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Lights!

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Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:59 am

I'm thinking of adding a lighting rig to my stage set-up. Nothing too big but certainly something that will enhance the show. I'm a solo act and swing is my thing. Any recommendations? My budget is £300.
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Re: Lights!

Postby mick.n » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:28 am

"I Colours" seem to be popular with solo acts. Worked with a few who have used them & they are quite good considering how compact they are.
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Re: Lights!

Postby Geoff Westgate » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:37 pm

I can really recommend Pulse Eco Par 56 led parcans from CPC. I have 8, which I have been using for all kinds of music and theatre performances. They're pretty simple to set up and cheap enough to get a few. I'd suggest getting four (two at the front, two at the back) and a little 12-channel DMX lighting desk. You can then set up different 'states' (colour combinations) for different songs and even run chases. If you want to keep it simple they can work without a desk, and do sound to light, if you like that kind of thing...
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Re: Lights!

Postby grab » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:00 pm

Flat-panel LEDs all the way. Much more convenient than a full-size PAR lump (and let's be honest, with LEDs there's no reason for it to be that size or shape).

Cheapest are probably Thomann own-brand RGB fixtures. I got RGBA ones myself (LEDJ Slimline 229) - more expensive, but I prefer the warmer reds/oranges/yellows/greens/whites that the amber LEDs add. Almost all these fixtures have very narrow beam angles, so a diffusion filter is virtually essential if you don't want just your nose to be lit!

One each side on stands, pointing down on you, will look best. Or one each side clamped to the speaker stands will work fine if you haven't got space for more stands. It's better not to just light you from one side, else you'll have a permanent shadow across your face. Do get a DMX cable to run between them, so that one can be set as master and one as slave. Unless you've got someone else doing sound who can also juggle a lighting desk, you might as well stick with the built-in sound activation or slow fade programs - either will look nice.
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Re: Lights!

Postby BOD2 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:57 pm

The iColour4 is good - easy to setup and operate, compact and bright. Built-in sound to light controller, but if you want control of the overall brightness (i.e. you want to be able to dim them) then you'll need a separate controller such as the CA-32F. Two iColour4's on stands with a CA-32F controller will give a good, simple, bright setup.

BUT....the downside is the power usage. Each unit uses 4 x 500Watt (or 300Watt) bulbs so if you had them full on for any length of time then that's potentially 4 kWatts of power ! Gets a little warm under that light at times too.

LED fixtures are much more energy efficient and use much less power - negligible heat too. You just need to ensure that they are bright enough since some of the cheaper LED lights use fewer and less bright LEDs.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:59 pm

Thanks everyone.

I think I might go for LEDs as I wear a tuxedo and don't want to get too hot under the lights!
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Re: Lights!

Postby DGL. » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:57 pm

You could get a few of these http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_par_56_alu_schwarz.htm , quite goof I have found for the price and pair it up with something like this http://www.thomann.de/gb/showtec_led_commander.htm or this http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_dmxmaster_i.htm you could get around 6 cans, stands, and controller for around £300.

For a bit more you could add these http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_powerdmx_bar.htm, haven't used them myself but would make everthing real tidy.
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Re: Lights!

Postby grab » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:56 pm

For the extra tenner, I'd go for this Thomann one instead. It's a third the size, which is worth having when you're packing stuff in a car.
http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_flood_panel_150_40.htm
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Re: Lights!

Postby DGL. » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:40 pm

Those other thomman ones look good, and yes would more that likely be better. Also when using DMX don't forget a terminatior and *proper* DMX Cable, Mic cable isn't suitable really (for short leads I got some of this http://www.thomann.de/gb/cordial_cdmx_1.htm and combined it with some amphenol xlr's good quality and really neat when going form light to light)
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Re: Lights!

Postby Phil dB » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:25 am

Just to add another option these are truly great for the money: Stairville mini stage par
I've got a few of these and they give a good range of colours with very little/no colour fringing (they use seven 3*1W close chip LEDs). Also, they have some built in programs and chase sequences for linking 4 together. All you need are a couple of short 3pin XLRs (I personally wouldn't bother using proper DMX cabling for that sort of distance) and a simple T-bar stand and you're away. They're well made out of a big lump of aluminium, fairly compact and have a power draw of about 30W each so not much chance of tripping out the electrics!
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:05 pm

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Re: Lights!

