"Classic" Rock and Roll colors

kgc

Member
Hello all, I am working on a lighting design for a university production of _Head Over Heels_ and thought it would be interesting to poll the group on your go-to colors for Rock and Roll lighting. I've browsed a lot of sources and know the wide range that is out there; But with the collected experience of the group and its veterans, I am especially interested in hearing anyone's recollections of things that were standards ( or especially good or bad choices in a venue/ or for a particular artist). Thanks in advance!
 

Lextech

Well-Known Member
Well since I come out of the concert side of the business I'll say that first and foremost the only gel I saw was Lee. Lots of 106, 113, 119, 139, the occational 104 and of course 181. The fancy guys would throw in 162, 126, 164, 158 and 201 or 202. Honestly, now I was mostly a sound guy remember, I didn't know Rosco existed for several years of doing shows. I still use a bunch of Lee in my designs and could for the most part design exclusively within Lee, except, I can't live without R80.
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
My all time favorite lighting cue was from the 1972 Rolling Stones US tour. Song was Midnight Rambler blue backlight stage wash, tight red followspot on Mick Jagger. On that strong downbeat in the song the colors were reversed. Very effective. Another favorite trick, sidelighting with colors opposite on the color wheel, i.e. red and cyan or blue and amber.
Some people are very fond of Conbo Blue, but, dang, you have to have a lot of light to make that work. I would be tempted to throw some Rosco R39 Skelton Exotic Sangria in just because it's such a fun color.
 
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almorton

Well-Known Member
I like L716 as a blue wash - it's quite an efficient blue, much better than L119 or L120 for transmission and not as green as L132., which could matter if you are running lower power lights, rather than full on CP62s.
Use strong primaries, but also deep pinks pick up nicely on the metal work of the drum kit. Have some pure whites, can be used as blinders but also to make the stage pop, sort of like an elongated strobe kick.
 

JD

Well-Known Member
Have to agree with Lextech above, Used a lot of Lee, basically primary RGB and Rosco 22 as my orange. The great offset was the Lee 126 mauve! It just kicked against any other combo you would have lit. I'll add one more, white! Especially on ACLs, although I always threw a 1/2 blue CTB on them to move them more towards daylight.
 
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SteveB

Well-Known Member
Somewhat popular was the 6 lamp Par bar, 6 bars of 36 units across, double hung, DS and US trusses, 6 colors of 24 lamps, Yellow, Orange, Red, Magenta, Blue, Green. I tended to use Rosco, would double up on R12 for saturation, then 22, 27, 46, 80, 91. Or equiv Lee if I had it. Might use a blue/green such as L116,
 
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What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Iron Maiden was never shy about letting the audience see the rig, and in the 80's it was all par cans and, from what I can see, maybe a half dozen or so colors. No more than 10? As for color palettes, just look at the album covers and go in the direction of what you see in the album art.

Iron Maiden/ "Stranger in a Strange Land"
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
When I was on tour with Chicago in '79, the arena next door to our theater had the Commodores. They had the first chrome Par rig I'd ever seen. It was so great looking.
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
On a classic 120k (I still have a chrome par 64 rig if anyone needs it...) it is pretty common to see 4, 5, and 6 color rigs. I always liked the six color rigs because laying out colors was always easy. But you get a LOT of punch out of a 4 color rig.

Nothing beats congo in a big par 64 rig. I used a lot of L26, L119, and I'd just browse through what was cut for ambers and magentas. I liked putting 1/2 CTB in the par rig, it really helps the moles and the ACLs stand out as a different color.
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
To add to my previous post, for back/top/sidelight, L128, L793 and L795 are good, strong pinks I've used before.
 
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kgc

Member
Thanks everyone. I'm looking forward to this project ad your recollections and recommendations will be a great help. Much as I'd like to recreate one of those PAR rigs I think the scene designer and my (lack of) budget will prevent it :p
Probably going to use my LED pars as top/back and try to recreate some of the colors you've suggested. Side Ladders will set up with S4Pars in a couple rock and roll and a few "regular" colors to vary the look from straight play action to the musical numbers. I'll post some pics here in a couple weeks when we get to tech.
 

Dan Fischer

Active Member
In my previous life doing concert production we had 4 go to "Rock and Roll" colors loaded into our 1K pars.
R339 - Broadway Pink
R24 - Scarlet Red
R74 - Night Blue
R12 - Straw

This combo makes a killer show even with only conventional lighting. Very saturated color. Covers a lot of based for moods, etc.
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
It may help to re-create the look if you use some long top hats on those LED pars, and put some light diffusion in the front to obscure the LED look. Regardless of the color, that will help them a lot to read as the old PAR 64 look.
 
