Jump to content

How many watts/lights do I need?

Putaendo Cultural Centre

Recommended Posts

I appreciate this is as stupid as asking how long is a piece of string! But....


I had a little experience of theatre/band lighting as a student back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but know little about LEDs and DMX.


I run a basic (and cash-strapped) cultural centre in rural Chile and want to get a smallish lighting set up which is flexible for a wide variety of different small events in an equally wide variety of small non-professional venues. Events might include anything from a classical quartet, folk and jazz, up to a small amateur rock group. Venues might include community centres, sports halls, churches, schools etc. probably with audiences of no more than 100 people maximum, and probably with no installed lighting infrastructure.


I'm considering buying a number of 54 x 3 LEDs supplemented by a smaller number of 18 x 12 LEDs which are available here, are these a good option and how many do I need? I'm thinking of perhaps 4 lighting stands along with some lights on the floor, operated with a basic DMX controller. In due course I can get more equipment and/or upgrade as and when necessary, but what do you all recommend for starting out? Initially I'm not looking for anything too sophisticated, and budget is certainly an issue, but I would prefer quality over quantity.


What do you suggest? Many thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd get 8 cans to start, 4 a side on stands. 54x3w sounds fairly bright (I used to do this with 300W par56 cans and they should be loads brighter than that) but not all led cans are equal and I don't know what yours will be like.

Then you can expand with lights across the back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very many thanks for all your replies!


Most of the populated part of Chile has good 240 volt mains electricity - some very remote rural areas don't, but this is not a problem where I am. Most of the small venues, however, will have ordinary domestic supply - a big reason to go mainly with LEDs.


Lighting equipment available in Chile is, for me at least, something of a mystery. There is quite a large offer of generic Chinese lights, then there are brands which seem to be local only to Chile and are probably the same generic fixtures from China branded especially for a larger importer (Wild Pro seems to be one of these), and finally there are a few recognised international names such as American DJ which are very much more expensive (but I understand are also Chinese and may ultimately be little different from the better generics?). Some lights are pure plastic and I doubt will stand up to extended use, others appear more solid with aluminium bodies etc and will probably last longer. Prices vary considerably, and I suppose (perhaps naively) that more expensive is better - but this may also reflect marketing policy as much as quality. So it's a bit of a minefield! Overall, prices tend to be much higher than Europe or the USA due in part to import costs, taxes, and high mark-ups in a relatively small and specialised market - such is Chile!


I went to a small/mid-sized outdoor concert which used 14 18x8 LEDS on an overhead truss and 4 largish-looking moving heads, and this certainly provided more illumination than I will want or need. So this gives me some idea of my upper limit. I like the idea of 8 cans to start, 4 a side on stands with 54x3w as the minimum set-up - but I will probably have a bit more money available, perhaps for around 20 lights of different intensities and prices. Moving lights are not a big priority, at least for the moment. The idea is to provide a modest but reasonably effective support to local (and mainly non-commercial) cultural/community events at quite a small scale, so if anyone really wants to rival the Trans Siberian Orchestra etc., they can hire a professional outfit!


With respect to performers who need to read sheet music (and I'm guessing mainly classical), I'm imagining my lights will reinforce the regular lighting of the venue serving to give focus to the musicians from the audience view. Even so I'm looking at stands which have a maximum height of 3.5m according to their specifications, so providing white light should be possible (remember I'm talking a quartet etc., not the whole Philharmonic!).


Thanks again, and best wishes, Patrick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Colour LED floods eat up channels of DMX! One lamp can be 10 channels.



All "low end" LED cans I've ever come across have an RGB (3 channel) mode. Or 4 channels RGBW if they have white.

You can always set some on the same DMX channels to pair them up if you are short of channels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.