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Psychedelic Stage Lights: Where do I find them?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by McHaven, Sep 14, 2008.


  1. McHaven

    McHaven

    Mar 1, 2005
    My band and I are thinking of spicing up the stage show since the music is relatively chilled out and flowing. So, we need some psychedelic lights to compliment the music.


    Mainly we want to have some lights we can set on the front of the stage, that will shine back on us. We want to have one light on the bass drum head, and at least 1 on the guitar amps, and 1 on the bass amp.

    We want the lights to put out some swirling psychedelic patterns.The lights preferably need to be cheap, reliable and able to run on their own, without us having to mess with them during the set.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Dogsferatu

    Dogsferatu

    May 22, 2007
    Austin, TX
    to fly on the cheap, find a buddy willing to help and you can use a laptop + projector, or go to an thrift store find an overhead or projector and get some weird crap and have someone handle it.
    It would be cheaper than trying to get equipment to handle by itself. (and wouldn't get the cheap cheesy factor)
     
  3. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    The laptop thing is probably the modern version of what came to my mind reading the question.

    Back in my youth, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we would use things like: strobe lights, christmas lights, overhead projectors with petri dishes of colored oil, dry ice fog makers.

    Once we did ALL of those at the same gig. a friend in another band had about a million milk crates out in the barn that they used for their practice room. So we made a layer of milk crates one high and put plywood on top of them to be the stage. That was about 8 x 32 feet, so it would have been 256 crates. Then we made a 8x8 drum riser, about three feet tall with three layers of thirty crates around a couple of saw horses.

    Under the drum riser was a dry ice fog rig and a pair of strobe lights, set to trigger off of the bass drum with a rotating four color gel in front of them. We also had an overhead projector shining behind the stage and my girlfriend dropped colored oils in a petri dish on the projector, so it would show on the screen. We also had blinking christmas lights strung over the amps.

    You want psychedelic? This was it.
     
  4. Dogsferatu

    Dogsferatu

    May 22, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I have to agree, this past summer for punk shows I was hosting, we used overheads with images (usually handled by someones artistic girlfriends, christmas lights set up in vases and works lights with gels in front of them...
    I had one group use the laptop set up to show dvds in the background...
     
  5. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Those are cool, Trevorus. But they cost quite a bit more than the things I was talking about.
     
  6. Dogsferatu

    Dogsferatu

    May 22, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Yeah I agree, they are really neat, I manage an event center here in Austin, and the owner will give me no budget for lighting... I've seen the LED's in action they are awesome.. but nothing beats the overhead, xmas lights and cheap clamp lamps. Even now with Halloween approaching you can get some cool "dark" lights or strobes...
    Bard2dbone... what was your bass back then?
     
  7. DudeistMonk

    DudeistMonk

    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I would get a projector and hook up my laptop to it...turn on the i-tunes visualizer set to "jelly."

    Does anyone know if there is a way to sync this to a live feed?

    Also the oil lights and the strobes are a good idea I've seen commercial versions of the oil lights that spin automatically and look real cool...they can't be too expensive either cause I've seen them in dorm rooms and such.
     
  8. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Well, at the time my rig would probably have been a Univox Stereo Bass through an Acoustic 360 rig, if I'm remembering the date right. Or I might have still been using the Ric full time. I think I had just gotten the Univox. It was supposed to be the backup for my 4003. But ended up as my main bass.

    But I wasn't playing at most of that show. The band at that one was several friends of mine. They called themselves The Neighbors.

    There was a fairly interconnected scene back there. Their lead singer/bass player was the brother of the lead singer from Lolita Gray. And their guitar players sister was my girlfriend/keyboard player in Young Garage Band in Trouble. Basically she and I ran lights and sound for them at that party. It wasn't a real gig, since no one was getting paid. But it developed into a hilarious jam session later on with members of all three of those bands and one from a punk band called Mighty Joe Young, whose bass player was eventually my guitar player in Fuzzy Logic.

    It would make sense if you'd been there.
     
  9. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I also forgot something else we did that night. And it's not expensive. It was a little expensive then but would be much cheaper now.

    1. Get a speaker cab with no grill cover.
    2. Place a small mirror on the cone of the speaker. (It's best if this isn't a cab you care much about.)
    3. Shine a small laser on the mirror so that it reflects up on some readily visible surface.(This was the part I figured would be cheaper. We only had a laser available because one of the dads had it for leveling concrete.They're much more common now.)
    4. Play music through that speaker and watch the laser dance.

    It doesn't have to be a good quality speaker. In fact, since it might change the tone when you stick a little 1"x1" piece of mirror on it, it's probably best if it's not a good speaker. You don't need to hear that one anyway. Don't drive it too hard. You just want to make it vibrate rhythmically.
     
