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This week, Jack writes in asking about what moving heads would be a good starter lighting system for his Christian School. The answer I come up with may surprise you!
I am in way over my head and I was wondering if you would help me with all the lighting specifics. Right now we have no lighting equipment, so we are starting from scratch.
I will just go ahead and explain the whole project.
We are actually a Christian school, but have chapel among other things every week so we need the exact same things as a church. We have these chapels in our gym.
The number 1 thing we need is portability.
Everything we get needs to be able to be taken completely down in 15 minutes by a group of about 10 high schoolers, and only take about 30 minutes for a group to put it up.
On our “stage” (the middle of the gym, about 3/4 of a volleyball court) will have our praise team.
Our praise team consists of 4 singers in the front, a drummer in the back, two electric/bass guitars on one side and an electric piano on the other. We will also need to be able to have a speaker who can walk around the whole area and still be fully lit.
It is also key we have a way to have the whole area washed in light without having to turn on all the gym lights. This is what we would use for things like announcements, where people come down from the crowd.
At this time we do not have a backdrop of any kind, but would be open to one if it was in the budget and was portable.
If necessary, I’m not sure if it is, we need a way to hang our lights.
They have to completely removable as nothing can stay in the gym. We also need them to not block anyone’s view, as every seat in the bleachers is full. So no one can move.
At a normal time there will be about 250 people and the stage will be centered in the room. However, on big events like grandparents day the “stage” will be up against a side wall and about 800-1000 people will be there.
Thank you SOOOOO much for your help. Until I did this I thought I knew a little bit about stage lighting, but I guess not!
Our budget is really whatever it needs to be in reason. We are fundraising for the whole thing so no more than about $6000.
Our system also needs to be expandable as we grow.
To get power we really just run extension cords to wall outlets, so just for lighting we could use about 4 wall outlets with 2 plugs each.
Hope this helps!
I’d actually recommend that you not go with moving heads for this application. Here’s why:
Moving lights are much more complicated than what you need for this application, and so you’d really be wasting a lot of the functionality you buy by just using them as a stage wash. Movers also require a more advanced console for control, and you’d have to update the positions they point at every time you set up your lighting rig.
So basically, going with moving lights would not only cost you more, but also take more time and hassle to setup! Add to that the fact that movers have a lot of little, breakable parts, and I have a different recommendation for you. (Check out this post for more, in-depth information on why movers aren’t always the best option.)
What would best suit your application would be a small LED par system to wash the stage. Add to that 2 of these stands, and you’ll be golden to light your stage with low power consumption the ability to change colors.
If you have the storage space nearby, you can actually leave the lights clamped and wired to the stands, and your setup can be done in just a few minutes with some careful volunteer help!
Because these lights all use DMX control, you’ll be able to expand your lighting system in the future using much if not all of your existing hardware! Check out more info on DMX control here. So, if you want to add in a stand with sidelight or backlight, it’s totally possible!
Jack, be sure and let me know if you have any other questions! I am always glad to help!
-DavidAre you starting from zero experience in lighting? Click here to get my “getting started” guide!
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