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Topic: Set Up of Lights
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 4, 2006 03:13PM)
Dear Members. If any of you use a lighting set up of your own. Can you please suggest what you do for your front generic lighting. Do you set this in front of the stage using a tree stand. Or can front lighting be set on scaffoldings on either side of the stage. Which means they would be almost front stage but kinda to the left and right edge of the stage. Like where they usually put speakers up for a show. Will this slight left and right angling create a problem. Or is this kind of front lighting being used by any of you. Also will 6 dmx par cans of 1200 watts halogen (dmx controllable color and dimmer option inbuilt par with fresnel lens) suffice to general wash a stage of size 30x40 feet. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 4, 2006 04:08PM)
I'm sure you'll get a few responses, but for starters, check MagicRoadie.com's [url=http://www.magicroadie.com/stagelighting2.html]Stage Lighting Basics, Part 2[/url]. It provides a brief précis of the “McCandless Method”, which is describes the standard principles of stage lighting.
Cheers from Toronto!
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 6, 2006 05:41PM)
Thanks Dan.
I read your entire site a long time back. LOL. Nice work. And very helpful too.
Happy New Year !
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Jan 6, 2006 06:26PM)
The MagicRoadie.com tutorial is an excellent resource. The McCandless basic thory of stage lighting is kind of like a french drop. It's not terribly flashy, but it is an essential skill to have in your arsenal. Anytime I'm lighting a show with minimal equipment, McCandless is always the best bet. If I can cover my basics that way, if there are any instruments/circuits left over, then I can set a few specials.

Just as you would refer to a magic book to learn about magic, I would recommend studying specific texts regarding stage lighting (and scenery construction, for that matter!). Richard Pilbrow and Jules Fischer have written excellent lighting texts, and [i]The Stock Scenery Construction Handbook[/i] by Bill Raoul is without question one the very best books on efficient scenery construction.
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 7, 2006 04:04PM)
Hi Frank,

Thanks. But in my country you don't get books like you do in the USA, on such specialized subjects as stage lighting. Unless I mail order them. And that would be too expensive considering that it might be very technical and useless too. These are books I would prefer to browse thru and then buy. Even our auditoriums cannot be compared to yours. The ones here are very minimally equipped and they think a fly rail is some sort of train that can fly. LOL. So a lot of what they teach you may not even apply here. I experienced this when I bought a very expensive imported book on stage special effects.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 7, 2006 09:14PM)
On 2006-01-07 17:04, plainman007 wrote:
... in my country you don't get books like you do in the USA, on such specialized subjects as stage lighting.[/quote]
Try doing a Web search for;
"McCandless Method"
McCandless lighting
You should find some more info on his method, and probably some mention of, or links to, other methods.

Also, try going to http://groups.google.com and search for the same two things.
Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Jan 8, 2006 09:31AM)
Also check your local library. You might be surprised to find that many libraries have such books as parts of their collections. If your local library doesn't have them, ask if they can be acquired through an inter-library loan.
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 8, 2006 01:11PM)
LOL. Frank I really wish I had a picture of our libraries here. Of course we have libraries which house subjects like theosophy, occultism. In fact specialized govt libraries for these things. Its like a 3rd world country here. All you will find in those libraries is history. The country. Economics and such other academic subjects. Pity I know its bad. They will frown at me and ask me to abstain from abusive language if I use the word inter-library loan. You are talking on the terms of USA. Im in srilanka. A small island hit by the tsunami recently. Instead do you know some things about these fixtures ??. Maybe you can help because I have a particular question.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 8, 2006 05:04PM)
To answer your question plainman....
Yes you can place lights to the side as you mentioned. in fact the best lighting comes from angles of 30-45 degreees. That is from above below and to the sides.
However, when lighting from the sides as you mentioned, you will also most likely be lighting the entire backstage area or wings as well.

The best place is from the house, a catwalk, or truss that is as stated 30-45 degress above the stage.

