Going from Old School to New School.

AVGuyAndy

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
Ok, I guess I can call myself an "old school" lighting guy, which is nicer than saying "my school's lighting system sucks!"

So, I don't really know alot about thew current technology. I've learned alot reading this site, but only bits and peices. I saw the director of the musical in the hall last week, and it seems like she wants to go all out this year. Our stuff is all from the 70s, http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/[email protected]/album?.dir=75b4&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http://photos.sbc.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos]this is what we have
So this is when I list off a bunch of questions...

I know that DMX is the standard. How do you connect devices to the board? Such as color scrollers, gobo rotators, dimmers, etc. Is it all daisy chained?

What's the deal with Par cans? I see them everywhere. What are they commonly used for? It seems like it's used for everything.

I know Source 4s are the hot instruments. I'd like to use some for front lighting from the catwalk. Which model(s) are going to give the best bang for my buck? For this year, we will be renting a ton of stuff.

How about fresnels? Which ones are people commonly using now?

Does anyone know of any lighting installation companies in CT?

If you use an analog-DMX converter, do you like or dislike it?

Finally, I want to demo a desk if I get the analog-DMX converter installed. I need one which I can learn fast. The ETC Express series sounds good. What do you guys reccomend?

Thanks alot.
 

vguard420

Member
Joined
May 5, 2005
Location
Glenview, IL
well if you have any idea what you need lighting wise then you can chose what S4 leko you need (5,10,19,26,36,50 degree) if its going to be less planed out the s4 zoom leko gives you more flexability (25-50 degree). s4 pars are also really useful. console wise the express series is super easy to learn/use they also have off-line software so you can learn how to prgram it before you even get it. then all you would need is a converter (Doug Fleenor Design has good stuff dfd.com), and some dimmers and you would be set

well i hoped this helped and good luck with your show
 

seanb

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
If you aren't sure what you're looking for exactly, I'd suggest renting source four jr zooms. You'll save yourself some money and some backbreaking work and you'll be getting a pretty comparable fixture in return. For fresnels, I'm a fan of the strand theatrical fresnels and not a fan of the s4 parnels.

ETC express is a good board for basic functions and cueing. It has somewhat awkward implementation of scrollers and gobo rotators, but it'll do in a pinch. My general preference is for a strand 300 or 500 series console, but that's just a personal thing.

DMX devices can be daisy chained, or run to an active splitter specifically designed for DMX duplication and run to the devices. Make sure that the end of your runs are daisy chained, or you might encounter a little weirdness.

Par cans are a cheap and easy way to get lots of light onto your stage if you aren't worried about cuts or beam quality. This makes them a good option for work lights and colour washes. In a pinch you could use them for key or fill light, though it's not the best option.
 

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
AVGuyAndy said:
I know that DMX is the standard. How do you connect devices to the board? Such as color scrollers, gobo rotators, dimmers, etc. Is it all daisy chained?
Yes. the standard is a 5-pin, but a lot of devices use a 3 pin.

AVGuyAndy said:
What's the deal with Par cans? I see them everywhere. What are they commonly used for? It seems like it's used for everything.
They are used a lot, because they're fairly inexpensive. Come in different sizes, different lamps, etc. If you buy ETC S4, you can order them with different lenses, which makes them more versitile. More $$ also.

AVGuyAndy said:
How about fresnels? Which ones are people commonly using now?
Don't use them myself. I do mostly concerts and stuff.

AVGuyAndy said:
Does anyone know of any lighting installation companies in CT?
There should be a ton around New York. See if you have a business yellow pages, or look online.
 

Geniediver

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2005
Location
MA
AVGuyAndy said:
How about fresnels? Which ones are people commonly using now?
well i dont claim any profetional knowledge or anything, but my school uses mostly 1k fresnels, we also have a few smaller ones i dono what their actual name is because we just call those fresnels
 

avkid

Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Location
Howell, NJ
There are different size fresnels.
 

propmonkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Location
Beloit/Milwaukee, WI
fresnels arent that great for larger stages. i use them for backlight and fill light. i used some kiegl(however you spell it) 750w 6" fresnel, theyre were pretty decent instruments. stick with lekos for the most part
 

bodega1705

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
i can answer ur question about the response unit...i too have a very old system...its so old that when we have to repair our dimmers that there is only 1 person in our state that i know of that is qualified enough to repair them...we have an analogue 48 7k dimmer system hooked up to an ETC 96 out response unit...i like the response unit...but its no fun patching and repatching circuts during a show...i would suggest an etc product either a 32 out or 96 out...depending on how many dimmers you have...
 

