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LIGHTING BASICS

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TRE4U2NV View Drop Down
Old Croc
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    Posted: 11 January 2009 at 6:35pm
Hi ive been into sound all my life but i know nothing about lighting is there a basic setup needed to get involed with lighting
diagrams configs
ive done parcan on the floor to light up backdrops but thats about it and some old disco christmas stuff
ive got shed loads of staging but no truss stuff makes sense i marry the stuff up together
cheers in advance for any help me
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preacher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 8:06pm
Wow, that could be a whole book about lighting basics! I suppose it depends on what you want to do. Band & Stage lighting are very different from club/disco lighting. But here are a few pointers.

Most lighting now runs with DMX as its control protocol, older stuff on 0+10v analogue (0-10v for old strand kit). Pro lighting kit will mainly use 5 pin DMX, but 3 pin is what most cheaper & club style units use.  (5pin is stated as being the excepted pro standard in both the 1990 & 2008 ETTA/PLASA DMX standards documents)
You have two general sections to lighting, generics (par cans, fresnels, profile spots, floods) and Intelligent (moving heads, waggly mirrors, club fx). Though we now have a third which crosses over the two, that being L.E.D. stuff.
Generic stuff need Dimmers (or switch packs) for the stuff to work, Intelligent and LED need just 'hot' (always live) power with a control signal.
Both dimmers and intelligent lighting can be run from the same control source, either a nice desk or as seems to be a growing direction, via a program like Magic Q on a PC/laptop with a DMX dongle attached (normally a USB to DMX device/box).
All desks/dongles DMX runs with 512 channels per universe (one output from the desk) so a desk with 4 DMX outs has 4 universes with a total of 2048 channels available to control.
A group of units (light or dimmers) running from one universe (out to in to out to in  etc.) is called a string and the very last out  MUST have a DMX terminator in it (this help the digital signal no end, trust me).

Some other basic stuff, always have a safety chain/wire in all lights hanging (that is rated to take the weight of said unit). The colour in the front of generic lights is called GEL (LEE & ROSCO are the two main manufacturers).

Got loads more info in me head, but this will do for now.

Cheers
Ben


Edited by Preacher - 11 January 2009 at 8:06pm
Stone Lion Sound System, The Garden City Rockers. It's all about the music & the vibe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote csg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 8:45pm
I shouldnt worry too much about terminators these days Ben, they only see the light of day occasionally if you are getting a reflection on a very long / complex spur
 
Ive got 2 or 3 in my lampy kit bag and im not sure if ive used any in the last 12 months!
 
Good general advice though - any specific areas you want to know about?
 


Edited by csg - 11 January 2009 at 8:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nickyburnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 8:51pm
That terminators bit reminds me of old SCSI chains in servers, nowadays the drives/controllers are intelligent ennogh to know they are at the end. Surley DMX stuff has got that sorted?
It's everything, not everythink!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preacher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 8:58pm
Bit more for you:

PAR Can basics.
Come in various sizes. PAR 64 & PAR 56 are the main two used for most band stuff, Tours & theatre. Par 64s can be either 1000watts or 500watts (1000 being used most), or a Ray-Light reflector with a small 300watt non-par CP97 or CP96 lamp. The lamps for 64s come in differing beam angles, CP60 (very tight spot), CP61 (tight spot), CP62 (medium flood) CP95 (extra wide flood) for 1000 watt bulbs. And CP86 (Very tight spot), CP87 (Spot), CP88 (flood) for 500watt bulbs.
The baby Par 16 par cans that use either GU10 240v or MR16 12v lamps are also known as 'birdies', as this is one under par in golf (Howard Eaton Lighting made the first 'Birdies' and a golfing fanatic LD/Production manager named them!). Pin spots (the classic 80s disco lights) are Par 36 cans. Par 56 lamps/bulbs do not seem to be known by their 'number', but the basic system of: NSP (narrow spot), MFL (medium flood), & WFL (wide flood).
All types of Par cans can come in either 'Long' or 'Short' nose style. And if you decide to buy some nice looking white ones (from an exhibition production firm maybe), be sure to not leave them 'On' all the time, as the white will soon become brown. (seen this a few times on some corporate jobs back in the 90s!!LOL).

Other type of par cans available are: Par 20, 30, 36, 38, & 46.  Par 38s are the ones you can also  get on 'Spikes' for garden lighting, and are widely available from most good garden centres. So if you got a little par 38 rig you can always stop of on your way to a gig to get some spare bulbs! LOL

Later peeps
Ben


Edited by Preacher - 11 January 2009 at 9:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote csg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 9:09pm
Originally posted by nickyburnell nickyburnell wrote:

That terminators bit reminds me of old SCSI chains in servers, nowadays the drives/controllers are intelligent ennogh to know they are at the end. Surley DMX stuff has got that sorted?
 
