fun ideas for concerts, anyone?


My school has a pretty awesome vocal jazz program. The thing is, the directors are always saying they want cool lights to go with their concerts. But I'm not sure what to do. We always have the cyc lit (usually 3 or 4 colors only). Beyond that, I have no idea a) what I CAN do and b) what I COULD do if we had more equipment for this kind of stuff.

Has anyone done anything before that they could share with me?

Or does anyone know what's a useful instrument to purchase (they have said that they'll look into buying things for it). My knowledge of those instruments doesnt go very far.. so I have no idea what to get or what they do when I get them.

If anybody could help I would be VERY appreciative!!
Well gobos are fun for starters.

most jazz that i've seen has been mostly at larger venues, people like the Heath brothers, and the lighting was pretty minimal, slow fades on a enourmas cyc.

for more up beat jazz maybe try rock and roll techniques i.e. lots of fun back light. otherwise just soem nice cool blues, look pretty darn good.

Oh, and cymbals look really good in light.
Can we get a little more specific about the music/venue. Its conventional jazz right? I know this'll sound like blashpemy, but i just look at the muscians and don't really notice the lighting. (i can't believe i'm saying this, first this i ALWAYS do in a theater is look up, etc.) if its upbeat enough play a little with chases, but if not stick with cyc fades with neat colors. maybe try new positions. or haze? maybe.
If they incorporate dance into the performance I would say some chases etc. would be ok. But the traditionalist in me (I grew up listening to Miles Davis, Art Pepper, Sarah Vaughn, etc.) thinks the music speaks for itself and you don't need chases at all. Just give me a good stage wash and walk away.
len said:
If they incorporate dance into the performance I would say some chases etc. would be ok. But the traditionalist in me (I grew up listening to Miles Davis, Art Pepper, Sarah Vaughn, etc.) thinks the music speaks for itself and you don't need chases at all. Just give me a good stage wash and walk away.

agreed 100%

However don't be scared to play around, if i looks good great, but if not, just stop :)
Chris15 said:
You would want to be careful else the musicians might start complaining about the haze and breathing difficulties.

From a musicians point, haze=:evil: EVIL:evil: !! Esp if your signing or playing a wind instrument. But when i said movements, for more up beat stuff we might get the intels moving alittle getting moving gobos, or maybe pipe and cyc fades. For music, always keep the colors and movements reative to the tempo, genre, and "feel" of the music preformed. For example...if you have something starting out slow and moody with lost of back beat, keep it fairly low on light with some low punches in the back with cool colors, and then just follow with its flow. But, f it starts real bright, up beat and vibrant, then come in with lots of warm color and movements with gobos, etc. and make the emphasis in the beginning and any "hot spots" in the song. I do agree that the music should speak for it self, but if you can play on all the senses at once, it offers a much better show. If only i could get scent introduction equipment stuff...

For concerts and stuff, i think that someone with a some sort of a music background is important to have there either doing lights/sound or somewhere where they can offer suggestions to some of the unobvious. Im not saying that someone without this is bad, just that sometimes ive noticed the musicians can pick up on whats the emphasized parts of music more often and the "sense beats"
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my favorite tip is for song endings get really bright the restore when song ends and then next song do the opposite, especially if it ends sort of lazily,

but for obviosly upbeat songs make upbeat lighting,

theoretical question, for the first opening piano chords of coltrane's "my favorite things" a bump for each accepnt? of to crass?

what about dramatic lighting changes for the opening chords of Beetovens 5th?
If you have a few extra mic stands, try bolting an ellip to the base and putting a gobo in it. 26° or 36° source fours work pretty well. You can focus them from the floor in front of the cyc up onto it diagonally. Other than that, color is a great tool when lighting more mellow acts like jazz or orchestra groups. Magenta and deep blue look nice when they contrast eachother...
ok let me be a little more specific and answer some questions.

as far as having someone musicall involved help, i TOTALLY agree which sort of makes me the perfect choice seeing as i am a member of the program. (but also makes it harder because i'm onstage and most of the time dont get the opprotunity to see the finished product)

we do sing a lot of jazz but its not strictly jazz, either. remember this is a high school, so our directors' main focus is to teach us, and we a little bit of everything.

we DO do cyc changes within a song, if we think its appropriate. and ya, my co-chair who always runs the show usually knows the songs pretty well in advance so he can choose a color for the cyc accordingly.

honestly, i agree with that whole 'detracting from the music' statement. i dont think the lights should be all crazy, but sometimes its fun to do that. for instance, one group sings a song that goes something like "i still be diggin on james brown". (see what i mean? not technically jazz...) now some really crazy lights would be perfect for that cuz not only is it very fun and upbeat but the way they sing and perform it.. its just CRAZY.. but in a fun way.

my only problem is that i dont know what to do. ive gotten so frustrated lately trying to think of new things and if i do by chance get an idea i have no idea how to go about doing it. i guess i should look into getting a gobo rotator? forgive my ignorance here but i know there's something that just changes colors which would be nice... anything else? please keep posting!
Some of those cheap DJ lights can be useful, for instance a Chauvet Mushroom [AMDJ Vertigo] or other similar motorized lights. Cheap, and cool. My two favorite things!
kingfisher1 said:
aduience abuse is alway lots of fun
This does not, however, mean that you can throw fruit at them when they stand up in front of you. This is one instance where duct tape is is heavier to throw. And the roll should be full as you shouldn't have ever needed it over gaff. ;)

Try bold contrasts as well, they can look cool for most any music style. Now how to implement that... beyond me. All the ideas in my head have haze... and I don't mean they're hazy either!
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He's a stand up comic :)!

haze and cool throws with some neat gobos

maybe some cyc liek set peice for flair. i believe there was a thread on those somewhere around here.........

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