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drummingman 07-31-2009 08:40 AM

Putting on a great light/video show on a low budget?
I went and saw tool tonight and they put on an amazing light and video show which really adds a lot to their show. This got me thinking what would be the best way to put on a great light and video and overall visual presentation with a low budget? Most of the times when playing at clubs the non-headlining bands dont get much with lights and video and things like that that help with their presentation. I dont want this to be the case with my band once we start gigging.

What do you all think about the best ways to put on a great light and video presentation on a low budget?

And, what did tool do when they had no money, for any of you that saw them when they got started and had no money, to put on a great visual show?

Pollyanna 07-31-2009 04:12 PM

Re: Putting on a great light/video show on a low budget?
If you want a great light show you need someone working the lights. A lights guy costs money unless you do what King Crimson did in their early days where Pete Sinfield, apart from writing lyrics, also put on their light shows at gigs as a non-playing member of the band.

Obviously that would cost you a percentage of your takings but you'd have a custom-made show and, if you made no money at a gig just aimed at getting exposure (and free rehearsal), your lights operator won't send you broke. Otherwise, if you're on a tight budget, you'll have to settle for setting up a bunch of cans.

jer 07-31-2009 07:48 PM

Re: Putting on a great light/video show on a low budget?
Second on having someone else to do it for you.

I have seen guys wire up floor switches and use coloured spot lights (like the ones you put outside at x-mas) then make the odd lighting change here and there, but never been to impressed other than the fact that the band took the time to at least try. I've seen a few bands bring LCD projectors as well, can run a dvd of whatever you like as the backdrop.

I saw Tool in '93, second stage @ Lollapalooza, they played during the day, no lights, just rock. Best mosh pit I've ever been in.

DrumEatDrum 08-02-2009 02:08 AM

Re: Putting on a great light/video show on a low budget?
While not impossible, it's difficult in the real world.

Unless you're the only band playing that night, most clubs don't give you much time to set up, and even less to get off the stage for the next band. There just isn't much time, and sometimes no space on the stage, to set up a lot of extra stuff. Some clubs may not want to you to set up extra stuff.

Also be aware of the extra voltage required. Some older clubs may not be able to handle lots of extra gear plugged in on top of the normal PA, amps and existing lights. I've seen bands blow fuses at places that I've never had a problem with playing.

But if you can get a volunteer road crew to help, you can pull some stuff off.
Some back drops with your bands logo always are nice. You can make a lightweight stand out of pvc pipe.

Scan craigslist and the like for a couple of strobe lights. Maybe you'll get lucky and find some DJ lights for sale cheap. Just remember you'll need lots of extension cords.Hook it into some power supplies that someone on your crew can control to turn the lights on and off at the appropriate times.

Projection screens are difficult because most the time, the existing club lights wash them out if you project from the front, and few clubs have the space behind the stage to do rear projection. So unless you can spend some serious money, most of the time your audience is just going to end up seeing you perform in front of a blank white screen.

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