I read an article on stage lighting intended more for an orchestra. But, it did bring something to my attention, I needed side lights. I originally thought that one good light up front would be ok, but finally decided to buy two side lights to round out my lighting. All my lights are LEDs. They run cool, take less power and I think they stand up better to handling. My front lights are the Chauvet LED 4Bar which cost me $525. It is 4 large RGB LEDs and came with a nice tripod and a bag. I can adjust the four lights to give a nice wash of light over my whole stage. My side lights are 2 Chauvet LED Rain56 lights for $375, again, on stands. I found some great generic stands for only $16 a pair. I bought these TVMP adaptors for $36 so that I could put the lights right on the top of the stand. I also bought a bag for these two stands for $35. I am starting to think that I might buy another bag and pack one light on its stand into each bag, therefore saving setup and takedown time.
I bought tree 25 foot DMX cables for $85 to connect these three lights to my lighting computer. The DMX cables daisy chain, that is, one cable from my computer to light 1, one cable from light 1 to light 2 and the third cable from light 2 to light 3. The computer needs an interface and I bought a simple and cheap one from Enttec called the Open DMX USB Interface. As you can see by the name, I will hook it to my computer with a USB cable. The software on my computer will be a free download called DMX Control.
DMX is another type of interface. It is designed to talk to lights. It can get quite exotic but for my purposes, I only need to turn lights on and off and maybe fade a bit here and there during a song. I want to create a MIDI track from RealBand and send it to DMX Control to tell it what to do with my lights. I hope that works ok, I haven't tried it yet. The software says it can understand incoming MIDI signals so I am not expecting any problems with that. Each DMX instruction has a light address with it, so the light you want to change will be the only one to actually get the message.