Run lights while playing bass…

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Chad Michael, May 5, 2003.

  1. (mods - wasn't sure where to put this...)

    The club we played at this weekend has a decent house light system. Whole set of effects lights for the room and some cans for the stage. I was nominated to be the light operator.

    Kinda fun!!!

    Some things that were fun to experiment with and learn:

    1) Learning how / when to do scenes, chases, blackouts onstage.
    2) Manipulating the effects lighting for the room and dance floor
    3) How the lasers, vertigos, zephyrs, and strobes change the mood of the room

    I don’t know a whole lot about stage and effect lights, but having fun learning…. not to mention the challenge of switching things on and off while playing bass and singing backup!!! :eek:

    Anyone else do lights?

    Anyone know a good reference for information on the different types of stage lighting, effects, what the different effects are called, etc? Be interesting to learn about the differences in effects, can sizing for throw, can positioning, making the dance floor exciting, etc. etc.
  2. trinket


    Nov 25, 2001
    office chair
    Well I think it adds a lot to the show but if a band sucks, lights mean diddly squat.
    I just know that if I've been drinking too much, some of the "scenes" can make me want to vomit :D
    NO idea about references for info on this, have you tried the search engine of champions (google)? Mabybe you'd find out what you want to know at a local music store that supplies lights and such.
    Good job and good luck with the multi tasking (back up vocals, bass, working lights) I can barely chew gum and walk.
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I've just recently inherited "light duties" in my band. First thing I did was dump the controller for a foot-activated one, with DMX dimmers on each of the two light trees we use. That way, I can change scenes, blackout, or full flash with a simple touch of the foot. I also have a foot switch on the fogger, and I tap it every once in awhile, using just enough fog to keep a haze for the lights and pin spots to be visible beams.

    Mostly, I just keep the system on an automatic time-based scene change, so I don't have to be too distracted by it and can concentrate on my playing. It looks fine, keeps things interesting, and looks professional despite the fact that nobody is physically flipping switches for the changes to take place. Then I can step on the switches to flash or blackout as needed for emphasis for certain parts. I keep small white pinspots on each of the guys full time, so when I hit blackout, it makes a cool effect.

    The focus for me is ease of use, looking good without being brain surgery. I'm a bass player, not a light man, but I still want the show to look cool. Nobody leaves one of our shows saying "man, their light show was cool", but nobody leaves noticing that it was in any way lacking or that I was running it myself, either.
  4. ibanezman80


    May 7, 2003
    The last couple gigs we've rented out a few smart lights as well as lights with a foot controller for me to fiddle with :D. It's kinda challenging and you can't get into the music as much because u have to think more, so if you can get a light man, do. I agree, however, that you can't play a show with all the house lights on, so if worse comes to worse, do da' lights. But hey, it is kinda fun anyways(especially the sound activated effects for shots etc.), and worth the experience.

  5. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    If you want a role model, check out Candace Brightman's work. She is the best lighting designer in the world IMO. Unbelievable stuff.
  6. Thanks all, for sharing your lighting info!


    By the way, I'd like some opinion on this:

    When the dancefloor is filled or over 1/2 full, I run a vertigo (rotates colorspots around the room) and a strobe on the dance floor. Looks cool and the dancers like it. BUT,

    Let's say the dancefloor is empty for a song or few songs, or only has 2 people....

    Should I still run effects on the dancefloor? Strobe and / or vertigo? I just wonder if it would look lame to run effects with no-one there.
  7. i always wondered about clubs mind them, I mean do they worry about them setting off fire alarms or something? What about a bubble machine? I always thought a bubble machine would be sweet...but then I'm thinking maybe the bar ownder/soundguy/patrons might not appreciate dishsoap in their carpet/P.A./beer...hmmm...I'm sure every musician struggles with these questions at some point...:D