ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Lighting Forum => Topic started by: Stuart Murphy on March 09, 2017, 08:06:14 am

Title: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 09, 2017, 08:06:14 am
Hey Guys,

I run a very small production company, and need to build six large light-up letters for a touring band we manage, to go at the rear of large stages they play on - ie. along the back wall behind the drummer.. They need to be about 6 feet (2 meters) high. For an example, please refer to the close up sections in this short Shania Twain in Vegas concert, to catch a look at the lighting in question (ie; the word "SHANIA"). I've asked their production company, but no reply thus far. Can any of you experts identify what kind of tech these are? They seem to be controllable via some sort of program, or perhaps just operator triggered? Are they LED's? I can't work it out.. but they look fantastic and articulate bright multibursts of colour. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Here's the vid clip:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDkCe2cUHAA

Thanks,
Stu
Title: Posting Rules
Post by: Mac Kerr on March 09, 2017, 08:44:32 am
I run a very small production company,

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/board,36.0.html) in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Lyle Williams on March 10, 2017, 11:49:41 pm
http://ryanmuellercreative.com

Details are on their website.  Pixel-mapped LED.

Be warned, it looks like it could be a $200,000 prop.  :-)
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Gordon Brinton on March 11, 2017, 07:41:31 am
Welcome to the forum, Stu.

There are several companies that make metal LED lighted letters (signs) for outdoor advertising. Just drive down the Vegas strip and you'll see plenty. They incorporate addressable LED strips or curtains which can make the sign behave like a video screen. The ones in the Shania video look like they might even have little round diffuser lenses in front of each LED element, to make them appear larger. IDK.

Anyway, if that is well beyond your budget, you may try searching youtube for DIY video curtain to get insight on how it is done.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 11, 2017, 10:03:02 am
I run a very small production company, and need to build six large light-up letters...

Do they need to be pixel mapping letters?  If not, any generic LED bar/tube/tape inside a large letter with a translucent front will work.  If they do, check out some of the DIY stuff that Light-o-Rama sells.  I wouldn't say it's professional grade, but almost certainly good enough unless you want to try a complete custom build - soldering, coding, and all.  Either way, this is going to take many hours of work in your shop to pull off, unless you want to pay a professional price to have these built for you.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: John Fruits on March 11, 2017, 12:10:36 pm
For a cheaper solution, how about using rectangles of Coroplast or similar corrugated plastic.  You could mask the outline of the letters and backlight with LED pars for color changing, or try with some cheap moving lights to get some movement.  You could also do a masked polka-dot thing in the letter area to sort of get the pixel mapped effect. 
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Lyle Williams on March 11, 2017, 03:03:20 pm
This will be the wrong side of the world for you, but this hire company website has some big letter ideas:

http://www.thebigletterco.com.au/products-for-hire/

Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 11, 2017, 03:37:55 pm
This will be the wrong side of the world for you, but this hire company website has some big letter ideas:

http://www.thebigletterco.com.au/products-for-hire/

That type of letter is a lot easier to build yourself versus one with pixel mapping. 
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on March 11, 2017, 04:35:05 pm
A local DJ in my area makes his own. They look pretty good in person. He connects them to his controller.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Lyle Williams on March 12, 2017, 07:49:33 am
If you didn't make these name letters on demand, you would need quite a stock.  48 to do the top 300 first names in the US (but you wouldn't need the letter 'Q' yet!)

64 to do any of the top 5000 names...

(Clearly it is a slow night here)
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: duane massey on March 12, 2017, 02:53:59 pm
Your budget will determine what you can build. Building the letters is pretty straight-forward, especially if you are handy with a soldering iron. The complexity of the display will be your biggest determining factor. To duplicate what your video shows is probably well beyond the benefit. To build 6 letters that would chase individually and change colors would be relatively easy and not very expensive.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 15, 2017, 09:15:58 am
http://ryanmuellercreative.com

Details are on their website.  Pixel-mapped LED.

Be warned, it looks like it could be a $200,000 prop.  :-)

Brilliant, thanks Lyle. I sent him a message - you never know! ;-)
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 15, 2017, 09:19:32 am
Welcome to the forum, Stu.