Radman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Location
Franklin, TN
My fav fresnels are the Strand Fresnelites. Any size. The yokes are kinda weak, but w/e.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Fresnels have not changed much over the years no matter the brand or design. An 8" Fresnel might be useful for a larger stage in covering a larger area with a higher wattage lamp. There is also stuff like Parnels from ETC out there that have their own likes and dislikes about them. But for the most part, a Fresnel from the 1970's - as if that's old, is going to be just as good as one from 2000.

Fresnels are basically wash lights and no you can't just go with Lekos and or Par's and call it a day design wise. Completely different beams of light.

I think Propmonkey was meaning in his above post much of what I'm saying - you probably don't need to buy new Fresnels (a service call to what you have is always good), but concentrate on buying new Lekos perhaps. Sell off or use what you currently have as supplemental gear to the new equipment. Do not throw it out or toss it in a corner to rust. Store it well as some day it might be needed.

As for what lenses you need to buy, don't think anyone has been to your theater. Why don't you know what you need? Let's make it easy, what do you have now? Probably the first house electric having a mixture of 6x12 and 6x16? Rear of house some 6x22? Over the stage a mixture of 6x12 and 6x9? These all as per another post on lenses, directly translate to a lens type of a Leko.

Unless you have a catwalk, I would recommend against zooms. Bit heavy to be climbing ladders with.
 

AVGuyAndy

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
We do have a catwalk, so that gives us one electric in the house.



That's what we have now. They are very inefficent. I *think* they are 6x12. I'd like to rent a number of S4's to replace them for the show. Zooms seem nice since the director changes her mind a lot.

My main goal is to make the front lighting very "white", and "clear". Our current front lighting is very "warm" and "yellow" I'm probably using the wong terminology, no one ever taught me.
 

avkid

Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Location
Howell, NJ
I think we have bunch of those things laying around, but then again the chances are if you want something unique or old we either have it or can find it/build it from random spare parts.
 

Geniediver

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2005
Location
MA
at my school we have a few old 6x9s and we use them for front light in our black box, but in our auditorium (its not really a theater, but its close enough) they suck. but thats mostly b/c we have to cut them more and focus more, and its just a hastle to mess with rusted parts when ur on a ladder really high up. wait i forgot my original point....oh right, i like them a shin busters for dances and you can probaly find other uses, so do indeed keep them around, and dont let them RUST!!
 

Geniediver

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2005
Location
MA
avkid said:
Plenty of WD-40!
now i heard something interesting about WD-40 the other day, i heard that it wasnt really an oil, but somethign that somehow like dried the metal, cleans it or something like that but dosnt actualy lubricate, now im wondering if that is true b/c my personal experience says that WD-40 will make anything move again.
 

AVGuyAndy

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
WD-40 will penetrate rust.

And these fixtures aren't going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately. I'm trying to figure out what I should rent, or buy additionaly, depending on the money situation.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
What's the temperature rating of WD-40?

In terminology, your description is just fine, and in fact just what you should be noting. As equipment in storage, given the inefficient fixture and lamp, and that beam of light with a sort of texture you describe, should you wish to do a scene with that texture or feel, such equipment would be very useful to keep in your inventory. Much harder to make a S-4 have that same "old time" effect than you think. Think it's warm now, imagine how warm it will have been when as the fixture was designed a incandescent non-halogen lamp was used in it. That warm effect when you have nothing brighter on stage becomes a statement of comparison. Loose all lighting on stage that is bright and white and a halogen lamp in this fixture seems to some extent bright. For the early to mid 1970's the "Radial 360 series Altman Leko" did a good job of lighting especially once the halogen lamps replaced the incandescent ones.

Zooms in a catwalk would probably do well, in which case what is it something in the range of 36 to 15 degree that would be mose useful?

Hard to tell if a 6x12 or 6x16 in the photo but my guess is a 6x12. Measure the length of the tube between shutters and lens train. This is the most easy way to note the fixture's focal length. This given someone did not install say a 6x9 lens train in a 6x16 tube.

Once you find out it's focal length, write it on the lens train so future people will know also.