This week on the podcast, we have a special guest. Bob Mentele of Elation Lighting will be joining us to discuss how to choose LED’s for house lighting and stage lighting.
In general, we chat about how to approach purchasing lights when on a budget and different scenarios to consider. It’s a great interview and Bob has some great words of wisdom for those starting out in lighting.
Main Segment (1:10)
David: We’re here chatting with Bob Mentele is who the Vertical Marget Manager which means he specializes in working with those who aren’t in the concert touring field.
Bob: Yes, that’s pretty much what it is. I have the opportunity to talk with customers to gather feedback, points to address, and report this back to Elation to help the company create products that will benefit our customers.
I also work with the ADJ Group Companies which is an umbrella company of different media and lighting companies. Lastly, I will also write some articles for Worship AVL Magazine and do some monthly articles for them.
Topic: Lighting for Different Styles of Worship and White Lights (5:10)
David and Bob discuss working with different styles of worship and working with house lights to lighting the entire congregation.
Bob: Working with different churches and different styles of worship you will find the traditional setup with hymns that want the basic white lighting and some colors for their stage.
Then, you’ll have a more contemporary congregation that is laid back and wants more colors, effects, and haze type of environment.
Lastly, you’ll have a church that is hybrid or is in the middle of those two styles. I’ve worked with some churches that do the traditional look for the first service and then the second service appeals to the contemporary crowd.
With that, as a lighting company, you want to be able to create fixtures that will be able to bring quality and can create those different styles to the stage.
Topic: Changes in LED Fixture Technology (10:40)
David and Bob discuss different LED fixtures, the costs, and the efficiency of using LED lighting.
Bob: LED lighting is constantly changing and the technology is always improving. Even in the past few years you can see the difference in the color appearance, the quality, and the improvement in a short amount of time.
What I have noticed with the more inexpensive LED fixtures are produced on a more massive scale. With that, you’ll lose quality, there will be more variations in the color, consistency in colors, but in the end, it is more of an inexpensive LED.
Lights used to be that you plug it in and they turn on. But now fixtures have so much more to them, electronically. When you’re looking at a less expensive light there are most likely going to be cheaper quality parts to create the fixture such as the driver, fans, and so on. As you go down on the price you will go down on quality. It’s just something to consider when purchasing fixtures.
Topic: Different Pricing Points and Quality of the Fixtures (21:30)
Bob continues to discuss the different pricing points for fixtures but improvement in the equipment, convection cooling, and different pieces to consider when looking for more quality fixtures.
Bob: Another point to consider is if you’re comparing different products and having them installed by a professional then you definitely want to consider labor costs.
In my previous career, I would offer a couple of different solutions. One option would have the cheaper fixtures but there were more labor costs involved to set those fixtures up. With the next option, you would have better quality fixtures that didn’t need near as much labor involved to set those up. Labor can add up very quickly and that’s definitely something that can bring in unexpected costs.
Topic: Different Protocols and Working with Wireless (26:30)
Bob and David dive more into working with DMX and what to consider when working with wireless products.
Bob: Another option to consider is working with wireless and what type of space are you working with. Wireless can definitely bring some network issues if it’s not set up correctly for your space.
I always say that working with copper is better especially if it’s a permanent setup. The wireless spectrum is currently the wild west and there’s a lot of technologies fighting for space in it.
Before making any decisions I would recommend downloading an app and seeing what the spectrum looks like for your space so that you have a better idea of what you’re working with.
Topic: Back to House Lighting & LEDs (33:20)
Bob and David get back to discussing LED’s and working with house lights.
Bob: The way that I see it is that LEDs are eventually going to take over and as we already see in our industry the older style lights are no longer being used. Everybody just wants control over everything and we put all of the pressure on our dimmer racks.
I’ve seen this in churches and theaters that are trying to upgrade and they don’t always realize that these new lights have electronics and it’s no longer just plugging in a light anymore. When you’re working with a newer fixture it’s expecting a certain type of power. This will cause different issues and the fixtures don’t work the way they are supposed to.
My recommendation is getting 3 to 4 different light bulbs of each kind and that will give you a good sense of how they will do on your lighting system. Be sure to include them on the same circuit and be sure to unscrew your incandescent lights when testing this.
That really sums it up very well. You do want to be able to have great lighting and be willing to invest in better equipment and fixtures. You want to be happy with the outcome, the product, and managing your budget the right way.