Affordable band/stage lighting for small venue - suggestions please!

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by editor, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I'm putting on live shows at the Effra Social in Brixton. The venue looks great in a retro way and the stage almost untouched since the 1970s. The only problem is that although there's lighting behind the parapet above the stage lighting up the DJs, there's nothing on the bands.

    There's no space (or power) to mount lights directly in front of the stage so I'm looking at maybe having temporary two Par lights mounted on the awnings either side of the stage.


    It's coming out of my own cash and I'm looking at something pretty damn basic and that can maybe be programmed to spit out a decent amount of white/coloured light just to make the band visible.

    So how about a pair of these?

    Or one of these (at the top of my budget)
  2. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    If you're wanting to light an entire band, you may want to look at wash's rather than spot parcans?

    Let me ask what our wants are, they're about £35 each and have lasted 4 years of abuse so far.
  3. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    editor likes this.
  4. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Maybe a wash would work too - the back of the stage looks great (!) but it's hard to see the singer (see pic below)

  5. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Thinking about it, one of those T Bar things might be the most practical way of sorting out the lighting - trying to balance them on the wooden awnings could be problematic.
  6. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    Yeah, the legs that come on parcans are really for putting them on the floor and pointing them up, or hanging off a t-bar. Pointing them down of the side ledges would be problematic, especially for securing them.

    With the t-bar set up, you may well be able to make your money back by dry hiring them for say £50 for a night..... do that 2 nights and you've paid for them.

    I suggested wash's because you might find with a spot if the band member you've pointed them at moves, then they're back in the dark.. Just something to think about.

    Edit. One thing with the t-bar is will it block the fire exits at the sides of the stage?
  7. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I'm thinking that I could put the stand for the T Bar thing just a bit back (removing one of the tables by the side) and that should keep the fire exit clear. It would have to be quite a bit forward from the stage anyway to get the angle right to light it up. You think that the one I linked to earlier would throw enough light out?
  8. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    I'd say so, although if you've got a guesstimate of the distance the light needs to throw, I'd ask it as a question and see if anyone answers on the amazon page.
  9. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    This looks loads better. Opinions?

    Equinox MicroPar Bar System
  10. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    Yeah, I think its more suitable for what you want, 4 LED Pars as opposed to 2 LED pars and 2 non descript "lighting effects" like the one you found on amazon.

    For the price I'd be surprised if you get anything better without really digging around..... Its a non recognised brand so you've got that aspect, but you're clued up on electricals and tech, so I'm sure you're well aware of the pitfalls and bonuses of non recognised brands.

    I'd suggest getting a safety string per par...... they're about £1 each, and it means if they drop they won't land on someone's head, and they won't hit the floor..... It may also be worth seeing if you can stash a couple of sandbags somewhere at the effra club, so you can stick those on the feet for extra stability.
    editor likes this.
  11. pesh

    pesh Well-Known Member

    i'd stay away from the whole all in one bar type things, they're just a load of cheap junk cobbled together for people who really don't want to be doing anything to do with lighting...

    not that i have a problem with cheap junk in the right situations, but you might as well do it yourself better and cheaper with the same bits... you can get those lights for £9 each on their own... 12 LEDs 8CH RGBW Color Mixing Par Light - £9.14 Free Shipping|

    and if you're positioning them off centre you're going to want light sources coming from both sides to stop it looking daft and leaving half the stage in shadow.

    personally i think at 12w those are going to struggle to light the stage up properly from that distance anyway, i'd get a couple of much more punchy lights and put them up on the walls where you marked on the photo in the OP. saves having to rig them each time, nobody will fall over them and they will do a lot more..

    a pair of these will be bright as hell
    Sol 36 x 3W LED Par Cans by Gear4music, Pair at Gear4music

    something like this won't be as bright as those ones but will have much nicer whites as it has amber LEDs to warm up the cool white LEDs.

    i'd get a tiny DMX controller to stick at the sounddesk as well.
    editor likes this.
  12. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Cheers for the feedback. Sadly the two decent ones are right out of my price range. How about this one: 36W RGB LED Flat Par Stage Light - $26.72 Free Shipping|

    I get what you're saying about the cheapo T Bars but that's probably what I'm going to need as these lights won't be installed permanently and something portable would come in handy for when I get hired for DJ gigs at parties/weddings etc. I don't want to be faffing about plugging loads of things in and trying to find places to hang lights.
    Badgers likes this.
  13. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    For front lighting don't worry about colour, you don't need it. White stage wash with colour backlight. Standard basic stage lighting since time began.
    editor and skyscraper101 like this.
  14. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    They unearthed a couple of old school extra-hot pars but they're so stark that they make the singer look like he's been caught in a prison breakout.
  15. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Sounds like they should be on a dimmer circuit controlled form a desk, which I guess has long been lost to the mists of time there!

    (did you sort the PA weirdness by the way?)
  16. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I'm still using my Mackie Thump 15s and the Martin sub which provided just about enough sound. The room is surprisingly big and that solid wall facing the PA provides a horrible echo. I'm going to keep moaning on until we get a curtain or some other way of controlling the sound.