We are using Source Four pars and Ellipsoidals....others here are using par 56's and 64's. So is your 6 1200 watt halogen lights gonna be enough to wash the stage?...only way to be sure is to set it up and see....they may be fine for a wash of *** amber, but not near enough for deep blues. Also, are you only trying to wash the stage or to have some specific areas really well lit?

Hope that helps..if not give us some more info on exactly waht you want to accomplish.

Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 12, 2006 03:04PM)

Yes I'm planning to use them as the general lighting on my stage. Also to wash the stage in colors for some dramatic effect. But I'm getting scanners that will represent the effect lighting. Im just looking at 6 to 8 of these where I will use 4 from the front and 4 from the upper rim of the backdrop pointing down at 45 deg onto the stage as back lighting. These will mostly be white to general light the stage. For visibility. At times when the action doesn't need visibility but effect we will change some of the units via dmx into reds and blues along with the 4 whites mixed to give some color variation and depth. Or maybe all of them into red or blue for an overly emphatic dramatic effect. But the primary cause here is to light the stage. I can only procure 8 to start with but will definitely add 4 more down the line. But the very fact that I don't have to carry blue pars and red pars just for the additional color I thought makes this easier to use. Secondly the normal pars will need a dmx dimmer pack and power pack etc to go with it. And hooking them up with the correct gelled ones in the correct position and ensuring that its wire leads to the correct channel in the dimmer pack is going to be nerve wracking with 20 pars or so. With these fixtures any fixture can go anywhere and we just need to address them correctly after rigging and we get the exactly planned layout of light.

Please let me know what you feel.

Message: Posted by: silverking (Jan 13, 2006 08:54PM)
On 2006-01-12 16:04, plainman007 wrote:
Secondly the normal pars will need a dmx dimmer pack and power pack etc to go with it. And hooking them up with the correct gelled ones in the correct position and ensuring that its wire leads to the correct channel in the dimmer pack is going to be nerve wracking with 20 pars or so.

Hi Plainman,

For sake of clarity, it should be said that the 20 PAR option will actually have less cable to sort through than your all in one units.
A PAR has a single cable going to it, that's the power cable from the dimmer, and the dimmer has one cable coming to it from the lighting board.

In your StagePAR set up, you will have TWO cables going to each fixture, one will be your power cable, and the other will be your DMX cable. Most likely your DMX cable will loop from fixture to fixture.
You will have to assign (usually via dipswitches) each color on EACH fixture a seperate ID number if you want different colors from different lighting instruments.

If you're trying to keep cable to a minimum, keep this in mind. You're literally using twice as much cable than you would with regular PARS, and having to figure out what goes where with two times as much cable.
This might not initially be true with 8 vs. 20 fixtures...but as you add fixtures it could get quite complex.

Usually your DMX cable will come out of your lighting board, and then have to find its way to each and every one of your StagePARS, then each and every StagePAR will need AC run to it as well.

Just to consider in your thinking about which package might work best for you.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 13, 2006 09:00PM)
Silverking has described it correctly and with an easier setup.
Another thing to look at for ease of setup would be to mount the pars onto light or lamp bars. These bars would then mount to your truss stands, etc. They could be prewired with socapex or just with regular edison dimmers. The dimmers could even be on the bars themselves with the pars staying plugged into the dimmers even during travel. If you do that you may want to look at buying or making meat racks for the lights to hand on while traveling.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 14, 2006 03:24PM)
Sure I'm going to do some mock up drawings and see what feels better. Thanks silverking. Meanwhile do keep posting Café members. Im constantly looking for answers over the next one week.

Thank you all for your support.

