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Don't leave your lights on too long....

Discussion in 'Safety' started by gafftapegreenia, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Today I came into the theatre at 2 PM after my classes for my schedualed crew hours. I noticed a faint "burning rubbery" smell, but we had been cutting PVC so I dismissed it, however not till after checking the booms where there were many cables close to the lights..nothing there. As the hours went by, a few people came into the theatre and commented it smelled odd...again the PCV explanation. Finally, around 4:45, one of the head techs went up to the catwalk to turn on the intels. We found the source of our problems. For some reason, all the S4's on the fourth catwalk were running very very hot. Even the pipe railing they were all hanging on was toasty. On the pipe is about twenty or so 575 watt Source 4's. These had been on, not even at full, since probably 9 ar 10 AM. What gets me is that we do this on a nearly daily basis, and this is the first time something like this has happened.
     
  2. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    You can tell when I hang a light that hasn't been in the air for awhile. The first 10 minutes you can smell the dust burning off... :rolleyes:
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    A certain casino in Las Vegas has 375W and 575W SourceFours™ running between 75-90% 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Only time they're not on is when the lamp fails, or once a year when they're "dusted."

    gafftapegreenia, was there something different with the HVAC system today? Anyone comment on how hot or cold it was, indoors or out? And why do you keep expensive lamps burning for that long on a regular basis?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Hmm, maybe with the weather getting colder the HVAC changed in the theatre, not sure.

    Why are they running so often? Well, it's a combination of a) the worklight PAR's on the electrics are either burned out or need a re-wire, or simply not hanging b) the worklight channels aren't programmed into the Unison system on the setting they should be- so no one uses them, and c) what I call the "pods", which are just architectural PAR 56 units hanging from the 2nd catwalk are either dead or not patched into the daily system. Thus, where we could have over 20 PAR 56s and 64s lighting our stage, we don't, because no one has taken the time to change it. Well, as I've said, that someone will be me, however most of my time gets eaten being one of the "go-to" guys for electrical.
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You know, if you actually stay on top of changing out dead work light lamps it is much less of a hassle than letting them all die. As for the unison system, why would you ever reprogram the work lights? The work lights should be one of the few things that doesn't change on a regular basis.
     
  6. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Icewolf, you act like I'm the one that let these things happen. I don't have answers for you other than sometimes other people let stuff slip. You know how people in this industry can get into habits and patterns where things that other people would consider essentials do not take place. Yes, I agree about the PAR's, but at this point someone (me) has to do all the hard work because other people before me didn't keep up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    gafftapegreenia, every time I read one of your posts I think more that you are at the wrong school.

    A) You're too good for them
    B) We're only hearing your side of things
    C) Your professors don't know how to teach
    D) Your staff doesn't know how to run a theatre/PAC
    E) You should be in a place where you're taught what and how to do
    F) You should go back to HS with Charcoaldabs so at least he'd have help and company

    So which one(s) of the above is/are the best answer(s)?

    I'm now going to look up your school, and give the faculty and staff a good talking to!:evil:
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Actually... No. That's how students in a high school or college program that is poorly run act. People in the industry who act like that tend to not have jobs for long.

    Like Derek, I'm concerned about your school. It makes no sense at all to be burning up HPL lamps when there is a perfectly good work light option available. What are you going to do when the S4's burn out? My T.D. when I was in college never would have let us run the stage lights for work lights. If they works needed to be fixed we fixed them. If there were no students around, he climbed the ladder and fixed them himself. The very second we finished focusing he would always yell, "Save the lamps and save the dimmers!" Which was his way of saying go to work lights. I didn't allow it in my high school program and I won't be allowing it in my new theater either. Works are there for a reason. Save your budget and use them.

    Finally, there are your comments about how no one will do the hard work... Look at it this way, someday You'll get a job and they won't. Laziness does not pay well in this industry.
     
  9. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    That also happens too me. I found a Source 4 backstage and our admin said it was ours but it had been in the other building, do I plugged it in and at first I thought there was somthing like a piece of paper in there bet then I'm like, "Oh wait, its been sitting for who knows how long" finally the smell stopped.
     
  10. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    <Why are they running so often? Well, it's a combination of a) the worklight PAR's on the electrics are either burned out or need a re-wire, or simply not hanging b) the worklight channels aren't programmed into the Unison system on the setting they should be- so no one uses them, and c) what I call the "pods", which are just architectural PAR 56 units hanging from the 2nd catwalk are either dead or not patched into the daily system. >


    Reminds me of the occassional color-scroller phone call during tech week (or day!) that follows this same path. Sadly- the power supply/s for the scrollers were not powered up, thus NO FANS providing ventilation for the gel strings.
    Yes we expect gelstrings to 'someday' be replaced, but why rush it by turning on the PAR's/Lekos (with color scrollers)- leaving the scrollers OFF, and cooking the strings each day?

    I sometimes wonder who interviews/oversees these people...
     
  11. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I am not saying you are the one who lets them happen, but if you are the primary person who people go to when they need tech help, and if you are the one who notices these things, then it is basically on your shoulders. Sure, there are days that I just don't feel like getting setup to fix worklights, but then I come in the next day and anther is out. Besides, If I don't stay on top of things like work lights, the scene shop get mad.

    If you pick up the slack where other people slip, it makes you look better. You might be worn out at the end of the day, but as gaff said, people with the attitude that "things slip and it isn't my problem" are not the first choice to get hired.