There are several companies that make metal LED lighted letters (signs) for outdoor advertising. Just drive down the Vegas strip and you'll see plenty. They incorporate addressable LED strips or curtains which can make the sign behave like a video screen. The ones in the Shania video look like they might even have little round diffuser lenses in front of each LED element, to make them appear larger. IDK.

Anyway, if that is well beyond your budget, you may try searching youtube for DIY video curtain to get insight on how it is done.

Good luck.

Thank you for the welcome Gordon, and helpful advice. I'll start trawling YTube and see what suits my thoughts on it. Perhaps LED video walls/curtain might be more effective for me to show clips as well as just lighting up letters.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Lance Hallmark on March 16, 2017, 01:07:20 am
Thank you for the welcome Gordon, and helpful advice. I'll start trawling YTube and see what suits my thoughts on it. Perhaps LED video walls/curtain might be more effective for me to show clips as well as just lighting up letters.

LED panels and walls are still crazy expensive. You might want to consider video projection. You could make nice, fat white letters and video map images and colors on them. Still a lot of work but probably thousands cheaper.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 16, 2017, 04:54:14 am
LED panels and walls are still crazy expensive. You might want to consider video projection. You could make nice, fat white letters and video map images and colors on them. Still a lot of work but probably thousands cheaper.

That's a fab suggestion Lance. I did initially figure if I wanted to have something that looked rather epic, it'd have to be something that I'd need to build/create myself, so as to keep the extreme costs down. I really don't have much of an idea about the tech you're suggesting here, much less know enough to make it a reality, so even though it might be a superb cheap option, if I can't build it, I presume it might leap up a bit into the expensive bracket for me? I do need our Shania tribute show to look the business re stage production, but I can't afford the top-end stuff of course. And I certainly don't have the expertise to build ALL of it.. Bits n pieces sure. Not the high tech side of it though. I'm still used to par cans!!! I also need to work out the rest of the light show too. About 2 hours worth, and as we use backing tracks run from a laptop, maybe I should invest in a computer-controlled central system of some type?
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Lance Hallmark on March 16, 2017, 04:55:44 pm
That's a fab suggestion Lance. I did initially figure if I wanted to have something that looked rather epic, it'd have to be something that I'd need to build/create myself, so as to keep the extreme costs down. I really don't have much of an idea about the tech you're suggesting here, much less know enough to make it a reality, so even though it might be a superb cheap option, if I can't build it, I presume it might leap up a bit into the expensive bracket for me? I do need our Shania tribute show to look the business re stage production, but I can't afford the top-end stuff of course. And I certainly don't have the expertise to build ALL of it.. Bits n pieces sure. Not the high tech side of it though. I'm still used to par cans!!! I also need to work out the rest of the light show too. About 2 hours worth, and as we use backing tracks run from a laptop, maybe I should invest in a computer-controlled central system of some type?

To do video mapping you will need software like Resolume or Mad Mapper. That will show video on just the areas you have mapped (letters, in this case). How many projectors required will depend on the size of the letters and how spaced apart they are. You should be able to find decent enough projectors under $1k apiece. For comparison, even lower model 2'x2' lcd panels go for $1k apiece, not including controller modules. I would guess if you make the letters yourself, you could probably be all in for under 10k with video projection, easily into the tens of thousands with LCD panels. Hit YouTube up for video mapping, Mad Mapper & Resolume to get some ideas of what's involved.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 16, 2017, 08:51:26 pm
To do video mapping you will need software like Resolume or Mad Mapper. That will show video on just the areas you have mapped (letters, in this case). How many projectors required will depend on the size of the letters and how spaced apart they are. You should be able to find decent enough projectors under $1k apiece. For comparison, even lower model 2'x2' lcd panels go for $1k apiece, not including controller modules. I would guess if you make the letters yourself, you could probably be all in for under 10k with video projection, easily into the tens of thousands with LCD panels. Hit YouTube up for video mapping, Mad Mapper & Resolume to get some ideas of what's involved.

