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Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by NickJones, Oct 29, 2008.
Whats the best way to light a gym? We have trees, but they block out sight. Would up-lighting work?
Drama, musical, dance recital, talent show, school dance?
Did I miss something?
call a professional. a started a thread some time ago, that may help http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/6688-truss-roof.html
power distribution also though.
When I say, "wouldn't be too difficult," that's aimed towards professional riggers. Don't try to do anything on your own; there are companies that do rentals for gigs like that where temporary rigging needs to be erected and power distributions set up. I strongly urge that you do absolutely nothing on your own and leave it up to the professionals, should your budget allow for that.
Volleyball standards work pretty well for hanging lights high enough in the air, but still keep them from being /above the audience./ The downside is that you can only hang a couple lights on each standard to make sure it doesn't become unbalanced.
Your best bet could be calling a local rental shop and seeing what they have. If you don't need too many lights and have exposed beam-work, there are clamps that work well for hanging fixtures on the flanges of I-beams.
I wouldn't do anything without having a rigger come in and give advice first though. Another problem you'll face is with fire regulations. Fire marshals get very touchy having AC power runs over the audience which were not intended for that purpose. Because of that, if a professional group does the work, then you'll get far less flak than if you've got your own cords making all of the runs.
That being said, when we did "The Wizard of Oz" a few years ago in high school, the local sound and lights rental company brought in a truss, and flew it up on motors attached to the beams on the gym ceiling. They hung movers on that, but they could have just as easily hung S-4's or PAR's or whatever else.
theatre space always an after though. I deal with this all the time. It's either a Cafe-teria or a middle school gym/stage (gy-age? no... that doesn't work.)
It's a no-no to give specific instruction so I'll run down a few options I usualy go over with clients, you mentioned motorized so I'll start there.
The cheapest installed motorized lighting pipe is approx. $18k Tork-Winch makes a great system which I've worked with. The limitation on the less expensive systems are weight capacity and duty cycle. The Tork-Winch system isn't a 100% duty cycle so doing a yo-yo focus will require pauses for the system.
Schools usually use fly systems because students are not allowed to climb ladders/use scaffolding/use manlifts. If you have access to a manlift and are trained and allowed to use it, a dead hung pipe with safety cage would be much cheaper and do the job just as well. A safety cage under the lights will help prevent stray volleyballs and soccer balls from knocking a light loose and may even keep your focus depending on the design. I prefer a safety cage dead hung below the fixtures with an opening on the back for focus and bulb replacement. There are other options like individual fixture safety cages or fully enclosed ones.
Now, another approach is a temporary installation. Motorized truss is a real slick way of doing things. If you have the money for a rental package with truss, motors and fixtures it works well and is a pretty quick install.
I have done temporary installs with beam clamps on the lights directly to the OWSJ running parallel to the stage with a safety cable to the beam. I provided power with a SOCA runs to 20a Twist break-outs. This was for a middle school musical where we added about 48k of extra dimming.
How are you going to power the lights on this position ? That is the most expensive part. Do you have extra room in the dimmer rack to throw some more modules in and add a couple runs ? Is there existing power you can use?
The most expensive part will be the wire runs. If there is no inexpensive way to get power from a dimmer up there it's usually a lot cheaper to get a few 20a receptacles installed to power some small dimmers. Like the ETC Smart Bar or NSI DDS/D4 or Leprecon ULD dimmers. Typically schools around here get away with about 6-12 ellipsoidals on a FOH position. This is where modern 575w fixtures really shine (sorry for the horrible pun). (3) 575w Fixtures fit on a 20a circuit really nicely*. So that would be (4) 20a circuits to give you room for (12) 575w fixtures.
Now, (4) 20a circuits sound alot cheaper than 6 - 12 new circuits, eh? You'll also have to get DMX out there but another conduit could be run or there is cable rated for free-air runs. However, you shouldn't see a huge price increase for a 1/2" conduit run for the data and it is infinitely more serviceable. Having DMX sounds great for all those toys (I-CUE, Scrollers,Movers) doesn't it ?
What is really important is choosing a company that has the knowledge and experience in this sort of install. Most rental companies can get the temporary install done and working adequately, always check for their liability insurance, and ask around the other schools in the area for who they use. For a permanent install your board will have a Bid Tender procedure for all purchases for a certain amount.
Here's the approx. figures for the options;
Motorized FOH: $18,000 +
Dead-Hung FOH pipe: <$1,000 (installed, 20ft.)
Dead-Hung FOH pipe w/ Safety Cage: $1,000 - $3,000 (20ft)
Rental w/ Motors and Truss and Fixtures: $1,000 - $5,000 (I don't know your local prices)
Rental w/ fixtures and install to existing: $700+
Electrical work for 12 new circuits: $12,000ish typical
Electrical work for 4-6 20a: $3,000 - $6,000 typical
I can provide some typical rigging drawings and such for reference if that is allowed on this board. They could help quite a bit when specifying equipment with suppliers. ALWAYS make sure everything is load rated. If it isn't stamped with a manufacturer and model or rating don't trust it. It probably isn't rated.
/Hope that wasn't too much information ?
----I AM NOT AN ELECTRICIAN----
but, I can do simple maths.
So here's where I get that (3) 575w fixtures on a 20a circuit from.
Most breakers and wiring assume an %80 max continuous load, theatrical dimmers (good quality ones) usually have %100 max continuous. However, this is where you'd have to talk to the electrician doing the install and go over power requirments, ect.
