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ghost light ????

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Dcdjdrew, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Dcdjdrew

    Dcdjdrew Member

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    Hello all, Our theatre really needs a ghost light I was wondering if anyone has instructions for building one or a place to purchase one. thanks
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Attach a lamp socket to the top of a piece of conduit which is attached to a square/rectangular wooden base. Use 16/3 wire to run the power for the socket down through the conduit and out under the base. Put the connector of your choice on the other end. Make sure to use a compact flourescent bulb, because there's no filament to break when the ghost light is moved while it's hot. All of these materials can be found at your local Lowes' Home Improvement. I have no idea if Home Depot carries all of the stuff, but lowes does!
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hey ! That's what i was going to say ! :mrgreen:
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Not to steel any thunder or intent to help but a good ghost light has been discussed before on this forum and others, especially in the past on Stagecraft, and also for the most part has a bit more detail to it. I hope the below more fleshes out what is required and or is normally traditionally done or not to be done or to be de-emphisized in concept of doing.

    How to make a good Ghost Light is frought with NEC difficulties no matter how you do it - believe Altman, Strand, L&E and other companies still make a UL listed Ghost Light fixture that would be fully compliant, otherwise what is often done is just a work light or two overhead from the grid or electric is left always on. This plus the fire curtain is always closed. The modern requirement of a ghost light possibly is not as required any longer as long as the stage can be sufficiently lit from above in a perminant when not occupied sense. Means say first and third electric having something that is always on say would comply and be a lot easier to do. Just a question of wiring up the electrics for switcable power - perhaps not as easy to do but easier in the long run in labor and real safety. Look towards L&E's I believe it's the "Runt" light fixture that is a really good UL listed for this purpose work light.

    In theory, one could also do a llesser wattage, very long lamp life construction type work light stand light for a ghost light and it would be fully code and stage compliant.

    Conduit unless RMT is not rated as a structural free-standing device, much less any part of a lighting fixture. Neither are plumbing parts such as Sch.40 pipe and fittings as conduit. Square/Rectangular wooden bases assumes some means of mounting the conduit to that base - not aware of a electrical conduit fitting floor flange/conduit clamp base that does this. Your stand height verses weight and size of the plywood base (assuming a single layer or double layer of 3/4" plywood would also be top heavy if less than at least 20" square.) Any lumber must be painted in very minimum flame treating, much less moisture protection. Technically, it’s also against code to run any cable inside of conduit. 16/3 wire, assuming 16/3 SO as 16/3 SJ is against code to run on stage in lengths longer than 3' would have an operating temperature of 90C. Such wire might or might not be a good idea to be using in a light fixture that’s operated for long hours - dependant upon cooling and wattage. Might have to wire the lamp base with a high temperature wire and do a splice. Also no mention of grounding and I believe a GFCI receptacle even if grounded is required on stage to plug into but don’t remember for sure this.

    The concept of using a compact fluorescent lamp so the filament does not break as it’s moved about is also I believe misunderstood. The intent is to protect against knocking the lamp over and touching the hot lamp. The first part requires a heavy enough lamp base (potentially on casters) that the lamp fixture at a given height cannot without out a lot of effort knock over easily. The second part is a cage around the lamp to protect against touching the hot lamp and potentially in a beyond this concept, protecting you from broken glass should it break or fall over. Compact fluorescent lamps are more efficient and long lived than most (not all) incandescent lamps but they do get warm and they do need protection from falling over and broken glass on the stage. A recommendation if compact fluorescent lamp, would be to get a covered A-Lamp or G-Lamp version of a compact fluorescent lamp which has a plastic cover over the lamp suitable for protecting against the heat and broken glass should it fall over. Otherwise as normal, cage in the fixture to at very least protect against any dangerous larger pieces of glass - should you slip and fall in knocking over the lamp for instance. Otherwise a normal caged lamp or if exposed a Silicone coated or Teflon coated “SafTLamp” type coated incandescent lamp is fine - especially if a 130v long life rough service version of this lamp. Such an incandescent lamp would be just fine also if not within a say plastic jelly jar caged lamp housing or just some form of lamp cage.

    I forget what wattage is required as a Ghost light in application but you can be sure it’s specified. If making a ghost light and using a compact fluorescent lamp in it, you must have that required equivalent wattage I believe is either 60 or 100w but don’t remember for sure.

