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Lighting A Concert


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I have been asked to light a charity concert and Need Help. I don’t do Lighting a lot (mainly a Stage Manager) and am stuck for Ideas. I will have quite a large Generic Rig, 4 Mac 500’s, possibly some more moving head/ mirror lanterns and a trusty Fat Frog :unsure: :rolleyes:


So firstly: Can anyone think of good lighting styles/ effects to use for concerts (and how do you create them??). The band is quite a heavy rock band.


Secondly: When plotting states for a concert should I plot exactly. What I mean by this is shall I coincide my state changes with Lyrics or music or should they just be random???


Lastly: Can anyone think of some good lanterns- moving and generic- that are reasonably cheap which would be good to hire in for this sort of project. I figured lots of Par Cans but couldn’t think what else.






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Having watched more concerts or done sound more than I've LDd, only thing I can think of in a hurry is when you get big all-band-comes-at-once moments, lotsa lights on at once. Mac500s I've mainly seen projecting a gobo subtley making the stage looking a bit prettier or doing a scanning effect in a build up. Any more thoughts I'll reply again.



Dave from his new iBook :unsure:

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Re: plotting, I'd imagine its more flexible to set up basic mood states, sequences, chases etc with a plan of which ones to use when, then trigger them manually. Not knowing the fat frog I've no idea how flexible its trigger assignements are.




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Assuming it's a typical charity concert (i.e. varied mix of acts - bands, choirs, comedians, etc.), the first thing you should think about it a good three-colour wash across the whole stage - possibly as a fairly steep toplight. Then some cover from the front to see faces - it's not art, so you can just bash it straight in from directly in front. Then perhaps add some pipe ends in slightly deeper colours, and if you can get your hands on a decent number of parcans use them as a backlight in some nice fruity colours (good for musical numbers).


Program some nice gobo washes with the Macs (on the floor, and the cyc too if you have one), some movement chases and shutter chases for the faster musical numbers, and some likely positions for specials (DSC spot, any mic stands, musicians' positions, etc.).


Unless you have the luxury of plenty of rehearsal time, I wouldn't bother too much with plotting specific cues if I were you - this kind of gig is rarely structured enough to make it worthwhile. Concentrate on getting plenty of nice colour-wash looks ontl submasters, and set the board up so that you have plenty of palettes for the movers which can be accessed quickly - then just busk the show as you go! You have to be on the ball, always thinking one step ahead, but it's better to be able to react to what's happening on stage rather than being restricted to something that you programmed in a very structured way earlier on and which now doesn't work with what's going on on stage (which is unlikely to bear a great deal of resemblance to any rehearsals!).


Just my £0.02 ....


EDIT : Ah, you know, I really should have read the whole question before answering! I missed the bit about it being a heavy rock band! D'oh!

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There's no law that says you "have to" use PAR64s and movers to light a rock show. There's no reason why you shouldn't use what you already have, at least as a basis of a rig, with a few extras hired in; that's what I did at school. A fresnel, fully spotted, makes a lovely tight beam; put four or six of them in a fan.




From a cynics point of view, most rock 'n' roll lighting is about making pretty patterns in a big cloud of smoke (do make sure you get a small hazer in), with most of the rig at the sides and upstage to do this. There's usually a front truss/bar, laying down washes and some follow spots to cover the artist.


As also suggested elsewhere, there is little point in building a huge rig, if you won't have time to program it. Think: Small Is Beatiful, Less Is More, Keep It Simple. A few big changes at the right moments and a few tastefully deployed chases will work far better than a rig that never stops moving and flashing.


You will probably find that for the price of a couple of movers, you can afford a whole range of other effects (i.e. Strobe, UV tubes, mirror balls, glitter cannons, maybe a flame wheel or two), which can add punch at certain moments and give you a "bigger" looking show. When you find a hire company, ask what "FX-y type things" they have lying around that they can "help" you with and then apply your imagination.