Reading these gel suggestions, I feel pretty disconnected because I am spoiled to not have to use gel often! I lean towards live music, and the venues and vendors I frequent have:
  • Front light:
    • White front light, with LEE 201 or 202 or some CTB,
    • Cheap LED PARs for front light, which I usually mix as close as possible to white
  • Back/side light:
    • RGBW LED PARs
    • Moving spots with CMY mixing
    • Moving washes with RGBW mixing
    • Moving spots with the manufacturer's color wheel
What do you think about this move away from gel? I enjoy the freedom and smooth fades of mixing, and I'm grateful to not have to use scissors or replace burnt consumables so often.

Do you think there is anything lost with the onslaught of color mixing and intelligent fixtures? It looks like there was a lot of culture in choosing gels!
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
I think it will take a little getting used to. There are some colours that I've yet to see a really, really convincing equivalent for, and not only in rock and roll colours but also for theatrical lighting, but experience and improvements in technology will get us there. We have some really cheap RGB pars, and some cheap fresnels which are RGBW which we bought as an experiment to see what we could do with them. The PARs, as you'd imagine, are ok for splashes of primary colours but that's about it. The RGBW lanterns are better, but still lacking; there are some colours I used for theatre regularly that I can't get close to (L601 for example). I can get very close to most colours (including stuff like L601, L725, L777) with our Colorsources, and better fixtures get even closer. Really deep blues like L181, L120 and L071) can still be a problem for some fixtures but even that's improving. The better fixtures are doing a decent job of "open white" too, with tuneable colour temperature.
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Do you think there is anything lost with the onslaught of color mixing and intelligent fixtures? It looks like there was a lot of culture in choosing gels!
The options that they give to designers for physical movements and color fades are incredible. They allow looks and a dynamic to the stage that couldn't be achieved without them.

They've miss a lot of the power and impact of a classic rock rig. Just have 4-6 colors to work with, and usually 96 dimmers for 120 par fixtures, moles, acls, and specials, you were forced to work within those parameters, and a lot of really cool and interesting looks could be accomplished. You can physically feel it onstage and in the audience when someone is running 120+ 1000w par cans, with moles.

Color mixing has caused some designers to get lazy with their color selection, and basically just work with a standard palette of primary and secondary (RGB, CMY) colors. Careful selection of a color palette for a show/band/performance/event can be critical to setting the tone, and we need to use those millions of colors we have available. No different than sitting in the shop looking through the swatch book deciding what should go in your par rig. You're just doing it at the lighting console while programming.

I would never want to go back! I love having the options at the fingertips, and the wide range of design choices to plan from that the new tools give us. A lot of designers do need to go back and watch videos of classic shows, and think about how those ideas can be incorporated into a modern rig. A lot of designers do thinks with a modern rig I'd never even dream of.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
What do you think about this move away from gel? I enjoy the freedom and smooth fades of mixing, and I'm grateful to not have to use scissors or replace burnt consumables so often.

Do you think there is anything lost with the onslaught of color mixing and intelligent fixtures? It looks like there was a lot of culture in choosing gels!
If/when we lose gel, when LEE Filters no longer filters, when Rosco becomes RosNO, and Apollo meets Python's revenge, the most important issue will be to find a universal method to describe and communicate color.

In the early 1990's, I had an Artesan operator with a lack of experience. Fixtures were new at the time VL6 and VL5. The op knew which handle was Cyn, Mag, Yel, but that was it. When I called for L161, he didn't know what color that was. When I said "a light blue, but kinda dusty," He said "I don't know how to mix to get to that." Painful.

This thread was titled by the OP as "Classic...Colors" and the first thing everyone starts shouting out gel numbers. Much more accurate and descriptive than "Lemon, Rose, Apricot, Eggplant..."


There was/IS "a lot of culture in choosing gels." The idea of choosing an instrument's color at the same time as it's drafted (Intensity, Distribution, Color, Movement) seems so quaint today. But knowing a light can only be one color forces the designer to consider (and commit to) every decision long before the light is ever energized. Versus sitting the theatre with the director saying, "What color should this light be? We've got sixteen million choices." Make it L161. Back to first point.
 

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