Fixture to Drape Distance...HELP

Jezza

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Location
Poughkeepsie, NY
Doing a show in a local private school -- we are renting the space. We hung a pipe for the cyc within 2 inches of some hardwired strip lights(100w lamps max). The folks that own the place had a fit screaming "fire hazard" and made us take it down.

My solution would be to deactivate the strips by flipping their breakers, removing their dimming modules from the rack if necessary. This to me would render them inoperable for the run of our show, eliminating a fire hazard. The cyc is flame retardant anyways. Is this the correct way of dealing with it, or must other measure be taken? Is there a minimum distance requirement from fixtures to drapery in theater?

I understand their concern, especially since its a rental, but I see everyone hang fixtures, Source 4s even, very close to drapery every day, touching even. Is that just the status quo, and done disreguarding whatever codes or rules exist -- or is their no problem having the fixtures this close to drapes.

Could really use some help ASAP. Thanks!!!
 

TechiGoz

Active Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Location
Adelaide, Australia & Singapore
Tis a bit of a toughy. Most drapes/cycs nowadays as you say, are flame retardant. However, I think 2 inches might be cutting it a bit close.

I had this same problem with a show once where the border was flown in and draped over the whole LX bar (luckily the bar wasn't being used for that show). The fire hazard concerns, as is to be expected, were prevalent, but I just cut the circuit breakers to that LX bar and all associated lines, and that satisfied them. So thats one thing you could do.

You suggest a few good ideas, but i'd talk it over with the people/organizers in charge to see what they would prefer (forgetting the fact they made you take it down). I think you should be safe with flicking the breaker, but make sure there is no chance of faulty wiring etc, as this could spark and start a fire, but i'm sure chances are negligible.

The choice is yours, as they say, but this was just an experience I had. I didn't have any problem, and that particular show was in theatre for three weeks, so that shows something! :D
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
PPT.
"but I see everyone hang fixtures, Source 4s even, very close to drapery every day, touching even."

Yeah, and I see side loaded shackles more than I want to, but I don't accept what I see ANYwhere as inherently correct.

Don't trust the flameproofing. Most places, I guarantee it, don't reapply that stuff as often as they should.

Even riggers know that lighting instruments that touch rags are BADBADBAD. Check with the manufacturer of the light about minimum safe distance.

The venue was correct to make you take that pipe down. And while I'm flogging it, what kind of pipe? Hung it from what, using what? Which rigger did you hire to do it?

Just for Goz: dude, what company/companies over there do flying effects? Peter Pan, Wiz of Oz type stuff. I know of/work for one of the major's over here (Foy, Branam, Hall Associates, etc...)
Curious.

Rig right- lest you die!
 
Last edited:

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
It's definitely too close. However, you can't get much safer than removing the dimmer modules from the rack. As far as how close is too close... that's a tough one. I would be tempted to get my digital thermometer out of my kitchen and hang it where the curtain should be. If the thermometer reads much over 100 degrees Fahrenheit I would say it's too close. If it feels warm it's fine. If it feels hot... you've gone too far.

Remember there is no such thing as fire proof curtains (except for asbestos). They are fire retardant. Retardant means WHEN you light it on fire, it extinguishes itself after the heat source is removed. Got that? It does catch fire, it just puts itself out after you remove the heat source. That means there can be a lot of fire and smoke from a retardant curtain before you remove the source of heat.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
(Like Derek) Rigger works for a large powerful company that will cut off his thumbs and force feed them to his mother if he mentions their name anywhere. If you are lucky he might give you a hint in P.M. From what I've heard it's unlikely that you've met him in St. Louis.
 

Pie4Weebl

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Location
New York City
(Like Derek) Rigger works for a large powerful company that will cut off his thumbs and force feed them to his mother if he mentions their name anywhere. If you are lucky he might give you a hint in P.M. From what I've heard it's unlikely that you've met him in St. Louis.
Keep in mind I spent the first 18 years of my life not 20 min away from Hall, but this has been moved over to pm...
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
...However, you can't get much safer than removing the dimmer modules from the rack. ...
Please don't do this, unless the dimmer module is replaced with an "air flow module" or other blank. The cooling for dimmer racks is dependent on all slots being populated. Mess with the air flow and your racks could over temp.!
 