Warm Regards
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Jan 14, 2006 06:01PM)
I am also planning on adding a simple 2 light set up on small stages similar to the Spider Lights. I want to attach the lights to my existing speaker stands. I'm not sure if this will be sufficient enough.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Jan 15, 2006 12:23AM)
It's probably something that could get a huge discussion going, but it's been my experience that, if given the choice, a greater number of simple lights will give you more options and texture than a smaller number of "advanced color changing" lights. (unless those lights also move...like a Vari-Lite, or a Mac 500, etc)

In the 20 PAR vs. 8 StagePAR discussion, say you want a warm/cool wash of the stage from SR and SL, with the 20 pars you might decide to do 10 (this is an edit...I tried to put the standard theatre amber in here and the Café software wouldn't let me do it!!.....if your into lighting, that's FUNNY) Amber, and 10 in a blue. The result will be a wide wash of the stage, with fixtures focused to provide a broad and all inclusive wash of light.

With the eight StagePARS, for all their automated beauty, you will have four amber, and four blue. It's to obvious to state, but I will anyway......that's just not going to look as good as the 10 amber and the 10 blue simple PARS.

With your stage lighting you are seeking texture, and that texture will deliniate the performer from their prop, the prop from the background, the background from the performer.......it will give the stage TEXTURE.

All things being equal, you will always want more fixtures, focused in more areas.
Fewer fixtures in fewer areas, but that will give you different colors, will not provide the same opportunity to texture the stage, and you, your props, your assistant, and your overall stage, won't look as good.

This is all highly subjective, and only my personal opinion....but in my decades as the TD of a large venue, supporting everytning from Opera to Drama, to Musicals.....even Magicians....it's always, (not sometimes, but always) proven to be the case.

Feel free to ask any LIghting Designer.......more (even if they're "just PARS") is ALWAYS better when it comes to lighting fixtures.
Lighting design is about options, and more fixtures gives you more options.
Oh, and 20 Vari-Lites is always the best option if given a choice of 20 of anything!
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 15, 2006 02:12PM)
Silverking > Hi and thanks for more info.

You are absolutely right. BUT,,,,heres my opinion based on the hypothetical set up you have described above.

10 blues and 10 ambers are on. Wow the stage looks lovely. CUT. Now I want a nice violet wash throughout the stage. Wait a minute....That needs another 10 pars. Then how about an all amber wash. Make that another 10 pars. For the lovely filled texturized effect that you are describing. One will need a minimum of 100 pars. And I'm not joking. I have been performing stage shows from the age of 9. From only the rectanglar flood light on the floor days till date. The stage would look gorgeous as per your example. IF we stuck to having just one flavour "THE AMBER BLUE WASH". But where does the rest of the general lighting come from ? What about other color washes ?. Only about 100 pars would do the trick. And that's a big budget and a biggg coil of wires that I'm shivering at the thought of. Every method has its pros and cons. Really.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Jan 15, 2006 07:11PM)
Hi Plainman,

In reality, you wouldn't use all 20 fixtures for just two colors. That was only an example. If you had twenty PAR's you would want to combine colors for a wide variety of effects.
Just because I said a Cool/Warm doesn't preclude other colors from entering the mix.

Your right that you will get a wide variety of colors with the 8 StagePAR's, but eight lights, even on a small stage, will light a very limited area of the stage. If you spread them out to widely, you'll have the dreaded "black slash" between where each light is focused.

Plainman, it's really all about choice, and you know far better than anybody what your specific needs are. If the StagePAR's will fill your need as you see it, you really can't go wrong in buying them.

My only point is simply that 20 PARS, with your lighting cues designed by a competent lighting designer, will outperform 8 of ANYTHING !! (except fully automated, moving Vari-Lite type fixtures.)
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 16, 2006 12:24PM)
Hi Silverking,

Ok so your saying about 250 watt MSD fixtures x more numbers would also be a better bet. Though they are duller than 1200 watts halogen but then we will have more number of fixtures to cover many areas of the stage.

What do you feel ?

But actually I thought ill buy 8 stagepars now and upgrade with 8 more after about 6 months. What do you feel about that ? Do you feel the dmx stage pars would be a better option ? Another point to keep in mind is most of my active parts are done only centre stage. I don't need bright lighting on my stage left and right etc. VISIBILITY is important only in center stage area.