    I haven't had chance to look at those speakers which do appear to be fucked. I'm not sure they'd provide much more - if any - power than the Mackies anyway. What do you reckon?
  17. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Hard to tell without a proper look. I'll try and sort another day to come down as soon as I can.
    editor likes this.
  18. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

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  19. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

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  20. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    Double-check with them, when they sold off BBC White City stuff the lots were put online and you could place bids on them online.

    So I thought the reference to viewing might be for people who wanted to see stuff first. If you're happy to buy online sight unseen, if you know what you're looking for, it might be possible.
  21. rutabowa

    rutabowa YUPPIES OUT

    You have to pick up from the location tho... I got some stuff from the BBC Bush House auction, and everything was to pick up from Bush House.
    editor likes this.
  22. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  23. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Or can I get by on just get one and make it a half decent one - like this B stock one for £37?

    Marq Colormax PAR64
  24. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  25. Tooter

    Tooter Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't get too hung up of specs for the lower end of the price range, obviously the higher wattage LEDs the better. Beam angle anywhere from 19-50 degrees, ideally with RGBA or RGBAW as someone has already said. As much as it pains me to say (I hate led for front light!) You are best off buying four LED pars on T stands. Usually I would always go generic but for smaller venues the cost/low wattage/colour mixing ability/lack of heat LED wins every time.

    You may need barn doors on the units too so that you can shutter the light in tighter and it isn't lighting up the whole room? Just a considerarion because alot of the cheaper led units don't have any way to shutter, but you may not be bothered about that.

    Maybe consider buying some L256 Half Hampshire Frost or L250 Half Diffusion gel too just to soften the light a bit.

    Control wise your cheapest bet would be to leave them stand alone on a static colour, if you are looking at possibly expanding in future then it would be worth linking them together and using a cheap pc based controller and dmx interface, cheap would be entec usb to dmx......if it's an investment with the potential to expand much further then I would recommend the Avolites titan one USB, I have one of these and you can usually pick them up for about £100 second hand the software is ace....

    Any questions fire me a pm, I've been an event lighting engineer for over fifteen years so would be happy to chat...
    spitfire and editor like this.
  26. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I'm likely to be using the lights at some DJ gigs too, so I guess I need something that can output white light at the band but also do the whizzo party effects too.

    I didn't want so spend anything over £100, but if there's something that's a real improvement for another £30 or so maybe it would be worth it.

    How about these:
    QTX PB-1214 LED PAR Bar System
  27. Tooter

    Tooter Well-Known Member

    It's likely you will just end up with four low power import cheap led lights and a crap stand and no control if you try to do it all for under £100. You have to be careful with alot of the cheaper imported LED lights that are flooding the market at the moment, lots of them are poorly made with cheap components and optics and not great instructions, there are also quite a few spurious claims being made in the specs that are tough to verify, photos that don't represent the output etc....

    It's much better to have a whip round of the band or do a fundraiser, for a little more you could have decent (but still budget) kit that will last longer, look better and be part of a system that could expand in the future. It's an important part of the performance how it looks as well as how it sounds no?

    Don't want to patronise you, you may well be aware of this but if not it's worth saying RGB will give you colour mixing and white with all RGB at 100 (not a great white with cheaper units) but is not as good at other colours in the spectrum like white, amber and orange

    RGBW (White) the white LEDs always seems a bit too blue to me....

    RGBA (amber) and RGBAW (Amber, White) and RGBAW +UV will be your other types, I usually prefer these as they can more accurately produce a wider spectrum of better saturation colours including white.

    Here are a few suggestions, again I don't endorse any of these but they look better than most. I would try to stick to the trusted budget brands like American DJ, Chauvet, LEDJ, Showtec (out of your budget but Chauvet Professional COLORdash Par-Hex 7 Wash Light is what you are ideally looking for, maybe more suitable budget wise would be the SlimPAR 56 LED)

    U'King 200W RGBW LED Par DMX Stage Effect Lighting Rainbow Effect DJ Disco Light | eBay

    Stairville LED PAR 56 Pol. 151 LEDs RGB – Thomann UK

    Chauvet SlimPar 56 LED Par Wash Light Bundle inc. DMX Cables. Carry Bag & Clamps 781462204631 | eBay
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
    editor likes this.
  28. Tooter

    Tooter Well-Known Member

    I guess you could order the qtx package you posted and have a look...maybe return it if it's not good enough. For that price I would be interested to see how they perform.

    That package is even cheaper on CPC has to be crap.

    Re-reading your OP again it would be cheaper to just get a couple if it's just basic illumination you want but once you start you won't be able to stop, it would look lovely with four uplighting the wall at the back....a couple of breakup gobos and a colour wash over the stage, anyway...:D par
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
    editor likes this.
  29. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    What do you reckon to this for £90?


    QTX PB-1214 LED PAR Bar System
  30. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

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