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Fixture choice advice

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Kendall E, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. Kendall E

    Kendall E Member

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    Hey all,
    I'm looking to re-do the front lighting for our stage and am seeking advice.

    We worship in a gym which has the stage on one of the long walls about 4 feet off the ground. The gym floor has seating, then there is a small section of bleacher seating opposite the stage, only about 7 rows up.

    I'd like to house lighting behind the bleacher seats as opposed to above the gym floor. For a gym, the ceiling is quite low, and we do use at as a gym during the week...and I constantly have to readjust and fix the old cans we gave up there. (We also had a lamp go nova and burst a few weeks ago, and a couple small pieces of glass fell molten hot to the floor. Thankfully, No one was hurt.)

    So here is my basic scenario. I'm now gun shy to house incandescent lights above people. I also would like to put lights outside the path of basketball flight.

    The ceiling and back wall behind the bleachers is about 60 feet away from the stage, and 15 feet above stage level. The area of stage to be lit is about 25 feet wide.

    Is there a good recommendation for fixtures to use at that distance and pitch? I assume I will need narrow light to throw that far? Possibly ellipsoidals? Any direction would be appropriate. And, as always, budget is a concern for us.

    --The second pic is taken from stage level.
     

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  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    The problem with the long low angle shot us that you'll have major light and shadows behind which detracts and hurts focus, complaints about "blinding", and the stage picture will appear very flat.

    I could not quite understand the ceiling/overhead. I'm use to exposed truss joists in gyms. Is this a hung ACP ceiling? Other? No way to "recess" lights and put a guard under them?

    Terrible situation with obviously no planning for this inevitable use. What gym has not had entertainment technology used in it? Classic planning failure.
     
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  3. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    Anyone on the stage will be very unhappy if you locate your fixtures behind the bleachers. As Bill said, the angle will be far too flat.
    I suggest researching a "cage" to prevent damage to the lights , possibly where you have them now, and fabricate screen wire guards to go in the color frame clips if you're worried about any further lamp explosions (or move to LED fixtures).
     
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  4. MRW Lights

    MRW Lights Active Member

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    This one might actually be a stumper... If you can't do a construction project that will allow you to install protected lighting positions how are you on storage? Could you install a few rigging points on chain motors and hoist a truss when you need lighting positions?
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I have done a LOT of gymnatoriums for Chicago Public Schools. the FOH lighting protection evolved from cages - like the SSRC posted - to simpler welded pan and mesh for the bottom and nylon netting - like Incord's used for orchestra pit fall protection - around the perimeter. The pan sits on the lower flanges of the truss joists, two of the truss joists are used to support front and back net, and the end nets require a member (usually unistrut between top flanges). By using rings and snap hooks on rear, easy to access (though with LED not often, especially if you can put in a couple of automated fixtures.)

    I thought with a ACP ceiling you might replace a tile with a metal mesh panel in a frame and figure out how to mount unit above ceiling. May have some heat concern if too low, and you probably can't do this is ceiling is used as a return air plenum - typical in very inexpensive buildings.

    I've got some net and plan to experiment with using it in front of light, and see if it affects light more or less than a tensioned wire grid. Sometimes up against projects that can't abide a catwalk that is open enough to be useful - so thinking the netting could be used as a guard.
     
  7. Kendall E

    Kendall E Member

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    Thanks everyone! I think that caging is the best option...so any more responses discussing that would be great!

    Bill: The ceiling is plaster up against the attic. The gym portion of the building was built circa 1950. The building is a historic school building (originally built in 1860s). The 50's gym was the most recent addition. As you can imagine, we've had to get creative with a lot of things.

    There is a short 3 foot tall attic above the ceiling. It is, however terrible to work in and difficult to get into. We also do not have a way to store a lift (again, old building issues), so I'm left to building scaffolding whenever I need work up there. For these reasons, very infrequent trips to the fixtures is best.

    MRW: I'm intrigued by the motored hoist idea, but my novice mind doesn't quite capture what you are talking about. If it's a system that allows me to remove the lights for gym use, then I could just put the lights on the stage for storage. Perhaps someone makes a track system so I can move the rigs forward and away from the center of the gym floor. That doesn't solve my access problem, but it likely solves my basketball flight path problem.

    Another question. I've looked into LED lighting (which I would love to do, especially if I'm putting lights over people'a heads). I've also read a lot of folks who think LEDs just aren't bright enough. Any thoughts or recommendations? I'm guessing I can find some LED advice in another thread...
     
  8. Michael K

    Michael K Active Member

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    Depending on what you're looking at, LED's are plenty bright. We use the IP rated Chauvet Ovations for our main outdoor show and for gobo projection during festivals and they do quite well cutting through the ambient park lighting. Find your local dealer and set up a demo of a few different ones around your price range (ETC and Chauvet make the more popular ones, but Altman, Strand, and Osram also offer profiles), you could probably get away with as few as 2 lights, but at least 4 would probably be better.

    How are the lights controlled now? If you went the LED rout, would you want to program them off a console, or use an architectural controller with presets?
     
