The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Blackout Lights

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Clifford, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Do you not use blackout lights? You could be wearing reflective orange and not be seen. Well, maybe then you'd be seen. Anywho, it allows set changes to be done quickly, with the run crew being able to see and the audience not so much. Even us uber pale skinned people can wear short sleeves. This is one of the major reasons our dress code is comparitavely relaxed for people on deck.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,397
    Likes Received:
    2,782
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Re: Uniforms

    Please explain, identify, link the oxymoron "blackout lights".
     
  3. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Re: Uniforms

    Scoops with dark blue gels used during set changes. I never realized how oxymoronic it sounds. There's probably another name for them, but that's what we call them. Basically it allows for enough light onstage so that the crew can work quikly and accurately, but not enough in the house for the audience to see what's going on.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,397
    Likes Received:
    2,782
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Let's try calling them "scene change lights", shall we? Often times scene changes are carried out in a "blue-out" rather than a black-out, for reasons exactly as you describe. And, of course, all backstage lighting must be gelled blue, as blue somehow makes everything invisible.
     
  5. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    That makes more sense. The student TD before me always called them blackout lights, so that's what we've been calling them. We you be mad if I wrote "blue outs" on the console? It fits better.
     
  6. rosabelle334

    rosabelle334 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    Our blackout lights, or "scene-change lights" are in the wings, so they don't really help much when onstage. In addition to those lights, we use flashlights decked out with painter's tape over the light, or a piece of tissure paper taped on.
     
  7. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,354
    Likes Received:
    487
    Occupation:
    Prop-tart
    Location:
    Chicago
    Someone needs to invest in some blue diffusion gel for their flashlights.
     
  8. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Or the ability to see in the dark.
     
  9. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I never put a working crew in the dark. Always a 10% glow of R80 or something similar depending on what's in the rig. I don't hang extra fixtures for it, but for 90% of the shows I do I've got some dark blue up there in the rig, enough to do the job.

    Unless we are going to spoil some big reveal, I never opt to have a stage go full black for scene change. Not only is it safer for the crew working on the deck, but it gives the SM or anyone FOH the ability to see if something is set wrong, if there is a problem on stage, if something is about to happen, etc.

    We have LED Blue Lights running backstage in the wings during all performances for run lights -- thought about having some installed over the stage, but they don't dim so well as I've found, nor would they really have the foot candles to be any help over the stage.
     
  10. Marius

    Marius Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Why you kids today and your 'blue outs' and 'flashlights'! In my day we ran around in the dark, bumped into things, got stuff close to where it belonged, and we liked it!!! Now where's my Metamucil?

    ;)

    Although, all kidding aside, if your set change crew were to acclimate themselves to the dark a few minutes before the set change(I used to cover one eye so it would be completely ready) you'd be surprised how much light aisle and exit lights put on the stage. Plus the careful use of glow tape makes dark scene changes quick and accurate without giving away the magic.
     
    bobgaggle likes this.
  11. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    170
    Occupation:
    Shop Foreman
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    For the one show I SM'd, I had my whole crew close their eyes for a minute before the scene change. I implemented this after observing them watch the action from the wings before the blackout. what I discovered is that (for an inexperienced high school crew) closing their eyes acclimated their eyes to the dark and resulted in faster scene changes, (but i think it helped them focus too)
     
  12. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    I only ever use scene change lights on really complex sets. For example, when I did Diary of Anne Frank, the set consisted of 5 different levels, each one a room, and then a trap door out over the pit for entrances through it. Both Meip and Kraler spent the whole show under that space, as well as Dussell unit he comes in. The whole cast actually entered that way too for the 2nd scene as well. Dimable rope light on my console for them :cool:. Anyway, with 5 different levels, the highest being 8 feet in the air with no rail around it, and going from a trashed room to a clean room, on stage costume changes, and then at the end going from clean back to trashed, scene change lights were a must. I used R83 running at about 6-8% in selective areas so as to not light the set as much as the ground. Since the whole stage was above audience sitting level, this helped a lot. Glow tape was also heavily used on the set.

    Everything else, never use them. As stated, the glow from the house is generally enough. Coupled with the fact that back stage is dark, the crew's eyes are fairly well adjusted when they go on. For me to see, I generally stand out of my seat, and turn off my work lights or cover them. It helps a lot. I also try and run my work lights as low as possible, or gel them heavily with blues and/or purples. IR cameras are great as well if you have them.
     
  13. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    IR cameras? Your not at a high school are you? We can't afford lamps, let alone new-fangled gadgets like that.

    Scene change lights are just something we've always used, they're always up, and channels 45 & 46 on the board have always the "blackout scoops." I guess it's just what we're used to. It works, so why stop?
     
  14. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    :lol: Was there not to long ago though, 3 years at this point. IR cameras are nice if you have them. I have worked in a few theatres with them and they are great, but not something I need to do my job.

    As for the high school, I still got back and design shows there now and again. Budget just gets worse and worse, along with the students I am afraid to say.
     
  15. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    I'm also in California, where educational funding is a bit poopy at the moment. And they're just strange. Won't buy lamps, or housings for our PARnels, but they'll install new drywall in the dressing rooms.

    ...

    wtf?
     
  16. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,762
    Likes Received:
    427
    Location:
    Vegas
    My use of set change lights has really come with the crew on hand. On shows where it was volunteer hands that had maybe one rehearsal under they're belt I used set change lights (our rep plot had a system of dark blue fresnel down lights that worked great for this at 15-20%). In situations were it was a "professional" crew that was on hand for tech week and had lots of time to get used to the changes I haven't had a problem with changes in full blackout.

    As a side note with the eyes closed bit, in SERE training they told us that it can take up to 45 minutes to fully acclimate to dark from bright light. But if you're in a situation were you have you start seeing well in very low light and you keep one eye closed in bright light your "night vision" will return at an amazingly fast rate. Don't have any links to back it up but they tended not to lie to us.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,490
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Are you using a Maglight? Gel swatch books are the perfect size to cut a little circle and put it under the plastic lens of a Mag.

    One of the sweet toys I've managed to pick up for the theater is a night vision setup. Camera was about $400 and then got a Rosco "woods glass" filter that removes all visible light... primarly used for doing Blacklight effects. However if you then put a gel frame in front of it with heavy Red, Blue, and Green gels. No visible or UV light comes out. Just sweet I.R. The fancy glass costs about $250. Then you just need a monitor to run it through and some cable. Under $1000 your SM can have a full look at the stage in complete black. It's sweet and really helps with calling cues at the right time.

    Our zoo has a special Nocturnal House with animals that only come out after dark. They have the lights inside 12 hours off so it's lit for midnight at noon in the real world. There is a whole exhibit about night vision at the entrance while you wait for your eyes to adjust to the dark. They say it takes about 2-3 minutes for your night vision to begin to work. You get most of it after 20-30 minutes. But it takes a couple hours to get 100%
     
  18. rosabelle334

    rosabelle334 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    @ gafftaper

    We're using regular flashlights? I don't know, our school isn't very high-tech. I suppose cutting out something from a gel would work well, and save time, but i don't think our crew would ever think or that. Let alone our lights guy would never let our crew come at him with a bunch of scissors.
     
  19. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    Sounds like something that would be cool to have, but that we just don't need. (Especailly with a $200 annual budget.) If we get a grant that we're pulling for, it might become available though. I'll mention what you've said and see if it has any takers.
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,490
    Likes Received:
    2,468
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Go to your local Target/Kmart/Walmart sort of store and get yourself a AA MiniMag with a handy belt carrying case for $8-$9. You can be the first one on crew to be dressed like a real technician with a Mag.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice