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Weekend Warrior Stage Lighting Discussion

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Stinsok, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I have 4 LED Par Cans and a couple of Chauvet colorpalletes. I also run the PA and really that's all I really care to fool with. Brightness and being seen aren't really a problem, but I can't find a combination of colors that I like. What are you using and how do you mix your colors so that the band doesn't like ill?
    Stumbo likes this.
  2. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    We rarely use lighting. When we do I put it on auto and forget about it. I have enough work with sound and playing bass to worry about lights too.
  3. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    In some cases, if we didn't have our own lighting we wouldn't have been seen.
  4. jad


    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Many of the places we play don't have any lighting at all, so for us something basic is just about a necessity. As a fellow weekend warrior (party rock cover band), much of my focus is on making life easier on gig days. I replaced 2 old school non-DMX par 38 t-bars with a couple of Chauvet Wash FX fixtures and an Obey 70. They're bright, cheap, and tiny. MOst importantly to me, the pattern is WIDE. Sometimes I attach them to a fly point on top of the mains, sometimes I clamp them to the vertical pole of my telelock stands

    There are a couple of downsides, though. They can run on 7 channel DMX, but to get the most out of them it takes a whopping 23 channels. And "white" isn't white at all, which is probably what you're dealing with. Since there is no amber or true white LEDs in there, white is a very cool bluish color. When I do one color, I usually warm it up toward pink or orange knowing that people will get used to it.

    For simplicity's sake, I have 5 banks of scenes built that I just run on an automatic fade. I try not to over do the single primary and secondary colors because they don't look that great (as evidenced by audience member videos that end up on FB). Late in the set when we're finishing with a bang, I usually speed up the changes and the fade. Nothing fancy by any measure, but at least we're not standing there under florescent tube lights!
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Following with interest. We have a single set of 4 cans which has been slowly disintegrating over the years...def'ly need replacing and we're on a budget. Run lights? Who has the time?!? AFAIK, our controller box still works. Not sure where to start but I'm thinking along the lines of two tripods (L & R) with a single multi-colored whatsawhosit perched on it. Feel free to substitute the correct terminology!

    BTW, sorry for the derail but it is nice to see lighting discussed once in a while.

    MrLenny1 and kcole4001 like this.
  6. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama

    You are right. I can use static one color settings, but someone is going to be all blue, red, green, white, etc. I wish Amber was included in the colors, but it is what it is. The upside is they don't trip breakers and are cool to the touch.
  7. green lights, just green, two old school 64's, I point them anywhere except then band(less it's cold outside) generally back wash or in the trees or sometimes the crowd (legs not eyes). I also have 4 LED's. Both bands I play with are large and active so we put the LED's wherever they will fit and not get stepped on/knocked over(uplighting) which still happens time to time. The Nik has an very old projector and I found a PSA school film (50's 60's?) about crossing the street, manners, cleanliness, being a good American type stuff and we play that, point it at ourself from the side and as far to the front as we can get it without being distracting and without getting in the way of the crowd. Again, the projector is very old and has a very weak, slow strobe effect and with the green its cool, so I'm told. The film is only 45 minutes but regardless of how long we're playin we wait til after the first three songs to start the projector. The end result is a very 60's psychedelic effect. Neither of the bands I play in are 60's or psychedelic but it works. So I'm told.
    SwitchGear and Downunderwonder like this.
  8. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Suggested goals for stage lighting:
    • Visibility: You should want people in the venue to be able to see the band, and for the band to stand out visually from the surroundings. A lot can be achieved with a simple "wash" from Colorstrips, PARs, pucks, etc.
    • Direct attention: A little more specific than general visibility, you want to be able to direct or focus people's attention to different places depending on what's going on. Lead singer should "stand out" from the rest of the band during vocal passages, soloists should stand out during solos, etc. Put a different color and/or brighter light(s) and/or different angle on the soloist vs. the rest of the band. 1 (lighting) instrument focused on each spot where you want to feature somebody can add a lot visually without having to be too complicated or expensive. Mark "X"-es on the stage with tape so everybody knows where those spots are.
    • Set/support the mood: Lighting should support the mood you're trying to create with your music. Certain colors generally go with certain moods. Do a little research (Google "stage lighting colors moods" for a starter) & plan the colors/moods of your music just like you do the keys & tempos.
    People tend to "stand out" and have "dimension" when you light them from different angles simultaneously. Front lighting only makes everything look flat & 2-dimensional. Overhead rear lighting can really give people a 3-dimensional look. Putting a different color on the backdrop can help make who/what's in front stand out a little more. Consider shadows, too. Low front lighting looks "Halloween-ish" if you don't also light from above.
    I also suggest resisting the urge to go "hog wild" with lighting & visual effects. A lot can be accomplished with a pretty minimal kit if you give it some thought, just like a great player can do amazing things with an ordinary guitar. Random flashing lights & colors don't make a "show" any more than random notes do. Like pretty much anything, focus on the basics & get really good at them.
    Mr_Moo, Maureen M, maxmaroon and 4 others like this.
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I think in most cases, especially in smaller places, the role of lights is for the band to be seen (and so the band can see themselves). You want the band and the audience to be able to see each others' eyes/faces. A cheap lighting show looks cheap, and an expensive/complex lighting show is overkill.

