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Backlighting Muslin

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jmac, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    For part of upcoming show, director would like to backlight a 12' wide by 7' high piece of painted muslin which will be shielding a couple singer/dancers.

    Being low budget, he has suggested a couple Home Depot construction type flood lights aimed at floor, to bounce light up to the fabric.

    Have never done this or any cyc lighting before. Any feedback, or better ideas? We will probably only be able to position lights above. I think our rental company may have some kind of border/strip light which might work.

    Any ideas welcome. Thanks.
     
  2. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Is his concept to silhouette the performers? If so, you'll need to employ a single source fixture. Generally, an open face fixture will do nicely.
     
  3. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    I believe so. What do you mean by an open face fixture?
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Any lensless, floodlight-type fixture, most often a broad.

    Bouncing light off the floor will probably not work. As your director suggested, an outdoor floodlight from your Home Center, WHEN USED WITH THE PROPER PRECAUTIONS, should do nicely.

    When one compares this fixture:
    [​IMG]
    Lumark at Lowe's: White Single Head Floodlight

    with this one:
    [​IMG]
    Aurora |Aurora Flood,

    there are more similarities than differences. Granted, the true cyc light is more powerful, has better optics, more mounting options, built-in provisions for holding color media, et cetera; but any fixture using the linear T-3 lamp should work fine for this application.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  5. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    You can also buy those T-3 worklight fixtures that are similar to the security/landscape lighting type, except that they have a bracket/yoke attached to the base. You can unbolt the yoke from the base and attach the proper clamp to hang it from a pipe. The whole in the yoke is probably too small for your average c-clamp, but you could buy a smaller one to fit the light. The good thing about this is that it mounts in a more conventional way and has a line cord already installed. The only problem is the wire guard which usually creates shadows. This can be taken off, but it is not recommended. If you were to keep it, the wire guard allows you to secure a gel "bubble" around the front of the light.

    Side note: what is the harm in taking the wire guard off these worklight fixtures? The security light type doesn't have them, and even if the glass were to shatter, it is tempered, so any pieces will still fall through the guard. My guess is that the wire guard is there to protect the lens from objects, or to keep flammable articles a certain distance from the lamp since the fixture is to be moved around frequently. I think that a good upgrade if bringing a worklight in to the theatre would be to remove the wire guard and add a finer wire mesh in front of the lens. You could also mount on gel frame clips if good with metal screws/pop rivets. Bending metal clips could be done by hand if using thin enough material. It would be nice to also put a fiberglass sleeve over the cord if possible. I might buy one at my place of business (Lowe's) and see if I can do this. They're only about 10-15 bucks for the single fixture on a base, so why not.
     

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