Thanks Lance, I'll look up Youtube as you say. So with projectors, how many would I be looking at to replicate a hi-def bright screen across the back of the stage, if the width of the stage were, say 10 metres wide? If I had projectors in use, I might as well run large hi-def videos too while we play, to make it look a bit more flashy. Also, where do the projectors get mounted - on some sort of elevated mounts spaced around the drum kit or somewhere similar? Presumably they won't be floor mounted directly at the front of the stage as we'll be performing there? And what kind of spec or connectivity would I need the projectors to have?
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Steve Garris on March 17, 2017, 03:14:32 pm
Here's a self build, but very small stage sign that my friend built. It's just christmas lights built in to a wood frame. He has it DMX'd and midi to the light show. This guy rolls in and sets up this monster light show and huge PA at every gig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fdNzXzDPc
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 18, 2017, 03:03:25 am
Here's a self build, but very small stage sign that my friend built. It's just christmas lights built in to a wood frame. He has it DMX'd and midi to the light show. This guy rolls in and sets up this monster light show and huge PA at every gig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fdNzXzDPc

Awesome effort!
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 21, 2017, 09:56:39 am
To do video mapping you will need software like Resolume or Mad Mapper. That will show video on just the areas you have mapped (letters, in this case). How many projectors required will depend on the size of the letters and how spaced apart they are. You should be able to find decent enough projectors under $1k apiece. For comparison, even lower model 2'x2' lcd panels go for $1k apiece, not including controller modules. I would guess if you make the letters yourself, you could probably be all in for under 10k with video projection, easily into the tens of thousands with LCD panels. Hit YouTube up for video mapping, Mad Mapper & Resolume to get some ideas of what's involved.

My friend is a university lecturer in AV stuff, and has played loads of pro gigs as a stage drummer in rock bands too. He's just let me know that projectors will be blown out almost completely by any stage lighting. I'm not sure which way to go now..! Does this meet with your experience?
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on March 21, 2017, 10:19:17 am
My friend is a university lecturer in AV stuff, and has played loads of pro gigs as a stage drummer in rock bands too. He's just let me know that projectors will be blown out almost completely by any stage lighting. I'm not sure which way to go now..! Does this meet with your experience?
Projectors are used with stage lighting all the time.  Will a 1000 lumen projector lighting up 1000 square feet of surface stand up to a ton of direct stage light?  No, but a 5000 lumen projector on a 6' x 10' screen out of the direct path of stage light will definitely be visible and look reasonable.  Will it have the same effect as your original video? Possibly not, but it depends on what you want to do.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 21, 2017, 08:09:08 pm
My friend is a university lecturer in AV stuff, and has played loads of pro gigs as a stage drummer in rock bands too. He's just let me know that projectors will be blown out almost completely by any stage lighting. I'm not sure which way to go now..! Does this meet with your experience?

Yes and no.  If the projector and display surface (screen or otherwise) are sized and placed correctly in accordance with the other aspects of the show, yes, it'll work just fine and it's done all the time.  Will a $295 projector from Office Depot hold a candle to a properly lit stage?  No.  I actually had this happen on a show of mine not too long ago - the band wanted to use their office projector to display graphics behind the drummer.  Even masking as much light as I could away from the screen you'd never even know there was a projector back there... There's a good reason why most of the projectors you see in live entertainment cost decent money.     
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 22, 2017, 08:24:27 am
Projectors are used with stage lighting all the time.  Will a 1000 lumen projector lighting up 1000 square feet of surface stand up to a ton of direct stage light?  No, but a 5000 lumen projector on a 6' x 10' screen out of the direct path of stage light will definitely be visible and look reasonable.  Will it have the same effect as your original video? Possibly not, but it depends on what you want to do.

Thanks TJ. Anecdotal advice is always so helpful. Generally speaking, is the measure of LUMENS the only real thing I should look for to source on that will kick butt in the presence of stage lights? Or is that only a minor spec to be aware of? I noticed today a bunch of 4000 12,000 lumen Panasonic projectors that looked like they might work.. It said they could go up to 8 metres width at high res.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on March 22, 2017, 09:03:05 am
Thanks TJ. Anecdotal advice is always so helpful. Generally speaking, is the measure of LUMENS the only real thing I should look for to source on that will kick butt in the presence of stage lights? Or is that only a minor spec to be aware of? I noticed today a bunch of 4000 12,000 lumen Panasonic projectors that looked like they might work.. It said they could go up to 8 metres width at high res.
Stuart, I saw your other video wall idea, and it is interesting, but hard to execute.  You need a fairly powerful media server and a lot of setup time, truck space, and general hassle.  In a fixed install it might work, but it's going to be a challenge to setup and tear down every show.

