Casually catastrophic rigging . . .

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I thought possibly we could have a thread about ill-conceived rigging by the well intentioned but ill-informed . . .
Herewith two examples from my past:
1; Sometime in the mid 1960's, a friend who drives a civic bus for a living (and highway coaches for a busman's holiday) belonged to a fairly large Anglican church. His young people's group were throwing a party on a weeknight within the church and wanted a mirror ball and lights. I was asked if I could loan him a mirror ball, ball rotator and "some lights" as the group were certain they could handle installing, powering and striking everything. (How hard could it be, you know how that goes.)
Where I was at the time I had access to a British built Furse (Sp?) mirror ball approximately 24" in diameter with an internal 120 volt rotator and a half dozen Altman 6 x 22's lamped with 500T12's, along with a selection of round gobos, gobo holders, donuts, colors, cardboard frames, C-clamps, 20 amp 2P&G extension cables, 2/4's and adapters to standard 15 amp U-ground household males. The ball was quite new, in flawless condition and stored in the padded factory carton in which it had shipped across the pond. At an agreed upon time, my bus-driving friend met me and departed with the ball, four 6x22's, gobo holders, an assortment of circle gobos along with all necessary cables, adapters and spare 500T12's. A week or so later everything was returned all neat and pristine.
Here's the scary part I didn't hear until months later.
A member of his young people's group who "knew about rigging" had purchased four 25' coils of standard galvanized clothes line packaged as four 25' coils manufactured as one continuous length of 100'. I learned their "rigger" had clove-hitched one end to a brass handrail on the balcony of a choir loft on one side of the church, neatly uncoiled the clothesline keeping it kink free, stretched it across the width of their church and clove-hitched it to the matching polished brass handrail on the opposite side adding the crimp-on clothesline clips included with their clothesline for good measure. My friend had borrowed two 1,000 watt Variacs from a different friend and installed two 6x22's on the same handrails on both sides and powered them so he could light the ball from opposing sides in two contrasting colors and periodically use his Variacs to cross-fade between colors. Apparently their event had been well received, raised revenue for the group, everyone enjoyed their evening and my bus driving friend was delighted to have been able to pull his part together.
2; Leap ahead to sometime in the late 1970's, I had moved to Stratford, my bus driving friend had left his Anglican church and decided to join the congregation of the largest Roman Catholic basilica in our area. This time he had managed to pull together the same two Variacs but a smaller mirror ball. He didn't have any sources of gratis 6 x 22's at his disposal but he and his friends at his new Catholic group were sure they could easily handle the temporary installation of a simple mirror ball and a few colored lights. (How hard could it be? Again)
This time the basilica was even wider but clothesline had worked before to hold the larger mirror ball with its internal rotator. This time the group's "rigger" opted to blow his budget on the prettier "deluxe" clothesline with the blue or green plastic coating intended to stave off rusting. Not having Altman 6x22's available, my friend managed to borrow four MR16 "Birdies" each with short tails to a 120 / 12 VAC stepdown transformer. As I recall, this time the event was a halloween or similarly costumed gathering. Somehow they'd managed to hang an outboard rotator with the ball below it then found they needed to cluster their MR16's within a few feet of the ball using 1 x 3 saddled on the clothesline to act as boom arms to spread out their birdies along with all four of their old-fangled iron core transformers and a power bar fed by a substantial consumer grade extension cord. Again they had installed this on a couple of weeknights earlier in the week for a gathering scheduled for the Friday evening after which they'd have Saturday to tidy the basilica for Sunday's services.
Here's the even scarier part: Imagine my friends surprise when he received an urgent message to phone the basilica's cleaners IMMEDIATELY.
