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projectors for dance music visuals


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well, being someone who as a lot of experience the fields of lighting, sound and rigging, ive always avoided video like the plague...but for next years festival season I want to start offering visual screens for graphics as part of the festival dance tent package I currently offer.

My thinking is currently a number of 12 by 8' rear projection screens, but my main question is what sort of lumen output would be suitable - bearing in mind that the enviroment is dark, but smokey, and I would like to acheve bright and colour rich graphics with no grey / greenish hue


my budget is as little as I can get away with, and projection distance is reasonably flexable, but idealy less than 4m. Graphics will be provided initially by a macbook.


so, your thoughts please, and if you need any more info, please let me know. Im open minded in terms of new / second hand etc.


Many thanks


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I know you have said that budget is very limited but you may achieve a better effect by using low resolution LED screens like Colorweb, if you have a means of pixelmapping or the Martin LC screen.


You can configure the screens so that they have large gaps which gives the impression of a much bigger effect than you actually have.


For example you could have 4 x LC 2140s which are 2m x 1m and have a 1m gap between each screen. This would give a total width of the video effect of 7m. I have done similar configurations for dance tents at festivals and for gigs. As long as you pick the right content the effect is usuall quite striking

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colourweb isn't really a video surface though is it? its much more of a low res lighting effect than a video screen.


on a 12ft screen in a standard festival tent I would spec 6000 lumens minimum, if you need bright images during the day (ie before dusk) then consider going up to 10,000 lumens.


but really this question is a bit like me saying "I'm thinking of adding a soundsystem to my video equipment so I can undercut the specialist sound companies by offering a complete AV install for festival dance tents. I think I'll have 2 stacks of speakers either side of the stage, how many watts will I need? The sound source will initially be from my iPod"


My point being that to properly cater for festivals you need a wide range of equipment and the specialist knowledge to operate it which is something that takes years to accumulate. I'd suggest finding a video company to work with would be a better approach than trying to do it in-house with a minimal investment in kit.

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thanks for the input so far.


As regards the point regarding merely adding a little video kit to our inventory so we can undercut a speciality company, well that is simply not the case. I respectfully suggest you dont make such comments without knowing the full picture. It should be obvious from the aims I have outlined that I am not intending to add high spec complex video to the package I offer, but I would like to add a new element to what I sucessfully offer already, which includes a complete package of mains distro, rigging, sound and lighting.


Many of the clients I work for use me as I provide a complete package, and as such there is no separate video budget or contractor involved - so I am not stepping on anybodies toes. I fully accept that a dedicated video company would be able to offer a more complex and higher spec production, and if that were needed I would be the first to accept my own limitations and bring in the appropriate company.


I will have a look into low res led, but unless the price has moved considerably in the last few months I fear it may be out of my budget. On one level it would work well for graphics, as I already have chamsys control systems in use and their video capability via cataylist would lend them to this application.

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I fully accept that a dedicated video company would be able to offer a more complex and higher spec production, and if that were needed I would be the first to accept my own limitations and bring in the appropriate company.


How do you know a large company would offer a more complex, higher spec production rate? Have you worked for them? I'm guessing not with a question about lumens. I'm sure they will just provide what is needed at said cost.


LED, you could do... but we know not where the people viewing these screens are- 20 yards back? 2 foot away?


I don't believe that AV equipment is something you should underestimate in terms of business expantion. The gear costs a lot to buy and hire... if you want to get it right. The effects when you do are stunning but with it becoming more pleasing to the audiences eye companies like yours (not trying to be rude) think it's acceptable to expand into it when they know nothing about the equipment they need. If I was wrong, you would know what projector you needed and this thread wouldn't be here.It sadens me that anyone thinks they can do the job. It's not something you pick up overnight like sleepytom sid, it takes time and I've been on it for three years now and still getting my brain fried by the technology.


6000 lumens... I can agree with that but really it's still a mystery from your info.


Good luck Chris



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I did not say that a dedicated video company would offer a higher spec production, just that they could and would be capable of it. By that I mean that if a festival comes along which requires more complex visuals I would have no hesitation bringing in an approptrate company.


But, come on guys, I am talking here about adding a couple of screens fed from a laptop here, and thats hardly cutting edge or complex. I already have sufficient work confirmed over the next 12 months to justify the expenditure, and by improving the package I offer I keep my clients comming back to me.


I can understand sentiments about some companies thinking that they can waltz in and do it all, perfectly. I have stated here that I have no such dillusions. I simply offer a cost effective package for smaller events and festivals, and do it very succesfully.

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I will second Matt's suggestion of LC panels. I have used them a number of times for dance-orientated shows fed direct from macbook and they will blow anything projector out of the water. While it's true they are quite low-res, I doubt this is a problem for such visuals where you might have mostly textural/abstract etc.


Certainly not cheap but definitely impressive and you can always space them out as Matt said. It might be worth mentioning the weight though - a flightcase of four is quite a beast!

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Well, I will certainly tale a look at the lc pannels - one company I still freelance for carries quite a lot of it, so I only know too well the size of a quad pannel flightcase...

but I also remember the cost of them when they first came out, ouch!


In terms of resolution, for abstract graphics as a background to the stage etc they would be fine im sure.

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where are you getting your abstract animations from? I presume that you lack the skills to make them yourself, so it will just be another lighting / sound company offering low quality generic visuals as part of a package deal.


This is directly stepping on the toes of a number of people who post on here, who are dedicated video professionals who not only know their kit but also how to operate it, create the content for it, and fully understand the difference between a low res LED display and a proper video screen.


If your actually interested in providing a good service, rather than simply getting the video budget as well as the sound and light then find some people that already do video to work with. They will be able to help you learn how things work and get you to the stage of being able to actually offer a decent package, rather than a half arsed set of equipment which is barely suitable for the job.


To do video that is more than an equipment install displaying generic pre-installed media server content requires a considerable investment in software and hardware for visuals creation. Even with this equipment graphic design is still a skill and one which it is not easy to pick up. Simply having the kit doesn't make you a good video provider. (I can tell you what every button on a sound desk is for - doesn't make me good at mixing bands)


LC is about £10k per panel IIRC - I'm presuming "as little as possible" was under £10k for the complete video setup. Either way its been a while since I've been in a festival dance tent where bands had not had video riders which require projection or high res LED (ie they have content which they want the audience to be able to see - not just generic abstract patterns) Expecting to be able to getaway with owning a few panels of LC or colourweb is unrealistic as the clients (festivals) normally have bands playing who demand a higher resolution output for their show to work.


I'm not trying to put you off from getting into video, just trying to point out some home truths which might save you investing a load of cash into unsuitable equipment whilst lacking the skills to know any better.

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