Postby AlecSp » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:35 pm

grab wrote:For the extra tenner, I'd go for this Thomann one instead. It's a third the size, which is worth having when you're packing stuff in a car.
http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_flood_panel_150_40.htm

I'd second this. We use the 20 degree version in our venue and they're great - though the 40 degree version above is probably better for close-up lighting. Decent output, reasonable cost (£45), built in double-bracket for floor-standing. And, often overlooked, you can set it to 3 channel RGB mode - great when you've got a limited channel count on your desk (most LED cans use 5 channels). Oh yes, and it has an IEC in & out, so you can daisy-chain the power, and you can pack them up really neatly, with the cables detached.

If you're solo, I really wouldn't go for a controller, as it's probably another thing you don't want to have to deal with. For pub gigs we just go for slow colour fade, which is fine.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:21 am

Hmmm, okay, I think I'm convinced! How many of these would I need? About three? And I can mount them anywhere on the stage so I don't need to get a stand or a bar?

You mention a desk, Alec?
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:12 pm

Okay, paranoia's setting in now - was my last question really so stupid?

What else do I need to go with these lights? I'm presuming they don't have an on/off switch on the back so how do I power them? Do I connect them to my mixer amp?
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Re: Lights!

Postby DGL. » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:37 pm

I would probably go for a minimum of 4 lights, gives you a good lot of options in regards to set up. As for a stand, might be an idea would also mean that the lights probably are not going to be shining into your face (led lights face on are really intense). Thomann do stands from about £25 (i.e. http://www.thomann.de/gb/millenium_lichtstativ_lst250.htm for £23.80).

Also it may be a good idea to get a controller as then if you want to change what the lights are doing you don't have to keep messing with the setting on the lumiers. A controller similar or the same as the ones I have previously mentions would fit the bill nicely.
You could also combine that with some combined power/DMX cables (some of this http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_sssnake_pnt_cable.htm with some xlr's (go for the amphenol's the uber cheap thomann own brand are crap) and IEC (kettle type) connectors on each end and one longer one with a standard plug at one end and female kettle at the other end) as it would make things look really neat and cut down the amount of cabling needed and would make full use of the power link out.
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Re: Lights!

Postby grab » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:46 am

Downside of putting them on the floor is that you'll only get lit from below. Ever shone a torch up at yourself from around chest-height? It doesn't look right, bcos we're used to light coming from above.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:47 pm

Many, many thanks.

Didn't Phil Collins used to have a green light shine up on his face during the big Genesis hit Mama? Quite scary as I recall and not the effect I'd want at all!

How do I control the lights then? Do I have to buy a desk to connect the lights to? Or does the controller handle all of that?
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Re: Lights!

Postby MarkPAman » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:12 pm

There are a several ways of running lights like this (though I've never used that particular one).

The built in sound to light will have its own mic so they'll change colour, sort of in time with the music. Separately this will look pretty rubbish, but if you use the master/slave function and cable them together it's not to bad.

Or you can set them to stay one colour, or just change at a steady speed.

Or you can get some sort of controller. Many options for those from £30 or less, up to many tens of thousands! The foot controller in the bundle you link to earlier may be a good option in your situation.

Or with the right dongle, you could control them from a computer for as little as £10 (+computer).
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Re: Lights!

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:47 pm

SwingKing wrote:...Didn't Phil Collins used to have a green light shine up on his face during the big Genesis hit Mama? Quite scary as I recall and not the effect I'd want at all!

If you're using your own speakers it may be that they have built in screw threads for attaching to cables for hanging (flying). Assuming the lights you choose are small LED boxes as described above it may be an option to get some appropriate bolts and fix them to the top of your speakers. Bonus: if you're using active speakers you might get away with sharing a power supply.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:42 am

MarkPAman wrote:The foot controller in the bundle you link to earlier may be a good option in your situation.


Thanks. The bundle appeals to me because everything I need is in one package; I don't need to shop around for anything else once I've got it.

I've been doing the pub circuit for five years now and I want to put it behind me and move onto bigger things (I'd happily play more pub gigs but it seems that swing is just too niche for the venues that want a bit of this and a bit of that - no disrepect to the artists who are all things to all men; it just isn't my thing). A lighting rig will add that special touch to what I do, I think.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:12 am

Are Thomann the only suppliers of these lights? I was hoping to get a British supplier if at all possible but can't seem to find one anywhere. I'll bite the bullet if I have to, only it's a little more troublesome than usual if they're faulty and I have to return them.
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Re: Lights!

Postby Dave71 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:03 am

Still not sorted with the lighting then.

I would have a good look here
http://www.djanddiscostuff.com/lighting-c1/band-stage-and-uplighting-c9

He is local to me and a very trusted retailer. Thing is if you want some advice or maybe a different package than advertisede just give Mike a call and he will help you out, be warned he's a shouter after umpteen years as a DJ.