    I know when I go to see an band, I am interested in seeing the players. The only times I have appreciated complex lighting is for big shows.
    BluesOnBass and jad like this.
  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    about 6 yrs ago, I invested in an LED lighting rig + controller for my rock band, and as a rental choice for my local SR side-biz. That was about a 2K investment, and consisted of SEVEN Par56 LED cans, TWO colorpalletes, stands + DMX cabling for all.

    Physical config was 3 Par65 + 1 colorpallete per side, with the 7th Par56 on the drums (either for accent lighting UP the wall behind the drums or on the front of the kit - all run by an 8-ch controller that sat at FOH, where the BE could run sweeps or programs on it.

    For colors, the palletes were mostly side-fill, angled across stage centered on lead vox. The outside par56 on each tree was done the same way and set to highlight body/face of front man.
    The middle Par56's pointed to mid-section of opposite side of stage and the inside Par56's were focused on drums. The focus of the 7th Par56 depended on whether if was used as backwash behind the drums or not.

    In bank 1 of the controller memory, I set up each of 8 channels for solid colors on ALL lights. Red, green, blue, magenta, etc.
    In second bank, I set the outside Par56 to WHITE and change the back/mid/rear/colorpalletes for visual effects, with channels 1-8 cycling thru color combinations
    Banks 3 and 4 had similar combinations a bank 2.
    Bank 5 was special effects like strobe..

    It was a LOT of work setting up the color combinations, and I'm no lighting expert, so it was a lot of trial and error. Some of that took place during gigs where what worked (or didn't) was noted and changed.
    The benefit was that I could run the entire system on about 100w power!
    MrWolf14, Jimmy Riot and maxmaroon like this.
  11. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
  12. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: DNA
    We use these as well. Set them up on stands on each side of the stage and we have about 8 solid colors and then about 3 settings where the lights fade/mix colors etc. I control everything with the footswitch and it's a nice little setup.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I use 2 clones of the Chauvet 4 bar led system from a MCM at about $200 per unit. Plus 4 Chauvet slim par 56 and 4 clones of them (also from MCM - Pulse branded). They are mounted to cross bars with 2 chauvet and 2 Pulse on each bar. More or less, 4 4-bars. I use a clone of the chauvet obey 70 also from MCM (Stellar Labs branded).

    In the brighter colors, I prefer the look of the purples and lavenders so I tend to use a mix of blue and red.

    The chauvet stuff is nice but at least 2x the price of the clones. Will they last 2x longer ? Doubtful... Below is a pic using the 2 4bar clones and 1 of the other mixed light bars. Stage is 16 deep, 24 wide. Very high wind and all the stands have at least 100 lbs of concrete or sand or extension cord holding then down. As it was I had 1 bar topple during setup... No real damage though there was some reassembly time... image. image.
    kesslari and kcole4001 like this.
  14. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The left front bar is out maybe 5' and up 3 from the keyboard players head. The bar visible on the right, 2nd pic is lighting the bass and drums. Chauvet clone light bar is maybe 4 feet out and 3 feet above the flute guy.

