Budget Lighting for a quick fix

Luna1968

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Location
Metter, GA
This sounds like a terrible question...
I have struggled to get funding for lights for our auditorium for years. We don't have any real existing lighting, other than a handful of old PARs. Now, suddenly I have a $100-$200 for a light board. Now, I know that is not a lot of money, but is there something I can order for a quick fix that isn't a piece of crap? I'd like to put a 5 year plan in effect for lighting, maybe one or two lights a year and add slowly. I'm looking at a few boards online, but I don't know much about lighting.

Some basic facts:
Our auditorium fits around 300 people.
We have a smallish proscenium stage with a small thrust.
We did get a quote on the lighting a few years ago that came in with a full system for around $20,000.
I'd like to be able to run LED lights as well as incandescent, but for now that's not a deciding factor.
I really don't need a lot of effects, just the ability to bring up and dim the lights from our booth.
It's for community and school events, so the simpler and more break-resistant, the better.

Thank you!
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
For control, get an educators version of ETCs Nomad and the Gadget2. I don't know current del but was around $300 IIRC. You'll need a computer with a network port but it does not have to be the newest one and does not have to be solely dedicated. You could run it on your laptop that you use every day.

Much in the way of fixtures on your budget will be a crapshoot. First time ever I'd say this but look for import no-name and very inexpensive, and assume it has a 2-5 year life max.Maybe you'll get lucky.

Its awfyul to say but I d a low budget 300 seat HS auditorium and its $200,000-300,000 for the lighting system - the gear before installation. Hopefully others will have some positive suggestions but I'm pretty sure you won't regret the Nomad.


PS - here's a link to the student and educators Nomad deal: https://www.etcconnect.com/Products/Consoles/Eos-Family/ETCnomad-ETCnomad-Puck/Overview.aspx
 
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Crisp image

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Location
Eastern Victoria Australia
For control, get an educators version of ETCs Nomad and the Gadget2. I don't know current del but was around $300 IIRC. You'll need a computer with a network port but it does not have to be the newest one and does not have to be solely dedicated. You could run it on your laptop that you use every day.
While I agree with Bill here on the ETC product I will disagree on pone part about the network connection. The Gadget 2 is a USB device.

Other than that it is a great way to dip into the market.
Regard
Geoff
 
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microstar

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Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Location
Lawton, OK
You can buy the American DJ My DMX Buddy USB to DMX dongle for PC or Mac for $90-$100 online. 256 channels and will do LED's and/or conventionals. Some quirks, but actually works fine for what it is.
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
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Jan 21, 2013
Location
Near Milwaukee
I've use the ADJ and the nomad. +1 for the nomad, -1 for the MyDMX. I've done over a dozen shows with the MyDmx and I absolutely hate that system. I actually stopped agreeing to light shows for that venue because of it.
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
So, I never have to go to the very low cost fixtures. How useful or not is a less than a $100 LED PAR on Amazon? It took me a while to find profiles - finally did using "LED LEKO" for search terms which is very amusing - but they seem to be in the $300-500 range. And there was that mover someone posted a video of I think for under $100 that seemed - for $100 or more even - astonishing.

I don't want to encourage or sanction going cheap. In schools, certainly the athletic departments and probably science and such just stay stoic and expect good quality systems and equipment. Somehow theatre people - even more than music - give in much more quickly. Hard to have the confidence you won't suffer in employment and that you will in the end gain respect and credibility for demanding more and better.
 

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Location
Wisconsin
So, I never have to go to the very low cost fixtures. How useful or not is a less than a $100 LED PAR on Amazon? It took me a while to find profiles - finally did using "LED LEKO" for search terms which is very amusing - but they seem to be in the $300-500 range. And there was that mover someone posted a video of I think for under $100 that seemed - for $100 or more even - astonishing.
Last summer I bought some of these fixtures from Monoprice for an outdoor installation, and was pleasantly surprised. Color quality isn't great, and dimming is far from perfect, but considering the price? Not too bad overall--especially since all of them survived daily use outside for a 2-month long event (although I did open them all up before use and added some extra silicone sealant here and there...).

I think the general answer to your question is that we're at a point where very cheap fixtures can be surprisingly good... but you'll have no idea whether that's the case until you actually receive them. In this case, I bought one as a sample, then bought the rest of them as soon as possible after confirming it would do what I needed. There's no way to tell whether the same model purchased today would perform the same, better, or worse.
 

JimOC_1

Active Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2014
Location
Maryland
fwiw, I’ve been buying used gear for years now, and in your price range, a good used lighting board seems to be a contradiction in terms.
 

Lyle Williams

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Location
Australia
Give the money back. The expectations that you have sold by taking the money are unaffordable on the budget you have.

Even if you find a controller, basic cabling is beyond your budget.
 

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