  9. Kendall E

    Kendall E Member

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    Thank you,

    We've been operating quite simply. 8 cans with gels plugged into simple dimmer packs, run through an old simple 16 channel controller.

    If we go LED, I might need to replace the controller. I like the idea of using a console...something I can instruct a volunteer to simply turn on and leave it when I'm not there. We don't have scene changes or anything of that nature.

    Seriously guys, this is a big help. As I'm sure you can tell, I am quite unfamiliar with this world. I've always been an audio guy...and that often translates to me wearing the hat of all things technology. I get exhausted by research regularly.
     
  10. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    "working in the ceiling"
    "Circa 1950s"
    Asbestos?

    As for Lighting, given your usage scenario some used cans with the aforementioned mesh or a glass lense of some kind (think fresnel) would probably do the trick provided you put something to prevent large-high-velocity projectiles from smacking it to bits.
     
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  11. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    How about two (or more) telescopic towers? Roll away for storage. Bounce focus (focus when low). LED would only require a single circuit + data - which could be wireless.

    Genie makes some simple crank up hoists. You'll get lots if suggestions.
     
  12. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    We are all to familiar with being forced into alternate hats. No worries on any of that stuff!

    LEDs would be great except for the $500 - $2000 each price tags. Anything cheaper is too dim or likely to fail early. Similarly for a truss and motor system, just getting a structural engineer to sign off on the weight could cost enough to scuttle the project.

    Ground supported lifts or even individual stands might be your best bet. Something like
    upload_2017-7-26_17-48-8.jpeg from http://www.appliednn.com/l_CU-16.php They are only 16' but I don't think you have much more. Either run a truss between or use them as separate trees. I'd be tempted to use put 2 on the sides much closer to the stage. One more at the back to fill in center if the sides aren't quite enough. Still not cheap but would solve many issues.

    I have to admit I'm curious about "molten glass" falling. Glass from the lamp would be hot to the touch, and in can melt a bit if the filament hits it. But by the time it reaches people is shouldn't be dangerous. At the very least you should have safety shields on the fixtures! (Wire mesh across the opening.)
     
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  13. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @EdSavoie If you're suggesting the glass lens of a fresnel will afford protection against glass fragments from a failed lamp, I'll quote Mr. Danley's Ivan Beaver and say: "It depends."
    I was on stage [And unfortunately so were the TUV inspectors] in Offenbach / Frankfurt am Meine Germany when an Ianiro Bambino 6" 2Kw fresnel blew its lens out and shards of hot glass rained down on the deck with several small shards landing on the clothing of 2 or 3 people scorching, and burning small holes in, various items of their apparel. The TUV inspectors were impressed though neither favorably nor amused. The "Bambino" was one of four flooded wide, facing straight down and un-gelled acting as worklights running at 80 or 90% for days on end, typically from shortly before 8:00 a.m. through to midnight. As I understand it, this was not an uncommon occurrence for Ianiro's 6" 2 Kw Bambino's. In later production runs, Ianiro installed stops to prevent the lamp from getting quite so close to the lens when being operated at maximum flood.
    I fell in love with those 6" 2 K's. I had two dozen of them for back-lights while I was playing Head LX at Hamilton's Theater Aquarius when it first opened in '91. I never had any problems with them whatsoever and was surprised to hear / see the one blow up in Germany in '95 but then I can't recall running the ones in Hamilton for work lights day after day for weeks on end. I DID use some of their lower powered siblings, Ianiro's Polaris 6" I K's, for work lights as they consumed less electricity, housed less costly lamps and provided more than sufficient work light for initial rehearsals. I never had any problems with the Polaris' either.
    In the case of the unit in Germany, the lamp failed with its quartz envelope exploding and shattering the lens. Of course the suddenly exposed white hot filament then nova'd and the sound, coupled with the pyro-like shower, instantly garnered plenty of attention. As I wrote, the TUV inspectors were certainly impressed, though definitely not favorably so.
    I wonder if this qualifies for "illumination fireworks"?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  14. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Tom Skelton always called for clear gel in no color units to minimize broken glass. I'm sure originally in the pre-quartz era. Wire in non-lensed units.
     
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  15. Kendall E

    Kendall E Member

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    Rick: I guess the word "molten" is a bit of hyperbole. The glass was hot enough to burn a tiny hole in someone's shirt, but it did not make its way to the skin.

    A few of you mentioned "wire mesh" on the fixtures. I'm not sure if this is what you are referring to or not, but the fixtures do have a metal grid built in, which would keep an intact lense from falling, but didn't keep tiny bits from falling. All I saw on the ground afterward were tiny, almost sea-salt size pieces. Would a mesh keep that in?

    In my original post, I mentioned only have 15 feet above stage level to work with, but that was with my now abandoned idea of housing lights above the bleachers. It might be hard to see in the image, but I have a few extra feet to work with above the gym floor. While that ceiling is still quite lower than most gyms, and certainly all newer gyms, I would optimally like to get the lights located on the long halfway line of the gym floor for better angle, which would make floor standing hoists being placed among seating. I'd be worried about them being knocked as well as the posts being in line of site of people sitting behind them. Still probably one of my better options, though.