    I would recommend buying a free standing light fixture pre-made - especially from a theatrical lighting company, and at very least short of this a free standing house light fixture that you remove the glass bowl from, than bolt it’s base to a more stable platform - hopefully a 1/4" x 12" steel plate but respectively a more sizable base in thickness and with of plywood after that so it cannot without effort be tipped over. Caster mounting such a base requires either and or extra weight and size but can be done. Normally also a hook is mounted to hold the extra cable to such a fixture. Such a hook can be just 3/16" pencil stick wound about the top fittings.

    In the past, plumbing pipes were most often used which are the same threading as electrical fittings. At the top lamp base, normally there would be a 1" Sch.40 to 1 /2" sch. 40 adaptor in use, than some form of Sch.40 outdoor medium screw lamp base socket for outdoor use lamp holder adapted and turned up-side down to mount the lamp. Often this is the type that cages in the lamp such as in the “jelly jar” type fitting or other surround type of cage. Such jelly jar fittings are easily available pre-wired and a question of within the pipe, splicing (properly butt splicing) the heat wire provided with the fixture to that of the cable run thru the conduit. This should not be a problem because most "Jelly Jar" type lamp housings come with a splicing box mounted to the lamp base mounting cover that allows for this splicing of the wire. Just a question of doing some form of strain relief at this point while also allowing the lamp housing to mount to the pipe adapter. A really good one would be a jam jar that is plastic with a cage surrounding it. Otherwise the cage around a glass jar should be sufficient to retain the glass should the fixture fall over. A as above generous amount of length so the cable stays away from the lamp, pencil stock rod hook normally hangs from the fixture somewhere around the top so as to hang the extra not in use cable from especially while the fixture is in a corner somewhere.

    Note, Sch.40 water pipe plus fittings and running cable thru a conduit, and doing a splice in the conduit is specifically against code but... that’s the way I have traditionally seen it done on real 1926 thru 1970's ghost lights. One can find exceptions to code to explain away means of support, cable path etc as necessary if the rule #1 done in a professional way is accomplished.

    So at the bottom of the fixture, I normally note the use of like a 14" dia. 1" conduit boom base four arm base fitting attaching to the pipe. As opposed to the now cast solid boom bases one sees these days, the smaller boom bases of yesterday used often ones that were not a solid disc, and instead one with legs between the pipe fitting and floor flange which had holes in it for mounting to the floor or a larger base. I have a four arm 18" base for 1.1/4" pipe which currently holds my computer monitors up at the moment as an example. (Long story, about 200# counter balance 1' off center of steel, plus the tower type computer to counter weight a 4' arm of non-flat screen large dual monitors. Yep, the boom base and pipe is thoroughly over weighted in it’s 4' height.) Still, normally the cable spliced into a pipe off a ghost light normally in the classic types takes advantage of such a four arm boom base for 1" pipe so as to allow the cable to exit the pipe without needing other fittings. The cable exiting the pipe is normally cable tied to one of the arms of the boom base so as to provide a strain relief from pulling on it at the boom base. Again, not persay code but what I have seen done in the past. One could use larger pipe and a solid boom base as long as that base were drilled and threaded for a strain relief for the cable also as a theory.

    That boom base than is normally mounted to a double thick painted plywood 18" square 1.1/2" thick plywood base with small 1" casters mounted to it so the weight stays close to the ground yet is sufficient to roll over cracks. Such a Ghost light I remember is about 5 to 6' high and might have had extra weighting to it so as to provide more stability to the base from tipping.

    Described is my remembering of classic ghost lights - they did what they needed to back than.

    These days, I might if necessary but only if required a classic version, make such a thing.

    I would recommend buying one first, than if not, buying a household and pre-wired light, than adding a more stable base to it. Of all note the protection of the lamp from falling safety issues, and unknown necessary wattage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2007
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    The reason that I mentioned a CF lamp is that we've lost dozens of incandescent filaments when people accidentally kick, hit, or otherwise move the ghost lights suddenly. We now have CF's, and no problem any more. We have wire guards (like in hanging work/task lights) around the bulbs, so there's no worry of being burned.
     
  6. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    A way to get a very special Ghostlight is to get the Behind The Scenes Ghostlight from Altman Rentals. A portion of the money will go to the Behind The Scenes foundation, which provides financial support to entertainment technology industry professionals when they are ill or injured.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    A great cause and a really nice looking ghost light. Plus by contributing to Behind The Scenes you just might get a free friendly theater ghost with the lamp who appreciates your good deeds. Don't underestimate the value of a good ghost in your theater. Anyone know how much it costs?
    I hate "call for pricing".
     