Message: Posted by: silverking (Jan 16, 2006 02:53PM)
Hi Plainman,

If you have an active plan to upgrade your inventory of lighting fixtures after a period of time, I think you're definitely on the right track.

If your plan is to eventually have 16 StagePAR's, and you are comfortable with the increased cabling involved, then it really makes very little difference whether you have 20 PAR's, or 16 StagePAR's.

As for the 250MSD lamps vs. a 1200W lamp, it becomes more of a conversation about lumens. If the output of 20 250MSD lamps will provide the level of illumination for the stage that you're playing on, then you're needs are met.
If however, they leave your stage far to dim, then you have an issue with your chosen lamp size, and the 1200W choice would have been more appropriate.

Fixture choice is a mix of, quality of the fixture, quality of the field of light, output of the lamp, beam spread, control requirements, and durability.

It's very likly that your choice of StagePAR's will work out very well for you. All I would sugest is that you get a demo of at least the 8 you want to initially buy, and confirm with your own eyes that they are able to meet your needs as you know them to be.
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 17, 2006 02:55PM)
Hi Silverking >

Yes your right about demo'ing the stuff, but I doubt they might be able to demo 8. We need to hire a stage to do that. Those guys told me to come down anytime and they could rig 1 or 2 up. Ill have to judge based on that. But I think the best bet is in getting them to rig one par directed to one direction of the room and another stagepar in the other direction. Both with same distance etc. And we should be able to judge the differences and make calculations accordingly.

Heres some news !! Just stumbled upon giant size moving heads. 575 watts HTI. How does 8 wash moving heads sound to you instead of my par plan..lol. Hold onto something before I tell you the price. "370 USD" per moving head with a huge fresnel wash lens just like the giant martin macs. LOL.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 17, 2006 03:37PM)
Definitely check out the 575W heads. Just make sure they are martin, high end, elation, robe, clay paky, SGM, maybe chauvet. silverkingleans towards vari-lite, I think they are noisy, but to each his own. Do NOT go with heads from cheaplights.com, do NOT go with these things called Matrix showing up on ebay, Odessey, Novascan or Ness.

They will be junk and not last an install let alone touring. They will be loud, have non-smooth movements, etc. You will be disapointed

We currently use Elation's 575 Watt Power Spot....it is spot and not wash, but they do also have this in a wash head. Later this month they are coming out with a 700 watt moving head. I should know the price next week.

Best wishes with wahtever you decide to go with...post pictures once you're done.

Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 17, 2006 06:31PM)
The ones I'm talking are made in China. If any members on the Café my be knowing already that China is THE place now where high end electronics is being commisioned because its very cheap for labour etc. China is making some of the moving heads etc for some leading name brands who only slap their name onto this and sell it for a fancy price. I have a friend in my country who is using these giant moving heads and they've crossed 8 months of regular shows and nothings wrong with them so far. But ofcourse the brands mentioned above such as oddessy and nova scan etc are more at the USA market. Im in Srilanka. No possibility of landing up with these brands. Even the Chinese ones may have to be imported just for me.
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 20, 2006 03:28PM)
Even if the head is 575 hmi is it ok ? Or are only msd fixtures good !
Message: Posted by: socalmagic (Jan 23, 2006 11:49PM)

What are meatrack's? I currently tour with all of my lights on several light bars and trussing that hang on the sides of my trailor, but they are getting trashed from all the movement. I would love o find a way to keep them protected while still having the easy set-up.

Brock Edwards
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 24, 2006 02:05AM)
A meat rack is a rolling rack that stores either pars or light bars with par cans on them. There really are not many companies making them...most guys make their own. One option are the "Z" racks that clothing stores use. I know that Wilsons uses them. They would need some retrofit in order to handle more lights than the one bar it comes with.

Here are a few links...

You will also want to do some retrofitting to make the top of the rack the sme width as the bottom...so it rests against the wall of your trailer evenly. Hopefully that makes sense.

