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Follow Spot

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tyler.martin, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

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    Now that I have the console problem out of the way.
    So our theatre is 80 seats, and our stage is 25ft wide by 15ft deep.
    What should i be looking at for followspot? I have thought about using an iCue Mirror or something like an Autoyoke/Rightarm etc, and controlling it with lightjockey... any other suggestions? I dont have room for a human operated light. Automation is the way to go in this case...
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think you are going to need to redefine your view of a spotlight. Both of the options you mentioned will give you a re-positionable special. Neither will give you a spot light. Yes, you can do hot moves with them to follow someone, but its no spot light. I have done shows using them as spots, and its no fun. It becomes a pain to program, a pain to call, and you rarely get the actor to actually stay in their light.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Automation is never the way to go if you need a follow spot. It is darn near impossible to get actors to walk the same path twice or hit a spike mark that isn't the size of Texas. There is also no great way to "drive" a moving light on the fly like a follow spot.

    If you just need a small fixture for a spot you could put a Source Four into one of City Theatrical's spot mounts. You also might look at the Phoebus iMarc 200. It is a nice little relatively affordable unit.
     
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Altman makes a couple small follow spots that are very common in small spaces.
     
  5. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    martinty, it's way out of your price league, but check out the Wybron AutoPilot for possibly the future. The performer wears a transmitter body pack, and receiving sensors around the stage triangulate where the performer is in 3d space and adjust the DMX values accordingly. I believe the system starts at about $5,000. They will never be as good as a human followspot operator, but they have been used successfully on some tours, and not so successfully on others.

    For the size of your space, I'd recommend a "SourceFour-on-a-stick." See CityTheatrical for various useful accessories.
     
  7. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to agree with what everyone else has said; an automated "followspot" will quickly prove to be far more trouble than it's worth. You'll never get the performer to follow the same path every time or at the same speed, it will take you forever to program something which still won't look like a manual followspot and you'll constantly find you lose the performer's head, arm or feet out of the spot. We used a Mac250 as a followspot for a very short sequence in The Producers, which only worked because the actor in question was coming down a staircase so we could guarantee he'd follow the same path every night; even then it took my operator a lot of cue tweaking and time to get it looking right - I'd never recommend it to anyone.
     
  8. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Now, I never asked as I was only JUST starting to learn back then(like, I literally, knew NOTHING), but at my old school, I never actually saw a Followspot anywhere, but in the booth there WAS a joystick of some sort,

    How common are "Automated" followspots in real life?
    Not as in pre-programed, but controlled with a joystick.

    At one point I was flipping through the Altman 09 Catalog, and only saw one "Intelligent Followspot" so I'm lead to believe they're not that common?
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    They are not common. The joystick was probably part of some low end console and would be sued for programming MLs, not trying to "drive" them live like a follow spot.
     
  10. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I went on two tours with autopilot. I would never use it for anything "mission critical". Just too hit or miss.

    Human operated follow spots are the only way to go at this time.

    Look into the Source 4 on a stick.

    Mike
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Meteor used to sell this...

    [​IMG]

    Problem is, you don't know where the fixture is when you bring up the fixture.
     
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I'll argue the other side. I wouldn't use an I-Cue, since they seem to be extremely touchy on any control that I've used, but I regularly run an Apollo Right Arm as a spot. The space where I work doesn't allow for the easy placement of a followspot, or an op with a S4 on a stick. I usually set up five preset positions across the stage so I know where the light will be when I turn it on, and use the trackball to drive the light. It just means having a board op with some initiative, and the Right Arm has a nice smooth, controlled movement. Not perfect, certainly, but I like the look much more than a wobbly S4.
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    If you pull one seat out from the back of the house, you then have room for a small follow spot (just make sure you OK it with the box office). Consider that whenever you have someone in a spot, everyone knows if the op messes up. It is much easier to mess up trying to drive a ML with a trackball than with a human on a follow spot. I have set up many creative follow spot positions for shows, sometimes it just takes a little thinking out of the box to place units and ops.
     

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