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  • Lighting "Rules of thumb".

    Hi all,



    I finally got myself into lighting up my band and grabbed a DMX controller and a few LED Pars. When i tried to look up some books about lighting, all i can find are ones that talk about big theatrical productions and nothing about smaller scale bar and club gigs.



    Maybe some of you here can post some common do's and dont's that I, and many others can learn from.



    One thing i know for sure is to light up the band before doing anything fancy.



    What other tips do you guys have from your experiences?? (pictures and videos would be cool too)



    Thanks.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">- K. Mok<br />
    - <a href="http://www.myspace.com/violetsandviruses" target="_blank">http://www.myspace.com/violetsandviruses</a><br />
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  • #2
    You have rule # 1 already. Light the stage so the performers can be seen.



    After that there are really no "rules" but perhaps a few concepts.



    Lighting from more than one angle adds depth to the visual picture.



    Colors can be either contrasting or complementary - both have a place.



    Think of lighting as a series of pictures (scenes) These pictures should have a flow.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Thanks,<br><br><br><br> Bill Cronheim<br><br>Back stage since 1973<br>For Sale: 1 - KV2 EX12 and 1 - KV2 EX2.2</div>

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    • #3
      1. Lighting doesnt take the place of the music nor make up for poor music. Its an addon, a further turn on to the audiance/dancers.



      2. Dont crash and burn. This most often happens thru poor syncing with the music beat/tempo. And/or thru getting too monotonous. If not syncing with the music, adjust. Vary things. Have some spontaneity. If gots a large rig, dont fire it up all at once and go start to finish with it. Build then sustain then mellow out then have final splurge if appropriate. Have a small ego, your not their to do anything other then further the dancers/audience enjoyment thru eye candy. Be aware of moods and atmosphere.



      3. If its a band focussed performance then yes the stage is first. If a DJ, then the dancers and place as a whole is the focus. Be empathetic.



      4. If useing eye safe lasers, strafe low, just above folks heads when they are standing. If its a place that allows smoking, utilize the created random smoke for your stuff eps if doing aerial lasers. If useing more powerful then class IIIa lasers never even think about strafing into peeps eye level or even just above their heads. Its not worth bumming a attendees night by blinding them even for a little while.



      5. Be with the music and the people at the show/party. If your daydreaming about the laundry or something else you dont belong there.



      6. If someone compliments you on your lightshow or obviously gets turned on spur of the moment during the event. Be glad yet remain humble. Getting swell head will cause you to crash and burn.



      7. If doing psytrance or other stuff known to cause mindshifts for some, be sympathetic, encouraging, yet also easy going rather then all serious about it. The primary turn on is from fun and ecstacy.



      8. Construct your rig for the type of places (size wise) you want it to serve. It makes no sense to have real powerfull stuff for small places. If ambience is the game, then also avoid real powerfull lights (illumination level wise). If doing venues where powerful illumination if expected or needed, then dont get lower light level stuff except for use when its reasonable to shift to low light. Vary the intensity, but dont overblast unless its part of a short peak. If doing raves and such, the glowstick dancers etc are as much a part of the light show as anything you might bring. Be with them not competing against them. Be out on the dance floor and around the perimeter regular or at least a few times if at all possible. Youll be more aware of stuff and better able to create welcome eye candy for all.



      9. There is no such thing as a good all auto pilot show. Do some change ups and randomness/spontaneity. Your not entertaining robots nor drones.



      10. Its been said before, but your not the focus of the event. The music is and the peeps themself doing their own thing and enjoying that they came is. There are two primary worlds music and lights wise. The band based one where the stage is the focus and many that came will be just sitting or standing about. And the rave and such type world where its mainly about the music and dancing and perhaps "tripping". Musicians and or DJ/s gets some lighting of course, but main focus is the dance arena and the places ambience. In this latter realm you may often be participating as a team with other eye candy creators. Some of these may be folks who brought projedctors or other light effects for the place, some of these will of course be dancers doing glowsticks etc.



      There is a somewhat of a crossover world too. Where stage and dance floor are equal importance lights wise, livetronica for example. Psychedelic rock can be another such. Often this balance can be well got by concidering the stage area as part of the dance space. Though its lighting effects will often shift to another type deeper into the stage(For example this might be thru video projectors whereas theres more moveing gobos, aerial laser, etc thru dance area. Aerial lasers into stage should be picked for their ability to also create kewl wall and ceiling traces like abstract pics that also sync with the music.



      If its not a music event, then lighting is all about atmospherics. Sync with that since you wont have a audio beat etc to sync with. Be empathetic & have fun as part of the fun the peeps coming to the event are there to have.

      --------
      Life for its own carnal pleasure.<br><br>Synths: Novation KS4 &amp; Maudio Venom. Guitar: BC Rich It Warlock.. Bass: BC Rich Warlock. Sight: Aerial lasers by Omnisistem &amp; Chauvet,. Geometric lasers by Extreme.

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by Darkstorm
        View Post

        Getting swell head will cause you to crash and burn.




        Wow! I feel lucky just getting free beer



        Great stuff Darkstorm!



        How about these...



        Don't use strobe lights during slow acoustic songs.



        Don't hurt the audience. There might be times where you want to put the lights in their faces but don't leave them there for more than a second or two. If people are looking away from the stage because the lights are too bright you are distracting from the music and not complimenting it.



        Don't hurt the band. You want them to be seen but you don't need to blind them either. You also always want to have a least some light on the stage so they can see what they are doing and aren't tripping over cables in between songs.



        Don't go overboard with the smoke. If you can't see the band anymore you are using too much.



        Killing the lights at the end of a song is a visual cue for the audience that it is time to clap. It also reminds them how boring the stage would look if you weren't there with all your lights.



        Nooch
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://myspace.com/noochonlights" target="_blank">http://myspace.com/noochonlights</a></div>

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        • #5






          Quote Originally Posted by Nooch
          View Post

          Don't hurt the band. You want them to be seen but you don't need to blind them either. You also always want to have a least some light on the stage so they can see what they are doing and aren't tripping over cables in between songs.



          Nooch




          I always had this problem with a sound/lighting guy in a bar i used to play in. He would make every show so flashy and stroby that I can't keep up with playing. I know i'm not the best guitar player around but that slow motion effect from strobes really mess things up.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">- K. Mok<br />
          - <a href="http://www.myspace.com/violetsandviruses" target="_blank">http://www.myspace.com/violetsandviruses</a><br />
          - <a href="http://www.myspace.com/kmok86" target="_blank">http://www.myspace.com/kmok86</a></div>

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          • #6
            Determine how you want to use strobes, if at all. Remember there's two functions for 'em at a band-focused show: to strobe the stage and to blind the audience. If you're playing at a bar where the band isn't the primary focus, and you use 'em as blinders, people will leave.



            I remember going to see a band called Filter back about seven years ago. They played at a now-closed venue called the Boathose, held about 2,200 people. Right before they hit the stage, they must have kicked on four of the biggest foggers money can buy, filled the place up with such dense fog you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Killed every light in the building and walked on stage, as soon as the first song came on they hit eight of those rectangle Mega Strobes (1500W each from what I remember talking to the soundguy after the show). They literally blinded the crowd -- when the room is completely full of fog and you kick on a strobe, the entire house lights up! You couldn't get away from it, even turning around to face the opposite direction didn't help because the fog was just reflecting the strobes. People just left and went outside and missed the first part of their set. Don't think that was quite the intended goal. It was a madhouse for a while because you couldn't even tell what direction you were facing except for trying to use the speakers as a point of reference.



            Cool idea in theory though.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">How about a mother****************ing crocodile pit instead of those titty ****************s !</font><br />
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            <br />
            <font size="1"><i>Last edited by Jazz Ad on 06-20-2004 at 09:08 PM</i></font></div>

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            • #7
              i have no idea at all on how to work with lights... need to learn also coz it looks kinda cool during shows... it would really help my band also...
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              • #8
                I agree, very helpful Darkstorm. I'm a lighting newbie too and your entry went a long way to educating me.
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                • #9
                  Zeromus-X, did they also have the amps set to 11? A combination of overwhelming lighting and ear bleeding sound levels are guaranteed ways of getting an audience fleeing from you.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/poke.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Poke" class="inlineimg" /> For Sale:<br />
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                  • #10
                    The sound was great, it was just the strobing that was insane. Filter was a pretty big band for their time and they had no problem selling out this venue. It was a really cool effect, and I'm sure when they were tossing the idea around it sounded awesome... but in reality it made it so there was no way to see the band or anything around you. Dangerous situation. Cool, ...but dangerous!
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">How about a mother****************ing crocodile pit instead of those titty ****************s !</font><br />
                    <br />
                    <br />
                    <font size="1"><i>Last edited by Jazz Ad on 06-20-2004 at 09:08 PM</i></font></div>

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                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by Zeromus-X
                      View Post

                      Determine how you want to use strobes, if at all. Remember there's two functions for 'em at a band-focused show: to strobe the stage and to blind the audience. If you're playing at a bar where the band isn't the primary focus, and you use 'em as blinders, people will leave.




                      I try to have strobes setup so that noone gets direct in the face light from them and instead just get the ambient flashes through the haze and wall reflection etc.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">Nothing to see here... Move along!</div>

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                      • #12
                        This is a sticky. Protest if you have any issues with this..





                        Happy New Year..





                        Rimmer
                        <div class="signaturecontainer">"(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P</div>

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                        • #13
                          I remember the Boathouse. It was a great place to see live bands in VA. Many times, a band would skip Richmond, VA altogether and play in Norfolk at the Boathouse.

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                          • #14
                            Wish more of the guys over in LIVE SOUND understood this. lol







                            Quote Originally Posted by Darkstorm
                            View Post

                            10. Its been said before, but your not the focus of the event. The music is ---




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                            • #15
                              Don't mention Behringer in the live sound forum as it will get you in trouble. I did and I got a royal bashing for it.

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