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A Few Cyc Questions

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by rochem, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    hey all,

    I have some questions about how to use a cyc. My high school's theatre has never used anything resembling a cyc, and since we don't have fly space all our backdrops are generally just a black traveller. I'm trying to change this, but first I need some help with some stuff.

    First of all, construction of a cyc. Can a cyc be made out of normal muslin that's used for drops? Can it have seams or is seamless necessary? Is there any special ways to flatten this out, other than a pipe at the bottom? Also, what I want to do is light the cyc from above from the 4th Elec, which would be downstage of the cyc. But then I want to have the Ground Row of instruments set upstage of the cyc on the floor. This is because I have circuits along the back walls for the GR, but my last electric would be in front of where the cyc would hang. Would this cause a problem with making an even wash of light, or would it not be a noticeable difference?

    Finally, colors. I've read on here somewhere that using saturated gels in R40 strip lights isn't a good move. Can I use less saturated colors in R40s and still have them function? Also, if I needed a more saturated color, is there a certain type of gel I should use to give the gel a reasonable lifespan?

    Sorry for throwing so many questions in there, just answer what you can and thanks!
     
  2. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    I'll try at as many questions as possible. A seemless white muslin fire treated cyc is what you need. The pipe on the bottom is a good way to stretch but if you clamp a pair of 2 by 4s on either side and then tie them off to something and tighten them together you can get it even tighter. For colors i like to go with the r124-r127 series i think it is. Pretty much a rbgy mix that works however, i will sometimes change colors on a per show basis. Life depends on what your idea of a cyc fixture is.
     
  3. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Seamed muslin is fine as long as you don't light the cyc from behind (each seam will be very pronounced.) Seamless is always preferred.

    Spring clamps and bungee cords can stretch a cyc quite nicely.

    As stated previously, the material must be certified as flame retardant.
     
  4. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies, i forgot to mention the flame retardant material.

    Can I downlight a cyc from downstage of the cyc, and uplight it from upstage of the cyc (on regular seamless muslin material) and still have it produce a good even wash? Or do both units really need to be on the same side of the cyc?
     
  5. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Yea, that should work, in fact I have done that before and it worked rather well. R40 strips, in my experience, handle saturated primaries fairly well. If not, look at the high temp gels sold by LEE. I don't have exact numbers, I'm more a Rosco/Apollo man myself.

    What instruments are you lighting with? Just R40 strips? How far is your 4th electric from the cyc? And finally, are these three circuits or four?

    Welcome to the Booth! Our probing questions are to assist you further.
     
  6. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Our R40's have handled saturated gels farily well except for some oddballs. I am sure to check them before each show, though.

    Can I throw my own question in here? How far away should the downlight be away from the cyc for a proper wash? I assume it depends on the fixture and gel...

    [/hijack]
     
  7. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I have 3 Altman 3-section sky cyc fixtures which I am most likely going to hang on the 4th Elec to downlight the cyc. Although if having them in the GR would be better, I can do this too. Other than that, it's just lots of R40 3-circuit strips. Right now they have RBG roundels in them, although I may replace some of these with gels to get a specific color.

    Before I entered the program, our theatre operated under the "point the bright end towards the stage and turn it off for scene changes" method of design, so I'm changing that. I have a good amount of spare line sets behind the 4th Elec, most storing things like old costumes and broken fixtures, so I can be flexible in how far I hang the cyc from the 4th Elec, depending on what would produce the best lighting. Pretty much anything from 1' to 9' upstage of the 4th Elec is possible.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Ah, the old "it shoots light out" method. I think a lot of us faced that and one point in our lives, and then decided we could do better. Altman Sky Cyc's are great fixtures, using them as top light is the best application for them. Check out the specifications here. Altman literature suggests they be eight feet from the cyc for best results.

    If you are doing "traditional" red/green/blue color mixing, the glass roundels should be fine, and I wouldn't worry about gelling them. If you choose to get a bit more adventurous, which it sounds like you are, I haven't had trouble with gel on R40's.
     
  9. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the help! Just one more slightly unrelated question for you all. How would I go about making a good-looking sunrise and/or sunset on a cyc with the instruments I mentioned above? I'd like it to actually show a passage of time throughout a scene, so from the faintest lights over the horizon to a full blown bright morning.

    Obviously each situation and each show will be different, but I'm having trouble even getting a basic sunrise or sunset to work how I want it to. If you give me an example, I will be able to apply that to my current and future shows so that I can actually produce a good sunrise/sunset, instead of just pretending like it doesn't exist. It's worth mentioning that I can regell any of the units, or I can use other fixtures (fresnels, PARs, etc) on the cyc if needed.
     
  10. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    Do you have any source 4s or other lekos that you can use?
     