  • Like
Reactions: phil000

musictom

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Location
A, A
Remember there is no such thing as fire proof curtains (except for asbestos). They are fire retardant. Retardant means WHEN you light it on fire, it extinguishes itself after the heat source is removed. Got that? It does catch fire, it just puts itself out after you remove the heat source. That means there can be a lot of fire and smoke from a retardant curtain before you remove the source of heat.
Very true! Just this last year, my wife (HS Drama Director) was putting on a show at her theatre for some elementary school kids. Just as she was making the intros, a student popped through the curtains, and whispered to her. Without saying a word, she disappeared behind the curtain, in mid-sentence. ;)

I'm sitting at the piano wondering what was going on, when I caught a faint whiff of smoke. Sure enough, somebody had moved a curtain wing onstage (it was all the way offstage, and not being used for this show), and it leaned up next to an ellipsoidal. The curtain was just kinda smoldering -- you could see one or two orange dots -- but nonetheless, it definitely was not fireproof!

Tom
 

Pie4Weebl

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Location
New York City
Very true! Just this last year, my wife (HS Drama Director) was putting on a show at her theatre for some elementary school kids. Just as she was making the intros, a student popped through the curtains, and whispered to her. Without saying a word, she disappeared behind the curtain, in mid-sentence. ;)
I'm sitting at the piano wondering what was going on, when I caught a faint whiff of smoke. Sure enough, somebody had moved a curtain wing onstage (it was all the way offstage, and not being used for this show), and it leaned up next to an ellipsoidal. The curtain was just kinda smoldering -- you could see one or two orange dots -- but nonetheless, it definitely was not fireproof!
Tom
No, that would be fireproofed. Fireproofed curtains are designed to not go past smoldering, it doesn't mean they won't be affected by extreme heat. A rep from rose brand was at our school a few months ago and talked about how that is one of the biggest misconceptions about flame proofing.
 

avkid

Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Location
Lakewood, NJ
There is no such thing as fireproof.
 

leistico

Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
KS
One thing I've seen used in a house I work in are what we call "heat drapes". There's a type of fabric (fiberglass?) that is often available in plumbing repair sections of hardware stores, and it's used when resweating pipes inside wall cavities. The fabric is laid out against the wall and studs behind the joint to be resoldered, and the propane torch doesn't ignite it, even when directly on it for a minute or more. It'll blacken, sure, but not ignite.
We use something similar, but bigger and grommeted, tied to the pipe where instruments are clamped, partly draped over one side of the instruments whereever they might contact a leg or border or the back lining of one. I've seen contact made with and without the shield in place, and it's a noticeable difference, especially in the absence of the smell of burning velour.
Just a thought.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
Please don't do this, unless the dimmer module is replaced with an "air flow module" or other blank. The cooling for dimmer racks is dependent on all slots being populated. Mess with the air flow and your racks could over temp.!
Great point Derek. If you don't have a blank, I imagine a couple of strips of gaff to cover the hole would do just fine in keeping air flowing correctly.

As for the "fire proof" topic. There is no way to take a flammable product and make it fire proof. You can only retard the spread of the flame. A well treated curtain, if you kept a blow torch to it, would not flame up but would just gradually smolder and disintegrate into a pile of charred debris. To be truly fire proof you have to start with a non flammable material like Asbestos or a new synthetic like Zetex (silica based).
 
Last edited:

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA

superdoo

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Location
Bismarck, ND
Just talk to the folks you're renting the space from. If your taking the instruments out of circuit they won't turn on and if they don't turn on there is no heat source...etc....etc

I wouldn't forget to flip the breakers though, in case you "accidentally" turn it on. If you can't see it behind the curtain you could get into trouble.