    Also have you gone to the people in charge at your theatre to tell them that this is a problem? There are two really pertinent proverbs that apply here: "If not now, when?" and "If not me, then who?" Sure, your source fours are going to be hot after being on all day. If you ask us for advice and tell us that you have a great worklight system, but the lamps are dead and some need service, the advice we give is probably going to be a unanimous "fix the worklights, that is what they are there for." If you can't do it yourself, tell the people in charge. If the people in charge are not willing to act, then there is a bigger problem, and that might answer Derek's question.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    After reading Alex's post I want to repeat my point to my "Brother of the Tape"... please don't take my last post at all as a personal attack. I really question the leadership at your school. People who know what they are doing just DON'T allow things to get that bad. Yeah it's expensive to buy more lamps for the works but it's cheaper than buying HPL's AND lamps for the works! Yes it's a pain to rewire a dead lamp... but that's your job. TEACH students how to do the job right. Be a roll model for the right professional attitude. Slacking off just isn't acceptable out here in the real world. From your perspective it sounds like you are the only one working... that's great for you, but it's a terrible sign about the quality of education everyone else is getting.

    If they don't know how to properly maintain and operate a few lights in the theater, you have to ask, what else do they not know how to do?
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Gaff--
    The only "roll model" I know would be the Pillsbury Dough Boy!

    Continuing on my never-ending quest make myself disliked, drag the thread off-topic, and discuss food, all in one short post.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Actually you haven't seen me, I'm a bit of a roll model too... need to exercise and cut out the late night survival food.

    Looks like it's time to upgrade my spell checker to "meaning checker".
     
  15. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Gafftaper: No offense was caused by your comments. Your comments about working hard and not being lazy, with its eventual payoffs are a philosophy I took to heart years ago, and aleady it has helped me meet people and get jobs. I can't agree more. I realize my comments about "laziness in the industry" set off quite a few sparks. Unfortunatly, when one sees enough laziness it starts to become the norm, and then one starts to forget how things are supposed to work. When it comes to lighting at my school, I seem to be the first person in a while with an interest in lighting that goes beyond just getting the next show in the air. I came into the program, and thus it was only natural for me to start taking care of the equipment, start making plans and getting things organized. Thats just who I am.

    Icewolf: I understand your point. I agree with the whole "It may not be my fault but it is my responsibility".


    I guess in total I committed to this college because they sold me on their blend of hands on experience, technology and commitment to moving their program forward. Unfortunatly, there has just been one thing after another, most of them thusfar brought up for discussion, that have caused me to question this program. I'm not about to completely give up on it, however. I am currently planning an appointment with my advisor, who is also the assistant artistic director to address and discuss my concerns. Depending on the results of that meeting, I may have some tough choices to make.
     
  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Let us know how that turns out, and perhaps, if you decide the program really is not cutting it, a PM my way letting me know your opinions on "X" college might be in order.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah definitely not an appropriate thing to post in public but please do share the name of the college in private.

    hmmm... are you my "gaff-brother" or "brother-in-tape"... interesting.

    Having seen a lot of college politics, I doubt you are going to see a lot of change by complaining to your adviser. The most you will get is a sympathetic ear of someone who also doesn't like the way things are but is powerless to change it. Probably the most powerful thing you could do would be to write a letter to the Division Dean (probably Humanities division). Even then it's not likely to do a lot but you never know they may be looking for one more reason to replace some people and your letter could be the key. I would be very careful to use specific examples of how the program is not properly training students and avoid using names. They get complaints all the time saying "my teacher was mean to me and gave me a bad grade"... you don't want to do that. You want to say, I'm disappointed in the program because it claimed to teach: a, b, and c. But it is failing to do those things because of reasons a, b, and c.

    If you want help writing such a letter just P.M. me.
     
  18. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    I think the best phone call i ever received was from my boss after a night when i was there later than he was and there was a rehearsal in the theatre.

    I had been doing work around the building and had gone home before the rehearsal was over. I wasn't the only one on staff so nothing should go wrong. Well i wake up at 8:30 the next morning to a phone call from my boss going: "did you tell the community theatre they could use the stage lights?"...

    The stage lights, approximately 45 Source 4s in a general wash cool pattern had been left on overnight... and by the times on the security cameras had been on a total of 14 hours... 14 hours of burning gel and lamps in an empty theatre...

    It was a combination of things that cause this to have happened and to be over-looked. But it came down to the guy who was closing up at night not knowing how to turn the lights off and not calling one of the guys who did know how to turn the lights off to help him.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    In the high school I used to teach at MANY people had access to the auditorium. I would come in and find that 40 S4's, 32 fresnels, and 4 electrics full of strip lights had been left on all night long. Guess who's budget the lamps came out of... not the schools. Anyway, there was a wall panel that allowed anyone to turn all the lights on to full. So I just started killing breakers. I would put up a few instruments that were far wider of a beam angle than is appropriate for the throw in order to wash the whole stage in dim light... just enough to make the random teacher happy. Every other breaker got shut off and the panel locked.

    P.S. Gaff-Brother... That's the sort of grouchy thing real T.D.s do to protect their lamp inventory and equipment... as opposed to what you are being taught at your school.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  20. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Went to church this morning and found our house lights and front stage lights, 32 x PAR56 500W, 10 x PAR64 1kW, and 6 x 1kW ERSs, basically faders 1-12, had been left on since Thursday. All at 100%.
    Besides electricity, which must be a pretty penny, 2 PAR56 lamps and 1 ERS burned out. I have no spare ERS lamps. Thanks.
    We have fluorescent house lights that people can use to work, clean, etc. All accessible with handy on/off switches on the wall. But instead people get into the sound booth and start shoving faders. :evil::evil::evil:
    I need to clear it with staff, but I plan to turn off the breakers on the dimmer panels. But I know a lot of people will be upset that they can't get enormous amounts of light on any time they want, and I'll likely not be allowed to cut the breakers.
     

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