  8. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    According to the website--

    "Help light the way for our colleagues in need. All profits from your $299 purchase will go a long way to help Behind the Scenes provide financial support to entertainment technology professionals in crisis."
     
  9. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    The Altman Ghost light is a great item. Expensive? A little compared to what one could make on their own, but considering the money is going to those unfortunately injured members of our industry, I think it is well worth the money. I saw it down at the Altman plant a few months ago. It looks quite sturdy and should last for decades. Enjoy
     
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Here's my ghost light, and it ain't cheap, but works great

    2 - Altman Q1000 flood lights (2 used in case 1 burns out) hanging in my apron ceiling, flooding the entire theater. They are on a dimmed circuit run off my Unison system and come on automatically at a level of 60% when we hit the Close macro on the Unison LCD panel backstage. The reduced output gains me maybe 3,000 to 3,500 hrs. out of the lamps. I've changed one lamp in 2-1/2 years. The lower output only just allows enough light to not trip over stuff, but is not really enough light for any other purpose.

    SB
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Not for the professionals out there but for a cheap hanging ghost lamp... Get a good trouble light for less than $10. Remove the one sided safety basket with the "reflector" and replace it with a safety cage that let's light out on all sides ($3 at Lowes Hardware... haven't seen them at my Home Depot). Throw a Compact fluorescent in there and hang it from a batten. You've got years of cheap light for less than $20. Could also be a good idea for those high school "shops" that have a light switch in a "interesting" location.
     
  12. JimNH

    JimNH Member

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    Thanks to all above. I had to make a ghost light for our production of "Our Town". I came up with this one - $33 for the caged light at Home Depot, and about $50 in miscellaneous pipe, pipe and electrical fittings, and a long extension cord. Easy to make.

    We named it "Betty" (our purported ghost's name is Elizabeth, and Betty is my mother in law...)

    Peaocock Players Ghost Light - Betty.jpg

    JIM in NH
     
  13. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Does anyone know of a place to directly purchase the Ghost Light? I can't seem to find the purchase site anymore.
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ghostlight_Lg.jpg
    The BTS Boutique (bottom of page) Price is currently $349 plus freight.

    Which direct one back to:
    http://www.altmanrentals.com/downloads/Behind_the_Scenes_Ghostlight_Cutsheet.pdf
    Altman Rentals Inc.
    57 Alexander Street
    Yonkers, NY 10701
    Telephone: (914) 476-RENT (7368)
    Fax: (914) 963-7304
    Email: [email protected]
    Website: Altman Rentals Home Page
    Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00AM-5:00 PM EST


    See also the threads
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting-electrics/9352-what-kind-ghost-light-do-you-use.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting-electrics/1012-origin-ghost-light.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  15. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yowza price increase.
     
  16. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Altman still sells them and I believe Sapsis Rigging was for a time - both in part of their profits for cherity.

    The Altman or Sapsis versions would also be UL listed.
     
  17. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I bought an incandescent torchier from Home Despot and just didn't put the globe on. Cost $35 and is UL listed.

    Overhead ghost lights are fine and all, but I like the tradition of the light on a stand. I get a warm feeling from a single bulb burning center stage in a dark theatre.
     
  18. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Using the fixture without the supplied globe likely voids the UL listing. Jus' sayin'.

    You'll get an even warmer feeling if something flammable falls against the bare bulb, or the unit gets knocked over, the bulb shatters and sparks, and burns down your theatre.

    One Google hit when searching for torchiere fires.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  19. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    Point taken.

    Note I said incadescent. And actually, I'm using a CFL. I would never leave a halogen burning all night. I suppose I could put a cage over it for protection.
     
  20. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Renaissance Man Fight Leukemia

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    Hey folks, With my orchestra pit cover coming off next month, I'm looking to build a proper ghost light to replace the boring old lamp I leave on. My plan is to mount one of THESE. On some black pipe and put it on a rolling dolly. Note that the wiring will take place inside the fixture so that there isn't a connection being made in the pipe. The fire inspector won't allow anything to be plugged into extension cords, so if I need the fixture to have a 50' cord. Person at Home depot says that I can just cut one end off of a 50' SJ extension cord and wire it to the fixture. My understanding is that I will need to get SO cable for it.

    Any opinions?
     

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