  10. NewJuhani

    NewJuhani

    Jan 17, 2011
    Well, If you are a chronic audiophile and especially you are the kind of a trance addict then you know the very important thing in a trance show is the laser stage lights shows! The lovely green laser beams moving all over the place giving company to the dancing trance addicts!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ggunn

    ggunn

    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Back in the late 70's there was a band out of San Antonio that did something similar, They had a laser that bounced off two speakers (one for the X axis and one for Y) behind the stage over the drummer's head. They were in some sort of a box with windows, I guess; they were not audible. For a rear projection screen they ran a pipe overhead at the front of the stage with a bunch of holes drilled in it along its length into which they fed the output of a dry ice fog machine, which dropped a thin curtain of fog out in front of them. Their lighting guy sat at the mixing board with two oscillators feeding the laser box, which drew oscilloscope patterns on the fog. It was pretty cool.
     
  12. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Wow. There's a memory. I'd forgotten about this thread long ago.

    Something to watch out for. If you're doing dry ice fog on the scale we did that night, you could cause real health problems if you don't have good enough ventilation. Fortunately for us, it was a barn. We couldn't have blocked out cross breezes if we'd wanted to.

    So stupid luck for the win.

    I'm amazed more people don't do the lazer thing, as cheap as they've gotten nowadays.
     
  13. NateS

    NateS

    Sep 22, 2009
    Richmond, VA, USA
    thanks for reminding me! i need to come up with lights for my band's shows!

    want to add to the trippiness of the noise with trippy lights...hhhmmmmm.......
     
  14. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Then go back and re-read posts #3 and #10.

    You're welcome.
     
  15. NateS

    NateS

    Sep 22, 2009
    Richmond, VA, USA
    oh, i did read them! both very good ideas, especially post 10 - i'll have to try it next practice, if i can find a small enough mirror....


    also want to use a projector with my laptop (Which is part of my rig anyway), just not sure what we'd project...
     
  16. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    One cool idea you could steal is something my old band and at least one other local group used to do. You could argue whether BL Lacerta stole the idea from Fuzzy Logic or vice versa, but what we basically both did was compose live soundtracks to silent movies projected on either us, a screen above us, or a screen in front of us. BL Lacerta was classier than us. They got to do it in an actual moviehouse for a while.

    One of the times we did it, the movie was shown directly on us as we played. I call that a failed experiment because a band makes a crappy movie screen. It was a cool idea. We all wore white and draped our rigs in white to make more surface for the images to show up on. But it was (literally) blinding bright the whole show. You don't realize how much you get your cues from your bandmates visually until you can't do it. And unfortunately we were jamming along with a movie, but couldn't tell what the movie was.

    Then we showed the movie above us. It was better. We could see each other and the audience. But we were looking up at the movie ourselves much of the time to cue the music to the action as much as we could.

    What worked best was to set up a semitransparent screen in front of us. The movie showed clearly on it. We could see it fine, just reversed We could see each other fine. We couldn't see the audience while the show played, but that turned out to be just as well.

    We did old classic black and white movies first. (Metropolis ROCKED!) Then we did cartoons. But my favorites were actually student films run without the sound. One of the film students said one particular one had dialogue so bad that playing it silent improved it even before we played.
     
  17. NateS

    NateS

    Sep 22, 2009
    Richmond, VA, USA
    haha!

    not trying to hijack the thread, but that's actually really smart - playing the video on ourselves. for the record, it's only me and another person, and we generally play sitting on the floor, so i dunno if it would work quite as well....
     
  18. I saw SOAD and they opened up the second time I saw them behind a screen with a light shining on Darryn from inside, we could see his shadow on the screen. He was singing soldier side, then the screen dropped and they burst in B.Y.O.B.

    I saw TOOL and they had the floor of the stage and the back drop covered in white fabric, they showed videos, random clips (of like nukes and aliens and stuff) and a laser show all being shown to the audience as a movie screen, but we could see the band on the stage too ... VERY cool! Cheers.
     
  19. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    The audience totally dug it. But seriously it was like staring into a spotlight the whole show from my point of view. I was blind for a couple of hours afterward. I guess if you could find serious enough sunglsses it might work better.

    If you're doing stuff that is already composed, without a bunch of improv content, it might also work better to just set up in front of a big white wall and project a show on you and the wall. It was a pain for us because we were jamming an improvised soundtrack to the video, not playing a regular setlist. For that, being glare-blinded kind of screwed us up.

    The best one musically was the one where we were behind the screen. But the one I heard about from audience members for the longest time was the one where we were part of the screen.

    It's cool to picture that big name groups with actual budgets did things later that we used to do.

    Just so long as this doesn't turn into one of my occasional self-pity parties ("I'm telling you, we could have been huge!") The only thing lamer than a has-been is a nearly-was. And I'm that guy.
     

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