Banquet Lighting


Well-Known Member
I am lighting a banquet and I have some pretty good ideas in mind, but I wanted to know if you guys had any ideas. The banquet will be held in a studio theatre, and I am trying to keep the amount of instruments used to a minimum, as heat is an issue in this particular space. The grid is only about 12' high, so fresnels and parcans are just a little too hot. I am using 6 ellipsoidals as key front light, and 1-2 fresnels as toplight, and some scoops that will light the tables. The lights will be on for several hours, plus there will be about 120 guests, so you can imagine how hot its going to get if I use too many lights. I also have 2 6' strips with RGBA that I would like to use. I tried hanging them above the grid for some kind of abstract lighting effect but that didn't work very well. Anyways, I would just like your input on where I should go next with the hang. It is a formal/classy event and I would like it to look as professional and unique as possible. We also have a few movers, but I don't know if their use would be feasible or appropriate.
try to get ahold of two mirror moving DMX lights and a board it will really help light up any person that decides to move. let me know what you are doing and when and if there is a budget. i live in texas and could help you out.

Derek Gaul
D.M.G. Productions
[email protected]
Thanks for your response. As far as budget goes, if it does exist, it is probably very minimal. We are really supposed to work with what we have on hand. Also, I just realized that we are running an ETC Acclaim in the studio, and that there are no DMX Out's on the grid. I could use my DMX Board, but it doesn't control on the fly very well. Its too touchy. By the way, do you rent out or sell automated lights?
Used to work a lot of special event type shows at a eariler lighting company. We made a lot of use of pinspots focused at the table top decorations, a lot of up-lighting on the sides by PAR 38 fixtures and after that wash lighting. Most popular color was Rx321.

In your case, given ambient light will have to rule as opposed to direct lighting which might become fairly hot, I might focus as many narrow beams on the center of tables as possible given a round table, or medium beams for rectangular tables. This will provide punch to the decoration - you do have this don't you? and ambient light around the table sufficient to eat, plus it's bounce or spill will be sufficient to see the people you sit with while still being intamite.

After that, given temperature, I might try doing a ceiling bounce of light for general illumination. Heat rises thus any heat off the light when bounced off the ceiling should allow the areas under it to stay cooler. Given a black ceiling this might be more difficult but should be able to achieve some general looks. Another option would be to hang something below the grid to absorb the light bounced onto it thus become a illumisent panel in it's own right. Anything from a scrim swagged between ends of the grid, to silk swagged and supported between rigging points. The idea might be to provide an artistic artificial ceiling much less posts for it lit from below also using fabric for the post/swages of fabric. A big draped ceiling in illumisent fabric with illuminated fabric posts holding it up when kept on the simple what is lit side is frequently used for special events in addition to large and ornate table displays. Displays don't even have to be flowers, tubes in the form of such a thing, silver trees reflecting the light, and almost any number of other theme for the night type table displays can be used. X-Mass lights when wrapped around shapes or swagged properly have also a key factor in this kind of thing. A good star drop on the back of the speaker stand and lots of other types of concepts. What do you wish and what's your concept? Remember once it was science fiction and space as the theam, the decorators outdid themselves with such odd looking displays that looked great once the lights were dimmed. Sometimes what looks stupid and very odd fits right into such events.

In any case, even if changing colors in how you light your wash of lighting, it's a coordinated effort in creating an atmosphere which will be most successful. Movers can project a custom pattern highlighting the image or graphic key to the night, but overall after that, it's more a question of people at tables in enjoying themselfs after the stage is lit for the speaker/fun coordinator plus dance floor. Lots of design possibilities but it also takes coordination.
The studio that I am lighting is about 40' x 50' and there will be 13 round tables. The stage area will be about 8' wide x 4' deep and there will be a wide-screen projection behind it for special presentations. This is a theatre banquet, so the videos will highlight past theatrical shows. This means that the studio will be able to maintain a theatrical atmosphere without compromising the intimacy and formality. What I am thinking is Hanging 5 14" 300 watt scoops with diffused clear gel around the perimeter of the studio. This will atleast give a smooth wash over the entire room with out creating hot spots. hopefully. For the center of the room, where it may be a little dark, I am thinking of hanging par38's focused on the centers of random tables. The parcans can also be gelled in cool colors, such as blue, purple, etc... By the way, the theme colors for the banquet are red and gold. We only have 8 parcans for this. Each table will have a decorative center peice. I don't know, usually my design ideas fall into place while I am doing the hang...
depending on what color your ceiling is I would try to aim some lights at the ceiling and get some bounce light down. I set the house lights in my space (60 by 60 square) are 6 S4-PAR's with wide lenses aimed at the ceiling. It is somewhat ugly when you look at the ceiling because of the hot-spots, but it works fairly well.

Something to keep in mind is that no one wants lights in their eyes when their eating. If you aim the PAR's at the center of the table then it is very likely that they will have lights in their eyes, which no one likes... especially while having dinner....
As of now, I have 5 14" Scoops for Ambient light. They seem to work very well, but I really won't be able to tell until all of the tables are set up. I would consider bouncing light from the ceiling, but above the grid, its just black trussing, sprinkler lines, flourescent work lights, know, the usual... not very attractive, so what we are trying to do now is to divert your attention from the ceiling. On the contrary, the decorators have hung gold shiny stars with alternating sizes and heights. They create a cool effect because some of the lekos bounce off of these and project golden star-shaped dots, which the wind currents move around the room. Its really pretty cool. The room is only surrounded by velour on three walls. The fourth is black drywall, and what I have done is projected white star gobos, and used strips and par38's to wash it in blue and purple. Well its looking pretty good so far, so I'll try and wrap it up tonight and tell you how it looks.
I agree with Zac, when I do dinners and whatever else I will generally focus parcans at the roof (obviously not an option for you given the heat) and use pinspots to point at the tables or 500w profiles.
I have done a banquet once in a small room where i attached a cluster of par 16s to the bars directly above the tables and gelled them different collours and put them on a slow crossfade chase it had a really groovy effect!

Users who are viewing this thread