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Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?

jimmyt 09 Feb 09 - 06:52 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 09 - 07:08 PM
Leadfingers 09 Feb 09 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Feb 09 - 09:04 PM
Howard Kaplan 09 Feb 09 - 10:46 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 10 Feb 09 - 12:26 AM
GUEST 10 Feb 09 - 11:04 AM
wysiwyg 10 Feb 09 - 11:32 AM
The Villan 10 Feb 09 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Feb 09 - 12:52 PM
GUEST 10 Feb 09 - 01:28 PM
Tim Leaning 10 Feb 09 - 01:37 PM
Marc Bernier 10 Feb 09 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 10 Feb 09 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Finny Su 23 Aug 11 - 02:32 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Aug 11 - 02:03 PM
bruceCMR 23 Aug 11 - 05:51 PM
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Subject: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: jimmyt
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:52 PM

Maybe some one can offer some assistance. My group is being booked more and more where the lighting is simply non-existent or poor at best. ANyone construct some decent postable stage lighting? THe expense of getting professional theater type lighting is cost prohibitive. Thanks for all your help   jim


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:08 PM

Depends how much light you need and how portable. (A couple of clamp-lamps aimed in from the sides on mic/amp stands will do in a pinch if you don't care how silly they look.)

One issue is that bright usually equals hot. If you want clean, white light, it's hard to get it bright enough without getting a lot of heat, too.

Then there are the aiming issues. A bulb (more properly called a "lamp") is usually either for lightwashing (wide scatter) or spotlighting (tighter beam of light). You need to know which type is your goal to know what fixtures to get to carry these.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:02 PM

Which group is that Jimmy ? The Blues , or The DooWop ? You surely DONT mean ANY kind of Folk Group do you ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 09:04 PM

WHY in the good Lord's creation would you want lighting?

Surely, you have your material memorized. If you need to read the set-card one lad with a pocket torch is enough for a five second, name-that-tune.

Do you want to sound good AND be pretty on stage?

Just be happy in today's economy you have a gig.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Be careful - what you ask for - go plugging into old establishment power systems and more than owners might be chasing you out of town ... (outside the true ale society most gentle folk like their beer cold)


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: Howard Kaplan
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 10:46 PM

I've had a little experience with portable stage lighting for storytelling. We were considering using clamp-on lamps with compact fluorescent bulbs, in order to avoid generating a lot of heat, but we realized that such bulbs are not suitable for devices that need to stand up to a lot of handling and might get dropped. Broken incandescent bulbs are fairly benign except for sharp edges, but broken CFs can release mercury, and one is supposed to take special steps to clean up the mess.

We used incandescent bulbs for a while, but the only place we could clip them was to a waist-high table in front of the teller, and the shadows were unflattering. (We don't need amplification, so we don't have any microphone stands.) We've now reverted to tolerating the relative darkness, with most of the room lights turned off. Since our house rule is that we tell stories but don't read them, darkness is not a critical problem.

When the prices of LED-based lamps decline enough, those might be the best option. I can even imagine being able to run them for a couple of hours using rechargeable batteries rather than plug-in cords.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 12:26 AM

low cost, lightweight, self powered & very portable,
easy enough to rig up anywhere on stage,
and perfect for intimate little small room gigs....
perhaps some sets of these..???

http://www.illoomballoon.com/how.php

My Mrs bought some today, but not had time to test them yet....


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:04 AM

In answer to a number of questions or issues, Terry, It is my do-wop group ( sorry to say it is not trad) The illumination is so the audience can see us. We need no illumination to read music, it is memorized, gargoyle. Some of these venues will be outdoors, so I need to have a predictable system to hang the lights, ie a high stand of some sort. I have found a lot od this material at theater lighting sites, but I just wondered if anyone had rigged up a series of floods or spots on a board and hung them from a tall speaker stand or some such thing? Light trees are several hundred dollars. We don't mkes much per gig, $500-$750, and most goes to our back up band. Little left over for equipment. However, if I can get something rigged up, my folk group would also utilise this equipment as we also do outdoor jobs in the dark.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:32 AM

jimmy, when I have seen portables used to light a choir or quartet performing at our church, they've been mounted in vertical banks on poles from the sides and aimed in from there in an effort to wash out each other's shadows. But this has been to supplement existing lighting. It was provided not by us (the church hosting the event), or by the performers, but by the organization sponsoring the event. To provide enough light for a totally dark setting would be quite a challenge.

It's not unlike a similar situation our church had to facilitate for one of these organizations. They used our space while their main space was being renovated-- and they just had no idea how to "produce" an event that could meet the contractual requirements of the performers they had engaged. We often bailed the visiting performers out of the org's mistakes, feeding them for example when the org didn't realize that singers eat AFTER a big show-- and our town's restaurants all close very early.

(Nice, huh? "You'll have to grab a bite at the only gas station open, I guess, as you head out of town. The nearest sit-down place open will be at least an hour down the road." BTW these were two African American men traveling thru our almost all-white county in a huge blizzard with a dangerous mountain to cross by car.... who were accustomed to Carnegie Hall appearances. "But we gave them the water and grapes their contract specified, before the show...." said the sponsors.)


Back to tech requirements.... For one jazz vocal singer, for instance, there were specific sound requirements in the contract. In the days before their arrival, we finally convinced the "producing" organization that had signed her contract that they would have to hire a sound provider, because her needs were FAR above anything the church had for Sunday sound, or anything Hardi and I owned personally for our gigs-- we knew this because for a previous concert, we had ended up having to lend our stuff to this org. The performing quartet was, to say the least, very kind to us about the deficiencies from the contracted specs. Our "system" was tiny!!!

