New Lights at The Wonder Bar!

August 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Out with the old and in with the new. It has been quite a long time coming for the sound engineers at Asbury Park's world famous Wonder Bar. The new lights have arrived, and man are they a treat. Performers are now bathed in the warm streams of LED's, nary a dark area on the stage and just about any color combination possible. I still dig the all white look though, very dramatic, and previously we only saw it when there was a problem with the former lighting set up. 

A couple of days before the install, we were jamming out at Happy Mondays and out of no where, darkness hit.  Sound engineer Frank Natale busted ass and hit the reserves, one of which was a huge old fashioned pot front and center. Frank had reached his breaking point, stated his case, and two days later up they went. There has been an ongoing renovation of both the inside and outside over the past couple of months, and many updates are still to come. The lights were already on the agenda, this just pushed things along a bit. The place really looks and feels great.  

These lights though. I think the days of throw away shots are done here. Well, due to image quality anyway. There will always be throw aways. We will save that discussion for another time. I am pretty certain a crop bodied SLR could manage some amazing images at a decent iso without the need for flash. Yes, that good. For my first show with the lights I left iso and aperture alone. I just played with the shutter speed. My iso when covering gigs at the Wonder Bar normally stays at 5000 with an aperture no greater than 2.2 here, 2.8 if I have the wide angle on. Room for lots of light. Well, theoretically anyway. At times 1/160th was a struggle. Not anymore. Reviewing my shots I was averaging 1/500th, pretty much unheard of here. 

Thing about LED's though is white balance can be all over the place depending on the colors coming through, the angles you take and how wide your shot is. Not complaining! Sliding left will also never be a concern any longer. Hallelujah. I just love it when you take the dropper and auto select comes back at 50,000 and +/- 150. Let us just say I cool those down dramatically. Red wash is still a bitch, though I am thinking the purple might be my new nemesis. Drummers seem to be more affected during the dreaded red but I think we may be on to something now in the corner. A nice mix going on here. 

One more item on the install agenda is a new smoke machine. Since it still on the to do list, i brought along a can of Atmosphere Aerosol. I love this stuff and have been looking forward to using it during a portrait session but have not yet had the opportunity to do so. Every now and then I would give a little five second burst which gave me about 90 seconds of shooting time before it dissipated. The new AC unit circulates the air super fast. 

I will be dropping the iso next week now that I know what I am working with. Pretty certain I will still get a shutter speed I like. And I will be looking forward enjoying some more colors. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Phil

 


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