No, dmx is not that clever. the address is simply a start adress, no more. What has improved over the years, reducing the need for terminators is the quality of the dmx decoders in the lamps, and the line drivers in lighting desks
 
as an example, my new cheap and cheerfull chinese mac550 copies are fine without terminators, and rarely have any data issues, where as my very vintage vari*lite vl2c system, which only requires one dmx connection to the distro rack will invarably have problems if there are any reflections or noise present
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preacher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 9:16pm
VL2C's now that takes me back! I even had a chance to use VL1's once, dodgy things more break downs than a diesel car using petrol! My fave old school moving heads are the TASCO Star*lite Mk2 & Mk5, and the LSD (now PRG) icon. Many a day spent in the LSD warehouse preping them for tours, lovely 'Bright' lights.

As for the Terminators, well it's that old 'Belt & Braces' thing for me!


Edited by Preacher - 11 January 2009 at 10:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRE4U2NV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2009 at 10:18pm
is there a place were i can get a list of what does what /when/ how
 basic stage setup
 basic band setup
 basic club setup
 with diagrams or pictures
 
sorry for the pure ignorance to lightng
 
ps thank for the help so farClap


Edited by TRE4U2NV - 11 January 2009 at 10:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote csg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2009 at 12:48am
Originally posted by Preacher Preacher wrote:

VL2C's now that takes me back! I even had a chance to use VL1's once, dodgy things more break downs than a diesel car using petrol! My fave old school moving heads are the TASCO Star*lite Mk2 & Mk5, and the LSD (now PRG) icon. Many a day spent in the LSD warehouse preping them for tours, lovely 'Bright' lights.

As for the Terminators, well it's that old 'Belt & Braces' thing for me!
Yep, ive still got 10 heads, and a mini acs rack which i occasionally take out on dance tent festival type events where it does not matter too much if gremlins kreep in - i still love the colour range on them, and the bump speed, still to be bettered in my opinion
I had some mk5 starlites a few years ago - great when they worked, which was not often. I can still remeber the pan and tilt drives going into occilation, and making the whole head fit!
Icons were good too.
Nothing wrong with sticking a terminator in, just i think most of us lampies have got out of the habit
mind you, dmx amps and splitters everywere these days, so no long strings often
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRE4U2NV Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2009 at 12:21am
any links gentsHug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote csg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2009 at 9:28pm
there are reference books around covering lighting design - when i was learning ( a good few years ago, so these might be out of date), richard pilbrow and frederick bentham were both well respected books
im sure you will find them online somewhere
 
other than that ( and those books are theatre based, but the principles hold no matter what you are doing), i suggest looking at how designers light stages for different events.
 
Ill try and answer any specific questions, but it is a very broad subject
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Preacher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 January 2009 at 10:17pm
Bit more.

When lighting a stage it is lit from several angles/positions. You have: Front, side, back & top light. In theatre a lighting designer will place each light in very specific places, to do specific jobs, lighting actors and sets and either trying to look dramatic or make the scene look like real life. So unless your looking to do theatre stuff I wont go into all of that, it takes years to learn properly.
In Band lighting, a lighting designer will do a similar thing, but the actual lights themselves and their beams become part of the experience, being dramatic or even being the set. With loads of 'mid-air' beams dancing about, changing colour etc.
So for bands it is generally loads of Back light doing beam shapes etc, a bit of side light doing the same, and maybe a bit to light the band. Not much top light unless dramatic effects are needed, some front light to light the faces of the band, drum kit, keyboard, brass section etc., and usually a couple of follow spots on the band as they move about so you can still see them whatever the rest of the lights are doing. Also a lot of the time the lights are used for their projector properties, making effects on the band, or back drop (this stems from the 60s light shows). And is sometime called as being 'artie'!
Another band lighting thing is lighting the audience, with blinders. Bands love seeing the audience, and this can also add good dramatic effect to the music.
Now ware you place the lights, to do what you want is down to you. You should look at other rigs/shows and see how others have done it. Also experiment with positions, moving a light a few feet can make a big difference. But you must remember that once set, you will have to get several (loads) of different looks from them to keep the whole gig looking good. This is part of the reason why we ended up with moving lights, as you needed hundreds of par cans to do loads of different looks. Which took loads of power, dimmers etc. and loads of truck space on tours.
Light don't always have to be in the air/hung on truss. I love putting lights on the floor, or short side booms (scaff poles with bases or short bit of truss standing on end).

Lighting bigger band tours is an art form, with loads of planning, and  talks with  the band/artist giving input in how they want their music to 'look'.  This is why many LD's like working with smaller bands, as you get to do a lot more of what you want!
Stone Lion Sound System, The Garden City Rockers. It's all about the music & the vibe.
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