The other option would be per hung truss. It will take up a fiar amount of space though, but your cans travel inside the truss.

Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 24, 2006 05:27AM)
I deinitely agree with Kevin that meatracks are the way to keep your light bars safe in your trailer, and also make them very easy to move. There's room for the bars full of fixtures to sway without hitting walls, and you can roll the whole meatrack on & off the truck, as well as in & out of the venue.
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 24, 2006 06:22AM)
Hey Dan,

Do you think 250 MSD Fixtures produce whiter light than 575 watts HMI fixtures. Given a choice of a 250 Watt (Msd Lamp) Moving Head versus a 575 Watt (Hmi lamp) moving head. Which would you choose ?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 24, 2006 10:14AM)
Yes the MSD 250 does produce a whiter light..or better termed, a higher temperature on the Kelvin scale. The MSD 250 is 8500, where the 575 HMI is around 6500 I believe.

Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 24, 2006 11:42AM)
On 2006-01-24 07:22, plainman007 wrote:
Hey Dan,

Do you think 250 MSD Fixtures produce whiter light than 575 watts HMI fixtures. Given a choice of a 250 Watt (Msd Lamp) Moving Head versus a 575 Watt (Hmi lamp) moving head. Which would you choose ?
I'm sure glad that Kevin answered this one! He knows lighitng MUCH better than I do! :thumbsup:
Message: Posted by: socalmagic (Jan 24, 2006 08:28PM)
Thanks for the info Kevin & Dan. I will probably build one from scratch.

Brock Edwards
Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 25, 2006 01:26AM)
HI Socal, You can make those meat racks with any decent metal fabricator. Just use light guage rectangular mild steel tubes and don't forget the cross section them with angle running rods. Otherwise for that size, the whole unit will wobble. I think the drawings don't show any cross supports. Moving clothes in a unit like that is one thing. Moving heavy lights with bars etc is another thing. Good luck.

Kevin > Thanks for the help. But though the temperatures are different. Which of these two would be brighter and reach farther across a stage ? Being an illusionist yourself, given an option of these two bulbs, which fixture would you opt for ?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 25, 2006 11:49AM)
You must also take into consideration, optics. If we are talking about the same manufacturer then the more powerful the bulb, the better the light "typically". However if we are not talking apples to apples, like High End Studio Spot 250 compared to a matrix 575...well the High End is definately better.

We could probably do you better justice if you list the actual lights you are looking at.

Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 27, 2006 02:53AM)
Yes you are right. But these lights are all from china manufacturers, we wont have any yardstick to measure their quality such as high end or martin etc. These are all huge factories where they make these lights as oem suppliers. In fact ive heard that most of the US based bigger companies get their lights made from china because of the lower costs. But the light says...575 watt hmi 5600k. Is that very yellowish ?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jan 27, 2006 10:41AM)
Well it may be too much to ask then. But it would be nice to either see photometric data on each light or better yet to see them side by side.

To answer your question: 5600K is the color temp of the sun. So, yes it will be more yellow, but whiter than par 64's, which come in at about 3000K.

Message: Posted by: plainman007 (Jan 28, 2006 01:17PM)
Yes Kevin you are correct. Those guys cant even speak english properly. China is still very rooted in its own style. Even such big factories don't have one guy who can speak good english. All their mails to me seem like they used some software to literally translate chinese (like splutterfish.com)into english. Tough time with that. Ex. THE LIGHT CAN BE THE DIM WHOLLY THE 100%. THE BOTH SIDES GOBO WHEEL MOTION (MAKE QUICKER OR BACKWARDS IN ACCURATE TIME).....LOL get what I mean. Im not exaggertaing. Maybe ill give you a link to their sites and you can join the fun. Would you like to take a peep. But if you are importing lights this can be a big step for you. These lights are darn cheap and you can offer them to your clients in the usa for a kiler price and still make a margin. Let me know if youd like to see these.