  11. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Oh yea, should have mentioned those. I have a decent number of spare source 4s that i could use on the cyc, primarily 19, 26, and 36 degrees, but I have some others as well.
     
  12. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Some questions: How many dimmers can you dedicate to your sunrise/sunset? The more you can separate your fixtures, the better you can get. What kind of console do you have? A simple 2-scene preset will make a very difficult transition while a more complex console where you can part out your cues will make a very convincing scene change.

    Get out and watch a few. You will notice different colors depending on where you live. It doesn't really matter what it would look like where the play takes place, it matters what your audience expects. Out west, I add lavenders to my sunsets and I was told I was crazy by someone from New York, until they experienced one of our sunsets. I recommend using silks in your colors so that they blend nicely (sunsets aren't blotchy). If you have the added circuits to add colored cloud gobos, that will only improve the look. I understand doing things on a budget, so I often use PARs to do the sunset (and fill in with the cyc lights).
     
  13. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    From what you have said i'm guessing that your school doesn't have anything like a moving light or a moving mirror. But, if you did, a glass gobo of the sun or a moons can be lots of fun cause you can make it rise and set and make it look rather convincing. Just did a moon setting and sun rising for pirates of penzance a couple of months ago. But if it doesn't need to move i have some ideas.
     
  14. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I'm running an ETC Express 48/96 board, so while not the best, I do have cue capability and such. As for dimmers, I have at least 24 that I can dedicate to the cyc, and if I needed more I could most likely find others. I was thinking of giving each color on each fixture it's own dimmer (at least in the GR) to allow maximum control.

    As for moving lights or mirrors, I don't have anything. I'm in the process of trying to get some for my school, as it will then encourage us to upgrade our board, but that probably wouldn't happen until I'm gone unfortunately.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    ONE way to do a cyc sunset effect.
    Assume cyc lit from 4E, with "sky cyc" type fixtures
    (1)red,
    (2)blu,
    (3)grn.
    R40 strips [300R40/FL lamps] from the floor as a ground row in
    (4)red,
    (5)blu,
    (6)grn.

    Q1, daylight, chs (1>6) @ FL.
    Q2 P1 T 5:00 ch(1,3) @ 00.
    Q2 P2 T 9:00 ch(2) @ 25.
    Q2 P3 T 4:00 ch(4) @ 00.
    Q2 P4 T 8:00 ch(5) @ 25.
    Q2 P5 T 3:00 ch(6) @ 00.

    Adjust times in parts 1>5 to your liking.

    The effect can be reinforced by a progression of sidelight from one side of the stage, starting with pale yellow/BA in the Pipe End sides, moving to amber in the boom tops, orange in the head highs, and finally, red in the shins. The opposite sidelights would have daylight blue in the high sides, progressing to primary blue in the shins.
     
    natebish, rochem and (deleted member) like this.
  16. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Thats exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Thanks for all the help!
     
  17. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    For a static look, I also recommend using a projector (slide projector works fine) using an image of a real sunrise/sunset and filling in the remainder of the cyc with complimentary colors. I have had wonderful success with this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  18. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    If you have enough R40 sections you can do a double ground row. One can be gelled with red, magenta and yellow allowing you to slowly fade through sunrise colors. The second can be gelled in blues for your daytime sky.
     
  19. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    By channeling all the g-row individually, you can give a "direction" to the sunset. You know, having one end be more amber/red than the other as the sun "sets".

    Although I've mostly seen it used for sunrises, another trick is to put a couple fresnels or pars and scrape them across the bottom of the cyc from behind. Frosted lekos will do it also, but it IS a bit easier with the softer fixtures.

    Just a thought...

    --Sean
     
  20. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    That sounds like a good idea if I didn't have enough fixtures to get the effect I want. Definitely gonna keep that one in the back of my mind for future use. On a slightly different topic, would you hang the projector on a pipe over the stage, then run it through the board, or would you rear-project it, or would you hang it FOH? The only times I've used a projector in a show we just put it on a stand in the pit.


    This is something like what I was originally thinking. Originally, I wanted to have all these colors in the strips rather than mixing them, but obviously I didn't have enough circuits per lamp to fit all the sunrise colors plus general colors. But a double row sounds like a good idea. I should have enough for that.


    Yea, to be honest a sunrise is what I'm more concerned about right now, since it's going to open the show and be much more noticeable than the sunset (which is near the end). Putting fresnels along the bottom sounds like a good idea. I've been trying to come up with ways to replicate the brightest spot in the middle of a sunrise right before the sun comes up over the horizon with strip lights, but I don't think it can be done. But doing it with fresnels or pars would work perfectly. Why didn't I think of that before??? Thanks!

    God, CB is awesome. Where else in the world would you be able to ask a question and get lots of varying and unique replies? Thanks!
     

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