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Cost effective lighting solution for portable church?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by preludesi88, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. preludesi88

    preludesi88 New Member

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    Hi guys,

    Been a while since I've posted here but had a quick question. What type of cost effective solution would you recommend for a new church that would be setting up in a temporary leased space? The service would be contemporary so some color would be desired. I know that LED is expensive if you want quality lights so that's proably out of the question but my concern with incandescent would be power draw. Would you go with home depot style work lights or pars with a dimmer? Would cheap dj grade LEDs be ok for providing color uplighting? Budget would probably be under $1000 which I know isn't very much but this would be an up-start organization so funds are limited.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    Actually LED's in your situation might be a better option. If you could describe more what you are lighting, If they are the only lights available, if you have a controller already or if you would need to purchase one within the budget.

    We really need quite a bit more information on what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. preludesi88

    preludesi88 New Member

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    We would be looking to light the band/pastor during the worship services. When the band is playing, house lights would be off or minimal. We're just trying to create some "atmosphere" during the service. We don't have any lighting equipment right now so no controller. In fact we don't have a space yet but we know that whatever we do it will need to be portable and work within reasonable electrical constraints. Since we'd be using a video projector to display lyrics on screen, we'd want to do something that wouldn't wash that out. Just trying to get some general ideas at this point as no final decisions could be made until we figure out the space situation.
  4. FlashPointLighting

    FlashPointLighting Member

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    The Cheap budget LED pars would be fine for colour uplighting. You can get them in a range of different powers and prices. The RGBAW ones would give you the best colours but the RGB ones would probably be alright providing you dont want a good quality white.
  5. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    My experience with RGB LED fixtures is they do the green up through red range pretty well, but not the amber range (and yellow and orange and such). Since amber is a basic range I'd want to be able to cover, I'd use at least RGBA units for the colorwashes.

    There are also AW units (and perhaps other flavors of "white" LED units) that would probably be at least marginally suitable for facelight, but a concern would be beamwidth since at least the inexpensive LEDs are quite narrow.

    Is it a temporary installation, or a portable load-in-and-out-every-week situation?

    I've considered switching my church over to LEDs, mainly for the colormixing possibilities, but I can only make a hybrid system really work. We have a ridiculously low ceiling, so the narrow-beam LEDs are out for speaking front-wash (and back-wash), but I could use them in my band sides, which are basically pipe-ends, currently 2 6x12s a side. I could use them for my vocal fronts, which are tight waist-up specials, also 3 6x12s. I could use them for band backs, but I'd need like 6 of those. It all starts adding up fast.

    If you don't care about ambers, the cheap LEDs are a decent option for things like walls, maybe even pipe-ends.

    Here's what I might do, budget aside, presuming your space and church are anything like mine. Four RGBA LEDs, two a side, as sidelight on the band. Vocal specials, at least lead vocal, get possibly a AW LED, possibly a conventional with something like L201. Basic speaking front-wash with a number of wash fixtures like 65Qs.

    Also given the good deals you can sometimes find on older conventionals (and possibly dimmers for them), that might not be a bad way to go either. If you don't care about color-changing, it could be a good way to start. I don't remember the last time I paid more than $100 for a used, decent-to-great condition Leko or 360Q, and I've got something like a couple dozen of them now, maybe more. You could probably find used 56s or 64s for much less, I haven't looked. If you lamp them at 600 or less, distributed dimming might be inexpensive enough.

    The first LED vendor I'd look at is Blizzard, but I think anything there that's applicable would be north of $250 each. I had some of their Rocklite RGBAWs, and they were a great light, beam spread on the order of a NSP, and just over $300 each. Too bad I lost them in a storage break-in last year.

