful lights it looks like you could take a photo and use it in an artsy magazine article about music.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: duane massey on February 15, 2016, 11:19:53 pm
I have one of the older Elation Magic 260's which is an older version of the Showdesigner.  Both the I and II are nice boxes but the 1 is  limited to 16 fixtures where the 2 supports 48. My Magic supports 24 and that gets tight, I think 16 fixtures would jam me up.

I also use the Chauvet ShowExpress and I find I can do a better job running sound and lights with the control surface of the Elation.
[/quote You can actually do more than 16 fixtures on the SD1 with a bit of creative patching. I never did get very good results from the Magic, as it had many more limitations compared to the SD series.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: Scott Holtzman on February 16, 2016, 01:52:02 am


[/quote You can actually do more than 16 fixtures on the SD1 with a bit of creative patching. I never did get very good results from the Magic, as it had many more limitations compared to the SD series.

Maybe I just have just gotten used to it.  I don't do anything sophisticated.
Title: Re: Planning a small bar show - could really use some advice!
Post by: duane massey on February 17, 2016, 12:49:09 am
Certainly a better unit than the others in that price range.