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1950's themed soda shop--ideas on lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by JahJahwarrior, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    for our school talent show this year, the theme is 1950's. We are going to try and turn our stage into a 1950's soda shop, albeit, it's only a few weeks away, and we are not going to do anything like repaint. I have an old jukebox that doesn't really look that 1950's, but I can work with it, I think. Doesn't work, but I can simulate it working :) As for other things, I'm hoping to use lighthing to create the theme. I have some other ideas too, but really, any advice you have on 1950's would be great, as far as lighting goes .

    I want an "open" sign somewhere. I have one, but it's the kinda you buy at walmart :) not very big, but it would work for something, I figure. I have a bar I can work with. I can get barstools and another table. (might mention, basically, people will be doing many different things, and we will work them all into the 1950's theme somehow, like if they dor a skit about austronauts then our mc would talk about this skit from the future or something, you konw? Iwill have a few element on stage, a table, a bar, a jukebox, but most of the space will be open for acting in. acting, singing, skits, a punk band will play think too. ) Another thing I want is both a coke or pepsi sign, and a menu sign. The menu--I think I can get some material that is like whiteboard, and make a sign on that. Any idea how to put lettering on it nicely, without buying hundreds of letters and numbers from homedepot too ? (i think that might look crappy) I'll lighti it from the outside. the coke sign needs to be lit from the inside, right? I don'tknow where I could get one for free, but I could try and make one. Plexigas painted on the inside, with a flourescent light behind it....would that work, you think? The other thing is, I am thinking that the lighting then would have been harsh, like cold....I could be wrong, but I kinda want to have a flourescent up in the ceiling and flip it on and off rapidly every once in a while to simulate a flourescent that's dying. stupid idea, or not?

    feedback is appreciated! thanks!
     
  2. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Cheap neon (maybe there's a rental place, or a collector you could contact?), lots of full on brightness. My memories of the 50's are based on tv, since I wasn't born. To me, the soda shop is a cool idea, and everything should be bright and new looking I would think. As for the jukebox, well, if it's not a 1960's model, it should be fine.
     
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    everything needs to be bright and new looking, the ligthing should be incandescent instead of flourescent(which was not in wide usage at that time)
     
  4. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    well, I'm lighting it with 16 par 56/64 (some of each) but you think the flickering flourescent light (the lamp would not be seen, only the flickering would be midly noticed) is a bad idea? ok.

    I've thought about asking them if they can buy one of those cheap clocks from somewhere that has the puprle or pink neon tube around it...

    oh yeah, gels. I'm thinking I should leave all of them w/o gel. If I were to use a gel, which color should I use? I would think a yellow gell might be ok in one or two lamps. I have four lamps right over the stage. Anything I can do to accent those?
     
  5. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid the flickering idea would appear to the audience to be a mistake. For the gels, if you need some color, I would stick to primaries. If you have red on the set, it may not hurt to add alittle red into the mix. Not a wash, just some accenting. For key light, I would lean towards warmth, such as light bastard amber or even a pale pink. Try to add alittle cool in there too. Even if its a warm look you are going for, alittle no color blue to counterbalance it wouldn't hurt. Real neon is expensive, especially something vintage and in working condidion. I'm not sure of any other ways to simulate neon, other than rope light or something. Once we made a sign for 'House of Blue Leaves' that was a 2 x 4 flourescent fixture. We reversed the lens and taped gels behind it. Then we taped off the front in what we wanted it to say and sprayed the rest black. When we peeled off the tape it was a black panel with different colored letters and a really cool martini glass. If you coordinate the gels well, you can get a nice multicolored sign that way. You could probably even tape off the letters in a 'font' that would look like neon tubes. I think the way we did it was we stuck tape onto the areas where we wanted letters and just cut them out with a matte knife while they were on the lens. Since it was a Flourescent light, it really resembled neon. And there was very little heat. Just remember flourescents aren't effective on a dimmer.
    Hope this helps
     
