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Old November 13th, 2007, 08:39 PM   #1
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Lighting a Stage Show?

Hi,
Next week I will shoot a stage show of 8 to 10 male dancers. Can you guys suggest some affordable lighting options / light sets for me? The guys said they should be under 500 watts or so.

All comments welcome.

I was thinking of the work lights from sears, but think it's tacky? Help ....
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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #2
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anyone? does anyone have suggestions with links? i'd like to buy this week
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #3
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You can’t just throw a question like that around and expect answers; you have to give more information.

My assumption is that you know very little about lighting and about electricity and probably even less about grips. My suggestion would be to hire someone who has experience and is equipped to do stage lighting.

Anyway these are just a few basic but very important questions to start.

How large of an area are you looking to light?

What your electrical power available?

How high is the ceiling and what's the ceiling made of.

What’s there to hang the lights, you are not going to have stands in a public place.

And most important, what’s your budget.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 06:25 PM   #4
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I do all kinds of dance performances lighted for the camera and like
Nino said, it all depends on each moment of the dance as to what
may be appropriate. I can say that to do a good job usually requires
back, side and front light "washes" that cover the whole dance floor,
usually of several different colors.
Then there are the "specials" to cover spots where unique momemts
occur.

You would be best oft trying to rent a venue where they have
a dance studio set up with lights. Try local colleges, universities
and high schools.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #5
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you guys are right, I am clueless!

thier show is next sat night at a night club. it's not a huge production. just a tage approx the size of a high school stage like a small tap ance recital stage.

ceilings probably as high as any night club.

can someone just suggest a decent lighting set that under 500.00?

i appreciate you all ...
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Old November 14th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #6
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i'll make very little on this shoot, but i need some lights anyways ...
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Old November 15th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #7
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Did they say 500W total or for each light. If you are restricted to a total of 500W, that is unreasonable unless you plan to use fluorescents or HMI. Are there existing lights in the location that are already planned to be on?
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Old November 15th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #8
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Unfortunately $500 in this business will get you nowhere; you might start thinking outside productions equipment. If the place has recessed lights fixtures like most commercial establishments have, you might purchase from an electrical suppliers or even a home improvement center bulb extensions, that’s a 12/18” extension that drops the bulb below the ceiling and has a swivel bulb mount that allows you to point the bulb in any direction. Add 150w regular spotlight bulbs (also retail available), and point as many as you can toward the stage from every direction that you can. These bulbs are also available in colors. Not very “production” but it will light the stage and if you take your time in accurately pointing the bulbs it will look decent, much more deserving that the allocated budget.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 09:17 AM   #9
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Hi Kim,

I have been doing theatrical lighting for over 40 years and it's a complex field which gets even more complicated when you want it to look good on video. Aren't there any lights in the venue to start with? I would begin by experimenting with them before spending any money.

Is this strictly a video shoot or does the show also need to look good to a live audience? Are you concerned about what the lights themselves will look like? Worklights on portable stands are pretty ugly.

I really think you need to find someone with a little lighting experience to help you here, there's not a whole lot we can do over the internet with the limited info you've given us. Every high school will have a few kids that are involved with lighting the shows (I was "that kid" myself back in the 1960's :-) Maybe you can find someone like that to help, and they may even have access to some equipment you can borrow or rent cheaply. A local community theatre would be another resource to investigate.

Good luck with your shoot, if nothing else it will be a learning experience you can build upon in the future. Also note that I've had to edit some of the replies here a bit. Please, try to be helpful and constructive with your comments.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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I've been taping stage shows for about 6 years.
And in my experience, mostly college theaters,
I've never had an issue using the in house lighting system.

Some stages have very basic theater, so I have to bit of adjusting
in post. But generally the in house lighting has been perfectly fine.

When I get time I will post some footage from the athenaeum theatre in chicago where I just did a stage production with my GL2. I actually wouldn't mind feedback on it.

But overall, embrace the in house system, if there isn't one get lots of bright light.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:44 PM   #11
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Hi,
I can not use the inhouse system. Lighting the stage is what I need to do. I said 500.00, but I can spring for a bit more if anyone can suggest a specific light system of approx 500 watts or so per light - or 250 watts per light.

I really appreciate your help guys ...
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Old November 16th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #12
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Just face it, it can't be done with that budget. You might be able to buy maybe two 650 fresnel spot light with that kind of money, not even close to light a stage. Even if you buy a bunch of work lights you still have to find a way to hang them from the ceiling and hardware is not cheap, again not to mention the liability factor should one of those fall down or the potential danger of running a lots of extension cables with an electrical system that you don't know anything about it.

You might consider renting one or two followspots and getting two people to operate them from high in the back of the room.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #13
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I would suggest trying to find someone who owns a decent amount
of stage lighting and see if you can get them to do it. Personally, I know
how hard it is to do a gig like you describe and the amount of gear it
takes to be successful. If someone offered my $500, in all honesty I
would turn them down, but there might be some hungry youngster
who might take it on. One thing is pretty certain, you cannot buy
what you need to do a good job with a $500 budget.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #14
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What kind of budget would it require to do a minimalist but OK job?
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Old November 17th, 2007, 07:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
What kind of budget would it require to do a minimalist but OK job?
Clearly it doesn't make sense to buy equipment for a one-shot job like this. Since we're really talking about theatrical lighting here, visit a local vendor who specializes in renting this kind of equipment. ESTA is the professional organization which represents this industry. To find vendors in your town, visit their website here: http://esta.org/memdir/index.php

If you only need the equipment for one or two days the rental cost may be manageable. Make an appointment to visit their shop and discuss the most cost-effective gear. They will have all the right hanging hardware and cables to support it as well. But, as we've been saying, before you even take that step you need to have a general idea of types and quantities of equipment based on the size of the space you're lighting.

Now if you're dead set on buying gear, AND you know what you want, one source would be usedlighting.com which is operated by 4 wall lighting. They're one of of the major lighting rental houses, and a vendor which we use extensively at the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
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