    There is also a Chauvet 6 spot bar out 20 feet and up 10 to 12. We aimed that at faces as much as possible.

    It actually looked pretty nice in person but it would be very nice to be able to get further away and to be able to throw more focused light. All it takes is money and setup time and... Juice. Al the light is on the same 20 amp circuit as the backline. The mains and monitors shared 2 20 amp circuits.

    Advantage LED for the low heat output thought the Jamaican's would have loved more heat ;-) and for the minimal power draw. If you are doing parties, this can be a huge advantage over an old PAR setup. One of my buddies wants to sell me his PAR 46 rig. 8 pars, 40 amps... Nice crisp edges to the light, a ton of heat. I just don't have 40 amps to spare most of the time...
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    maxmaroon likes this.
  15. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    Much less to see the fretboard :)
  16. jad


    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This is 2 Chauvet Wash FX units up on tripod stands, no t-bars needed. It doesn't get much simpler than this. I placed the lights as high and out of the way as possible here, although it looks like I could have aimed them down just a bit more. Nice even light, no hot spots. In this case both sides are the same color which is not optimal. All 4 of my lights, the DMX cables and the controller go into one of those plastic bins that the monitors are sitting on, which is awesome.

    This place is a block picnic shelter. The walls on ether side of the stage enclose the restrooms. The lights lower on the stands are moon flowers pointed at the side walls. The mains are just outside the frame. That's a big ole fan on the right. Not my band, btw, not my guitar cases right at the front of the stage.:meh:[​IMG]
  17. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    I have 10 Chauvet Hex lights and have them set to a slow fade from one color to the next. Works great !
  18. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    We're using 20 12w LED flat PAR's I picked up off ebay about 18 months ago. 16 go up on trussing behind the band and 2 per side usually sit on our speaker stacks for facial/wash purposes. Chases and scenes are controlled by American DJ MyDmx software, which i'm running the first version of.

    Street Dance Setup.
    s0c9 likes this.
  19. We’ve got 4 ADJ MegaPar Profiles, 2 chinese flat LED fixtures and a “disco” light that does circles on the dance floor. We usually have the Chinese lights on a static colour lighting the band from the front, and the ADJ lights on sound-active at the back.

    The problem I seem to face with my lighting is that the venues are never dark, even with the house lights off, there’ll be a flouro behind the bar, lights over the pool tables, football on the big screen etc.

    We’ve thought about investing in slightly more than bare minimum, but I can’t see the benefit. A concert light show is overkill for a “weekend” band, and the light/dark effect of flashing lights is not as good when the effect is only light/less light.

    Hoping that adding a little bit of haze/faze will enhance the lighting a little bit. Might try the slow fade on static colours tonight, rather than the sound-active flashing.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  20. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    The guys I jam / gig with are cheap. We literally made gel type lights using those cheap metal reflector type clamp on work lights with the highest output CFLs we could find, trasnlucent gel material from the craft store and binder clips, We have performed under an EZ Up type canopy (mine) and in a few barns. Both setups were similar, The EZ up we simply clamped and zip tied to the frame and pointed the lights more or less to fill the "stage" with light. In each barn we picked the closest overhead points to clamp and zip tie the lights to. Then we ran our power and left them on. Two of the gels are blue, 2 are red, the overall effect is a reddish purple wash of light. Too bad the best photos of us playing came out a drunken dancers blur, it really made the Burgundy Mist Jazz pop visually... Good thing I was dressed in dark jeans and a grey T shirt though. Minimized me...

    We had a couple of "light effects" we used, 2 were mine, 2 belonged to other guys in the band. A "Water / Flame ripple effect" that I have had from halloweens past turned on and to either blue, red, or orange depending on the song, a flashing strobe, again left over from halloweens past were mine. The other 2 were a dancing color rotating laser type effect, and a rotating color dance ball effect, both owned by the BL.

    I am not sure I am going to gig with these guys again any time soon. I jam with them every now and again, but they have a regular bass player, and my situation is changing fast too with my wife learning guitar, and my BIL getting more active we might end up doing a family jam band. Who knows...

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