I have and use american DJ products, par 64 and par 38 led cans as well as the mega bar range mainly for uplighting. The cans look a bit poor on a t bar in smaller venues and produce a tighter spot. You would be better off with a flood which I'm sure has been talked about above.

The LEDJ stratos' are an excellent fixture
http://www.djanddiscostuff.com/lighting-c1/band-stage-and-uplighting-c9/led-stage-wash-c86/ledj-led-stage-wash-package-with-easy-control-p322
and I'm sure there are numerous foot controllers available. they are very bright and with a massive beam angle.

Regarding stands etc, what speakers do you use. My active tops have a handle on top to which i fit a standard lighting clamp, onto which i fix lights. Alternatively look at some atlas brackets

http://www.djanddiscostuff.com/stands-storage-c7/lighting-stands-c50/ultimax-speaker-atlas-stand-pair-p485

Hope this helps!

Oh and 1 other thing. Although Thomann are cheap and do have a very good reputation buy in the UK if you can. Our retail industry is struggling as it is and sending cash abroad doesn't help. I know everything is made abroad anyway nowadays but at least supporting UK resellers is better than nothing.
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Re: Lights!

Postby SwingKing » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:33 pm

Thanks, Dave71. I see on the djanddiscostuff site they have a few LED bundles to choose from. I am drawn more to the T-bar bundles than anything else I've seen and was actually considering the Kam tri-light package before I remembered what I'd read on this site. If the Kam package is brighter - and obviously it has the added attraction of being available in this country - then I might reconsider getting that instead the Stairville bundle.
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Re: Lights!

Postby RitchieM » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:41 am

We are looking into better lights too (3 piece rock covers with backings, pubs and functions), and seem settled on the icolour 4 pack that goes for about £400, with 2 head and basic DMX controller.

http://www.cookies.co.uk/product.aspx?productid=23671

Would this be a good start as we want to expand it but keep things compact. I saw the other suggestions, but being new to lighting and getting rid of the clunky disco type stuff we have, we just want to make the right starting point!

Would be nice to know the sort of coverage we could expect, and also what people would suggest as the next move after getting the basic pack. We are not looking for Disney on Ice, just link them and using the backings as a trigger for the light-to-sound feature.

All help appreciated!!

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Re: Lights!

Postby Dave71 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:34 pm

RitchieM wrote:We are looking into better lights too (3 piece rock covers with backings, pubs and functions), and seem settled on the icolour 4 pack that goes for about £400, with 2 head and basic DMX controller.

http://www.cookies.co.uk/product.aspx?productid=23671

Would this be a good start as we want to expand it but keep things compact. I saw the other suggestions, but being new to lighting and getting rid of the clunky disco type stuff we have, we just want to make the right starting point!

Would be nice to know the sort of coverage we could expect, and also what people would suggest as the next move after getting the basic pack. We are not looking for Disney on Ice, just link them and using the backings as a trigger for the light-to-sound feature.

All help appreciated!!

Ritchie

They are a great product. Very bright vibrant colours! Obviously they get hot, bulbs blow and use quite a bit of power but great!

£50 cheaper here but non in stock.
at least Mike at Phase One is honest that way, if its not physically in his store room he won't try sell you it.
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Re: Lights!

Postby RitchieM » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:37 pm

Thanks Dave. Do you think there is a price / performace comparable alternative that isn't as hot?? I sweat lots on stage!! Well, when on stage, as I an normally on tables playing using my wireless!
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Re: Lights!

Postby grab » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:47 pm

YMMV, but that's the reason I went for LED lamps. The last thing we need is more heat on stage.

Plus there's the power consumption issue. To minimise the risk of blowing fuses, our rider says "two 13A sockets", but we regularly have to make do with one. For PA and backline, that's OK. But an extra 4kW of lights would not be a happy scenario for Mr Fuse.
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Re: Lights!

Postby RitchieM » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:57 pm

What is your rig if you don't mind me asking?
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Re: Lights!

Postby Dave71 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:18 pm

RitchieM wrote:Thanks Dave. Do you think there is a price / performace comparable alternative that isn't as hot?? I sweat lots on stage!! Well, when on stage, as I an normally on tables playing using my wireless!

I get rather warm too so my choice of fixture is a set off these. Very bright with massive beam angle. Fills a school hall stage. Not as dynamic as coloured Par cans as they are a 1 colour at a time kind of effect.

if the budget is a bit more 2 of these
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Re: Lights!

Postby grab » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:39 pm

Look further up the thread, post #971642...

I don't claim to be any kind of expert lampie. These work for me; other people might prefer something else. Certainly the LEDJ Stratos would have been my number one choice if I'd been prepared to only have RGB, but I'm happy with the RGBA lamps I've got.
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