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Area Lighting with LEDs

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by sccrthlt, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. sccrthlt

    sccrthlt New Member

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    I am the producer for Virginia Tech Relay for Life. It's a huge event that raises over $600,000 every year held on the drill field. We're on track to raise $800,000 this year.

    We've come up with a concept to bring the stage to the people instead of the people to the stage. One of the ways we look to do this is by have a more interactive lighting system. We want to bring the lights out into the crowd and get rid of the generator light towers that are normally used for area lighting for outdoor events. The runners run around the perimeter of the field in an oval track shape. On the inside is the stage on one end and about a football sized field of tents. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Bands, dance acts, speakers, and other miscellaneous activities take place on stage and throughout the field of tents.

    We want to have two 40' lighting towers that are built out of 12"x12"x10' truss segments attached to each other pointed skyward (vertical). On each tower we're looking to put 40 Coemar ParLite LEDs. So a total of 80 leds over two towers. We want to create a spectacle of this production and we feel these lights will allow us to have full control of the atmosphere at any given part of the production. We can light the event with any color we want, not to mention how cool the light tower will look itself. We want to get rid of the tacky generator area lights.

    Will this provide us with enough light for the event to be functional? Is this enough light to pass code if we were to use it as our only lighting source? If not, are there any other fixtures that are brighter/cheaper that provide color? Or could we use a combination of bright none color fixtures and led's? Any ideas on how we could light the field with color. We have a budget that can expand to accommodate making this happen, so any and all comments are welcome even if it's pricey. Thanks!
  2. ScottT

    ScottT Active Member

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    From one Hokie to another: Send me a PM/email in January - I'll be in Blacksburg and able to help out.

    If I remember correctly, the past few years this has been contracted out. Why don't you talk to Midway (Blacksburg) or Stage Sound (Christiansburg) about what you want to accomplish? They'll be able to help out with with many of the issues you'll run into and be able to deal with EHSS and the AHJ.

    Sorry for the short reply, I'm running low of cell battery.

    Edit: Say hi to Drew J for me next time you've got a meeting!
  3. Gern

    Gern Active Member Premium Member

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    Congratulations on a great gig! Sounds like a fun night.
    My first thoughts regarding the LED pars are that they will not be enough.
    I hope that you contact lighting vendors in you area, and inquire about their ability to possibly donate gear for your charity event. In Los Angeles, I have never seen a problem getting gear donated.
    Although I don't fully understand your truss layout, I feel to get the lighting coverage for this area you will need a brighter light source, or more of the smaller sources spread out. If you land a gear source, you will need to pay for labor, but the payoff of an expensive lighting rig seem to be worth it to charities I work with. I see your event is April 20th, 2012, and I don't know your weather patterns, but in 'calm' LA, we use light balloons with great success all year round. YMMV. You have some time, you might be able to get a whole rig together with big lights, like say Syncrolites. That will give you large coverage.

    FULL DISCLOSURE-Good memories: I was on a Deftones dessert video shoot in Imperial Dunes, east of San Diego that started the night with 16 balloons. A 'Sandstorm' hit. For Hours. And we kept shooting. We ended with 5 ballons working(still on) but torn. 11 balloons TOTALED. Of those, 3 16K's were never found. My Expression3 was totaled. It was wild having the sand blowing over us so hard the sand poured into the console. I was running 2 subs in a simple cross fade. The sand would finally make the fader fail. I'd load the sub next to it, till it too failed. My RFU was lovingly rebuilt by Bob in the 40 shop @ Culver Studio's. Oh yeah, good times.
  4. Jawbone

    Jawbone New Member

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    Are the pars for effect within the audience only and concert lighting on stage. If you're just using them to do chase effects within the audience complimenting the concert stage lighting I could see the artistic value. If it is for any other purpose, (crowd movement lighting) I can't see them adding much lighting to the size area you are talking about. The specs for that fixture are 1.2w 36 piece per can. At 80 cans that's only 1866.24 watts of lighting power.
  5. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    Why not instead of 2x 40' towers build say 30 or so 15' towers? Its a lot more truss, but then you can load on say 8 PAR 64s per tower for area light and maybe 16 LEDs per light. Another thing to consider is all these need to be powered and controlled, and 2x towers just wont do it for you. You are going to need more distributed lighting, and I think you will get a better look with more towers, especially since then one area could be red, another blue, etc. Maybe even consider putting some MLs scattered around on towers for more dynamic effects.
  6. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    If you're aiming those towers into the tent area, nothing will cut it. The tents, etc., will create shadows, and you'll have some very dark areas. Your light positions need to be much more evenly distributed over the field.
  7. sccrthlt

    sccrthlt New Member

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    Thanks everyone. We want just enough light to pass code.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  8. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    Passing code and actually serving your audience are two different things. One tends to be "just enough so as I can effectively evacuate" and the other tends to be "I can actually successfully navigate this place and have a good time. One thing you could try is get a pile of those "light bulb on a string" sort of dealies and put in multi-colored bulbs. Hang them across your midways and whatnot, and bundle four strings together to make a crude RGBA string, attach dimmers and whanot. Might be cheaper than renting truss and dozens of LEDs, and give you a more "carnival festival" type feel...
  9. Gern

    Gern Active Member Premium Member

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    Sure, I like the look of Festoon lighting at outdoor scenes. For an overall area flood light coverage, you might get some Musco light truck type rig donated. They can be gelled, and set at a nice (lower) level, then use your LED pars, etc., to add color all around.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  10. mattholio

    mattholio New Member

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    Area Lighting

    I've had great success with genie towers and par bars. They can get to 20-24 feet tall, and can be set-up with relative ease. PD will be a little ugly but the end result is a controllable, well lit environment. Figure one every 50-75 feet.