If you really want automation, check out static units like Martin Robocolour 400s and give groups of them the same address, so that they function as one unit and don't take up acres of space on the desk. A bar of six PAR64s with scrollers might make a good centre piece.


When it comes to colour, once again: Less Is More. I was shown that you can happily do any rock show (any many other kinds of show) with just four colours: White, Orange, Magenta and Blue (WOMB). From that I'd probably add cyan, red, lavender, yellow, green and congo blue (in roughly that order, on a blind spec.). Even so, don't forget that more than three different colours on at once generally makes the stage look like a fruit salad. Look at pictures of large scale shows and you will often see that although there are zillions of lights on the rig, they are producing simply coloured looks most of the time


Moderator Note

Just to add, the majority of this post has come from myself or Lightnix - There is nothing wrong with re-posting useful information, but I think it would be helpful for all concerned if the original poster/s was creditied. Many Thanks

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Fresnels are not ideal but they will do.


Thinks colours, directions and beams. If you're going to hire anything hire a hazer (not a smoke machine) so you can 'see' the light.


Set up 4 side washes in something like green (115 or 116), red (182), orange (105) and another saturated colour.


Next give yourself 4 sets of front light, hot (red), cold (blue), saturated (purple) and unsaturated (yellow).


To make a basic state take a low level front wash with the side wash at a higher level. Straight away you have 16 lighting states, program these into 16 submasters.


Next set up a few chases on the generics.


If you hire some pars put them on the US bar pointing DS, maybe put 4 of them in a fan shape, leave them open white or cool them down with 201/202.


If you have a few profiles put them on a US bar to backlight from a steep angle any soloists.


Now you can see the band use any movers for pure effect. Stick the 500s on the front of the stage or on a DS bar where they can sweep the audience.


Remember, the lights are there to support the band not to be the main event.


All colour are Lee.

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Rock NEEDS SMOKE or haze start with a good density of smoke or haze then feed beams of light in from US pointing DS. Use FOH with tints to pick out faces, rest of the lamps from the rear barrel backlighting the artistes and kit with strong colours and tight beams


There are loadsa disco fx like the NJD Datamoon which do the rotating beams in smoke try using from floor level pointing steeply upwards as far upstage as pos.


Sort out the smoke or haze FIRST then things will fall into place.

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Can only really recommend what has already been suggested really.


Everyone has different choices in colours for their rigs - personally on a 4 colour backlight wash I'd go for 181, 119, 105 and #349/795, and then if I had enough channels avaiable, introduce some stuff from the side, possibly extra colours to increase my pallet (choosing from 116, 124, 201 etc).


I also like to keylight and backlight the band from roughly 45º each side (if poss) using some open white Source Fours or similar.


Then place the Macs somewhere over the middle of the band, so they can go upstage, or downstage, and best of all, over the audience... :unsure:


Of course Haze is good, and so is the rock fan look as shown in one of my pics in this thread.


I also like to have a generic gobo wash, gives far more texture than that of a mover wash IMHO



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also, when positioning lanterns think SYMMETRICALLY

Well not always, Asymmetrical rigs can also be very effective, esp as they aren't often used - I hope Lightnix doesn't mind my linking to a page on his site, but I've always loved the design used in this rig 2002 A-ha Live, it's very effective, and seems to work really well.



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I'll keep it short as there is already lots of advice.


The best trick I learnt in this situation is to move the cyc battens and use them on a front LX bar to wash the stage evenly with a three or four colour wash (I normally double up on blue). If the flood is hitting a cyc and generally being too big use some baking foil in the gel frame to cut the beam down like a primitive shutter.


If you have a white cyc on the stage use the mac500 to do gobo washes from the front of house bar. It's a bit cheesy but you can get at least 12 different looks in any colour you like without spending hours programming.

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I do a number of this type of shows in one particular venue. To make it a bit more interesting I've just ordered a load of IFR white material that I am going to have made into sails and banners. I can they fly them in front of a black cyc to give me something intersting to stick a wash onto.
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