  6. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid the flickering idea would appear to the audience to be a mistake. For the gels, if you need some color, I would stick to primaries. If you have red on the set, it may not hurt to add alittle red into the mix. Not a wash, just some accenting. For key light, I would lean towards warmth, such as light bastard amber or even a pale pink. Try to add alittle cool in there too. Even if its a warm look you are going for, alittle no color blue to counterbalance it wouldn't hurt. Real neon is expensive, especially something vintage and in working condidion. I'm not sure of any other ways to simulate neon, other than rope light or something. Once we made a sign for 'House of Blue Leaves' that was a 2 x 4 flourescent fixture. We reversed the lens and taped gels behind it. Then we taped off the front in what we wanted it to say and sprayed the rest black. When we peeled off the tape it was a black panel with different colored letters and a really cool martini glass. If you coordinate the gels well, you can get a nice multicolored sign that way. You could probably even tape off the letters in a 'font' that would look like neon tubes. I think the way we did it was we stuck tape onto the areas where we wanted letters and just cut them out with a matte knife while they were on the lens. Since it was a Flourescent light, it really resembled neon. And there was very little heat. Just remember flourescents aren't effective on a dimmer.
    Hope this helps
     
  7. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    well, that might work...that just might. My idea is similar, except I would take clear plexiglas (or, if Icould find it, a panel that is whitish, but lets somet light though.....i could probably find something like that at homedepot) and get white, red and blue paint. Mark off areas and spray parts white, blue and red, to look like the coke logo, but I'd try to find older one. (those might not be the right colors...i don't drink much soda, so I don't see the logo much :) ) then put some floursensents behidn it. Not neon lettering, but a white lit up sign. And I'd sorta like to have a menu board too, but on the whiteboard material (Iknow I can get a board of that at home depot pretty cheap) and lit from the front, not behind.

    I see what you mean about the flickering light.....also, I agree about the gels. if you have a swatchbook, what about some R33 or 333, and some R60, as you suggested. ?? I'd put four lights with the pink, four with the blue, because that means 2 sheets (I can get four gels a sheet) which is reasonable. Budget isn't too huge, but I don't know exact numbers.

    one more thing--mic. I was thinking we call it a talent night at the soda shop, that way the mic in themiddle on a stand fits in with it too. does this look fiftes, http://www.shure.com/microphones/models/55sh.asp ? I think for most of the show I can use just one mic, except for that band, they will need several. I don't know if I can get that shure mic, I am not sure if I can rent one locally. Other choices are a beta 58, and 57. I have lots of other mics too but they are alls imilar to the beta 58, just with a black body and different capsules and stuff.

    oh I love asking questions!

    [/url]
     
  8. lxdeptnz

    lxdeptnz Member

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  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    If it’s the rear side of a sigh, perhaps some cut plywood with rope light glued to it’s off stage side would suffice for a neon effect. In the case of a menu, perhaps a caulk board with colored chaulk would work better or at least more simply.

    My initial questions will have been, in thinking 1950's design, what do you see? But it would seem you have this design intent covered and are searching for more ideas. Perhaps searching the library for a book on 1950's diners might have some usefulness as to in photo how much was neon and as if Grease the musical, verses how much was in reality bad lighting in being just as dingie as it might seem with a greasy spoon dive. Might look into the play “Bus Stop” for it’s movie version. Still for the talent show, hedging on the Grease theme one might take it to extremes like with under lit neon counters in also using rope light, and when seen perhaps flexible neon if the budget is there. Other general lighting can take the neon for a key and go to pastels and neon based phosphor glow for the look. This especially if balanced with a warm white 2,800K the fluorescent lamps will most possibly have been in use. So perhaps some medium or deep amber for wash base and neon/pastel for the key light in thinking it’s graphically representing what you describe for intent.

    As for florescents resembling neon, there are some colored and especially red phosphor neon lights when used with also perhaps black light blue lamps that could pop effectively. Unfortunately while GE does make a T-8 red lamp (3/4" dia.) Most are T-12 which at an inch or more is a little large even if used in straight lines. There are also some T-4 (1/4") compact fluorescent red lamps but still limited in value for this application given the U-shaped twin tube.

