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Dressing Room Renovations - mirrors/lighting?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by candaceshaw, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. candaceshaw

    candaceshaw New Member

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    Hello Everyone,
    I'm the new manager of a 150ish-year-old theatre in Lindsay Ontario, and we've got some money set aside from a larger grant to renovate our dressing rooms, which (to put it kindly) are pretty shabby. I'm open if anyone has any general suggestions, but particularly I'm wondering about lighting fixtures for the makeup mirrors - are there any products out there that cover us for safety concerns (a cage around the bulb, etc) as well as being generally useful?

    I think the stuff that's in place was put in in the 60s, and I'm not very happy with it.

    Thanks very much for your help!
    Candace
  2. tjrobb

    tjrobb Active Member

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    (NEC 70 - 2008)
    520 VI - Dressing rooms. Only a couple notes from there, one is the lamps MUST be guarded if less than 8' to the floor. Second, ALL receptacles adjacent to the mirrors must have a switch and an indicator lamp. The indicator lamp must be outside the room (in the hall) to indicate when the receptacles have power.

    Done with the education, I have two manufacturers that build makeup mirror lighting. The first is Times Square Lighting, the other is Cole Lighting. As the fixtures do the same thing, there aren't going to be many differences between the two companies.

    Hope this helps!
  3. jongaduet

    jongaduet Member

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    is that a local code? my newly renovated dressing rooms ain't got no cages for bulbs or indicator lights outside.

    but I usually find that a performer has unscrewed about half of the bulbs so it's not so bright i guess...

    our dressing rooms didn't actually get redone with anyplace to actually hang any clothes. no joke! we got new sinks, toilets.lights, and counters in all of em, but not one rack, not even a hook!
  4. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    NEC applies in the United States. There are many similarities between it and the Ontario Electrical Code but they are not identical. Consult a local licensed electrician or electrical engineer as well as your local city building inspector to see what regulations apply.
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I want to say the cage thing is an equity rule. I also think there was a thread on this exact issue a few years back.

    EDIT: Here is the thread: Dressing Room Lighting Problem: Cages for Bulbs?.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2010
  6. thatactorguy

    thatactorguy Member

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    Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to include outdoor receptacle covers as well; just a few more dollars.

    At the university where I took my makeup class, the lamps around the dressing room mirrors were alternating incandescent and compact fluorescent (Daylight, I believe). They probably did it, in part, to keep the room cooler, but it may have helped with application as far as accuracy went.

    At my theatre, we just turn off the makeup lights when actors are finished with them. When they need to use them, they turn them back on...

    I haven't seen the thread, but cages are a great idea, regardless of where the rule came from. Actors and Techs alike can get pretty rowdy :twisted:
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    We did a major overhaul of our makeup tables last summer. Having done some research, we could not locate a desirable pre-made fixture that we could install. We found one design that had recessed lo-vo lamps in an enclosed 4-6 lamp box, with frosted plastic covers. They were expensive and would have needed modifications to gang together, as well as requiring external switches, and pass-thru wiring to an external switch. As our existing system that used globular lamps with min-candelabra bases was a somewhat similar and difficult to maintain design, we decided to go to a more basic design.

    We ended up going to an ugly, but effective, cheaper and more durable system of standard 4" octagon electrical boxes with porcelain sockets that accept wire cages. Cages are a US NEC requirement. Our system is all surface mounted with 1/2" conduit to all boxes and the master switch, which has a 12/3 SJO cable and plug to a local outlet. They were relatively easy to install and are easy to maintain as all parts are off-the-shelf electrical parts.

    Our carpenters built up all as portable tables, 22 total for 8 dressing rooms. Some were 3 mirror tables, some 4, with between 14 and 18 lighting fixtures. We did not install electrical outlets, as that would have complicated the design and our dressing rooms already have wall mounted outlets.

    We chose cages made by McGill that are open ended, so as to allow ease of lamp changing. I went with 34watt incandescent A lamps, as it put out the right amount of light, versus heat, and is a lamp we use in abundance in our house lighting systems, thus stock hundreds. It's also a lamp nobody steals, as it's too ****ed dim to use in an apartment. We did a test run this past year with a tables worth of 7w CFL's, to find out if actors complained about the color, with 2/3 of the lamps getting stolen.

    Not pretty, but we had no issues over a season, having to simply replace occasional bulbs.