I have done myself or have been a part of a number of shows with projectors making up part or all of the backdrop. 
Here are some general thoughts typed quickly:

- Rear projection is much preferable to front projection, as it's less affected by light from the front of the screen, and you can stand in front of the screen without creating a shadow.
- Your friend is right in general principle - even a high output projector is no match for a direct stage light, but if you can make your lighting angles work so you're not illuminating your projected background with front stage light, it works reasonably well.
- Due to the above points, small rooms are going to be tough due to space and angle problems.
- Lumens/projected area is what matters.  You mentioned 5 meters x 3 meters or 15 sq meters, which for us yanks is 150 sq feet.  600  lumens/sq meter or 60 lumens/sq ft is the minimum amount of light that would be even remotely acceptable, so you need at least 9,000 projected lumens, and your 12,000 lumen projector would be OK, but not eye-popping.  If you downsized your screen to 4 meters x 2.5 meters you now have 10 sq meters of projected area, and your 12,000 lumen projector will start looking pretty good.
- Smaller screens are easier to handle with lighting angles too - non-optimal stage lighting angles will manifest problems at the bottom of your backdrop first, so getting a smaller screen up off the ground is a lot easier than a larger screen that goes all the way to the floor.

Budget and circumstances will dictate your options.  As Lance said, LED video wall segments are the best solution, but at about $3000/sq meter for even the cheap stuff not counting structure and media server, that's an expensive proposition.  One or two nice projectors will give you a great looking result assuming lighting and projection angles work out.  A bunch of cheap consumer TVs may be the lowest cost option, but you'll pay for it with logistical challenges, large borders between your screen tiles, and reliability issues.

Winning the lottery would help a lot.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 22, 2017, 09:46:10 am
Stuart, I saw your other video wall idea, and it is interesting, but hard to execute.  You need a fairly powerful media server and a lot of setup time, truck space, and general hassle.  In a fixed install it might work, but it's going to be a challenge to setup and tear down every show.

I have done myself or have been a part of a number of shows with projectors making up part or all of the backdrop. 
Here are some general thoughts typed quickly:

- Rear projection is much preferable to front projection, as it's less affected by light from the front of the screen, and you can stand in front of the screen without creating a shadow.
- Your friend is right in general principle - even a high output projector is no match for a direct stage light, but if you can make your lighting angles work so you're not illuminating your projected background with front stage light, it works reasonably well.
- Due to the above points, small rooms are going to be tough due to space and angle problems.
- Lumens/projected area is what matters.  You mentioned 5 meters x 3 meters or 15 sq meters, which for us yanks is 150 sq feet.  600  lumens/sq meter or 60 lumens/sq ft is the minimum amount of light that would be even remotely acceptable, so you need at least 9,000 projected lumens, and your 12,000 lumen projector would be OK, but not eye-popping.  If you downsized your screen to 4 meters x 2.5 meters you now have 10 sq meters of projected area, and your 12,000 lumen projector will start looking pretty good.
- Smaller screens are easier to handle with lighting angles too - non-optimal stage lighting angles will manifest problems at the bottom of your backdrop first, so getting a smaller screen up off the ground is a lot easier than a larger screen that goes all the way to the floor.

Budget and circumstances will dictate your options.  As Lance said, LED video wall segments are the best solution, but at about $3000/sq meter for even the cheap stuff not counting structure and media server, that's an expensive proposition.  One or two nice projectors will give you a great looking result assuming lighting and projection angles work out.  A bunch of cheap consumer TVs may be the lowest cost option, but you'll pay for it with logistical challenges, large borders between your screen tiles, and reliability issues.

Winning the lottery would help a lot.

Such a useful response there TJ, I'll try to digest it all and try to move ahead somehow. I doubt I'd be able to produce all the 2hours of video and After Effects content for 13 different screens myself anyway, let alone figure out how to sync and stream it all. You mentioned 2 projectors.. do you mean I should run 2 say 8000 lumen projectors side by side.. would that help/is it even possible or advised? If so, what central program would I use that ties all the motorised lighting and projector stuff together in sync? I hope to hit the Macbook GO button and let the synced show run for the 2 hrs stage time.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on March 22, 2017, 10:15:43 am
Such a useful response there TJ, I'll try to digest it all and try to move ahead somehow. I doubt I'd be able to produce all the 2hours of video and After Effects content for 13 different screens myself anyway, let alone figure out how to sync and stream it all. You mentioned 2 projectors.. do you mean I should run 2 say 8000 lumen projectors side by side.. would that help/is it even possible or advised? If so, what central program would I use that ties all the motorised lighting and projector stuff together in sync? I hope to hit the Macbook GO button and let the synced show run for the 2 hrs stage time.
The easiest to execute is one projector with one screen, as that's just a basic single video.  Programs like Pro Presenter can do up to 3 screens with relatively little complexity, as long as they are separate screens.  Fancier setups can blend projectors together, but this is expensive and difficult.

