Advice for building a light rig...


Hello, all. I'm a soundman new to this forum. So, take it easy on me... 8)

I run mobile sound for mostly bands (rock, alternative, etc). I have a fairly large (relatively speaking) system for local shows (8x18s for Subs and matching mids and highs. FoH wattage is about 17k to 20k total.

So, I'm wanting to build a light rig that I can hopefully run off of the same 200A distro as my sound (I know, I know...flame away...)

So, I was thinking of probably 10 cans and 4 moving heads. I was thinking 56's or 64's for the cans, and maybe some trackspots for the movers.

So, assuming I have my lights, what board and dimmer packs are recommended. I really know very little about lighting, but I am limiting the work I can take by not having a basic lighting rig...

Also, any advice on where to go to get a 'deal' on a lighting package like what I mentioned here?

Thanks in advance for all advice.

"So, I'm wanting to build a light rig that I can hopefully run off of the same 200A distro as my sound"

Flame on.... sputtering... out. As long as the ground is sufficient and tied to the main which is also well bonded, neutral is not bonded to ground at the AC rack which would be bad anyway, neutral is sufficient in size and you probably will need to employ some phase harmonic and noise suppression at the rack, there might not be nothing any hmmm's over your speakers. Might be but it's also easily figured out. I don't see any problem with at least giving it a shot.
Another option might be if you have a 200amp feed as it were on three phases, perhaps two for lighting and one for sound plus incidentials given the load was sufficiently balanced and that would be very important. Than again on a power supply that large, if it works great, otherwise would it not be almost as easy to do one AC Distro for the sound tapped off the main, and another for the lights also done the same, or an isolated ground on your sound equipment with it's own home run such as a six or seven wire feeder system? This way given the possibility of a second neutral as per possibly required for the lighting load, that home run on the ground and isolated sound gear as run as close to the source as possible might just be sufficient to try.

In any case, seems you are well flame proof in knowing possible problems with doing the sound and lights off the same feed. Given this you are aware of what to look for and how to correct the situation. Unless anyone else would cite something specific as opposed to just potential you are at least in general aware of, I would say why not try it. Might be just fine. If it don't work, should not be too much effort to correct.

On boards and dimmers, shoe box dimmers are probably the most economical to start with. The types with four or six channels be it same power supply or dual power supply with a small dimmer pack clamped directly to the truss or tree. You get what you pay for but can't always afford or need what will last you forever given later you might be able to afford better. In other words, I might error on the side of economics. Leprecon might amongst a few other brands make the best little dimmer packs (DMX control what ever you get) but for the first gear you might go cost effective.

On light boards, there is lots of them around but it's not my field.

In addition to advice here you might check into and for other people's very much similar questions about what gear to purchase.
In addition to what Ship has posted I was just wondering as to what you have in mind for supporting your lights? Truss, winch-ups, push-ups etc.

From my experience on the mobile DJ/Lighting circuit I would go with Par 56's for overall durability and less power consumption. 10x Par 64's is 10K where as it is only 3K if you use Par 56's (based on our standard loadings).

With regards to intelligent lighting, I have a handful of scanners and also some non-movers and on most gigs I tend to use the non-movers as the room sizes and positions are different every show and I never (well almost never) have the opportunity to program the movers to suit the application. Where as the non-movers only need to be pointed in the right direction.

My only other advice would be to get a dimmer and lighting board that can run more than you currently have as it will allow you to expand later on. Obviously you have to decide what you can afford and as far as the dimmer pacs go, I do not fully understand the US ones. Here, anything other than a 4 pac is a 3-phase dimmer pac.

For what it’s worth!

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