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Thread: Aaarrggg.... DJ's.

  1. #1
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    Default Aaarrggg.... DJ's.

    Grr..... Trying to do lasers and lighting for a wedding and dealing with a DJ who's going fast song, fast song, slow song, fast song, slow song, fast song. It's a fricking' pain trying to change lighting and "looks" that fast on the fly. Father of the bride singing "My Way" followed by "Doin da butt" to Unchained Melody to Bang Bang. What the fuck!

    Too many buttons and remotes to push and turn on and off.

    Just needed to jump out of BEYOND for a second and vent....



    (Back to your regularly scheduled reading.)
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 10-18-2014 at 19:35.

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    That's an interesting scenario and I'll leave it at that while I go off to think about it.

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    Are you doing the lighting/lasers 'full time' or just setting them and doing other things? I would think its not much trouble to follow a tempo, even if that tempo is changing. In Beyond its 4 taps or so on the space bar (or equivalent mapped button), on most lighting desks its something similar.

    On my APC40, I've got the +/- buttons that normally increment by 1 BPM set up to do Tempo*2 and Tempo/2 respectively. If someone drops a very slow track, or theres an ambient drop in a tune I can hit Tempo/2 a few times and go from 140BPM down to 35 or 17.5BPM in no time, and be back to 140BPM exactly with the same number of clicks on the Tempo*2 button, in time for the drop.

    'Busking' a desk is all about flexibility of the programming and setup. 'Set piece' cues aren't much good for that, but solid simple building blocks, that work well in combination, are.
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    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

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    who'd of thought it hey, the dj playing songs the guests want
    Eat Sleep Lase Repeat

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    When I was at Rick's (fearless) last summer, I saw a couple of laser DJ's actually RUN the lasers. I only build them and this was impressive and completely out of my experience. It was a little like watching a musician at a keyboard (albeit moving a little slower), but nevertheless like they were playing a musical instrument. Brad, if the sound DJ was as sensitive to the whole show as these guys and I really doubt it, you would have had no problems.

  6. #6
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    Ok, I'll fill in some back story.

    First, the DJ is a friend of mine and a big part of the reason I ended up getting into this whole lighting/laser stuff in the first place. We met about 6 years ago right after this facility opened when he came in the door thinking he was at a different venue. I've tried to get him to come to SELEM as he's interested in lasers but honestly I don't think he has the aptitude or budget for it. He also does lighting for bands, separate from being a DJ. He's not on a pro level with it - mainly smaller bar bands and using American DJ type truss and par cans and some LED lights, etc.

    Second, yes, when I'm doing lighting/lasers that's my sole activity. I'm usually situated at a 6' table somewhere near the DJ just so I can try and check to see what's coming up next, plus formulate a plan for stopping for cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss and stuff like that. When I sell lasers to a bride as an upgrade for her reception, I also include several non-coherent fixtures and try to give them different "looks" throughout the evening. In many cases, those lights are in pairs and running "sound active" and being turned on or off by wireless remote controls.

    In this case it was 2 American DJ Aggressors (the original 600 watt halogen ones), 2 American DJ Mystics, 2 Chauvet Scorpion Storm MG's, 2 Chauvet Vue 4.1's and 2 Cubix. each situated on 12' t stands about 60 feet apart angled at the dance floor. For atmosphere, 2 DF50's and 2 Chauvet Geysers (also with their own wireless remotes). The lasers were 5 Pluto II's all running on 1 FB3 in BEYOND and with the APC40 (running through DZ's splitter boxes for mirroring and zone set up). I also had 2 BlissLight BL-15's aimed at the ceiling above the dance floor. (As were the Vue 4.1's)

    Anyway, usually after dinner, and the parent dances, a DJ opens the dance floor and starts with Motown type stuff or a line dance or some other silliness and I'm just using the Aggressors. Then in the next song I may add the Vue 4.1's pn the ceiling. You start building your atmosphere little by little with the hazers. Then, next song, might add the cubix into the mix, then perhaps turn off the cubix and turn on the Mystics. Then perhaps if the time is right a burst from the geysers.

    You're trying to read the crowd, work with the music, hit different effects, add in lasers as certain points and generally just juggling things. Sometimes it flows well and other times like the other night it was just frustrating because they'd be up dancing and having all kinds of fast moving lights and laser cues and then, suddenly, he'd jump to a slow dance tune so, it takes a minute to think "Ok, just turn this off, shut that off, turn this on, find that turning heart graphics cue... oh yeah, turn on the Blisslights." "Fuck, that cubix is still on." "Ok, that looks nice." "Huh??? What the hell is he doing?? He just slowed things down for the crowd to clutch and sway and now... is playing Lil' Jon??" " Ok, turn on these light, turn on those lights.... maybe run those cues. More fog! More fog!" "Huh???? Unchained Melody??? Are you fucking serious?? We just got energy back and people dancing and have to turn this off, turn that off again, etc." We weren't communicating that well with each other.

    It's all a bit of a juggling act and I was just really frustrated the other night and minimized BEYOND to jump on here to vent for a second. I probably should have put it in the toxic waste bin folder.
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 10-20-2014 at 03:58.

