How do you set up your lighting console for a band?
The answer will depend on the band you are working with and the style of music you’re lighting. However, there are really a couple of good ways to set up your console for band lighting:
There are two different methods for running lights live from a console, Pre-Cued, and Punting. Pre-cued would be more ideal in a setting where the songs or message is set ahead of time. Punting would be a better fit if the upcoming show is more dependent on the atmosphere or is more improvised.
The pre-cued method does have it’s advantages and disadvantages. A pre-cued method would be a great approach for those shows that you already know what the band is going to play ahead of time. This makes it easier to program the lights and looks with the console ahead of time.
The downside to the pre-cued method is if the band goes off script or decides to add something extra to the show. If you or the person running the lights isn’t aware, then there is the scrambling to hurry up and do something different with the cues.
Setup up the Console
To set up lights and cues ahead of time, you will first need a list of songs and the layout of the upcoming show. From this, you can begin building out a cue list for each song. With each cue, you can set the look, fade time, and build different looks throughout the song.
There is the time involved with setting up cues beforehand but once everything is programmed in, you can have either yourself or a volunteer that can go through the cues for the songs.
Punting is often known as running lights on the fly and is a great method for when the show is not following a specific timeline. While the show may not follow a set schedule you can still do the prep work beforehand to have cues and looks ready to fire as needed.
Setting up the Console
The best approach to working with lights on the fly is having a punt page or cues ready to go ahead of time. First, you want to set up having an intensity fader for each type of light that you have.
Depending on the console you are working with, if you have buttons then you can program and utilize these to set up for different lighting positions.
You can also use the buttons to add full-color cues for the stage. If there’s more room on the console be sure to add different effects as well as color cue combinations.
When setting up your punting page cues, the goal is to have intensity, colors, positions, and effects ready on hand so that you can follow the music as well as the band during the performance.
I hope this really helps you to better set up the lights for any band that you are lighting for! While you might choose one approach, the other, or a hybrid approach, I hope you’ve learned something today!