42nd Street "Shinbusters"


I am doing this show in about 3 weeks, and I am wondering if anyone has ever done this show and what they have used for the "shinbusters" in the "Shadow Waltz" number?


we put to really old fresnels on bar stools with wheels. then, took out all the guts inside, put a huge flashlight inside, and wired them to a switch that a ctor could turn on on stage.


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We attached a fresenel with a one foot sidearm to a spotlight stand and had people wheel them out and move them back and forth from the pit.


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we had outlets on stage wired to dimmers, and took fresnels with btl lamps, put them on bars that people could hold (just a small peice of wood), had the people wear gloves, and just bring those out.


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Those sound really amusing. Lots of cool things for giving an actor a lighting fixture.

I'd proably use LEDs today


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ok... different show, but I used shinbusters once...

they lived up to their name... especially since the actors had never seen them before this show...

ours weren't on stage though... they were off just behind the legs on each side of the stages...

I took the c-clamps off and made a little mount for them out of 2x4 and then the mount was anchored to the floor...

it was also convient because we don't have color scrollers... but I was able to use the back stage crew as my human color scrollers switching the gel frames in between scenes... it worked...

oh... and I ended up basicly coating the lights with glo-tape... 500w BTL Fresnels...

The whole arrangement worked pretty well and after a week and a half of rehearsal the actors were used to the lights so by the opening of the show no one was hitting them...


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I have seen this done in an amatuer production I helped rigging lights for. I am not sure how big your stage is. For this production old footlights ( compartment battens) were placed at the front of the stage. The dancers were lying on the floor near them so the shadows projected up onto the back cloth. This was the main lighting for this scene and worked great. You may have some old footlights (compartment battens) lying around or some local theatre group or supplier will. They don't have to be new style. We used the old incandescent bulb type that worked just fine.


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I do't know what exactly the scene calls for, so I can't be of much help. If I get the gist of it though, you need some large shadows projected?

In Les Miz, we had some tiny floodlights that were used in the prostitutes' scene to project huge shadows on the back. I can't remember what they were exactly (I was actually in the sound team, and of all the toys we had, floodlights seemed kinda dumb :))


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jonhirsh said:
Do you mean Zip Strips or min strips.?


I had to look up what Zip lights are. I have never used them and don't know how bright they would be. But this is the sort of fitting I am talking about. Although I am thinking of ther older versions, used to be called footlights or ground rows, or batten lights. The ones we used had 150W incasndescent bulbs in them.

All you need is something strong enough to project a good shadow. Depending on the number of circuits in the batten you may be able to use a colour wash as well.


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wait a minute... are we talking about shinbusters or footlights> where i come from they are 2 totally diffferent things...

footlights are on the ground at the front of the stage...
shinbusters are on the ground in the wings off the stage... very useful with dancing and effects with low lying fog...

the reason they are called shinbusters is because actors sometimes walk into them when exiting the stage, last time i checked actors rarly ever walk off the apron which is why those are just refered to as footlights...

any sort of border or strip of lights isn't practical as a shinbuster because it would block the whole area preventing actors and sets from moving... by virtue of the fact that you are talking about them says that you have got shinbusters and footlights confused...

fresnels and 50 degree lekos are pobably the most common footlights, but a variety can be used... but they can't be strips... you can't block the whole area between the legs...

ok... just trying to get that clarified!


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re-read the topic and you will find someone made an alternet sugestion to busters they sugested Strip Lights and then i sugested Mini strips or zip strips seing as they are smaller mr16 versions of strip lights and thus more practicle.

so yes we were talking about busters and strip lights.



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alright... well for a minute, lets just think about the actual practicallity of that...

even on large stages... like for instance... lets just say we're at krannert (U of I)... they have a huge facility, but there is no way our show would have worked if we had used mini or zip strips as shinbusters...

Then, lets compare a strip of mini or zip strips to fresnels... in 1 foot of lateral space you can have 2 6" fresnels or 2 50 degree lekos for that matter... what do you get with the zip or mini strips? nothing even comparable to that! its a waste of time and a very stupid idea to try and put those in the wings of a stage.

just go with the fresnels or lekos... they will also give you more capibility to control the light than a zip or mini stip will


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Altman Zip Strip: http://mail.altmanltg.com/publicsynergy/docs/BDBinDoc.asp?Id={AE63CEBE-40BA-4B63-9297-F06E3FD26B69}

Excuse the funny link, the Altman website does not display categories in the web address.


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right... so you want to use a altman zip strip... i am presuming the ZS1 seeing as that is the only thing remotely feasible...

take it's output and compare it to a altman 65Q. look, the altman will give you much more flexibility when it comes time to program and you need things a little bit brighter, not to mention that you have much more flexibility when focusing a 65Q. also, look at the price... between $120US and $150US for a 65Q and $380US to $400US for a ZS1

the purpose of the zip strips isn't as a shinbusters on each side of the stage... it is a soft borderlight that can be used for washes, but in cclose proximity. it is a very efffective footlight also... but you don't use zip strips to wash a whole stage.

the price... the output... the flexibility all say don't go with the 65Q.

understand though that the 65Q isn't nesscary the best either depending on your situation... a par can or 2 might work just fine for your situation... a leko can be just as good if not better... whats available to you? but don't go using zip strips as shinbusters... thats just idiocy.


