If you are a lighting designer, you need to compose the stage lighting like a real artist who uses varied colors to produce varied effects on the audience. On stage lighting for live band, of course, has its unique power of unifying and clarifying your performance, and if you got a small band, you could build an intimate connection between your band and your audience using the kaleidoscope of lights and crazy movements to match your band’s energy.
Of course, you may also rely on the in-house lighting if it looks excellent for a live performance. However, more often, in-house lightings are not enough to enhance your performance. You will need to bring in your customized lighting to ensure that the lighting matches your energy on stage.
Things You Should Learn on Small Band Stage Lightings
You don’t need to spend much on these lighting systems. A few hundred bucks would suffice to create that fantastic experience that would be unforgettable to your fans. As long as you know the following essential factors needed for a lighting system for live performance, you can always create for your band the appropriate lighting system for your performance:
1) Know the Essential Light Positions
When designing a lighting system for your gig, you need to be cognizant of where to position your lights and the important angles for positioning lights. The following are the four critical positions to set up some of the lights for your stage performance:
a) Front Lighting
The front lighting is critical to the illumination of the stage. It is the primary source of illumination for your performance. Hence, you should configure it so that it functions like sunlight to every segment of your performance. Front lighting is essential to artistic and theatrical shows. It is the lighting method meant to reduce shadows during live performances.
Moreover, front lighting accentuates your performance. For this reason, it is crucial that if you are configuring a lighting system for your small band, you need to set up the front lighting system carefully.
b) Side Lighting
Side lighting should complement the front lighting. It should help performers get illuminated while they strut or walk onstage. It will be helpful to carefully consider the side lighting effects on your performance, especially if you always amble around the stage during your performance.
The side lighting can accentuate your shoulders, mid-chest, and even your legs and feet. It also lets you have sidelights that highlight the lower extremities of your body.
c) High Side Lighting
Besides the side lighting, you can also rely on high side lighting for added illumination during your performance. This lighting style entails mounted lights at an angle between 30 to 60 degrees. These lights can illumine your upper body and accentuate your legs, elbows, chest, and head top. They can also help obscure some awkward facial expressions.
High side lighting can highlight any specific stage singer, actor, or items on stage that you want to highlight in theaters. High sidelights can be positioned on both sides to create a fuller effect for your performance.
d) Down Lighting
The downlights come at the lower end or bottom of the stage. They point upwards to shine on the performers. Together with the backlight, these lights create the halo effect that lets the audience see clearly the performers. The Downlight beam should reach up to the shoulder to make the maximum lighting effect.
The standard light system necessitates the overlapping of light beams to generate enough exposure for the performers.
2) Lighting Coverage
Lighting designers are the ones who engage in the designing of lighting systems onstage. They are the ones who design and configure how the lights would be positioned and run during the performance. They ensure that lights are put together creatively, using specialized lighting technology to paint the stage with lighting effects.
As a stage lighting designer, you need to understand the stage lighting system and its nature as much as possible. You also need to understand the specific lighting exposure for four coverage areas, namely: downstage right, downstage center, downstage left, upstage center (drums).
Most locations still use conventional lighting fixtures, while some newer display systems are introducing LED lamps.
3) Power Source for Your Stage Lighting
Unless you are performing in the wilderness or off-the-grid, your gig’s venue will surely always have a power source for plugging your gear and equipment. You will need a power source to power your lighting system and PA system.
At the onset, it will help if you figure out the available power for your lighting system to avoid any problem between incompatible gear and the power source. Make sure that the equipment you will use matches the power output of the sockets.
When setting up your lighting system for your band, it will be useful if you plan ahead. Remember that you will only borrow power from the venue, and it is not only your band who would use power. Some other appliances and gadgets rely on the power provided by the venue.
You must factor in all these gadgets and devices when calculating the amount of power you will need for your lighting system. You can also opt for LED lighting if the venue does not have enough power supply to support powerful lights.
4) Rigging Equipment
The stage lighting system includes many components, and one of these components is the rigging system. The rigging system is the metalwork that supports or holds the lights, speakers, and many other elements. he crews engaged in rigging start early but end late. They engage in lifting heavy objects and setting up the structures for hanging the lighting system.
