# I need help!

#### stjc15

##### Member
Alright, I know I'm really a sound tech, but I also the over-all tech-guru at our church. We are in the process of renovating our sactuary and want to install a complete lighting system (board, dimmers, racks, etc.)

What all do I need (so I know I don't forget anything)?
What companies do you suggest?

Any help you guys can give me would be very much appriciated!

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Call Grandstage, they have an office in Milwaukee. They should be able to do anything you need. (800) 43-STAGE

#### Dustincoc

##### Active Member
This is really going to depend on how much your willing to spend and what your needs are. In general, I'd recommend the these:

Lighting units

-Ellpisoidals
if cost is an issue - Altman 6x
otherwise ETC Source 4
-Fresnels
Altman
-Pars
Altman

dimmers
ETC Sensor Rack with Sensor Dimmers

light board
ETC Express (a little outdated, but a good basic board)

As far ar the light board and dimmers go, if cost really is that important and you need to go with a lower end board, avoid Leprechaun equipment, It may be cheaper but I've never had any luck with it, it tends to break easily and often.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Its much more then that. Its getting power in the right location, DMX distribution, power distribution, architectural limitations... For a new install, you have to go with a company. Its much more then just saying "I want these dimmers".

#### Titanium

##### Well-Known Member
I'll second Mainstage.

#### drawstuf99

##### Active Member
...if cost really is that important and you need to go with a lower end board, avoid Leprechaun equipment, It may be cheaper but I've never had any luck with it, it tends to break easily and often.
Yes, I agree...

I'm not sure how the price is in relation, but Strand Lighting makes some OK boards. I don't prefer them over ETC any day, but at least they work. Just get something generally new, bc some boards are sorta fiddly from the 'older days.'

The Express board from ETC is an excellent, very easy board; yet, it's able to do so much. They're great for educational settings, and good for a church too I'd imagine. It's widely supported, it's layed out logically, and chances are the price has gone down over the past year or two since it's not 100% new.

As for the PARs and Fresnels, Altman is a good company. Generally, Altman's ERS instruments have been trouble for me in the past. They seem to get jammed easily, and sometimes they are just a pain. The 360 & 360Q, however, both are decent instruments-just find them new or almost new. Don't waste time with those old Altman KL instruments (they look like huge boxes...they were good at, well, one point). They are a pain!! You may be able to get them for like 5 bucks from an old company, but I'd still (unless you're like, in some huge unorthodox pinch) not get them...by some gel with the money.

Since you're at a church, you may be able to nab some things from a local community college or communtiy theatre that is wishing to renovate their stuff to. Stuff like fresnels and pars, perhaps.

If you've got the money, ETC makes their S4 PAR and S4 ParNEL which seem to work well. The ParNEL isn't perfect (sometimes it leaves a lesser hot spot in the center in flood mode) but any fresnel, even those Altmans, do that.

Out of curiousity, what sort of scale productions/events do you stage in your church? At mine, which I really go to to be honest, does really small, pittily things; however, if you're doing rather large productions then you're in good shape.

One thing, I can say all this stuff but as others said, GO WITH A COMPANY. And I suggest you find someone who you know is a really good LD or Electrician (preferablly both if possible, but I'd pick an LD over and ME). Ask them for advice. Find a good good company, not some random "yeah sure! we can do lights..." company. I didn't see where you were locate, but check to see what the local lighting supply company is and contact them. I know Barbizon, though expensive I'd imagine, does installations and planning. Even if they don't help you out, I'm sure they'd be able to help you out finding a GOOD company just bc you would prob would be buying from them in the future.

Don't do this alone. Find a good, LIGHTING company. I can't stress that enough. My school has gotten some really bad company to oversee our new blackbox's construction and they've gotten us all ETC dimmers and instruments and board, which is nice, but the instruments are just sorta like 'what were you thinking?' The dimmer layout blows, their aren't NEAR enough. They're doubled everywhere and crap. Nothing but PARS and ParNELS... no ERS. It's just stupid.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Don't knock the Strand consoles. The Strand 500 series is IMHO a far superior console to the Obsession II any day. In reality, none of the consoles in the Strand line can compare to any of the ETC consoles other than the Obsession or the new Eos. The new LightPalette series from Strand seems very promising and in the same ballpark price range as an Eos anyway.

That being said, I have to agree with what everyone has been saying, this is a job for professionals. Get an electrical contractor to work with your dealer and do the install. Unless you are a licensed electrician an install like this is something you really can't do yourself.

#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
Source Fours and Source Four Pars. That's all you should need for instruments unless you want striplights. Sensor dimmers, ETC Express console. ETC for data and power distribution. Yeah, can you say ETC again? my theater's whole system is ETC (except some of the fixtures). This way you also only have to keep one type of lamp (bulb). ETC can provide the cabling, distribution boxes, and raceways.

You should really have a company come in, look at your space, and then you can tell them what you want to do with it. This usually helps alot. They'll really be able to help you realize what you want to do.

#### BillESC

##### Well-Known Member
All good suggestions... but no one asked the primary question.

What kind of lighting do you want to do? Simple washes? Spot lighting? High energy lighting?