    With only $1K to spend, my instinct is that used conventionals would be the way to go for now. In the next few years, as LED technology improves, it might be increasingly practical to transition to an all-LED or hybrid system.
  6. MarshallPope

    MarshallPope Active Member Premium Member

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    Everyone else here may disagree with me, but here is what I would do given your situation. Also, this is assuming a fairly small stage with fairly low ceilings. I would go with cheap PARs (Possibly even PAR 38s) for white frontlight. Two cans angled into each focus point, maybe three or so points across the front of the stage (depending on size) for your pastor. Each pair could likely be on one dimmer channel. 4-channel DJ-type dimmers would likely suffice. I don't know your service, but you may also want a pair for each instrumentalist or you may just want an even wash across the band/whatever. If you can afford LEDs for band frontlight, I would do that; but you could probably get by with two sets of PARs for the band - one white and one blue or purple or whatever color you want. I would be completely comfortable using the cheap DJ LEDs for uplighting, assuming you don't need great ambers or whites. As has been mentioned by others, I would probably also include a few LEDs as sidelight or backlight at least for the band, and maybe a backlight for the pastor depending on your tastes. As for control, you may want to look into runing MagicQ on a laptop. You would just -have- to have a $16 USB-DMX dongle, keeping in mind that you can only use it for 5(?) hours at a time.

    Let's see how all of that adds up (With the cheapest possible crap I can think of):
    20 PAR 38Bs - $300
    3 4-chan dimmers - $300
    Control - $16
    6 Hamster LEDs (SUPER cheap, not great, but could be do-able) - $300
    Misc. power and data cabling
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    First off you must have a clear understanding that a $1000 lighting system is one step above garbage. It will be unreliable. It may have weird quirks in operation. You are not going to have something you can rely on for the next 10 years, and it will break down long before it's time. Finally, it's not a system you are going to be able to expand from. The day will come that you either throw it away or sell it to a kid on Craigs list for his garage band... If you can stomach that dose of reality, then I would have to go with Marshall's mixed plan above. I don't like the cheap LEDs for front light, only use them for back and uplight. They just don't create a good looking white light and will look weird on people's faces.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
  8. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind if you use PARs for fronts, you will lose all color from any but the most powerful LEDs.
  9. thrilltainment

    thrilltainment New Member

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    How much space are you looking to light up? We design compact and modular LED spotlights that can fit within your budget. Take a look at Darklight: Precision Lighting System
  10. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    If you are willing to go for double your current budget, there are some really good options. You can get 16 PAR 38s, 4x 4 chan shoebox dimmers (or save 200is bucks and get 2), and 8 ColorKey 10mm RGB PARs. You can probably locate either some sort of computer controlled system or a dirt cheap controller. The LEDs have a TON of punch and really rock quite well for how cheap (150 bucks per) they are. Heck, you can probably cut it down a bit and fit your budget... Also, I think this type of thing could be expanded upon, should you come up with some more money. I put together this system for a show that took place in 10 locations over 2 hours, pretty much got thrown in the back of a van 5 times a night (split into 2 sets to hop locations efficiently). I also pulled 5 source 4s from our inventory, so you could add some Source 4s, S4 Jrs, or 360Qs or whatever you can pick up for cheap in terms of ERS units, perhaps if you get another 1k or so, you can pick up a couple more T stands, a couple dimmers, and some cheaper ERS units for front lights, then maybe add some more LEDs later. If you take care of the stuff, you can probably stretch it out for at least a couple years. If you end up getting something like MagicQ, you can start expanding into more LEDs and whatnot more heavily as budget allows. If you can get even 500 bucks more, you can have a pretty sweet system for what you need, and it WILL be expandable, as long as you take some time to find things and take good care of them, and commit to spend money upgrading and replacing things yearly.
  11. preludesi88

