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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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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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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  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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  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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  14. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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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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  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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  19. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  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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