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Funky Chase lights help needed!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by btfilms, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. btfilms

    btfilms Member

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    Hey Everyone!
    Well my school is doing Dreamgirls as their production and the director wants like these funky globe bulb lights lining the stage. We don't have enough dimmers to put them on and i was just going to wire every 3rd bulb together and connect it to the dimmers and then right a chase sequence but since all out dimmers are taken we have to do it another way. someone suggested to me to use a chase box like the ones DJs use. Will that work. if so how do i hook them up. can those boxes take alot of power. i think i have about 20 on each circuit. Wat does everyone think about this
     
  2. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    well how many watts is each light bulb? I used some 34 watt type A lamps for a production and put 36 lamps on a dimmer but could have gotten closer to 50. Once you find out the wattage of the lamps and the wattage of the chase pack some basic math will tell you how many you can put in a cirucit.
     
  3. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Generally, its been my experience that those packs are max 600w per dimmer and each pack has 4 dimmers meaning that the whole pack will consume one 20A circuit.

    In that same vein, that means 6 100w bulbs per dimmer, or 12 50w bulbs, or 24 25w bulbs, etc. Just do your math. But in simple, yes, one of those DJ dimmer packs or multiples of those will do the trick. If you need to use two or more packs because you want to use a higher wattage bulb, it might be simpler to address the packs all to the same DMX address so you have less control channels for the chase.....and only use 3 of the 4 dimmers per pack to create the "every 3rd" effect.

    (So, if you have about 20 bulbs per ciruit, you'll want 3 packs, all addressed to the same DMX address but with all of the bulbs that you want to go on control channel 1 distributed evenly across dimmer 1 on all three packs, and so on--yess this option does mean running some more cable, but given your situation, is the safest and will give you the desired look.)

    Are you planning to run these extra dimmers packs off your console or were you hoping to just turn on the dimmer packs and have the chase go? Both options are viable, however you will have the best control over the situation if you run DMX out to these packs. However, most of these packs are 3pin, not 5pin DMX, so remember to pick up a 3 to 5 converter if you will need one. Additionally, don't forget to terminate!

    Also, budget dependant, you might want to look into renting a true theatrical dimmer pack for your production. You can get them nominally with as few dimmers as 6. These packs are typically rated for 20A per dimmer so you will be able to put all 20 of your bulbs on one dimmer (assuming your using 100w bulbs). Call your local rental house to see what kind of pricing they will give you on a pack, feeder, dmx, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Our recent production of "Assassins" had a similar problem. We ran out of dimmers and still had chase lights to wire all over the front of this set, that was supposed to look like a carnival. We did exactly what Jezza is talking about. Our ME wired up either 2 or 4 NSI packs addressed them all the same and spent a lot of time double checking his circuiting. I can't remember whether we used A15s or G16.5's but we used 15 watt lamps in standard "Sign mount" bases. Worked great the only thing you can't do with this type of setup is a running chase, meaning a chase of just three lights thats starts on the bottom and runs all the way to the top then starts over, as the packs were doubled in the middle of the run. Good luck
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Remember you are looking for an effect. You aren't trying to light the stage with these chase lights right? So keep the wattage down and it will make your life much easier.

    My local theater supply store rents a 4 X 800 theater dimmer pack for $60 a week.
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    don't really need a dimmer pack for doing a chase effect.

    Three circuit chases would be the norm though two or four could be also done.

    None the less, in the above mentioned chase effect, I would rather know what specific product was under consideration first before limitating the effect. If it's possible to do say 25w/120v lamps, you now have say even on a 1.2Kw system 24 lamps per circuit on a dual circuit chase. On the other hand, if low voltage...

    Of note, if you are not really planning to use this "effect" for more than one show, you might be wiser to rent it and get a better system. There is lots of low voltage and even line voltage pre-made systems out there on the market that would do what you want for the period of this show, and you only have to pay rental in getting what you want without having to buy stuff you don't need that won't work as well given limitations.

    I know for instance for two of last year's tours, I made two sets of line voltage chase circuit bar based systems which were not cheap to do and now sit about the shop. Other shops potentially have similar things, this in addition to low voltage systems that do the same but in less power requirements. Think runway lighting for fashion shows... such lighting is often multi-circuit thus able to chase and very much in the inventory for lighting companies.
     
  7. btfilms

    btfilms Member

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    Yes thats what the director wants is a "Runway" look to it. but not sure on how to achieve that look now. the set isn't completely built so we won't be working on this part till about a month or so but it is great to know what we plan on doing a head of time. i do plan on running this effect by a stage hand so i just need something very simple. like something that you just plug the 3 circuits in and then hit a button and it has a "chase" look to it. it would be nice to very the speed too. I do not have exact models that we want

    Does any one know of a good model to use in this situation?

    Thanks.
    BT
     
  8. taylorjacobs

    taylorjacobs Member

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    might be and easy solution to your problem if they dont need to dim on and off, you can use christmas light controller that has a chase sequence and hook it up to that, it is a whole lot cheaper as long as they dont have to dim
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    There was a discussion a while back creating a flaming car track effect. One of the proposed solutions was a chasing rope light setup. This might be a possible solution. I believe BillESC sells the product and knows all about what you can do with it. Rope Light certainly would be an easy way thing to retro fit onto a complete set.
     
  10. Brilliant2007

    Brilliant2007 Member

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    Another option... run the circuits you want to chase to some floor pockets or other easily accessible dimmers. Rather than have the deck electrician do the effect himself, just have him unplug instruments you aren’t using for the scene and plug in the cables from these lamps. This way you can use the console and the chase will be consistent. Just make sure you label your cable real well and that the tech can see the labeling in the dark. Maybe this won’t work for you, but just wanted to throw it out there.

    Additionally, I would just rent an extra cheap dimmer pack, one you can power up from a couple of 20amp wall outlets, run some extra dmx to it and bingo! Like someone else said, this is for an effect, you don’t need to have 100w lamps, 25 to 50w will do the trick.

    BRANDON
     
  11. Oldman

    Oldman Member

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    For a really cheap chase, I have used 3 or 4 outdoor Christmas light strings as these are usually 25 Ft in length. Just lay the strings together, offset so that the spacing is equal between lamps, and connect them to any of a multitude of chase circuits. This is really cheap and they can be used during the holidays in the normal fashion. My first one was around 25 years ago for a valentines day dance my son was decorating for and we used a piece of aluminum tubing bent in the shape of a heart to support them. Then add a mirror ball in the center of the heart and you are ready to go. At that time controllers were not easily available, so I built my own chase controller, but now there are many controllers on the market as the previous posts indicate.
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    A few years ago or perhaps within one to three years ago, Wolf, Creative and others with me took on a "Phillips lighting forum" challenge. We were attempting to come up with an idea for doing chase lights for a long distance track and field type running track. Seems to me by memory there was a lot of budget type solutions presented hopefully on-line, and in the end the person asking came up with here own solution that worked really well given lots of refinement in help. Specifically a controller that was rated for lots of wattage and would do the chase effect in a speed adjustable way.

    Might be worth a good websearch into the Phillips global website, their forum section into doing a chase light to figure out what was done and or in contacting the poster in finding out what she did. Memory doesn't serve what the final solution was, but it was a really good one.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I once made my own ropelight using christmas lights and clear vinyl tubing. Slit one side of the tubing open and crammed the lights in. It's probably cheaper to use rope light but we were using super christmas lights that had all these chases programed into them so it was a cheap way to do a lot with our lights.
     

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