After hearing more about what you are trying to do and your level of experience, I feel confident that a single projector solution is your best bet for a video backdrop.  There are still things to learn and work out, and there's definitely cost associated, but I think you would find it a lot easier to be successful that way, relative to multiple TVs.

The other alternative is to skip the video and look into lights that can be pixel mapped. 

https://www.chauvetdj.com/products/core-3x3/

Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 22, 2017, 06:54:41 pm
The easiest to execute is one projector with one screen, as that's just a basic single video.  Programs like Pro Presenter can do up to 3 screens with relatively little complexity, as long as they are separate screens.  Fancier setups can blend projectors together, but this is expensive and difficult.

After hearing more about what you are trying to do and your level of experience, I feel confident that a single projector solution is your best bet for a video backdrop.  There are still things to learn and work out, and there's definitely cost associated, but I think you would find it a lot easier to be successful that way, relative to multiple TVs.

The other alternative is to skip the video and look into lights that can be pixel mapped. 

https://www.chauvetdj.com/products/core-3x3/

Thanks DJ. They're great suggestions. To clarify, you're right in that I'm not a lighting tech regarding my experience levels, but I've taken on very big challenges and stage projects in the past that were supposed to be beyond me also, but they all worked out incredibly well. I'm diligent, and I'm sure I can sort this out. But it's so much more evolutionary for me with my ideas when guys like you throw in educated options. It's extremely well appreciated, and takes me much further, thanks.

I'll see if I can work in those Chauvet pixel mapped lights. They may be more useful to me than motorised heads.
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 22, 2017, 07:13:55 pm
I'll see if I can work in those Chauvet pixel mapped lights. They may be more useful to me than motorised heads.

Oh absolutely.  I think moving heads are the wrong tool for this job.  In addition to the 3x3 grid, you might want to consider something like the Chauvet EPIX (https://www.chauvetprofessional.com/products/epix-bar-tour/) or the Blizzard Pixellicious (http://www.blizzardlighting.com/products/led-effects/item/273-pixellicious).  They're a little different than the COB grids but you get more of a true pixel mapping display with these.  They're also very reasonably priced in my opinion and are sold in a few different variants. 
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Stuart Murphy on March 22, 2017, 10:17:54 pm
Oh absolutely.  I think moving heads are the wrong tool for this job.  In addition to the 3x3 grid, you might want to consider something like the Chauvet EPIX (https://www.chauvetprofessional.com/products/epix-bar-tour/) or the Blizzard Pixellicious (http://www.blizzardlighting.com/products/led-effects/item/273-pixellicious).  They're a little different than the COB grids but you get more of a true pixel mapping display with these.  They're also very reasonably priced in my opinion and are sold in a few different variants.

Thanks Jeff. They do both look good. I need to get my head around how to work that dot pixel look into this somewhat glamorous Shania thing, design/looks-wise. They seem to be very useful/clever fixtures!
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Terry Martin on March 29, 2017, 02:51:18 pm
I'd like to chat with this guy to share / exchange some lighting info - is that possible for you to arrange?

easyrider1340 @ gmail

Thanks
Terry
Here's a self build, but very small stage sign that my friend built. It's just christmas lights built in to a wood frame. He has it DMX'd and midi to the light show. This guy rolls in and sets up this monster light show and huge PA at every gig:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fdNzXzDPc



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Help With Identifying This Type Of Stage Lighting?
Post by: Steve Garris on March 29, 2017, 03:42:02 pm
I'd like to chat with this guy to share / exchange some lighting info - is that possible for you to arrange?

easyrider1340 @ gmail

Thanks
Terry

Let me ask. I'll let you know.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk