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Talk to me about lighting, please!


BATCAT

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So, for the what my band does (mostly originals, metropolitan Seattle) it's par for the course to play 2/3/4 band bills with everyone using the house PA and lighting. (for some less prestigious venues the latter can be nonexistent or very basic) I've been thinking of putting together a small lighting rig for the purpose of:

-providing more of a show on smaller stages without proper lighting

-for bigger venues, augmenting existing lighting schemes with something distinct of our own

-setting us apart from other bands and making us more memorable with a certain style, color(s), or pattern of lighting

 

 

My requirements would be

-the setup need to be inexpensive, no more than a few hundred

-the setup needs to be compact and relatively light

-the setup must fit on the stage floor itself

-the setup music be quick and easy to arrange. It should take under five minutes to do so.

 

My old band had a bit of lighting, but I've been totally ouf of the loop for a good eight years when it somes to lighting. Any ideas? General direction?

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Would you have access to a separate circuit for the lights that you don't plug your back line into so you wouldn't create any unwanted noise?

 

 

It really depends on the venue. Let's say no.

 

To clarify, also, I'm just talking about something like 2-4 individual lights. I'm not wanting to get complicated; I just want us to stand out.

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I suggest something in the line of LED panels or strips. They offer a lot of light and very little power consumption. They are light and easily positioned so the can be used on the side if there isn't enough room in front. It is important to front light first then look at eye candy. At a minimum I'd use an LED panel or two for a stage wash. If you decide to add to the system later you can add Pucks or similar "spot" type fixtures.

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My band uses a video projector to display images on a screen behind us. You can either set up a video screen, hang a white cloth, or even just shine it on the back wall if it's a solid color.

 

The videos we use are techno-y type images available on DVD for DJs that do a similar thing. It doesn't really light up the band, per se, (we have front lighting as well) but it does provide a unique and interesting image behind the band. If you have someone with a bit of video skill, you could probably come up with anything you wanted and even have song-specific images.

 

These were shot against a beige wall behind the stage.

 

4004076.jpg

 

4004115.jpg

 

4004111.jpg

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I suggest something in the line of LED panels or strips. They offer a lot of light and very little power consumption. They are light and easily positioned so the can be used on the side if there isn't enough room in front. It is important to front light first then look at eye candy.

 

 

Something like this?

 

http://backstage.musiciansfriend.com/Pro-Audio/Lighting-Stage-Effects/Color-Changers-Wash-Lights/Electro-Panel-192--LED-Strobe-Wash-Effect.site1sku484997000000000.sku

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My band uses a video projector to display images on a screen behind us. You can either set up a video screen, hang a white cloth, or even just shine it on the back wall if it's a solid color.


The videos we use are techno-y type images available on DVD for DJs that do a similar thing. It doesn't really light up the band, per se, (we have front lighting as well) but it does provide a unique and interesting image behind the band. If you have someone with a bit of video skill, you could probably come up with anything you wanted and even have song-specific images.


These were shot against a beige wall behind the stage.


4004076.jpg

4004115.jpg

4004111.jpg

 

That looks great! :thu:

 

My old band had a filmmaker create song-specific videos for each of our songs, and projected 'em onto a white sheet. It was really cool, but the logistics of hanging a sheet and finding a good spot for the projector- on top of actually finding a person to create stuff and run everything- is just way more than I want to take on right now. And a lot of the stages we play on are very cramped, from experience I can say that's rough when you're trying to do projections.

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That looks great!
:thu:

My old band had a filmmaker create song-specific videos for each of our songs, and projected 'em onto a white sheet. It was really cool, but the logistics of hanging a sheet and finding a good spot for the projector- on top of actually finding a person to create stuff and run everything- is just way more than I want to take on right now. And a lot of the stages we play on are very cramped, from experience I can say that's rough when you're trying to do projections.

 

Cramped stages can be an issue. We have the projector mounted to one of our front lighting trees and the main key is to find a projector with Horizontal Keystone so you can adjust the projector to give a 'square' image.

 

We haven't created anything other than we project our logo during breaks. Just the stock video footage is pretty cool and works for our purposes. So I just hit 'play' on the DVD player at the beginning of each set and let it run. It's pretty simple really (or I probably couldn't do it....)

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Try these

 

http://backstage.musiciansfriend.com/Pro-Audio/Lighting-Stage-Effects/Color-Changers-Wash-Lights/COLORpalette-DMX-LED-Color-Bank-System.site1prod801332.product

 

Try checking over in the Lighting forum. There are some lighting people over there that can get you some VERY good deals on stuff. They also offer excellent advice on gear.

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Cramped stages can be an issue. We have the projector mounted to one of our front lighting trees and the main key is to find a projector with Horizontal Keystone so you can adjust the projector to give a 'square' image.


We haven't created anything other than we project our logo during breaks. Just the stock video footage is pretty cool and works for our purposes. So I just hit 'play' on the DVD player at the beginning of each set and let it run. It's pretty simple really (or I probably couldn't do it....)

 

 

Are you using something like this?

