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Al Krow

Lighting for weddings and other functions

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Guys,

My two bands are starting to get more regular function work including weddings. I suspect that some of the venues we are going to be playing at won't have 'party' / 'dance' lighting.

What are folk in function bands currently doing for stage and floor lighting and how much would a decent lighting set up cost?

Cheers!

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We were in a similar boat and I’ve started to get a basic rig together. I made the classic mistake starting out thinking it was about lighting the band, so have two pole mounted 4 panel LED bars for either side of the stage. We leave them on a basic slow fade from one colour to the next, they’re the same brand so I just set them off at the same time! 

The best things I’ve bought so far are two LED bars for uplighting the the back of the stage. Thomann jobs, 70 quid for a pair. They make a huge difference, especially if you’re playing in a marquee or up against a white wall, the colour gets soaked up and it’s like you’ve got a screen behind you. I also have two single floor mounted flood panels hooked up to them, lighting the drummer’s silver kit (we call him Ginger Bacofoil) 

What I’ve since learned however, is that you light live music from the back, going out to the audience. Next step for us is a basic frame and some moving heads running on automatic. 

Thomann is amazing for lighting gear and it’s easy to carry, small and cool as well- gone are the days of Turkey basting bulb powered lamps. Obligatory photo of our rig in action (also highlighting how hard it is to keep leads tidy on a white floor!)

 

BB33BE7F-D1A2-4EDC-9FD2-B70A9FDECD63.jpeg

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@scalpy PS what was the make and model of the lighting gear you have bought (and cost - although I can check that from Thomann if you don't have to hand).

On a separate note, I think on another thread, some folk were mentioning getting ex DJ gear - any recommendations on a decent site to check for what's available?

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19 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

@scalpy PS what was the make and model of the lighting gear you have bought (and cost - although I can check that from Thomann if you don't have to hand).

On a separate note, I think on another thread, some folk were mentioning getting ex DJ gear - any recommendations on a decent site to check for what's available?

Eurolite for the 4 panel LEDs, got a package with case, footswitch and stand, around £250 each. I wouldn’t get them again though, the stairville stuff is better, better autorun programs, brighter, and not as fussy if you want to use xlr cables instead of dmx (which I don’t have a clue about.) Can’t see the exact bundle doing a turbo search for the uplighters but there’s be loads of applications for something like this one- https://m.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_bar_240_8_rgb_dmx_3_bundle.htm?o=31&search=1525705879

Edited by scalpy
Missed words out!
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30 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

Looking good there scalpy. 

+1! 7 piece band with a brass section! Love it! 

Any uploaded material? Be great to hear what you guys sound like!

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19 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

+1! 7 piece band with a brass section! Love it! 

Any uploaded material? Be great to hear what you guys sound like!

Thank you, that’s us in the middle of our Knock on Wood skit. Head on to the Hey Yahs Facebook page, we’ve been a little quiet of late but there’s some videos on there, mostly of us being idiots!

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2 minutes ago, scalpy said:

Thank you, that’s us in the middle of our Knock on Wood skit. Head on to the Hey Yahs Facebook page, we’ve been a little quiet of late but there’s some videos on there, mostly of us being idiots!

What a great name for a band! And you're an 8 piece (not 7)! What a fun gig you had in June last year (and some nice bass playing too!) :) 

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My wedding band runs two floor wash lights/bars.
We have two sets of 4 LED cans, mounted on poles.  
A disco ball type of thing, that sits on the floor, and two moving LED cans.
Very rarely use all of them together, as i think it can look a bit much.
But good lighting goes a long way to making a band look more professional IMO

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11 minutes ago, FuNkShUi said:

My wedding band runs two floor wash lights/bars.
We have two sets of 4 LED cans, mounted on poles.  
A disco ball type of thing, that sits on the floor, and two moving LED cans.
Very rarely use all of them together, as i think it can look a bit much.
But good lighting goes a long way to making a band look more professional IMO

Do you have a pic of the band with your lighting rig?

Details of make / model / cost of your kit would be gratefully received!

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I have just looked and i don't have a picture of it all set up sorry!

These are the LED cans:
https://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_stage_tri_led_bundle_complete.htm

Here are the LED wash bars:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_bar_240_8_cw_ww_dmx.htm

Disco ball thingy and moving LED can were bought second hand.

This video shows the LED wash bars, but don't have anything with all of it in action

 

Edited by FuNkShUi
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I have just found this
DY1K80O.jpg

The LED cans werent set up at this point, but it shows how we use the LED wash bar thingys (i dont know the "official name")

Edited by FuNkShUi
Photo doesnt show

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22 minutes ago, FuNkShUi said:

The Stairville LED gear does seem to be coming up in my research too, so was interesting to see you guys are using also.