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First of all ricc0luke take a deep breath and count to ten.

there arent well all more relaxed.

second i dont think anywhere in the thread does it once compare an shin buster to a zip strip. Not once.

What the previous posts do say are two differnt possibilties to solve the issue of the OP. So lets disscuss what the to options proposed are.

1 shin buster- great for directional wash or a directional spot light if using an leko. this will give the shadow effect needed but in a very pin point way where the source is obvious and narrow. this can be slightly alterd with frost or silks but not completly.

2 Zip strip mounted verticaly. not used as a shin buster but used in as a wash that is coming from a 5 foot talll fixture. this will give an more difuse light and will give the shadows they wish to achive. and if you wish to colour it you can spread the beam even more with a piece of well oriented silk.

so both are perfectly good ideas they have there pros and cons it really depends on the effect they are going for. i belive that the zip strip will work better if its an shmultsy effect but if its a very moody scene i think the directional light of shin busters would work better.

i hope this has clarified the problems you have had understanding the thread. If you have a problem understanding what is being said next time, just ask and some one will be willing to explain or interpret the discussion. This might be wiser insted of making an extrem comment with-out fully understanding the topic being discussed.



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first of all... i am totally relaxed though the words might not reflect that... sorry i came off agressively...

i went back and re-read the forum... the subject of old footlights came about at the front of the stage when i brought up the point that shinbusters and footlights are totally seperate things just to try and clarifiy what we were talking about. the following posts came across as using zip strips as shinbusters. no where does it mention using the zipstrips vertically... but again differnt than shinbusters...

not that it is wrong to talk about anything other than shinbusters, i just think we need to be clear about what were are talking about... footlights, sidelights, and/or shinbusters. please... mounting zip stips vertically is an awsome idea that really never really occured to me... it's quite interesting- gald it came up, lets just try to be clear about what type we are talking about.



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Yea, it would be really nice in that I thought we were talking about footlights also at some point an somewhere it became side lights or was that also moving lights kicked off stage by the talent. In any case, jonhirsh you be nice also as if I am no doubt most above all. As long as it's understood that there is no spite, debate away and don't let me interfere. When helping others, that's another story.

Perhaps we should re-state and re-start the subject in what was this discussion about and the goals for the intent?

P.S. in my intro to art class, an instructor of mine used to go around singing something like "Oh' Lord, it's art be humble."

Let's take the example of a mini strip as a shin-buster or more accurately as a side light vertically mounted. Say five feet tall and three banks of them from both sides of the stage if not in addition to say a wash from the front by way of foot and top lights or all alone.

Even if all alone, let's re-design the typical application of a 50 degree mini-strip. Such a fixture would certainly be more dependable should it get kicked, much less have a more narrow profile. This in addition to the fact that in the 5' of a mini-strip, you normally have three circuits of lighting. How many circuits or colors of lighting within five foot of a side light do you normally mount? Two color or do you try to squeeze in say nine fixtures per five foot?

Some amount of color mixing can thus go on, or should one wish a two color side wash, one can bulk up one of the three colors for more output given a three circuit cyc fixture. Should one wish all one color, it certainly would have more light on target than that of a Leko.

But for individual lamps, perhaps instead go 60 degree on the bottom, 36 degree on the middle and 16 degree towards the top of the fixture, or even given a dual lamp per circuit fixture mix it up. Optically, this range might just even out class the typical side light in at very least once the performers head towards the edges of the stage, they won't be out of their light. For an amature performance, them not finding their light might be less a problem than.

None the less, this one bank of light when added to six of them from the sides and a few others, might just provide sufficient lighting. This much less a 75w but 12v lamp by way of efficiency and beam angle might become at some point similar in output.

As a side light is it the primary choice? Perhaps not in tradition. On the other hand, can by design it be used? I think it's possible as a show's concept for a different look. Will it work? Don't know until tried. One can follow dogmatic training or experiment and go with a design concept.

Lamp all these MR-16 lamps for 55K in color temperature or more possible for such lamps and it really would be unique look that might work. This in theory at least.


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Ok. Some of this is my fault for bringing in the foot light idea. I was just providing an idea that seemed to work well in a production that I was involved in. I kinda misinterpreted the shin buster idea. Following what people are saying about lighting from the side I can see where the different view points come from. I know someone said lighting from the front would be smultzy but don't we want strong shadows? Lighting from the sides, wouldn't that give more uneven shadowing of the dancers as they moved. Lighting from the front gives all the dancers equal shadow. Also this being largely set as a theatre piece are foolights such a bad thing? That is also why I suggest the old style foot lights.

Never having worked with zip lights I don't know if they would provide enough power to project the shadows.

Doesn't it also depend how the dance has been choregraphed?

Just a few thoughts?

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