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Audience Riser Rake Considerations

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by TD22, May 5, 2018.

  1. TD22

    TD22 Member

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    Hello,

    Coming into a newly renovated space which unfortunately bought a riser system with a terrible rake!

    It's a Steeldeck Staging system, so easy enough to change the riser heights, but I just want to do it once and get it right!

    Here are the facts:
    -Lowest ceiling point @ 12'6 1/2" above deck.
    -Currently have 7 separate riser heights, and one row of seating on deck for a total of 8 seating rows.
    -Current riser rake is @ 7 3/4"
    -All directors hate our rake, say they can't see over the heads of those in front! And I agree.
    -We have tried alternating seating so view is between shoulders, to no avail...

    We have it in the budget to order a new supply of legs to change the rake, but want to make sure I don't blow it!

    Using the NY Fire code, I have determined that the maximum rise we can achieve is 9.5" height difference between each audience platforms, given that we must have 7' from top of highest platform to bottom of grid. This means the highest allowable platform height is 5'6 1/2". Also want to keep the 8 seating rows for ticket sales purposes.

    My questions to the community are:
    -Is it really worth it to go from a 7 3/4" rise (12 degree rake) to a 9.5" rise (15 degree rake)? Will it make a difference?

    -Should I do a larger rise between platforms, say 1' height difference (18 degree rake) but then requiring 2 rows of seating at the deck level.

    Thanks!
     
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    This is a drawing problem, and not one words help much. I can draw this for you - a sketch next week if i have more data - but my instinct is either 2 rows on flat and 5 risers at 13.5" , adding intermediate step units so aisle stair rise is 6.75" OR stay with one row on flat, one row 5.25" without intermediat e step, and 6 rows of 10.5" with intermediate.
    Math needs checking. Other places in the country max rise in stair is 8" and mind head clearance is 6'-8". But i think cpncepts are discernable.

    Starting from scratch, I usually start eith floor, 8" rise to row B, and 16" rises there after, with intermediate step units that also contain aisle light and hand rail. And stagger seats. It will be gard to get "good" overview sightlines for 8 rows with 12"-6" clear. Id search for solutions with fewer rows.
     
  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @TD22 Definitely a draw before you build problem as @BillConnerFASTC states. Have you considered a lesser quantity of larger, more stable audience risers beginning with two rows on the floor followed by two rows one step higher then two more rows another step higher resulting in a lesser number of steps, reduced overall height and don't forget to account for your FOH lighting and any projection while you're still in the drawing stage. Be sure to tighten and shim all legs to maximize stability, minimize noise and increase patron's confidence.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  4. TD22

    TD22 Member

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    Thanks all,

    I have some drawings, will share when I get some time (currently TD'ing 3 spaces in the new building, with backlogs of programming so we are slammed...) But I'd like to reiterate - I've done the drawings and found that the best rake we can get is the 15*, while keeping in accordance with all of our codes and vendor considerations. (Projection and FOH lighting is not much of a concern here...)

    **Is it worth it to go from 7 3/4" to 9.5" rise? **

    Does anyone have a theater with a 9.5" rise or equivalent? Is it satisfactory? After that question is answered I will begin to consider the two-row and other options outlined above. Thanks
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Sorry. Too much I don't know. I've never used angle for rise and run seating tiers so have to draw or trig to know what row-to-row is. Also, is the edge of acting area 4' or more or less from first row line, and is acting area at first row elevation or is it typically raised?

    I don't think 9.75" with typical 36" rows is enough rise for a typical studio seating system.

    Best sight lines area always an increasing rise - a parabolic curve. Each successive rise would be higher. On the other hand, I've never worked where single 9.75 risers are permitted. Usually 8" is max.
     
  6. TD22

    TD22 Member

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    Thanks all. Steeldeck NY was nice enough to loan us legs to create both a 10" rise and a 12" rise in our space. We went with the 12" rise, using 6" steps in between. The top row is close to the grid, but not dangerously so, and it's mostly for technicians anyways, those of us who know to **Watch our heads**

    Thanks!
    A
     
    RonHebbard likes this.

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