The cleaners arrived to clean around sun-up to find their entry effectively barred by the mirror ball, its rotator, the four birdies, their iron-core transformers, the power bar, the extension cord, the clothesline and the polished brass handrail from one of the two side balconies all in a tangled mess on the floor. The wood screws formerly securing the handrail's mounting flanges had ripped from the wood damaging the wood in the process.
"Jesus wept" to quote the bible and purportedly there was far less happiness to share this time.
Effectively they'd created a lengthy 180 degree bridle then hung their load from the center. Can you imagine the tension they'd created on the clothesline?
WHY AM I POSTING THIS?
I know we don't post 'how to rig' advice on Control Booth, and I'm hoping NOT to hear from a bunch of consultants expounding upon theories.
What I'm hoping is it may be possible for some of our respected certified theater and arena riggers to post a few examples of 'How NOT to rig!' from the perspective of educating the well intentioned before they attempt all manner of ill conceived temporary or permanent installations.
Am I feeling an impending swing of the silver deletion hammer?
@dvsDave @derekleffew @gafftaper @egilson1 @What Rigger?
Your thoughts please.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Seems like the major problem is people don't know what they don't know. Guarantee that "rigger" didn't know what a bridle was or how leg angle affects load. So you want to get people to know that there's a whole world of info that they don't know, and to appreciate the fact that they don't know it. All without telling them enough info to artificially inflate their confidence in their ability to do the job?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Seems like the major problem is people don't know what they don't know. Guarantee that "rigger" didn't know what a bridle was or how leg angle affects load. So you want to get people to know that there's a whole world of info that they don't know, and to appreciate the fact that they don't know it. All without telling them enough info to artificially inflate their confidence in their ability to do the job?
@bobgaggle Yes, basically: I'm hoping perhaps if a few of our most credible, experienced, certified theater and / or arena riggers relate enough tales of rigging gone wrong, or in imminent danger of, readers could benefit from the errant follies of others prior to repeating the same errors themselves: Don't blindly advise how to rig from unknown points in unseen venues but instead expose the great unwashed to a few of the errors commonly perpetrated and repeatedly executed by others along with blatantly pointing out the several errors in clear, grammatically correct English, possibly with links to specific directly applicable references.
I would NEVER represent myself as any manner of rigger, that said, I was surprised how long it took to explain to a purportedly experienced touring rigger why his 3 phase 1 ton chain hoist had just snapped the dead end of its chain off its case and unthreaded itself purely due to him having hastily mis-mated his incoming Cam-Loks. The touring rigger kept repeating it had been operating flawlessly at his strike last night thus he was insistent the fault had to be something our crew and venue had done to his hoist. I repeatedly pointed to the phase reversal switch and indicators on his distro / controller and urging him to change it prior to attempting to operate his next hoist.
@bobgaggle I'm really liking @egilson1 's "You can’t stop stupid. You can only slow it down." post. Perhaps CB'ers will contribute a few 'decelerating' tales from their pasts?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
I was working in a theater not too long ago and I saw this below where I was located. So what do you do when you want to hang a leg where there are no hang points? Nice steel cable with a wrap around the batten and kept in place with gaff tape. The other side was similar but with jack-chain instead of the cable.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I was working in a theater not too long ago and I saw this below where I was located. So what do you do when you want to hang a leg where there are no hang points? Nice steel cable with a wrap around the batten and kept in place with gaff tape. The other side was similar but with jack-chain instead of the cable.
@Mac Hosehead Would you mind concisely pointing out what you find less than ideal with what's pictured?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Mac Hosehead