    preludesi88 New Member

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    Thanks for all the responses guys! I know that it's tough to give much advice without knowing some of the details. One place that we were considering as a temporary space is a school gym/multi-use facilty which has a stage and very high ceilings. The drawback to it is it has those bright metal halide lights in the ceiling. Ideally we'd not use those lights at all but then the concern is providing enough ambient light when the band isn't playing and the pastor is speaking. If they had incandescent house lights, then it wouldn't be difficult to just turn them on/off when necessary. Any ideas?
  12. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    Not that also effectively light the stage and for under a few grand... However, with some extra budget, you could go ahead and get a bunch of PAR64s with 1k WFL lamps, space them around the room and point them at the roof. Plug into a dimmer rack (most shoeboxes wont cut it). Alternatively, most conferences around here use scoops hung along the outside of the "room" on the truss for area lighting, along with S4s for aisles and other lights for whatever else they want to do. Some extra budget is gonna be quite a lot of coin, and now we start getting into a new definition of portable. I figure your probably considering portable to be something that you can fit in the back of a minivan, but if you need to do house lights too, your moving up to wanting a 20somthing foot truck or a semi if you need to bring truss in, which is suddenly talking real money, and if you bring in truss you need to hire riggers and stagehands to set up your church. Which, although it sounds outrageous, I have been hired to do. So its not unheard of, but in my opinion, if you have big HMIs just turn off all of them but the "back" 2 or three rows, which will give you plenty of spill but let you use some color washes and whatnot. At any rate, PAR 38s will cease to be useful to you in a situation like this, so you will need to go up to something like a S4 PAR with a 575W lamp or higher, which is pushing your budget up, and using brighter conventionals will push your requirements for LEDs up to CK, Selador, ColorForce, etc range. Also your dimming requirements go up from a few shoeboxes to a touring rack... Have you considered perhaps not worrying too much about a colored band and backlight during the service? Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI has I think in the range of tens of thousands of daily attenders and meets in a converted shopping mall, have a very contemporary worship service, and have an assortment of N/C front lights and Florescent or HID congregation lighting, and its quite the experience. Of course, you can, even in the HID situation use LED uplights for walls and whatnot, I pretty routinely see about 70 odd LEDs for color uplight in the main hall of Union Station Chicago, and that has about 50? big lights to replicate daylight levels at night, and the color still punches pretty well. Its not a truly saturated experience, but it gives some flavor. However, the 10º S4s from the HVAC balconies just barely cut thru...
  13. preludesi88

    preludesi88 New Member

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    Thanks shiben, I agree that turning off the HMIs completely would not be viable in our scenario due to all the extra equipment we'd need to compensate. Being a temporary solution, I think we'd be open to all options that could add some atmosphere and still work within the budget. We're not necessarily looking to shower the room with colored light. The main goal is to take away from the sterile appearence of the industrial lights and add as you said some "flavor". One of the reasons I posted here was concerns with power. I'm not opposed with using all conventionals but not knowing the power situation yet, I wasn't certain if I should go down that path. I know that LEDs are more friendly for power requirements. My original thought was to just use a few of the LEDs as uplights on walls but maybe as you said not worry about it when the band is playing. I'm sure an S4 Par or similar will blow right through any stage LED uplight produced by cheap instruments.

    Thanks Again!
  14. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    If your only worried about adding some flavor, perhaps some S4s with 375W lamps, floor bases and a cut of color on them for uplight behind the band would be a good choice? Or an LED PAR, or something similar. Im just thinking conventionals would give you a pretty broad range of color (just swap the gel) without a controller, but if you want multiple colors per service you will need one...

    When I was working events for a school, we would often put some PARs and S4s with Gobos on floor bases to uplight the black drapes and whatnot to add a touch of color and zhuzh up the look a bit, without having to do much.
  15. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    They do make "bags" for HMI lamps that allows you to defuse and color the lights, that could be a good option to tone down the room and give it a warmer look.
  16. Gamerlink1

    Gamerlink1 New Member

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  17. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    Not a terribly great review, he keeps talking about how much bigger a PAR64 is, but seriously. You can get a PAR can that small, but one of the bigger PARs they make... Not really a comparison. Also, I will wager that that 64 has more output with Congo Blue in there than that LED has under any circumstance...
  18. preludesi88

    preludesi88 New Member

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    Sounds like a reasonable plan. For the uplight, do you recommend shining it some type of white material like a fire retardant muslin? If so, any ideas for constructing a simple backdrop that could be used for such purpose? Something that is relatively light weight, free standing, and easy to move around?

    Also based on your PAR/S4 idea for the uplight, what would you suggest for front light?
  19. JohnD

    JohnD Active Member Premium Member

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    Did you notice in the notes that he paid $26 for a gel for 1 Par64, did someone see him coming or what? I also take it that the Par64 has a RayLight conversion, I wonder what the wattage is.
  20. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    It should be stated that comparing a micro 7W RGB fixture with an incandescent PAR is a little like comparing a cheese sandwich to a moped. But honestly, a 7W fixture compared to a 18W, compared to a 54W RGB fixture is something the OP will have to see to believe. The number of retouched LED product photos on the web, showing grossly exaggerated output, should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Please check out several units side by side prrior to purchasing. You'll be glad you did, and a better steward with the finances of others...

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