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I notice in a lot of the pictures I see, that the majority of lighting seems to focus on the wall/backdrop behind the bands.  While this can be visually stunning, especially if the architecture is nice.  Doesn't it take the focus away from the band itself?  I have always felt my job was to light the band and make them look as good as possible. 

I actually prefer to light a stage where there is limited or no backdrop.  it challenges me to get as much light on the performers as I can and from as many different angles as i can.  We all know that there has to be something there to light or the look of the show falls flat. 

 But, I would much rather focus my design on the band and the stage itself.  And in case you're wondering.  No, I'm not a big fan of video walls that I feel are overused these days to compensate for a lack of design ability (not always the case of course).   But, I'm a small time designer in a small market where video is rarely ever used.  And never for a light source.

Anyway, just my opinion.  Any thoughts?

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video is more of a distraction than lighting a backdrop. Backdrops can enhance the show, depending on their usage

 

There was one act that I grew up listening to at my place a few weeks ago... I couldn't tell you what one of their encore songs was because I was too busy watching the video that played during the song!

I say use the backdrops and slight video for bands. Save the huge video show for the DJ's when there's not a lot to watch.

hey, I tend to agree, mainly because the background effects tend to upstage the bands because of the size of the drop or set. but when a band uses a logo or name hanging behind them, and is occasionally lit thats seems ok, or the use of  black draps to hide the background screen or effect is also useful for small concerts. but when you move up to large halls or areas, that tiny little group on the stage is hardly noticable without video and large set.

But in the end its the band and there songs that make the show, all that background and set is rubbish if the band don't cut it. Some of the best show I've seen were in clubs with very little lighting at all.

 

My trick is to hang a black Gause in front of a white projection screen. If you lit your stage carefully it will give you a black backdrop when you want the intimate look and a more open stage with a cyclorama when you light up the screen thru the Gause. And I totally agree, LED backdrops must die!
We've worked with the Pickathon Roots Music Festival for a couple years -- easily the most overbuilt 3500-audience festival in the world.  This look has been more or less "standard" the last couple years.  I'll let you guess at setup time and budget.......
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it is a combination of all personally  you can over light the back drop and loose the band and you can light the band so much it looses the the dramatic feel. switching between them adds dynamics that can mirror the music and make outstanding looks and emotions...  tours seem to be now based on bright video and to much gak and loose all dynamics ..  and that is terrible there are times to be BIG and Bold and times to be intamate and small and the audience needs to have a change when watching for 1-2hr show you cant keep the same look and just change color. sometimes you want movement sometimes not.
I to feel video gets way over used
I think it is very dependent on what you are doing.  The majority of my work is for Houses of Worship.  In that case, the band is not the focus.  It is more of an overarching atmosphere that includes the band, set, room, and congregation.  In this case lighting a backdrop in a bright color for an uplifting song, is very powerful.  Also, keeping that backdrop dark during a really low part can give a sense of intimacy.  I really think it helps create a good dynamic.  Jason hit it right on the head.  The change in a 1-2 hour show is important.  This link has some good examples of how a backdrop can be used effectivly.

I think even in a performance setting there is a right and wrong way to use drops / scenic. Some artists even prefer to see their entire show as an artistic impression, not a show about them (granted not true for a lot of people).
When doing a small conventional/ LED gig, I've always thought that it was really important to light the Drummer. The Drummer is Typically the only stationary person in a rock show, while everyone else tends to drift. Most of these pictures don't really display what an important tools the Spotlight and spot operator can be. Most of the time on the bigger shows you catch the lead ( who is all over the place) in a spot and just follow him or her all night. In a conventional rig ( where I can't move anything, and there's no budget for spots) I make sure that I've got a low level wash with good coverage, from FOH, a Gobo wash,  and a back up special on each of the band members. If I can catch them in a special and they look pretty comfortable where they're at I go to that. If it looks like they'll be all over the place I go to my even wash or Gobo wash and let the Cyc do some work. It all depends. It's just a matter of adding tools to the bucket.  I think part of the problem a lot of younger guys have is that they want to have the lights "hit" on every beat. For speed metal and club stuff that's great, but for an actual Band on stage I try to limit my cues to the "Obvious" changes in the songs. I end up doing a lot one offs and quick shows and find that these tricks work great to cover for a lot of things.

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