# i've got 500 to spend and i need recomendations

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
Some would think 500 yea! We'll we all know it the theater business aint cheap so it's not much but it's enough to get me started. I want to buy myself some equiptment so i can have it around for different events or if small local businesses or people need lighting and i plan on doing sound eventually too they can rent me out and my equiptment.

So i need recomendations on where i should start, i'm going to need some type of dimming system, controllers, and a way to connect this all. so what do you guys recommend, i saw on ebay and google search you can get the all in one edison 3 prong + dimmer packs with 4 channels, and a cheapo lighting board for around 300.

2x 4 channel dimmer pack edison, 8 channel lighting board.

but would you recomend anything else instead? i want to beable to grow with this, ie- movable lights in the future if possible for that budget, or just add more dimmers.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
You have a laptop laying around? I would go with an Entec widget and some cheap 4 pack dimmers, it will be a start at least.

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
i've got a apple macbook pro.

#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
www.bulbamerica.com

My absolute favorite site for shoestring budgets.

Hmmm...I don't know if the Enttec will work on a Mac, but I'm sure that someone will answer that question shortly.

Bulb America has some really cheap parcans/lamps/clamps/dimmer packages, and you can then get the cheapest light board that they have.

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
and going the ebay route

http://cgi.ebay.com/ELATION-DMX-OPE...86733QQcategoryZ29942QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem

note: the dimmer system i'm going to get is from a cable studio, it's a rackmountable nsi i think.

i'm pretty sure this is it

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?item=68427&section=15357&beginIndex=0

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Alright so i'm leaning towards getting,

http://www.bulbamerica.com/products/3510 Lighting Controller (will this do standard stage lighting also?)
that NSI NDS Dimmer System
and buying a few Source Four and Par lights.

along with some bracing / structure from the bulbamerica site.

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#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
Aha! Some good choices. That is a nice controller, and yes, it will do 8 channels of parcans. It will also do plenty of intelligent fixtures. That said, it might be cool to be able to add some later.

What kinda lights are you planning on getting? I'd recommend some LED parcans if you're gonna do small gigs. They require no dimmers, and will be able to do RGB mixing. For the main lighting, aside from the RGB mixing cans, get some black PAR56's.

If you get the NSI dimmer, remember that you WILL NOT be able to use wall power. This will rule out alot of local venues.

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
ah i was hoping that it would be able to do wall power or some type of higher amp twist lock plug, so for the dimmers then would you recommend those edison dimmer packs. i'm looking for something that can plug in. Do you think i should go with that type of board or go with a more channel standard board that doesn't have the inteligent light option.

I'm thinking Par cans, source fours, and in the future inteligent lighting if i get the right board.

Pretty much i want to get a setup that i'll beable to start using to make money and upgrade as i go.

#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
You should get the 4-pack dimmers from BulbAmerica. They'll work fine.

You can then use mic cable to go between dimmer packs if you're not going to be sending the signal a long distance. You could also get one 4-pack dimmer pack, 8 black par 56's, and some of these.

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
Alright so i've come to a final conclusion on what i need to beable to do, or would atleast like to beable to do with the system.

Control Laser Instruments
Intelligent Lighting
Par Cans
Some type of direct lighting (source fours?)

and a decent amount of channels

that is for the board atleast.

Now for the dimmer packs if i wanted to use intelligent lighting does it make any difference if the system is a 3 pin stage connector or a edison plug? or does the inteligent lighting not use the electrical to transmit that signal?

This is also where the dimmers are if i get the ones from bulb america what am i limited to?

also on a side note i'm not looking to do DJ Lighting, I'm looking to do lighting for events, such as when our city has the mayors day and they have a band come and play at night, or when they have different events at night that they might want coloring for. the lasers are more for my own use for an event i'm doing.

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#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
Intelligent lighting DOES NOT NEED DIMMERS. That's the good thing about it.

Also, that controller will control all of those things. I don't think that you'll be needing lasers for a while...but it should be able to do basic DMX lasers as well. If you want lasers, get the 250W American DJ moving heads that have lasers in them. Then you get a moving head and a laser in one, and the laser can move anywhere that the moving head can point.

Source Fours are a big investment for a small startup, so I'd go more along the Source Four Juniors or used Altman 3.5Q units (often found in lots of 6 or 8 on ebay). Or Parcans. Or PC spots. Unless you need the framing capability, don't waste your money on ellipsoidals when you can get pars for a fraction of the price.