    Beyond all of this, your pink and other intent will tend to make costumes and set pop and while it’s not a lighing effect is still very much of necessity in making the set and costumes pop so your thoughts on pink if not other supplemental if not even pastel colors even if not represented by the light sources will be useful. Given all of this, neon key light, dim fluorescent fill light, and other all need to make pastels pop in the light, it will no doubt be a hat trick to pull it off.

    Florescents effective on a dimmer... depends upon the dimmer and ballast. See the Encapsulite http://www.encapsulite.com/home.htm website for both no doubt neon options and for their fluorescent stick lights that are dimmable down to about 40% and one ballast will work on any lamp up to 96 Watts. They use a good grade of magnetic ballast, this as opposed to some electronic ballasts that are on the market which are also dimmable, much less fluorescent systems that are dimmable by way of DMX control these days - a study of Leviton and Mangetech websites would have for you. As for dimming even on a Sensor rack, to some extent between 60 and 90% the fluorescent will dim until it reaches a threshold where it will blink out. Given dimming the fluorescent is not really that good for the bulb, as long as you don’t hit that threshold, a fluorescent can be dimmed in any means you attempt once the lamp strikes and maintains it’s arc. Frequent stars and strikes are not that good for lamp life especially when on a dimmer, but for show conditions, it should not much be a factor. In other words, to some extent, no matter what ballast is used or what dimmer is dimming it, the fluorescent will dim. More a question of what details are dimming it.

    This is also the case for all arc source lamps in that a few years ago we were dimming on analog dimmers a neon sign for a off Broadway - pre Broadway show and it was getting down to about 30% before it dropped off. Variable resistance dimmers such as out of your science lab might also be serviceable for this purpose should it be of use and given you are not using the same type of ballasts as on the Encapsulite fixture that will dim with a digital dimmer as would any using the same ballast.
     
  10. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    well, because it's a talent show, I have no garuntees of anyone except the emcee dressing in the time period. There might be a few more other than him that are around on the stage just as people-props, but most of the people it's likely they will dress as needed for their performance, not to suit the age.

    Ship, two more questions. 1) what is the approximate color temperature of a 600 watt DYS lamp? I can find this out myself I think. And from there, would you advice gelling some with no color blue and some with no color pink, or you mentioned 2,800k. In my roscolux gel book they have a convertor for 5500k to 2900. Assuming that DYS lamps are around 5500, would it be better to skip those and buy a gell or two of this converor type gel?

    design is pretty much fixed, I cannot do much design, so I'm trying to find the little things I can do for free or cheap, and easily, to accent it. The walls will likely be the same color they were fr our last play--golden brownish. There should be a bar, a tble, some stools, and a jukebox, and all of that will hopefully look "period"
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    If the walls in being a good point are a golden brownish, than alot of the ambient light on the scene will already be there. While I would not put it as a major factor in color correcting my wash light for the reflected light off the walls, it still should have a slight effect on the general wash light you choose. This should you choose the lower color temperature effect as a base of light and supplement it with the pastels. (Remember that this is only design theory and not reality.) Perhaps one step up in gel to test with based upon reflected light/ambient light theory.

    Doing a wash of light with ray light lamps? What a shame. In any case, good diplomacy or that you realized that for any one ANSI lamp, there might not be a specific color temperature all of them burn at. Heowever in the case of a DYS ANSI lamp, it does seem to be uniform in color temperature until you get into the long life varients.

    It's a uniform 3,200°K which while somewhat hot is not overtly so. Your walls and choice of gel in sort of ambering if not in combination with browning up the light should suffice to even a 1/8th step correction gel. This especially after amber shift factors in. If the wash is dimmed sufficiently, and the pastels are sufficient to pop, it should not be much a problem, otherwise you can double gel the ambient choice.
     

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