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Help with purchasing lighting equipment! (Newbie!)


RedYoshi

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Hi All,

 

I've been floating around blueroom forums for awhile and found the site very useful!

 

Ok a bit of background info, and I hope someone can guide me in the right direction!

 

Basically, I'm a sound engineer.

I work in a local theatre as a part-time hobby.

the local theatre has very old lighting equipment

 

Lots of groups come in, be it dance, plays, concerts etc... and would like 'better lighting' rather than just a big flood wash of yellowy-red!

 

I was thinking if I bought a few nice par can's, maybe a few floor par's - we could create some nice designs and textures! (and also hire them out!)

 

I would also like to use the lights purchased to be used in smaller venues/village halls etc...

 

So, the questions are:

 

What sort of fixtures would you recommend? Currently I have been looking at some nice STAIRVILLE PAR 64's

I will require dimmers for the village hall events - what will I require? Also will I require these dimmers in the theatre? I presume I will?

I need a nice little desk, that will save cues (for plays etc...)

 

I'm thinking around 8 par can's and maybe 4 floor par's (depending if money left in budget...)

 

I have around £1000 budget to purchase all the equipment required.

 

That aside, I am very interested in the LED par's on the market. Mainly for their low power and longer life-span. However I'm put off because they seem more complex than standard par's. And it seems I will require a high spec or 'bigger' desk to control them.

 

Would LED Par's be a better alternative? I know they're more expensive to purchase first-off, but cheaper in the long-run?

 

Any help would be very grateful!

 

Thanks,

 

Sam

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For the village hall type set up, I would recommend some fresnels, rather than a purely Par Can wash. There are some good deals in reconditioned/second hand equipment out there, and I have found you get much more for your money. Try AC Lighting or Used Lighting

 

As for dimmers, it really does depend on the power supply to the venue. I often use Beta Packs which connect into the local 13A supply, but then you start getting into Ohm's Law and how many lanterns you can safely power up.

 

For your use, a Zero 88 Frog desk (or similar) would be ideal. I have heard good things about the Jester, but have no idea about prices....

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Thanks for your comments both!

 

Im actually very interested in LED lights after further investigation! Also the fact dimmers aren't required!

 

I've got these in mind:

 

http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_pa...alu_poliert.htm

 

With maybe this desk?

 

http://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_dmxmaster_i.htm

 

I presume its safe/ok to chop the plugs off and stick uk 3pin on?

 

One last question, 3 pin DMX, is that the same as 3 pin XLR?

 

So can I daisy chain say 4 led can's with 3 pin XLR, then into the desk for control?

 

Will I need some way of connecting everything together? With a sound desk, you obviously connect a (example) mic to each channel? but an LED can will need up to 5 channels?

 

Sorry for my very lack of understanding..... sound engineer after all!

 

Frog is a little pricey, but thanks for the comments!

 

S

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I presume its safe/ok to chop the plugs off and stick uk 3pin on?

Yes, just remember about the returns policy. Personally I think a better and safer solution than any sort of adapter, assuming it's done correctly!

One last question, 3 pin DMX, is that the same as 3 pin XLR?

Yup

So can I daisy chain say 4 led can's with 3 pin XLR, then into the desk for control?

Yup

Will I need some way of connecting everything together? With a sound desk, you obviously connect a (example) mic to each channel? but an LED can will need up to 5 channels?

Up to six to be safe. These cheap LED cans have appeared in a variety of forms & you cannot rely on details from supplier. Arguably you only actually need to control three of the channels on each lamp (red/green/blue), but you still need a desk that can output to x*6 channels and then organise the required channels internally. Since this (soft patching) is generally a feature of more expensive desks it is probably not an option.

Would there be anything else I need? before I go ahead and order?

Absolutely, yes! You should read the various threads here on these units and understand the pro's and con's first.

 

In summary they are very cheap, generate no heat, don't require dimmers and draw very little power. But they are not very bright, they pale against even the lowest power incandescent PAR's and are crude in their design and control. Commonly they will be most appropriate to effect/highlighting. They can be used as stage illumination but make sure they are adequate for your purpose.

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Would there be anything else I need? before I go ahead and order?
Yep.

TRY before you BUY.

Hire in a few of the likely candidates - both lanterns and control/dimming - and see what they can do for YOUR situation.

You may find you change your mind about what will suit you, or you may find you need more/less than you plan to invest in.

 

 

One last question, 3 pin DMX, is that the same as 3 pin XLR?
Not necessarily.

XLR is of course the type of connector and yes - they're used for both sound and lighting control applications, whilst the CABLE that each side uses is distinctly different. Mic cable is audio quality, whilst DMX cable needs to be DATA cable.

As many, MANY threads here on the BR attest to, you CAN use either type for either purpose, but it's NOT recommended if you want to guarantee best results. And with LED pars, it can be easy to pick up noise and other cr*p on the DMX line if the wrong cable is used.

 

And get yourself/make up a handful of terminator plugs as the end of each line should best be terminated.

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You'll need a bunch of sundry items, too, don't forget them, for example;

 

- hook clamps or half couplers to attach the cans to truss or scaff

- safety bonds for any that you fly

- nice long power cables

- DMX cable

- Lamps! Odds are new parcans will be a price for just the shell, not the lamp.

 

A lot of this stuff isn't supplied with new lanterns.

 

That lot will eat into your budget significantly. Fresnels are a bit more "theatre" than parcans, either LED or the normal variety. A lot of companies will be happy to demo stuff for you, which is very much worthwhile, especially with LED stuff.

 

Second hand is probably the way to go with your budget, although you're not likely to find many second hand LED fixtures about.

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For your use, a Zero 88 Frog desk (or similar) would be ideal. I have heard good things about the Jester, but have no idea about prices....

 

These will both be out of your budget, both new and second hand. (admittedly the jester would be in budget, but wouldn't leave you much to buy anything for it to control)

 

 

Something like this from thomann is more realistic:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/botex_scenesetter...ghtoperator.htm

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I presume its safe/ok to chop the plugs off and stick uk 3pin on?

Yes, just remember about the returns policy. Personally I think a better and safer solution than any sort of adaptor, assuming it's done correctly!

 

I'd tend to agree, though there's not a lot wrong with those adaptors I linked to except they result in a bulky plug.

 

However if you are going to change the plug, at least test the lamp using an adaptor first. T'would be a b####r to change the plug then find the thing was dead out of the box.

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Avoid the Stairville DMX-Master. I've seen those infernal things under several brand names and would sooner gouge out my eyes than see another. They're seriously painful to program and use for any purpose. The GLP Light Operator, on the other hand looks like a typical generic desk; it should be easy to program and operate.
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Picking up 10-15 P123s (strand) would probably suit you much better than LEDs, especially for a church hall type arrangement. However you will need power for it, and dimming, but by the sound of it you have some sort of control / dimming already?
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