The rigging equipment is the structure on which you attach or hang the stage lights. So, if you plan to equip the stage with your lighting system, you need to consider the venue’s rigging system carefully. You can also bring with you portable stands with T-bars. These stands will allow the front lights to shine down on the performers. These bars also provide good angles for positioning your lights right over the heads of the audience.
If you plan to have your lighting system, you should have at least two T-bars, one on every side of the venue. It will also be useful to have two lighting stands on each side of the stage with lights that shine towards the performers. With great rigging equipment, you can easily position your lights, whether they be front or sidelights.
5) Lighting Control
When setting up the band stage lighting, you don’t need to be elaborate on how you are going to design and control the lighting system. You only have a few options for small scale lighting system. First, you can plug all your lights and let them shine throughout your gig. You can also allow an automated chaser to run your lighting system.
An automated chaser usually has three channels or more. You can plug all your stage lights into this device, and it would flash the lights relative to a timed beat or feed from the PA. You can also have the automated chaser run by a partner who can time and work out the faders while you perform.
6) Lighting Effects
If you plan to have your lighting system for your band, you might as well shop for lighting effects. You will easily find the following lighting effects: scanners, disco balls, strobe effect, gobos, beam projectors, and moonflower effects.
- The scanners are often DMX-controllable. You can fold or rotate them with the use of an inner motor. You will also find preset scanners that offer color lighting for your performance.
- Disco balls are those party balls that were quite familiar during the 70s. The present-day disco balls, however, use LED technologies that offer a more varied lighting experience.
- Strobe effects, on the other hand, consist of strobe lights that flicker. They can be multi-colored, providing a kaleidoscope of colored lights during your performance.
- Gobos, however, can show your logo on stage. You can also project photographs and messages onstage using the gobo illumination.
- Beam projects like lamps come with many colored mirrors that rotate onstage. They project 45-degree beams onstage and is motorized to beam lights during your performance continuously.
- Moonflower provides flower effects, utilizing several lenses to produce varied geometric designs.
Extra Tips When Preparing Your Lighting System
Aside from the abovementioned techniques, you can always consider the following additional tips to improve your lighting system:
Go for RGB LED lights.
Advanced lighting system would make use of different types of light. Yet, you can always get by with an excellent set of LED lights. LED lights consist of a bunch of light globes encapsulated in a housing. They are not expensive and need less power to operate. They also seldom get busted or blown, and these features of LED lights make it a perfect choice for stage lighting.
LED lights may come in varied colors or single colors. However, I would suggest that you go for the RBG LED lights. These LED lights consist of Red, Blue, and Green lights, and for this reason, they are named RBG. You simply need to mix the colors nicely to create the beautiful effects of lights during your performance.
However, if you are going to perform on a cramped stage, you can use a light pack of LED RGB. Around four of them would be enough. You can have them controlled centrally using a separate mixer.
Programming Lights to Match Your Energy!
When setting up a lighting system for your performance, it will useful to be cognizant of the guidelines on how to set the lights according to your band’s performance. You need to have a program to make it easy for the one who controls your lights. Moreover, if you would ask the bar staff to operate your lighting system, it would be easy for him to adjust your light if you got it pre-programmed. However, if there is no one to run your lights, you need to program your lighting system so that it operates unassisted.
Most light sets can be pre-programmed so that it can run through different scenes. You can store each scene and manually switch those scenes during your performance. You can also program it as a set-and-forget system. Most light packs let you save the settings by number. You can load these light packs and store the scenes and load those packs according to the scene’s vibes.
You should configure, beforehand, the light rig to suit the moods and emotions of your performance. To do this, you can list your light scenes and reference them with numbers, color, and mood. In this way, you can commission someone to load each scene up while you perform.
There are advantages concomitant with having your lighting system during your band performance. First, you will get to control the lights and set the moods during your performance. Yet, developing a lighting system for your gig isn’t easy. It needs planning and pre-programming of the scenes.
It also necessitates knowledge on setting up lights for your gigs and knowing the factors to consider when setting up the lights for your gig. Moreover, learning the techniques and tips in designing stage lighting will help you develop the best lighting design for your gigs.