    Steve Bailey
    Brooklyn College
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  8. tjrobb

    tjrobb Active Member

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    Celestial Lighting has the BOL1000MB strip light that was installed when our reno was done early this year.

    Normally I wouldn't bring up an old thread, but as I was able to find a pre-made solution that worked well for our community theatre I thought I would mention it.
    As for energy / turning off the lights, we use Pass & Seymour timer switches (set to 1 hour) and CFL's to help the bills. So far no actor has had any complaints.
    And yes, we have guards on our strips, they can be sent that way from the factory.
  9. michaelburgoyne

    michaelburgoyne New Member

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    If you have continuous makeup counters you might consider running the lighting only above the mirrors, not down the sides of each station. This allows you to provide a continuous mirror that may be used by 4 actors for a small drama or 12 skinny dancers for a large event. It also significanatly reduces the number of lamps, related heat and installation costs. If the counter is white or light in value you should get enough reflected light to fill the shadows while applying makeup. We've suggested this option for many venues and not heard any complants from performers while the operators like the flexibility. A star dressing room would still include the vertical lighting strips on each side of the mirror.
  10. actorgeek

    actorgeek New Member

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    We went through a major dressing room renovation a couple years ago. We ended up with small, but nice, dressing rooms. However so many mirror lights were installed that you start sweating just turning them on. To this day, I think they've only been turned on for one run of a show.

    Also without cages teenagers enjoy flicking the bulb and getting the light to break. That got costly really quick!

    Good luck!
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    My greenroom doesn’t have the best ventilation. When you put a dozen people in there with the makeup lights on it becomes unbearable. So I'm thinking switching to LED lamps could be a huge reduction in heat. The current lights are 75 watt globe shaped medium screw base.

    Is anyone using LED's in their mirror lights?

    What are you using?

    Do you have color temperature issues?
  12. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    You have 4 factors in play here, first you need a colour temp of 3200, then you need a CRI of over 95 to give reasonable colour rendition, then you need an omnidirectional lamp, LEDs tend to be directional, and finally the cost would add up with so many lights.
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    Yeah the CRI seems to be the real issue. There are LED lamps rated 3k. But the CRI of everything I see is around 80-85.

    Budget: It'll be expensive, but not as bad as losing clients because my greenroom is unbearably hot.

    So the question is will my clients be happier in a cool greenroom or with a high CRI lamp. At this point, most clients unscrew at least half of the lamps.
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I'd lamp down. 75 watts is a lot of light. We get by with 40 watt super savers, which are actually at 34 watts.

    Satco make this lamp, it's about $.60 ea. from Bulbtronics. But a lot to deal with the lamp potentially being discontinued.
  15. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Active Member

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    I know this is wrong, but ours is currently outfitted with 3K CFL's. :oops: They have the A19 envelopes so you can't really see the spiral, but that's what they are. They were put in before my time started and I haven't gotten around to doing anything about since no one has complained (yet). If the CRI isn't that big of an issue these guys run super cool compared to tungsten and are a lot cheaper than LED I would wager, at least in replacement cost.

    We don't ordinarily get groups that have a supreme knowledge of lighting and the two that I expected would complain haven't mentioned it so it hasn't kept me up at night.
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    I just decided to go ahead and order enough LED's to try one mirror and see how they look. The CRI is 80 but the existing lights are 2850k and the LED's I got will be 3000k, so that's a step up. I'm thinking that the benefits of a cool greenroom (and a higher color temp) will outweigh any potential CRI issues. If it doesn't work out I'll just use the lights somewhere else instead. I'll let you know how it works out.
  17. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Active Member

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    Call it a "Green Greenroom" and double the cost for a rental. :twisted:
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    At this point they are always tripping the breakers with all fans blowing trying to stay comfortable.
  19. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    75 watts seems awfully high for mirror lights, most that I've seen are the 34/40 watt variety. Ours aren't on very much, we have fluorescent lighting overhead and a lot of people just use that. Those that do use the mirror lights usually only have them on long enough to do what they need to and then turn them back off. And then there are the 10 and under dance recital girls that think they have to turn every single one of them on. So when I walk into the dressing room at the end of the night to lock up it's 80* in there with the a/c unit running full blast.
  20. RickR

    RickR Member

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    5 points of CRI is pretty much beyond perception. You should note that CRI is a very vague average of pastels, so individual lamps with the same CRI can be very different.

    Short answer: check make up and costumes on stage with the selected gels and such. In the dressing rooms you are just duplicating what you did last time.

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