These questions would be followed by:

Do you have a budget in mind?
Where and how much power is available?
What is the ceiling construction?
Can your fixtures be visible or must they be hidden?

Once the basics are known the help offered will be more useful.

#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Yeah I second Bill, those are the real pertanant questions. Anybody can reccomend the best lights and boards and dimmers, the job of a proffessional consultant is to ask you questions and tailor design a system for your particular needs. Do research, find a local or semi local company whois is willing to come in evaluate your space, your needs,limitations etc. and supply you with a complete process. Look at a theatre consultant. Many TCs also do consulting for worship spaces and multiuse venues. When you get around to the bid process I suggest you request a minimum of three seperate bids.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Again what do you want to do with the lighting system.

My old church simply wanted to brighten up the stage space. We put in a little 8 channel NSI system, NSI board, and some Source Four pars for about $4,000 after the electrician was paid. On the other hand if you want to have a big concert experience with moving lights, you can spend$15,000 on just one light.

Secondly, what is your budget? There are a lot of levels of quality possible depending on your budget. You can spend $4,000 or you can spend$400,000.

My guess, based on the way you asked your question you are looking for a more moderate like my current church has. We have a couple dozen lights and the circuits available to add a few extra to give your Christmas program a theatrical feel. If so don't be frightend by \$30,000 light control consoles. There are plenty of options available.

Give us some more information and we'll give you some product ideas, then call someone like the company Footer suggested above. Have their custom sales person come out, take a look at your space, and help put together a package for you.

Finally, there's been some trash talk about Strand light boards above and I have a message for those people. The consoles you are talking about has been replaced and the new Strand gear is completely different and very cool. The Horizon software has been an awesome product for some time. The merger of Horizon software into Strand products has resulted in an amazingly easy and intuitive console. Check it out I think you'll be impressed with the new Palette and Light Palette consoles.

#### dvlasak

##### Active Member
Where in Wisconsin are you? A company I have worked with on a number of lighting quotes and purchases is Mainstage.

Mainstage Theatrical Supply, Inc.
129 W. Pittsburgh Ave.,
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 278-0878
(800) 236-0878
FAX: (414) 278-0986
Thier web site is www.mainstage.com

Dan Weiermann is the Sales Specialist that I work with. He is very knowledgeable and helpful. His email address is:[email protected]

He will know the questions to ask you. Probably even questions that you haven't even thought about yet!

You can also contact Fullcompass. They are located in Middleton. They are fairly widely known throughout the industry. I have also purchased lighting and sound equipment from them. The toll free # is: 1-800-356-5844. Web site is: www.fullcompass.com

Does that help? I don't know, but you may want to think about calling in a theater consultant, if the project is going to be involved. Don't forget about contacting your local AHJ. That might be the fire inspector, and/or electrical inspector, and ???

Dennis

#### mcdeez

##### Member
To continue on the many control board tips, I had one space that went out to bid and they bought an EDI board. I believe the model is Bijou. It was the worst investment they ever made and cannot find a way to get rid of it. This board is very unfriendly to users and every lighting person I've talked to agrees (if they've even heard of the series).

#### Brilliant2007

##### Member
I will second the post by Bill and a few others...

There are so many variables out there that will determine what you need/want. I could write pages and pages of questions for you. Throwing around brands and equipment models means nothing at this point. No matter what you do, do go with a company that specializes in lighting and lighting only, and if possible, find one that has experience with lighting for whorship, as it is totally different than lighting for theater, concerts, or corporate shows. Furthermore, any reputable company out there will help you to FORESEE your future needs so that you do not find yourself needing upgrades in a few years.

BRANDON

#### stjc15

##### Member
I am in Ladysmith, WI. For those of yo who don't know, that is an hour north of Eau Claire. For the most part, our system will be used for a general wash every Sunday. However, our church does a Christmas Contata every year. This is a huge production for us. As I look at what we have, 24 channels wold be to small, so I was thinking 48 channels would be good.

#### Dillon

##### Active Member
I'd contact ETC (out of Middleton). They did a great job with us designing our dimmer and distribution systems. You aren't locked into using their instruments or board, but both DO come highly recommended.

#### lighttechie5948

##### Active Member
Don't knock the Strand consoles. The Strand 500 series is IMHO a far superior console to the Obsession II any day. In reality, none of the consoles in the Strand line can compare to any of the ETC consoles other than the Obsession or the new Eos. The new LightPalette series from Strand seems very promising and in the same ballpark price range as an Eos anyway.
That being said, I have to agree with what everyone has been saying, this is a job for professionals. Get an electrical contractor to work with your dealer and do the install. Unless you are a licensed electrician an install like this is something you really can't do yourself.
I agree with not using Strand Boards. They are good for moving lights. I do not know of a church with a need for a laser light show. I would use an ETC Express board. Maybe an Experssion Board. Any more than that is a little over the top.

-Joe

#### gaffer240

##### Member
Just a thought. Most lines of lighting instruments are avaiable in white, primmaraly for church installations.

I tend to use Barbizon alot, closest to you is Chicago

Senior Team