    Good Luck.
    m

  11. bishopthomas

    bishopthomas Well-Known Member

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    Re: Area Lighting

    Here's what I would suggest for lighting the track itself:
    8 truss goalposts spanning the track. 3 on each side and one on each of the middle of the "short sides." Load them up with LED's, facing both directions. I would think 12-16 high power (100+ watt) LED's per side of the truss would do an adequate job. With the truss structures you could hang banners with sponsors, partial mile markers, or even some kind of countdown clock. Hell, put a video wall at the finish line and you could do some amazing stuff throughout the night, with a grand finale display.

    As for lighting the field, I really don't think you're going to do any better than what you have now. Unless I'm not understanding correctly, 40' of vertical truss isn't going to happen. Mattholio's advice of pars on a Genie is about what I would recommend, but that's not much of a change from what you're doing now. If you're stuck on the LED/truss idea I would suggest going for several towers rather than just 2. Even if there are less fixtures on each tower you'll still want the coverage that you just won't get out of only 2 towers.
  12. sccrthlt

    sccrthlt New Member

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    Re: Area Lighting

    Thanks for your advice. I like the lighting for the track idea. This is the event as everyone was setting up two years ago (The event takes place at night):

    IMG_3210 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Here's a night photo:
    Virginia Tech's Drill Field | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Could I use a bunch of Martin MAC 2000 Wash XB's to light the tent area? They are over 60,000 lumens a piece. I looked up the specs on a standard generator area light. Each one has four lights on it. Each light is 100,000 lumens. If we had 6 light generators last year that would be 24*100,000 lumens. If we had 24 Martin Mac 2000's that would be 24*60,000 lumens. 3/5th's the amount of light, but a lot more diversity (Moving head, color, gobos, etc.) Thanks!
  13. bishopthomas

    bishopthomas Well-Known Member

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    Re: Area Lighting

    No gobos in the wash unit, so maybe a mix of spots and washes. Check out some pictures of the ice skating rink in NYC's Bryant Park. They have truss structures at each corner of the rink with various lights rigged. The wash lighting is still coming from those (metal halide?) stadium lights, with additional Source 4's and LED's for gobo projection and colors. There really isn't anything out there that can do the same job, at least that I'm aware of.
  14. Gern

    Gern Active Member Premium Member

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    Re: Area Lighting

    Great images of the site. Thanks. So what I was referring to earlier, was, to get an overall area lighting spread from a higher source than your work site style '4 banger' genie light combo. Balloons, while played lower to the ground, don't have an irritating point souce like the dreaded 4 banger. 4 Bangers are great for base camp and crew parking, but I've never seen them on set or at an event. Once you get this source(s) at a safe acceptable level, then splash color/effects/specials where they work best. I love the mac 2000 idea but, only as a special, not as an area light. Again, If you can wrangle a donation or reduced price rental, you could go with a higher altitude source like 80' and higher. It is really preferable I feel, than having the Loud, lower altitude lights in your eyes. With tents, you you will have shadows, so with an aerial lighting platform at each end you decrease those. If you can't get a lighting platform company with prebuilt trucks, you might be able to use "Condors", Hollywood slang for aerial booms(JLG, Marklift, Genie etc.). PROVIDED YOU HAVE COMPETENT, TRAINED, QUALIFIED PERSONNEL RIGGING AND MONITORING THE LIFTS WHO ARE PREPARED TO BRING THEM DOWN AT A MOMENTS NOTICE! Again this, I agree, maybe out of the question due to your local weather pattern and expectations.

    Not, in my opinion, if you mean light up the tent area as area lighting. I mean area lighting as the appropriate amount of light for the safety of the people walking about. I'd use the macs to color the tents and to create a festival atmosphere, because that is what they are best at, not, "...3/5th's the amount of light... diversity (Moving head, color, gobos..." inadequately lighting the ground for people to see where they are walking.
  15. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    Re: Area Lighting

    Gern:
    I used the four bangers for TV this summer. It was to be a daytime shoot and weather got us and we had to scramble to light the event. It was a NBC show. Not the recommended method for TV lighting.
    The Musso trucks would be best, Genies would be next, lifts would be third.
  16. kendal69

    kendal69 Active Member

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    I think you are shooting too much area from a too little foot print. Seems to me like you want to shoot from one area, I get that as it's easier to set, BUT will lack throw.

    You need to spread out.

    What I would do is either use some balloon lights along with you multiple truss hangs. I have done a similar area but what I did was hand the typical pars either gelled 1000 watt, or led, but I added 2 of your typical building style area lights on each truss. What the building style area lights gave me was a HUGE wide 1000 watt - something like these.

    Area lighting and parking lot light pole kits

    These will give you 1000 HPS 140,000 Lumens.

    The you can either DMX cable them all or what I did was have a wireless DMX under each truss for control. The 1000 parking lot style lights were only on if needed. Lets say mass evacuation then the area would look like the sun at 12 noon. Otherwise they could be off as they are on a ballast.

    They are pretty clean looking and take a C clam well, but MAN do they throw a wash.

    Fro me that gives you all the flexibility or VERY bright if needed and plenty of color etc where you need it.

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