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Basic Lighting Solution

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Matthew Bradley
Basic Lighting Solution
on May 21, 2009 at 10:34:55 pm

Hi Everyone, I'm sorry if this a very basic dilemma, but the lighting world is one big mystery to us at the moment.

I play in this band http://www.myspace.com/alvinpurplemusic

We're thinking very hard about how to make our live show stand out from the mass of unsigned touring acts. We play alot of small 100-500 capacity venues that tend to be dingy black and have standard, Par can lighting rigs etc, these tend to make even the most aestheically pleasing bands look plain and ordinary. We wanted to create our own unique, portable lighting solution that really set a mood and created a warm and "cool" atmosphere.

There's a band called Glasvegas who I saw on their first tour before they had a record deal and they used some kind of red wash light on the floor behind the drums and quite alot of dry ice, with no house lighting whatsoever. It created quite a dark an eerie atmosphere and in my eyes upped their performance massively.

We hoped to create something similar, on a budget, but possibly warmer in tone. If anyone has any ideas that they think might suit, it would be fantastic to hear from you all. Thanks Matty


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Mark Suszko
Re: Basic Lighting Solution
on May 22, 2009 at 12:36:53 am

This is probably out of your budget, but you can use video projectors as poor man's vari-lights, shooting not just colors but patterns, fed from a DVD designed around your musical set. The downside is they are nowhere near as powerful as PAR cans or ellipsoidals, and they can be more expensive and fragile, and harder to mount.

You could have ROSCO cut you some custom gobo inserts for some source four juniors, mix that with gels and maybe add a rotator motor to one for simple animation effects. You could mess with stepper motors and irregular shapes covered in bits of busted mirror glass to bounce a spot or a laser in interesting ways.

Fog is always complicated; there are many variables to consider and adapt to for every venue. You can get *some* of the same feeling with perhaps more control, by playing with layers of stretched silk or similar translucent material, lit using trays of colored footlights between the layers, and using inexpensive small objects to throw big shadows thru them and on them. Kind of 3- d hand shadow puppetry, to take it to a ridiculous example. That could be done kind of on the cheap. I dunno, just thinking out loud... the lighting should be motivated by your material and work to reinforce the imagery of your material,I feel, instead of just copying someone else's stuff because it looked cool for them
. I remember a Peter Gabriel Tour where the main lighting was a bunch of what looked like giant 10-foot-high versions of the Luxo Junior Desk lamp, motorized to track him like they were living things. It was eeeeeerie.


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