    Bill: thank you very much for all of your facilitation in here! I'm curious about the wireless LEDs. I have seen products which operate via a handheld remote in a master/slave configuration of fixtures (thus no need for a controller). But I think the ones I've come across are kind of gimicky and meant for little more than a wedding dj putting light on a dance floor. I've also seen products where you plug a reciever into the fixture and a corresponding transmitter into the console. Is this what you are referring to?

    Also, referring to LEDs, I like mixing colors to create a mellow looking stage light. Could I use just a couple LEDs to mix colors within the fixture, or would I still need 8 fixtures to do color mixing. In other words, is an LED simply red or blue or yellow, or can I "fade" the colors to customize it to what I want the final sum of colors to be.

    Also, any thoughts on my idea of a track system to slide the rigs toward the stage when not in use? They'd still be ceiling-high, but wouldn't get knocked by gym use, which would allow me to only scaffold my way up there a few times per year to change and adjust.
     
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  16. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    You get a broad range of colors from LEDs so indeed, fewer might work for you.

    Wireless data is what I meant. Available from a number of sources. You'd still need a single power circuit

    The gantry idea us certainly possible - a batten or truss hung from trolleys on two tracks. Seems like most work and expense but not terrible. Selecting and mounting the tracks would be the hard part. I don't know what's above ceiling but I'd guess few tracks would span more than 8-10', do a lot if penetrations for hangers. Make sense? But I like it as a concept.
     
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  17. Kendall E

    Kendall E Member

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    Thankfully, I'm not also the building construction guy ;) There's really nothing except rafters and a few feet of space above the ceiling. But since I likely only need 4 LEDs, each rig would only have two, perhaps an idea that involved isn't warranted. Cages of some sort are looking better and better. I'm not worried at all about disrupting game play. Nothing official going on there...just a simple non-competitive basketball tournement, pick up games, and a couple of kid's indoor lacrosse teams' practices. So having them in the way is ok, as long as the rig doesn't get damaged or re-adjusted, it'll work.

    One more novice question, again, I recognize I'm being lazy about research, I attached an image of our console. Now, I'm only used to one fixture is one channel, and each fixture is plugged into a dimmer pack which is controllled by the console. I know that LEDs require more channels, but would my simple console still work, or is there a different newer type of console I would need to buy? And if all I had to control were 4 LEDs, would I no longer need the dimmer packs? I know I still need power, but if I had wireless receivers in the fixtures, would my set up only include: console, powered fixtures with receivers, a transmitter hub of some sort plugged into the console?

    I'm wondering if I'm mistakenly likening this to the audio world of using digital vs analog equipment in that some things translate back and forth, but there are also specifics you need to be aware of before buying something that's incompatible or not needed.
     

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  18. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    What you describe would work I believe, but not many of us would really want to use that console to run LEDs.

    I've seen an I phone app that with a router would run them fine....

    Correct, your dimmer packs become superfluous.
     
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  19. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Kendall E Throwing another thought into your mix for you to consider. Assuming your ceiling is essentially white, you might consider reflecting light off your ceiling for a softer, less glaring in everyone's eyes [Performers and patrons / parishioners alike] look.
    Realize this wouldn't be a first choice for performance lighting but is useful from the perspective of providing general illumination without glaring in anyone's eyes and / or creating harsh shadows.
    Are you envisioning using your stage with your main room lighting off or operating at a reduced level?
    I'm assuming your gym's basic lighting is from the ceiling rather than the walls.
    How is your existing illumination controlled:
    All on / all off?
    On or off in sections?
    What type of lights are they: Incandescent? Fluorescent? Metal halide? High pressure sodium?
    Do you have any way of essentially reducing your lighting during a service or performance?
    Can you control the lighting already over your stage independently from the remainder of your gym?
    Is video projection ever a consideration or will it be in your future?
    Reflecting off the ceiling wouldn't be as efficient when it comes to intensity but, with LED's, you COULD be running more units per available circuit as long as you're still within budget. Obviously you'd have to carefully weigh your options for lighting positions and angles along with available mechanical support and access for periodic cleaning and maintenance.
    If you're already tight for storage space for a mechanical lift, you MAY not have storage for some of the ground supported towers posters have suggested.
    Consider all your options and I suspect many posters will help you narrow your choices.
    Keep asking questions and many posters will contribute answers as well as poke holes in various suggestions.
    All the best to you.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I think LED PARS are a good choice if you can afford them. A set of 8 ETC ColorSource PAR's (4 each on two portable towers like this located about 15'-20' from the stage off to the sides) would be a quick and easy setup, tear down. Cost about $600 per fixture. You add a diffusion lens that helps you set how wide it spreads. You can get cheaper LED's in the $300 range but they typically do not produce gentle pastel variations of white well... which is probably what you want. The cheap ones look artificial unless doing deep red, green and blue colors. If you want them farther from the stage then go with either Chauvet Ovations or ETC ColorSource Elipsoidals.

    My choice for a console would be a Pathway Cognito2. Small, easy to learn, reasonably priced at about $3k. It's the cheapest REAL console with all the features the big boys have. The ETC ColorSource console is a good one as well.
     
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