This 'bundle' seems to cover a lot of basses (excuse the pun :) ) : https://m.thomann.de/gb/stairville_led_bossfx_1_pro_bundle_comple.htm

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Yeh it's works for us.
It's like i said, you can get way more. More doesn't always mean better though. Just my opinion.
A lot of the weddings we play at will have lighting already there.
Whether it be in the floor, or behind you in a starlight effect , or LEDs already in situ, or the DJ etc.


 

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In case of use to any of my fellow BCer's: we ended up getting a Chauvet Gig Bar 2.0 plus a couple of small Chauvet DJ Bank LEDs.

Including decent length power cables this came to just under £500 (new), all in. I'm guessing these will be available at a significant discount second hand on DJ sites.

We unboxed and gave the Gig Bar a dry run today (see clip below) and the band seem very pleased with the choice. If you have a limited budget and want to get just "one" lighting rig, I think you could do a lot worse than this.

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American DJ Power Bars and Mega Tri Pars (4 of each). Few uplighting  on Drums, few backlighting, few front lighting and a moving head. Looks good.

06F7B45C-0BC1-439C-91BD-8CC660A0E799.jpeg

DAA87442-6175-45D8-8E48-6850A4ACE951.jpeg

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I was using backwash with PAR38s in the sixties.........always was good.

I remember using my light boxes to hit the inside of the domed roof of Taggs Island a few times - looked amazing !

😎

Edited by taunton-hobbit

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We use a chauvet 4 bar, a couple of 56 par can floor uplighters,  with an uplighter bar behind the drummer

This is the 4 bar thingy. all garnered cheap n chearful of of ebay here https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Stage-Lighting-Systems-Kits/12921/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=

I'm going to start setting up with lighting from the back given the advice from on here above and will probably get some more uplighter bars

 

 

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4 hours ago, ricksterphil said:

...I'm going to start setting up with lighting from the back given the advice from on here above and will probably get some more uplighter bars.

I'm less convinced about positioning the main lighting at the back of the stage, behind the band: a key issue with doing this is that all that the audience sees is a silhouette of the band members. Side and front lighting is needed to prevent this. A summary of some helpful advice I've garnered from elsewhere is as follows:

"There are 3 levels of lighting a band needs to be aware of, if they are venturing into stage lighting for the first time. 

Light the band. Mounted on either a stand on each side, or a truss rod across the front of the stage. Consider at least 8 large LED ParCans, or 2-4 lightbars. If that’s all you can afford, start with this.

Provide a light show for the audience. It also doesn’t hurt to have some of the colour changing, moving pattern lights for the dance floor.

Up-lighting. Two to four shining up from in front of the drums."

"Many of the budget 4 PAR lightbars give you much more than you really need and not enough at the same time. Try to avoid the rookie mistake of all the distracting blinky lights/chases with reds, greens and blues and work towards a tasteful implementation of "bastard amber" key or filling lighting and maybe some other colours for accent/back lighting. There's a bit of an art to it. It's very easy to overdo it."

"Most bands are real good at lighting themselves up like rockstars and the patrons and guests on the dance floor get the short end of the stick, left in relative darkness. That is backwards. You need to light up the partiers on the dance floor like rockstars.

If you want the best tips on lighting, check in with the main competition in private events: Mobile DJ's. They have this all figured out and know all the tricks and tips. For most bands it's an afterthought. I was a mobile DJ specializing exclusively with the upscale client for many years, and that's where I got my ideas. YouTube and Google to see what DJ's and upscale party bands are doing. You'll find more pics and vids than you can look at in one lifetime.

At the moment, my band uses anywhere from 6 to 8 par can LEDs to colour wash the stage, custom colours dialled in, and we use sound activation a lot. I don't take a light tech, and the band members are all too busy to do it. The most we do is color wash fades and sound activated, set it and forget it. We look great in the vids.

For the dance floor, I still have an old-school 24" mirror ball that I use at weddings. Still nothing compares, a timeless classic. I also have a floor ball that gives a mirror ball effect with colour. The best investment I've made in a long time are the Chauvet GigBar2 light bars for the dance floor. We use two of them, each one has three light effects (derby, par, strobe), and red/green lasers for the ceiling. Also sound activated, two of those fill even a large dance floor really well, lots of movement, but they are around £400 each."

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I use 5 of the ADJ Tri Pars through a ryger foot controller . Every venue is different as lots have plenty of ambient lighting so the floods/blackouts and even the fades and sequences are lost .

but smaller gigs I light the ceilings as it spreads really well , always have a stage front pointing at the bass drum as it both lights the kit and shines back out . 

The others cross light the stage at floor level , with a cheap mirror machine on a stand facing the front occasionally. 

It is surprising how many bands have nothing to offer for lighting , it does make a difference👍

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