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This week we’re going to answer the question that I get from many people on a weekly basis.
Many readers write in and want to know what pieces of gear to buy, and what to get if they’re renovating their facility. With our world moving into the LED future, the answer can be both confusing and very exciting.
We are remodeling our church’s sanctuary and want to replace our stage lighting.
We have a limited budget to spend for lights because of this remodeling and all and we also do broadcasting on our website with 2-3 HD cameras.
Currently, we have just have simple 5 cans with regular white lights.
We need white light for most of the time and probably some colored LED cans on sides for some special performances. Light will mostly be white and we’ve got to make sure it will look good on HD cameras, because we set up white balance on high for each camera.
I was thinking LED but I heard it’s no good for some cameras depending on the frames per sec that camera is shooting. Is that true?
I need 4-6 cans with white lights and 2-3 LED pars and some simple mixer to control it all. Also I probably need some ceiling lights on the stage too.
Sorry David, if I got you confused with anything, just need your advice of what would work the best for us.
As I said before I have no clue about all this stuff!
I think you’re off to a great start and have a lot of great knowledge and ideas about what you want to do!
The first step is to set up your stage wash and make it really nice and even for your video cameras. With this you’ve got a choice which will be dictated by your budget – do you go LED or conventional? I say that it is dictated by budget because modern LED’s are suitable for video, as are the old school conventional lights!
If you are buying LED’s for video, make sure they are flicker free. This is the first and probably most important benchmark to look at.
As long as an LED is flicker free for video, then you’ll be good to use them as lighting for the camera. Cheap LED’s which are not “flicker free” can also be a curse if you buy cheap as they will strobe on your video feed! Not good!
So, you can probably either use conventional par cans or LED pars with White/Amber as your primary white front light. You don’t want to just slap up some RGB led cans and use them for your white, unfortunately that won’t work very well!
If you have the budget to go LED, then by all means do – the long term cost savings will really add up over the next few years! But if you don’t have the budget for the proper flicker free and white/amber LED’s, than go conventional.
You can always upgrade later and I guarantee you’ll be happier not having to deal with frustrating, cheap fixtures!
Side, Back and Set Lighting
As for your side, back and set lighting, this is where colored LED’s will come into play the most. Again, just like your front light, you can’t skimp and get away with cheap LED’s. That’s a big “no” for video.
I think that your plan to light from the sides and top in color sounds great. If you also lit the back wall with LED’s, it would also fill out the space and keep the stage looking very interesting, but it isn’t essential!
As for product recommendations, my favorite LED fixtures for an affordable cost are the professional series by Elation or Chauvet. I’ve had really great luck with both brands in recent years, and I think that they are some of the best fixtures for a permanent install as they blend affordability with durability and a reasonable warranty.
Here’s a few links to various LED products and their prices:
As for a basic console, I’d check out these 2:[divider_flat]
These basic consoles will allow you to program some looks and bring them up on the faders. You’ll be limited to 12 or 24 looks total, but these will do the job if you just need a few looks that you crossfade in between.
If you want the ultimate flexibility from your lighting console, then you’ll have to step up to a more “intelligent” lighting console.
These consoles excel at programming LED lights, but aren’t full-fledged professional lighting consoles, so they don’t carry that professional level price nor are they too complicated! They’re a great, middle-of-the-road console for LED’s and conventionals!
Alex, Let me know if any of that doesn’t make sense or if you need more information. Thanks for reading and writing in with your question!
Thanks for reading!,
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