The LED pars also don't need dimmers, color changers (a bunch of DJ companies make fixtures that are just a fresnel lens and a color wheel) don't need dimmers, scanners don't need dimmers, moving heads don't need dimmers, most DJ effects don't need dimmers, etc. Anything that has a DMX in probably doesn't need a dimmer. That's why the LED pars are so nice. 3 colors with very low power consumption and just 4 dmx channels. But the only thing is that you need 4 of them to rival the output of a 500w/fixture 3-par system that has saturated red, green, and blue gels...but, if you add up the price of gels, lamps, dimmers, cabling, fixtures, etc, the Wiedamark LED cans just about even out. But keep in mind that the LED's are only good for 20' or less throws. But this could be good for backlighting or short-range frontlighting for small events.

#### Thefoxygranpa

##### Active Member
I just got some of the Source-4 Jr.'s and I love them in combination with the pars I own. I find that having these around are great.

But, I agree with soundlight about the LED pars. The are quite versatile. This could be another route if you're looking to minimize the amount of dimmers you have to purchase...

#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
alright so i've gotten quite a bit of info from this topic. thanks , so i'm going to slowly start buying stuff, i bought a few t-shirts from Roadierags.com, i paid of some webhosting bills, paid a friend of mine some money, a few other odds and ends, and bought the intelligent lighting console from bulb america.

next up on the list of stuff to buy with the next segment of money.

truss / hanging system for lights, the small dimmer packs that you recommended, and lighting instruments.

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#### soundlight

Looks like production advantage has the lowest price on decent Ellipsoidals - the Altman 3.5Q series is nice, coming in at $160/ea new, that should do you just fine. I think that it's kinda weird to be getting lighting fixtures that cost four times as much as the dimmers that you're going to plug them in to...I would seriously consider upgrading your dimmer purchase to NSI D4DMX dimmer packs. But make sure that you know how to set the dip switches on D4's...they're the most confusing of any in the industry. #### soundlight ##### Well-Known Member And if you're putting source fours or other heavy ellipsoidals in the air, I'd reccomend ST132 stands at the least. Durable, heavy duty, and easy to set up. You can probably hang eight fixtures (four underhung and four top hung) on those stands. For lighter fixtures, such as LED parcans, parcans, and simple color changers, these should work. #### soundlight ##### Well-Known Member And just to keep rolling with the reccomendations here - a few Pinspots can be really, really inexpensive, and create some great super-narrow spot effects. And the lamps are really cheap, too. They're also good for downlighting single tables at dinner events with a drop ceiling which you can clip to. You can run a bunch off of one dimmer, but they sometimes don't take to well to dimming because they've got transformers in them (6 or 12 volt depending on the model), so you want to run the dimmer at full, though I know many people that dim pinspots with no problems on a regular basis. A few Opti 30 fixtures might be good because they take standard PAR38 flood or spot lamps available at your local hardware store. These fixtures also look very professional compared to standard PAR38 fixtures. And for first moving lights, the Elation Focus Spot 250R is the way to go. Great little fixtures, rotating gobos, 250W lamp, and motorized focus, all for$1000. If you're lucky, you'll get them on special from Centerstage, when they're going for $650. Otherwise, it's down to the$200 Optima Lighting scanners!

That's probably an information overload for now, but when you purchase down the line, this might have some good ideas.

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#### Edrick

##### Well-Known Member
i just talked with the studio and they're getting rid of the old lighting equiptment, it's not new but it's also not old as hell so it will do to get me started, and I'm waiting for shipping on the board.

Their equiptment consists of par lights, older source fours, and a few other instruments.

#### stantonsound

##### Active Member
Here's an option for you. There is a new lighting fixture out now that is pretty much a Source Four Par style light on a moving base and yolk and it has a built in dimmer. It is an intelligent light that you can control the pan and tilt, and dim it. You can not change the color and there are no gobos, but the price on these is only $300. They are the S-Mover or stage mover by Chauvet. They use a 1000watt lamp, which is brighter than just about any other mover our there. I ordered two to try our and liked them very much for the price. I would not recommend any other moving fixture for less than$500 each. You get what you pay for and they are cheap crap. Most use 150 watt lamps and are barely visible in anything larger than your living room.

The thing o remember is that your business will hopefully grow, and be sure that the stuff you buy now will still be used then. I made a few bad purchases when I first started, and lost some money when I tried to sell the stuff when I got bigger. Par 64's are great, as are good source fours.

(I bought a bunch of old Altman Lekos to get started, used them 4 or 5 times, and then they just sat in the shop. I had a hard time getting rid of them and lost money in doing so).

#### DarSax

##### Active Member
Anyone checked those par-bars, where it's just a row of individually panning, group tilting pars? I haven't the slightest idea if a reputable manufacturer made it, but for low cost good effects...seemed like a smart idea.