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    I actually prefer these kind of DJ's over the ones who play commercial crap at a constant bpm. My mind gets bored and I just set the bpm and wander off while Freestyler is doing some default chases. On the other hand if the music has a couple elements in it that I can use to trigger strobes or a laser effect or something else it's a lot more fun. But I don't have a lot of stuff so toggling effects can happen fast.

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    Sounds like you need to get yourself a 'proper' lighting desk and learn how to use it. All that messing 'turning effects on/off' sounds like what's causing your nightmare.
    In my world, you don't need to pre-plan or communicate with the DJ - you're usually at opposite ends of the room for a start! At least then, with a half decent fixture, you're not just turning stuff on/off, but actually making it run slow/fast to suit the mood.
    All my stuff that moves usualy goes on a fader or two (usually pan and tilt for the moving heads, but translate that to any sort of movement really such as rotation, zoom, etc) which goes from 'barely moving' up to 'faster than the head can respond'. Then you just 'feel' your way around the track playing. Simlar things for chases, slow to fast. Just changing from slow to fast chase/dimmers, keeping the movement constant can be a stark difference. I see lots of DJs/lighting folks trying to use movement to track the tempo, and whilst this 'can' work, I find movement works better so that, across a number of heads, when a head comes on, its not always in the same position.

    You may also be suffering from having too many dedicated effects which are too single minded, hence the need to turn them on/off all the time, as they are so situational. I know we've had this conversation before, but maybe consider dropping some of your '2 of this', '2 of that' effects lighting stock, and buy 6 or 8 half decent moving heads (profiles/spots probably as they're most versatile - pref with 2x gobo wheels so you can do nice wall/floor patterns for static moments outside of the 'DJ time')
    Then augment that with a few strobes, and some parcan type lights for washes.
    Then plug it in and get it under some decent control, preferably with some physical faders and buttons.
    Then 'maybe' consider adding some 'specials' which you can recreate with the movers, but sparingly, or you'll end up where you are now. Avoid, at all costs, the use of sound to light standalone modes. They are generally terrible (with some exceptions). You will make your own life easier, and provide a better show with more feeling.

    P.S. I find i barely need to think about atmosphere once I have the hazer running. Aside from the odd hit of the '100% fan and pump' cue, it just ticks over through the whole gig (8hrs+ usually) at whatever I've set it to for the room size. Having a desk and DMX to the foggers/hazers will mean you simply use them just like any of the lighting effects, and just as easily.
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    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

  9. #9
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    I am working towards more moving heads and more lights I can control... it's just a pricey proposition. The quality look from moving heads and intelligent lighting is so much nicer than the standard LED DJ type effect lights. I had a good look at a Hog 4 console that a pro company had here for an event a couple weeks ago and can certainly see the advantages although, it's price was uh... rather prohibitive at like $40,000 used.

    I'm not going "that" big with it at this point but, yes, some of the smaller gear is being replaced with things I can have more control over. Another issue/consideration though for me, is set up time. I got out of here at 2 am the night before after having a comedy show for 600 people and had to be back by 8 am to clean up and put away all the tables/chairs, set up for the wedding, do three tours of the facility for new brides, deal with a couple of "walk ins" who were either dropping off payments or asking questions about the hall, plus set up the 5 projectors and the other lighting and be ready to go by 5:30. (I have help for the clean up/set up of tables and chairs but, nonetheless, there isn't always a lot of time to get everything set up, aimed, tested, etc. I have to deal with dumb shit like running to the store to get fruit for the bar and so forth too. I'm kind of the focal point for every problem and issue that pops up around here.) So regrettably sound to light is often a faster, yet less desirable solution.

    I've also been forcing myself to get away from using Quickshow and learn to use BEYOND and the APC 40 more. It's a hard habit to break and I keep going back to using the mouse rather than using the APC.
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 10-20-2014 at 06:30.

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    TBH, some movers and a desk sound like the solution you need. I bet setting up 6 or 8 movers (all the same) is going to be quicker than all the different effects you currently use.

    Providing you rig in roughly the same place each time, you can have standard positions already programmed (e.g. I have In, Out, Crossover, Dancefloor, DJ, Ceiling/Decor/Room features already programmed) which simply define some static places the movers point. You can either use cues or better still define a pallete for them, which are more flexible.
    You can then make circles or other shapes around these points, so once you have a circle running [for instance], changing it from being focussed on the floor to up in the air is as simple as a single button press.

    You can pick up used Avo consoles for ok money, or go the route of a 'wing' from somewhere like Chamsys. A wing and touchscreen will do everything you need, and more. If you can buy used, a wing will come for about $1500, and a used ELO touchscreen will be cheap off ebay.

    What you actually need is someone like me to come and show you how much easier it could make your life, by demoing it. The money would find its own way out of your wallet! And you're not a man who struggles with spending.
    If you are going to buy some movers, but not budget for a half decent desk, I would say don't buy the movers. It really is crucial (imho).
    Frikkin Lasers
    http://www.frikkinlasers.co.uk

    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

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