 

http://www.idjnow.com/StoreModules/ProductDetails.aspx/PID=GCG0267--BranchID=--DepartmentID=DVD%20Visuals--SubDeptID=DJ%20Videos--CategoryID=--DeID=0--SRCH=

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Couple questions on this same topic (and yes, I do check the Lighting forum regularly as well). Again, trying to keep small in terms of number of fixtures overall (I'd anticipate 4-6 total to start; a few Puck-type for performers and some side washes):

 

On smaller stages do you think it would be easier to wash with panels or strips (assume 1 fixture on each side of stage) from the standpoint of ease of placing the fixtures themselves? My concern with panels is that there will often not be enough height or extra side-stage space to achieve good clearance from the band, and it seems the strips (especially minis) would be easier to place.

 

Also, anybody controlling a smaller show (number of fixtures-wise) with either a foot controller OR using sequences to send MIDI control information (especially via Logic), and if so...any general tips?

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I use a foot controller to control our small show of 8 LED pars and a couple of specialty "effect" lights. The next step is to add a bar across the back above the projector screen and put a few more cans up there.

 

I don't really have any general tips to offer other than I'm not that happy going the foot controller route. There's only a couple of models even in existance and neither of them (I've used them both and I'm pretty sure there ARE only two) are very versatile.

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Yeah, I'm hoping that I will stumble across the magical (and cheap) foot controller that makes it incredibly easy to program/set-up/select "All on", "washes only", "spots only" and also be able to choose individual colors and/or chase through the colors at will...

 

And by easy, I mean it takes a couple hours and you're good to go...

 

Just want something to get by during the hump of time it will take to figure out how to set-up a minimal DMX/sequenced show doing the same; we've already got backing sequences on a good chunk of the songs, so it would just take adding another track to each of those for light information.

 

But not something I'm looking forward to figuring out.

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I use a foot controller to control our small show of 8 LED pars and a couple of specialty "effect" lights. The next step is to add a bar across the back above the projector screen and put a few more cans up there.


I don't really have any general tips to offer other than I'm not that happy going the foot controller route. There's only a couple of models even in existance and neither of them (I've used them both and I'm pretty sure there ARE only two) are very versatile.

 

 

Do some research on the Behringher FCB1010 w/ the UNO chip. I don't have one (yet) but the guys over in the lighting forum speak highly of this unit as a foot controller for lights.

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Just want something to get by during the hump of time it will take to figure out how to set-up a minimal DMX/sequenced show doing the same; we've already got backing sequences on a good chunk of the songs, so it would just take adding another track to each of those for light information.


But not something I'm looking forward to figuring out.

 

 

If we used any sequences, I would definately go that route.

 

As far as the foot controller goes the MBT SCX-101 I use is easy to program and gives a fair amount of options, but it's not simple to choose between say, chases and spots--you sometimes have to run through 2 or 3 settings to get to the one you want--and it doesn't have very many DMX channels. Something like only 12 or 16 when there's 256 possible.

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For what it's worth, I use a Behringer FCB-1010 linked to a Lighttronics lightboard with our band. It allows me instant access to whichever of the 80 or so scenes that I have programmed that I feel will work best for the moment. The downside is that it's almost like playing another instrument, as you have to remember where the scenes are located, and you have to get to them in time for the changes.

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For what it's worth, I use a Behringer FCB-1010 linked to a Lighttronics lightboard with our band. It allows me instant access to whichever of the 80 or so scenes that I have programmed that I feel will work best for the moment. The downside is that it's almost like playing another instrument, as you have to remember where the scenes are located, and you have to get to them in time for the changes.

 

 

Yep. I find a lot of foot controlling to be more trouble than it is worth. And nearly impossible on songs where I've got a lot of keyboard playing going on. I'm starting to think it's either bring on somebody to run lights (or see if the sound guy can do it) or just go with the audio-sensors.

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Do some research on the Behringher FCB1010 w/ the UNO chip. I don't have one (yet) but the guys over in the lighting forum speak highly of this unit as a foot controller for lights.

 

 

True. It MUST have the UNO chip. If you have the extra cash, the Roland FC300 works right out of the box and tied to a midi capable DMX controller, it can do anything you need.

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Yep. I find a lot of foot controlling to be more trouble than it is worth. And nearly impossible on songs where I've got a lot of keyboard playing going on. I'm starting to think it's either bring on somebody to run lights (or see if the sound guy can do it) or just go with the audio-sensors.

 

 

Your keys are midi, right? I've seen dozens of bands where the keyboard player runs the lights through his keyboard.

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Never mind. The basics of it are easy enough to understand after thinking about it for 5 seconds. I guess the main reason I never thought about doing it on the keys is I'd need a dedicated keyboard just for controlling the lights. Which might be easier and better than using a foot controller. Then again, since most light cues are on downbeats and both my hands are usually busy already on downbeats, I'd either have to have the keyboard on the floor and use it as foot controller or have it on a lower stand and use my dick.

 

But more seriously....finding some cheapy tiny board to toss up and use as a light controller isn't a bad idea at all.

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