The math works like this;
120v, 20amp circuit = 2400w
de-rated to 80% = 1920w
1920/575 = 3.34
So that's 3 lamps pulling their maximum amperage in a theoretical world. However, we live in a world with power issues. Voltage drops will and spike can cause problems for which you need to leave a little room. 4*575=2300w so if you could work out 100% rated everything with the electrician it may be possible to get (4) lamps safely on a 20a circuit.
For non-theatrical stuff like choir and band concerts we have steel pipes that run across the gym on which the lights are clamped. For dimming we just use shoebox dimmers hung on the pipes, which are plugged into the properly rated outlets we had installed in the ceiling by a qualified electrician. Total cost for dimmers, pipe, conduit, DMX cable, and the like (not including lights) was about $2000, allowing 12-16 lights at 9 different locations over the gym. (Think of a square broken up into thirds vertically and horizontally.) Not exactly the prettiest situation, but it works. We also used to use a distro box and ran individual extension cords up to the ceiling for each light, every single time. It was a pain.
But either way, definitely call up a qualified rigger and have them, well... rig something up for you. It will be safer, it will work, and they have the experience to come up with the best possible solution.
truss. I focus from a scissor lift.
I'm the theatre director at a middle school - we hold all our productions in a school gym. I want to do Peter Pan can I do a fly system (for people) in the gym?
You can; IF, and ONLY if: you use the assistance of Foy, ZFX, or another qualified, experienced, and insured company, and they tell you you can. See http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/glossarys/7904-flying-effects.html.
Hall Associates Flying Effects to the previous list of legit flying fx companies.
And while flying actor(s) can be done anywhere, it also works like this old saying from drag racing: Speed's just a question of money. How fast can you afford to go?
Get me? Putting up a flying effect system in a space/venue lacking the typical accoutrements of a theater or arena is gonna lend itself to problems and solutions that will take your budget higher than "average".
OSHA statistics when you fall from above 6 feet you are more likely to die than you are to survive. Of the 49% or so that live about half are paralyzed or have some other sort of severe permanent disability.
Question: How sure are you about your ability to fly someone's child?
Yes it can be done. But no, YOU (and I) are not qualified to do it. About the only one around Control Booth who is qualified to do it is the guy in the last post and notice he said you need to call a professional. How much will it cost? From what I hear around $5k. From what I've heard ZFX or Hall Associates are probably the ones to call when you have an unusual situation. Foy are the originators of the art but they have one way they do a show. The other two are willing to do things your way a bit. Which would be really important trying to do it in a gym.
PLEASE do NOT attempt this on your own.
flying effects company to fly people! If you can't afford a professional company (not just some guy that says he "worked" for Foy a decade ago) then you shouldn't be doing the effect.
As for the lighting question: Contact your local/regional sound and light rental company. A lot of times you can rent a box or triangle truss setup with genie (or similar brand) tower lifts with lights and dimmers racks for decent price. Always go with a professional company though as they have insurance and are qualified to do the work.
Having worked on a show that used Hall for our flying effects I can say from experience they do a great job and can offer more flexibility into your stunts that some other companies who just have a standard set for every production of Peter Pan.
Yes, ZFX and Hall will both work with your choreographer and director to make the stunts work safely within your overall vision. Foy has one way they do every scene. On the other hand, Foy does it one way for a reason. It's safe and it always works... not that the other companies aren't safe. Foy's official attitude seems to be, "We do it this way because we have always done it this way. We can ensure safety by having a standard approach to every scene". If you have a standard theater and a typical production then Foy is a great way to go. If you are dreaming up some crazy ideas for when and where you want people to fly, you need ZFX or Hall. The other thing to remember is that creating any crazy stunt you can dream up will cost more. You are also probably looking at some additional expense to do the effects in a gym.
Whoa there, now you've crossed the line.
Peter Foy first did Peter Pan in the US in 1950. Around 1982, after a difficult production at the Cleveland Playhouse, Foy stated (paraphrasing): "From now on, it's going in our contract that we have final say on all choreography and blocking of performers." Note that Flying by Foy's "rigidity" applies only to productions of Peter Pan, and not to all instances of flying. Foy's Track-on-Track™ System is actually quite flexible, safe, and cost-effective. Note that Peter Foy died in 2005, but his family and employees keep the tradition alive. No peer company has a better reputation.
Note also that the Wikipedia.com entry is identical to that of NationMaster.com. Does anyone know either's plagiarism policies?
Hall at one time worked for Foy. I was trying to make the point that the are very rigid on what they will do for a Peter Pan production. Let there be no doubt, you will get an excellent series of stunts that will amaze your audience if you contract with Foy. However, people need to know that they will come in and tell you exactly how you have to do certain scenes. There is no changing the way they do it. On the other hand, ZFX and Hall are open to working with you to change things a bit to fit your vision of the production. For example, a local university did a production of Peter a few years ago. They wanted to add a flight over the audience into the show. This was not an option with Foy so they had ZFX do the show.
Please don't misconstrue that statement to mean Foy is inferior in anyway. For most of us, the fact that a company has been safely flying Peter Pan for nearly 60 years is all we need to know. However, there are some productions and directors who will not be happy with the restraints placed on them by Foy. I suggest people contact all three directly to discuss their production in detail and decide for themselves what makes the most sense.
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