The org just did not understand what they were getting into, to hire-in people with large-space requirements to make a rural tour in small spaces.

Yet in the US with bigger venues a day's driving apart, these tours are the bread and butter of performers to make gas money as they travel from large space to large space-- much as folkies will fill a tour with weeknight house concerts to make travel bucks to get from larger city venue to city venue. (And hopefully sell CDs.)


So I think that this is a technical battle you will find hard to win with your own equipment.... but that it should be considered as you would consider the supplying of a sound system. The a capella quartet that used little system, for example, traveled with their own full set of gear in case house systems they encountered did not suffice-- they used our system but ran their own mics into it, because setting up their own stuff had not been contracted and because, therefore, they had not paid for extra roadie help to come along to our town. So they were only willing to unpack the mics, being singers who cared about the mic for vocal effects in their particular set list.


Another visiting group settled for the pole lights the local community theater group loaned and rigged-- the lighting equivalent of our insufficient sound system. But it was the sponsoring organization that arranged it (and presumably paid for it).


You need to think about how to work with the organizations, sponsoring parties, and/or venues to comply with your requirements. Or else rig a very cheap and very lightweight "just in case" set of stuff that is not professional-quality-- clamp lamps, I'm afraid, with bulbs carefully packed for protection and extras on board to replace breakage.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 12:33 PM

Hey Guest Punkfolkrocker, they are condoms. Its so your missus can see you when she puts them on LOL :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 12:52 PM

I use the spare holes in the speaker poles to mount lights below the speakers.

It's the best place for your eyes safety, and side fill is more dramatic for the audience.

Two fewer poles to carry.

I have two rigs for different set-ups.

One uses mini pars from Maplin - the ones with plastic gel cups that clip over the lamp. They can bolt straight through the hols in the speaker poles, or you can mount two on on foot of dexion, and secure with a single bolt and a velcro strap.

The other solution is even cheaper. Small HMI security lamps (£3 each) with gel trapped in the case. One pair each side, mounted on six inches of dexion, and held with a single bolt.

Use paired 'Y' kettle leads to supply from the extension blocks at the foot of each pole that power the speakers.

cheap and simple - a few quid


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 01:28 PM

I'm pretty sure that Maplin were selling a cheap T Bar light stand last time they sent me an email.....
Here it is!
Lighting bars
I'd bet they sell lights too.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 01:37 PM

I was just in Maplin at the weekend and thye do sell various lights.
I think they are the colour changing sort if that is any use in the USA


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 02:16 PM

In High School, 30 years ago, I "built" some lights for my Rock band. I took standard screw socket's bought at the hardware store and mounted them in the bottom of coffee cans, make a cheap Par can if you will. Some then were mounted in a strip on a 2x4, others were used individually. I'd bring about 20 or so "instruments" to a gig, and run the whole thing off 110. I even built a board out of a half dozen house hold dimmer units mounted on a plywood box. Very cheep but we were the coolest looking band in town.


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 03:12 PM

Wow! SOme good ideas! I appreciate you guys! jimmyt


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: GUEST,Finny Su
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 02:32 AM

Hey gays, why not look at our portable stage? it is lightweight and maximum loading weight is 900kg/sqm

http://tstule.en.alibaba.com


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 02:03 PM

If sturdy stands, possibly cheaper than "studio hardware," would be a help, a local lumber yard probably has some nice ones of the kind used to light construction sites, and some auto supply places handle similar ones for lighting up the grass under the shade tree where you do your mechanicin'. The stands generally are pretty sturdy, and most of them fold up fairly compactly, although they can of course be tipped over if someone is really careless or clumsy. (Tether the ***** player on a leash that won't quite reach the stands when you set up?)

Ask for "portable workspace lights" or "construction site lights" if you don't spot them easily.

The light units that come with them might pose a problem, as they typically are 500 or 600 W tungsten bulbs (tubular). Stands built for one, two, or four fixtures seem to be common. 2400 W is a lot of heat, but possibly not a lot more than some studio lights put out. Similar "bulbs" down to about 300 W, and possibly smaller, are available but the "sockets" differ to prevent using the wrong bulb so you can't really just swap out the elements.

Some of the ones I've seen looked like they should be fairly easily adapted to hold a couple of 20" fluorescent tubes. For portability I'd avoid the longer 4 ft tubes just because they'd likely be more easily broken in transit, but bulk packages of tubes do provide pretty good protection so you could get a ten-pack of tubes and use the box (and padding) to transport the ones you use. But taking the tubes out and putting them back in the fixtures each time you move would be a bit of a p.i.a.

(The stands are nearly always bright yellow, for visibility, but I wouldn't think that would be a problem(?).)

"Single units" that sit on the floor and use the same "bulbs" are also common and not too expensive although the prices vary a lot; but I doubt they'd give a pleasant lighting without mounting them to a stepladder (or something) to get them off the floor. The single floor units usually are in flat black housings.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: inexpensive portable stage lighting?
From: bruceCMR
Date: 23 Aug 11 - 05:51 PM

The big problem with improvising something from builder's lighting, or exterior security lighting, is that they get hot. Many have labels saying "for external use only".

This effectively means that if you use them indoors, and you cause a fire, the insurance company will not pay up.

That's why theatres don't use them, and pay ten times the price for something similar....


Have a look at LED lighting - some of the "flat pars" are really good - the units come complete with stands and T-bars, and don't give off much heat. Cost has come down dramatically recently, and output power is rising. Still not as bright as tungsten, but far cooler and lower running costs.

Traditionally LED pars had red/green/blue LEDs, which means you can generate lots of bold colours. But they weren't very good for whites. Newer ones have added amber LEDs to the mix, which gives a more natural light.


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