Well-Known Member
I would start by saying that I'm not qualified to specify rigging. Like what the judge said about obscenity, I tend to know bad rigging when I see it.

I would say from the picture that the attachment of the steel cable to the batten is inadequate. I would expect the use of proper batten clamps.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
I thought possibly we could have a thread about ill-conceived rigging by the well intentioned but ill-informed . . .
Herewith two examples from my past:
1; Sometime in the mid 1960's, a friend who drives a civic bus for a living (and highway coaches for a busman's holiday) belonged to a fairly large Anglican church. His young people's group were throwing a party on a weeknight within the church and wanted a mirror ball and lights. I was asked if I could loan him a mirror ball, ball rotator and "some lights" as the group were certain they could handle installing, powering and striking everything. (How hard could it be, you know how that goes.)
Where I was at the time I had access to a British built Furse (Sp?) mirror ball approximately 24" in diameter with an internal 120 volt rotator and a half dozen Altman 6 x 22's lamped with 500T12's, along with a selection of round gobos, gobo holders, donuts, colors, cardboard frames, C-clamps, 20 amp 2P&G extension cables, 2/4's and adapters to standard 15 amp U-ground household males. The ball was quite new, in flawless condition and stored in the padded factory carton in which it had shipped across the pond. At an agreed upon time, my bus-driving friend met me and departed with the ball, four 6x22's, gobo holders, an assortment of circle gobos along with all necessary cables, adapters and spare 500T12's. A week or so later everything was returned all neat and pristine.
Here's the scary part I didn't hear until months later.
A member of his young people's group who "knew about rigging" had purchased four 25' coils of standard galvanized clothes line packaged as four 25' coils manufactured as one continuous length of 100'. I learned their "rigger" had clove-hitched one end to a brass handrail on the balcony of a choir loft on one side of the church, neatly uncoiled the clothesline keeping it kink free, stretched it across the width of their church and clove-hitched it to the matching polished brass handrail on the opposite side adding the crimp-on clothesline clips included with their clothesline for good measure. My friend had borrowed two 1,000 watt Variacs from a different friend and installed two 6x22's on the same handrails on both sides and powered them so he could light the ball from opposing sides in two contrasting colors and periodically use his Variacs to cross-fade between colors. Apparently their event had been well received, raised revenue for the group, everyone enjoyed their evening and my bus driving friend was delighted to have been able to pull his part together.
2; Leap ahead to sometime in the late 1970's, I had moved to Stratford, my bus driving friend had left his Anglican church and decided to join the congregation of the largest Roman Catholic basilica in our area. This time he had managed to pull together the same two Variacs but a smaller mirror ball. He didn't have any sources of gratis 6 x 22's at his disposal but he and his friends at his new Catholic group were sure they could easily handle the temporary installation of a simple mirror ball and a few colored lights. (How hard could it be? Again)
This time the basilica was even wider but clothesline had worked before to hold the larger mirror ball with its internal rotator. This time the group's "rigger" opted to blow his budget on the prettier "deluxe" clothesline with the blue or green plastic coating intended to stave off rusting. Not having Altman 6x22's available, my friend managed to borrow four MR16 "Birdies" each with short tails to a 120 / 12 VAC stepdown transformer. As I recall, this time the event was a halloween or similarly costumed gathering. Somehow they'd managed to hang an outboard rotator with the ball below it then found they needed to cluster their MR16's within a few feet of the ball using 1 x 3 saddled on the clothesline to act as boom arms to spread out their birdies along with all four of their old-fangled iron core transformers and a power bar fed by a substantial consumer grade extension cord. Again they had installed this on a couple of weeknights earlier in the week for a gathering scheduled for the Friday evening after which they'd have Saturday to tidy the basilica for Sunday's services.
Here's the even scarier part: Imagine my friends surprise when he received an urgent message to phone the basilica's cleaners IMMEDIATELY.
The cleaners arrived to clean around sun-up to find their entry effectively barred by the mirror ball, its rotator, the four birdies, their iron-core transformers, the power bar, the extension cord, the clothesline and the polished brass handrail from one of the two side balconies all in a tangled mess on the floor. The wood screws formerly securing the handrail's mounting flanges had ripped from the wood damaging the wood in the process.
"Jesus wept" to quote the bible and purportedly there was far less happiness to share this time.
Effectively they'd created a lengthy 180 degree bridle then hung their load from the center. Can you imagine the tension they'd created on the clothesline?
WHY AM I POSTING THIS?
I know we don't post 'how to rig' advice on Control Booth, and I'm hoping NOT to hear from a bunch of consultants expounding upon theories.
What I'm hoping is it may be possible for some of our respected certified theater and arena riggers to post a few examples of 'How NOT to rig!' from the perspective of educating the well intentioned before they attempt all manner of ill conceived temporary or permanent installations.
Am I feeling an impending swing of the silver deletion hammer?
@dvsDave @derekleffew @gafftaper @egilson1 @What Rigger?
Your thoughts please.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
I have to read this 2 or more times, it burns my eyes already.
 

seanandkate

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
The "Dodgy Technicians" group on Facebook (if you're on that platform) offers many, MANY examples of really bad rigging. If you need a reason to shake your head and day-drink.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
The "Dodgy Technicians" group on Facebook (if you're on that platform) offers many, MANY examples of really bad rigging. If you need a reason to shake your head and day-drink.
@seanandkate Thanks! I'm not a Facebooker. (And have no desire to be.) More than looking for photos of bad rigging, I'm hoping accredited riggers will post photos concisely pointing out specific errors along with references to supporting documentation. Please pardon my inadvertent deplorable pun on "supporting".
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

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