Guidance on sound board, light board, wireless mics

kmelcer

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Location
Heritage Elementary School
I am an elementary school teacher. For the first year I am bringing a jr. broadway musical to our school. We hope to continue this annually. We have 45 actors in this years program. We are in need of a sound board, light board, and 10-20 wireless mics. Our budget is pretty much nill. I am going to try to write some grants to get funding for some of these items. Does is make sense to rent the equipment or try and buy used boards and a few mics via grant funding? My knowledge of these items is minimal at best. We are a new school, 4 years old, and our funds are limited. Whats your advice on renting, buying used, or if we buy new what is the best for the least amount of cost?

Katie
 

RickR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Location
Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
Wow! Congratulations on a bold plan with potentially huge benefits.

The gear is probably only half the issue. Somebody needs to know how to use it and then someone else? runs the show. I suggest partnering with a local school or community group that has the gear and the people. Some funds will likely change hands, but other benefits will go both ways. Theater folks know about teamwork.
 

JJBerman

Active Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Location
Middleton, Wisconsin
Since your location shows an elementary school, does your district have a theatre at the high school? Is there someone at that level that may have the gear or know of locals to contact?
This same person may also be able to recommend high schoolers to help with setup and running the musical.
Also, can you provide more information on the state/city or region of state you are in?
I'm assuming there is more than one Heritage Elementary School in the US.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
If you're doing this all for the first time I would rent everything. Someone else can spec everything you'd need and in some cases provide someone who can run it. Don't forget to include budgeting for the rights to the show as well, those can be significant depending on the company/show/size of the venue.

Also to clarify, you need a sound and light board, but you have speakers and lights already?
 

kmelcer

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Location
Heritage Elementary School
If you're doing this all for the first time I would rent everything. Someone else can spec everything you'd need and in some cases provide someone who can run it. Don't forget to include budgeting for the rights to the show as well, those can be significant depending on the company/show/size of the venue.

Also to clarify, you need a sound and light board, but you have speakers and lights already?
We have 3 speakers that are tied into our MPR and general lights. We hope to borrow a spot light and tree light.
 

kmelcer

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Location
Heritage Elementary School
Since your location shows an elementary school, does your district have a theatre at the high school? Is there someone at that level that may have the gear or know of locals to contact?
This same person may also be able to recommend high schoolers to help with setup and running the musical.
Also, can you provide more information on the state/city or region of state you are in?
I'm assuming there is more than one Heritage Elementary School in the US.
We are in Tustin, Ca. TUSD school district. We are touching base with our local high schools to see if they will lend any items they have. So far no luck. We have 3 high schools in our district, one new so all equipment is built in. But 2 are older and we are still touching base with them. We hope to use HS students to do their community services time to help run the boards once we find them.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
Any chance you can do the show at the new HS with the cool stage?

Is it old *enough* that the crews there are worked-in to the cool toys?

A Big Musical with all principals mic'd is *not* a small or simple undertaking, especially if you don't have a crew accustomed to that. Even if you *do*, expect to do the entire tech week on mics and such.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
You may also want to look for churches, event centers, hotels and community centers. Some are managed by individuals, not corporations, so the equipment can be borrowed.
Even when I was working with PSAV, anyone on full-time staff could request to borrow any piece of equipment.
 

Rod Reilly

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2017
Location
New Jersey
Since I am in the Wireless Mic and Audio Rental biz and deal almost exclusively with schools, here is my 2 cents worth.

  • I'll bet your Multi-Purpose Room (Gym-a-caf-etorium) speaker system will be a disaster with 10-20 open microphones, no matter how good the gear ois that you rent amd how good the operator is.
  • 8-10 mic can be handles by someone with good ears, lots of common sense and no fear of technology
  • more than that - you need someone who is competent with theatre or big corporate AV - rock band experience may cause as many problems as it solves
  • With elementary kids I would use headworn mics - if they don't have big voices it may be wise to use cardioid pattern mics that can be put in front of their mouths - generall we (like most folks in theatre) use omni mics that never get closer than about 1/2" to the corner of the mouth.
  • We normally recommend digital boards once the mic count goes over 8, but that introduces another level of competence and needs a much longer learning curve
  • I have used auto mixers - usually the leads on a standard small analog mixer and the rest on an 8ch auto mixer (or 2 linked) and fed into the main mixer, but even then the results are far from perfect, though when coupled with a properly selected and placed speaker system, an antifeedback processer (dbx AFS2, AFS224 or Behringer FBX2496) it is usually better than an in-experienced operator trying to cope with 12-20 microphones
  • BOTTOM LINE - simplify or pay some-one to do it all for you - budget be damned
  • I am in Anaheim for NAMM over the next couple of days starting tomorrow afternoon if you want to chat - I could even fit in a visit to the school and offer some more free advice in exchange for a cup of coffee