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live lighting
on Sep 10, 2007 at 3:06:08 am

i wanted to know and this may not be the best place for this post... if anyone has any suggestions for me...

i am seriously considering getting into LIVE performance lighting... i have electronic music background so learing equipment and/or software is second nature to me.

basically i am looking for any good lighting solutions for me that i can use to bring live musical performances some more added energy.
i have a budget of up to 5Gs but would love to spend less (much less) if i can.
((( i want this to be a learning experience for me)))

a service i could provide that automatic machines could not.

if you have any resources for me thatd be awesome.
you guys here always have great suggestions so i figured to ask this question.

thanks again

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Bob Bonniol
Re: live lighting
on Sep 12, 2007 at 3:43:18 am


OK... So you've got 5k to buy something, or you've got 5k for one particular gig ? If you are talking about something you want to buy and use in low/no budget gigs, the most flexible thing you could do would be to buy a decent little projector (you can get a 3000 lumen DLP for around 2k, or you could get a 6000 or 7000 lumen LCD for around 5k), then get some VJ software like Arkaos.

The 'current' big trend in live performance lighting is digital lights and pixel mapped LED fixtures. Stuff like High End Systems DL2, or any of the products from Element Labs. Connected to happening media servers (like Hippotizer, or Pandoras Box), and controlled with DMX consoles, these sort of setups are becoming the heart of big concert and event lighting rigs.

So, in a very simple sense, by buying a little projector and some VJ software, you are doing the same thing.

To give you some perspective about the financial side of middle to big size pro gigs, a big summer concert tour (let's say something like The Police, or Nickelback, or U2) will spend between $18k to $30k per week on moving lights, strobes, truss, rigging, etc. They will spend an additional $20k to $80k per week on high res LED video, Digital Lights, or other arrays of Low Res LED product.

On one-off concerts in theatres, clubs, or amphitheatres it is entirely common to spend between $8k to $20k on some forms of lighting. The thing with live performance lighting is that the gear is expensive. Average purchase price for one moving light: $7500. DMX lighting control console suitable for using moving lights, driving media servers, pixel mapping, etc: $40k. Most pro level media servers go for between $10k and $35k.

I don't mean this to be demoralizing at all. There's a really active and thriving scene in many towns where you could do alot of good work with the sort of rig I suggested at the beginning, coupled with whatever you find in the venue. It's possible to find some used dimmers, some PAR 64 units, and maybe even some color scrollers (all used, of course) for pretty reasonable prices. But basic light, stuff that illuminates performers, is oh-so-1980s... These days it's all about projecting imagery with digital lights, and creating big stage sets from modular LED products.

If you are really serious about getting into the big time with this, the best thing you can do is go get a job with a major vendor who has spent millions on toys like these, and go do gigs for them. Companies like PRG, Christie Lights, Q1, Nocturne, Upstaging, or XL Video all have giant inventories of the latest toys, and provide those toys, and the people to set them up and run them, to the biggest shows. A common arc would be to spend a year working the shop, learning what all the stuff does, how to fix it, etc, and then maybe starting to roll on gigs. It can take a while to work your way up to the point when you are programming or driving a big lighting rig during the show... But the payoff is great. It's good cash, and there is nothing on earth like hitting a big light cue, and hearing 25,000 people go @$%#@ crazy.

Good Luck,

Bob Bonniol

MODE Studios
Contributing Editor, Entertainment Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader

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Raymond Motion Pictures
Re: live lighting
on Sep 15, 2007 at 1:58:00 am

The typical wisdom in stage lighting is to light warm from the left and cool from the right - using gels - creating the illusion of shadow and adding depth to the scene.

Warm being yellows and reds - cool being blues and greens.

In any stage lighting scheme there are areas predetermined by blocking - so there may be 5 or 6 areas and 10-12 (or more) fixtures to accomplish the lighting plan. Every play is unique but, generally, that is the way it is done.

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