Building A Live Production (Part 1) - Introductions and Equipment
So anyone who knows me, knows that I have been playing music for quite some time now. It is my passion, it is what I love, and it is something I love to tinker with and try to perfect. I've worked on various versions on my music using pedalboards, loopers, computer backing tracks, stripped down, packaged up...simply stated, I've done a lot. However, now I think I am finally hitting my stride. I looked at my rig and I wanted to do something more than just perform music, I wanted to put on a SHOW. So, after digging out the lights, setting up the DMX, I was ready...
...well sort of.
This series of blog posts are going to be centered around how I setup my live rig, and hopefully give any other working musicians an idea or two on how to run your shows! Of course, I am just a solo artist for the most part, but this works for full bands too. Remember, be unique. You might like my setup, but it doesn't work for everyone.
So, first things first. You might be asking, "Brian! What the hell do you have up there on stage?!?!" (and by stage I mean my unfinished basement). Well, here's the rundown.
- Chauvet DJ SlimPAR 64 RGBA (x2) - Stage Wash
- Chauvet SlimPAR HEX 3 IRC (x2) - Spot/Wash
- Chauvet DJ 4Bar Complete - Stage/Ceiling Wash
- Chauvet DJ 4Play - Beam Effect
- Enttec DMXis - USB Hardware Control for DMX
- Chauvet DJ Lighting Stand - Stands for Lights
- Chauvet DMX 3-pin Cables - For connecting lights
That's just for the lighting! Again, they're all being controlled via DMX and being run through my DMXis, which I can open in Ableton Live and use to automate my show. The Sound Enforcement is constantly changing, but currently this is what I have settled on.
- Yamaha 12" Passive Speakers*
- QSC Power Amp*
- Focusrite Saffire Pro 56*
- Apogee Big Ben
- 4-Channel Tapco Mixer*
- Pro Co 4-Channel Switch
- Galaxy Audio In-Ear Monitors
- SKB Board Power
- Boss Tuner*
- Radial ToneBone PZ-Deluxe
- Pigtronix Infinity Looper
- TC Electronic MojoMojo
- TC Helicon Mic Mechanic
- Radial Passive DI
- Keith McMillan SoftStep*
The last thing would be the software I use. I run everything through Ableton Live, including DMXis as an instrument. The only thing that gets produced separately is VDMX, which is what I use to produce the images on the LCD Monitors. I am still working on improving my Max for Live skills to create some sort of instrument that will work in accordance with VDMX, but as for now it gets run parallel to Ableton, synced via internal clock.
SO...it seems like a lot is going on. Which you would be right, but through all the chaos, it is actually quite simple to set it all up. The biggest investment in something like this is time, but once you get everything set up the first time, it is simple to make little edits and tweaks. The first setup I did, I produced a live show I performed in my basement. The show was a success (minus the first song), the audience was sparse, but it helped me work out some kinks and gave me a new understanding of the software I was using. You can view it in it's entirety below.
In the next section I will dive into the basics of setting up the lights into DMXis. We will go over everything from:
- Understanding the basics of the DMX protocol
- The DMXis software
- Finding fixtures that aren't included in DMXis
- Creating a light show in Ableton Live using DMXis
I know this was just a glance at what I'm doing, but I hope you stay tuned for further posts!
*Products linked may not be exactly the same, but are the newest versions of what I am presently using.