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I have a 25 table (10 person tables) dinner event to light, and am wondering what to do with the lighting on the tables. Its a classy/classical evening dinner affair, and I want to avoid pinspots. I don't have much more than 5m in height to light from (over a distance of around 15m) and only from the sides of the hall.

I was thinking maybe some sort of narrow par or soft focused profiles.


I'm also putting in a good coverage of breakup gobos, and so didn't want to compete with that, hence no pins....




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Hi Mark


The problem you have with only 5M of height and lighting positions at the side is a very shallow angle for table lighting. This will be OK for tables near the edges of the venue but problematic for those toward the centre.


You can use any kind of tight beam for table lighting - PARS, fresnels, profiles or Pinspots. It depends on what you want to achieve. Pinspots do the "pinspot in the middle of the table/decoration lighting", fresnels more of a "make the table glow in a friendly colour" lighting. At least with fresnels, you get the benefit from barndoors to cut down the amount of lens the punters can see but again they work best from overhead.


Either way, table lighting that is not shining directly from above always has two problems. You can't change the rigging situation but be aware of the following:


1 - The light can hit the back of the head of the nearest diner, creating an ugly mass of lit heads in the room and putting their meal in complete shadow.

2 - The same light goes straight down the eyeballs of the furthest diner, making them squint and uncomfortable until they finally complain to the head waiter who gets on your back.


You can mitigate the effects of this by careful focussing and being aware of the problem but it doesn't go away. If you are lighting high table centres (600mm or so), remember that the light might pass through and straight into someones eyes. The benefits of using Pinspots with low table centres is that you can fire the spot straight at the table, over a diners shoulder and the light will be confined to landing on the table UNLESS they are using mirrors as part of the table decoration.


All good fun. I have done shows with 350+ tables and the focus is a bore, let me tell you.


Both of the above problems are also a consideration for your gobo wash too.


Hope this gives you something to think about.

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Good advice! I perhaps should have just said in the first instance that the low angle would be the problem.

I dearly want to rig a bar down the centre, but there isn't the budget.

Hadn't really thought of fresnels for the job, but know you say it it may be a good/interesting option.


I would imagine this is why pinspots are so ubiquotous! I think I'm just hoping far an answer where there really isn't an easy one. Its funny isn't it, despite being in the industry for 10 years, I haven't come across the problem in this dramatic a fashion before. Lucky I guess, and not many dinner functions...

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Mark, it might be worth a quick side-elevation scale drawing to see what your beams are going to be doing. It *feels* like anyone looking out to the edge of the room is going to have light shone into their eyes (= not good). Mind you, people looking inwards are going to be beautifully back lit!
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Is there any scope for bouncing it off the ceiling? We had to re-light a large space for a hanger dance about 12 months ago (as the space only had strip lighting in to start with, and again it was a dinner dance) - we went with bouncing around twelve/sixteen 1k fresnels off the white ceiling, around half in open white and some in colour. There was a surprising amount of light reflected into the room and it was pretty diffuse.
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