Hanging a Light


Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2005
Melbourne, Australia
[top]In Australian English ;)

[top]1. On a Lighting Bar

One of the most important things to look for before you put any light on a bar is - where the cable comes out of the body of the light. In almost all lights, the cable is meant to come out near the bottom of the light i.e - if your light is hanging on a bar, the cable will be coming out the back of the light at the closest point to the stage, it then goes up towards the bar (Strand Pattern 263 and 264 are an exception).
When a light is hung upside down, the little wires inside the lamp (called the filament) get stretched in the wrong direction making the lamp likely to blow very quickly. Getting this part right will save you money. It is also worth noting that some lighting instruments will not ventilate properly if hung upside down. The gel frame won't stay in either, unless the fixture is provided with a fourth spring clip.
Before the light is actually put on a bar it is important to get the hook clamp (or otherwise known as a C-clamp) fixed to the light tightly. (Please note: The Australian and UK Hook Clamp is a totally different design from the US C-Clamp. The Hook Clamp was developed by Strand in the Fifties. C-Clamps similar to the US design are beginning to be used in the Australian market.) We recommend using a spring washer in your bolt set to prevent the lamp becoming too loose while focussing. Lastly tighten with a shifter or spanned so that the spring washer is compressed. This will hold the hook clamp tightly in place and ensure that once you have focussed the light, it will stay there.
Now that we know which way to hang the light and we have tightened the bolt set, we can put our light on to the bar. Hang the clamp over the bar so that it sits snugly, with no gap between the clamp and the bar. Tighten the tri-nut or bolt on the clamp. The very next thing you should do is attach a safety wire or chain to the light and to the bar. This is a very important piece of equipment that is often overlooked. Remember that your light is usually made of metal and is hanging over people's heads - sometimes even your own! Safety wires are not expensive and can save money and possibly even lives.
Attach the safety wire to the body of the light, not just through the yoke. Ensure that the clip on the safety wire is closed, otherwise it becomes useless. We recommend using a safety wire that is rated (this means tested and marked with a recommended maximum weight) and has a lockable clip.
Now open all barndoors or shutters fully to prevent them being unnecessarily burnt or worn out. Running light with the barndoors closed can also cause the lens to crack. This helps make it easier to see which lights are working and which are not when you run up the whole rig later.
[top]2. On a Stand

Many of the above points apply, but instead of using a hook clamp, you will require a spigot. A spring washer will still come in handy and washers should still be used the same way.
A safety wire is obviously not as important on a stand, but it is still important to get the cable coming out towards the bottom of the light. On some fixtures this may require a bit of adjustment of the yoke, even taking it off and turning it around! It may take a little while, but it is well worth it to save blowing a lamp in the middle of a show.
[top]In U.S. English :(

[top]On a Horizontal Position

As mentioned above it is quite important in most cases to ensure that a fixture is hung right-side-up, though sometimes this is not possible and with most modern lamps, the burn direction does not matter as much as it used to. These Directions assume that you are using a C-clamp as this is a standard hanging device. Other devices exist and the principles are similar.
Attach the C-Clamp (or other hanging device) to the yoke of the fixture as described above. Some C-clamps, like the Mega Clamp are shipped with "spring washers" these are useful, but as many C-clamps like the iron ETC clamps that come with new Source Fours are shipped with lock washers, either would be fine.
Place the C-clamp over the batten (or horizontal hanging position) and tighten the angled bolt until it is finger tight. At this point you should attach the safety cable.
Tighten the bolt about 1/4 to 1/2 turn with a C-Wrench. Overtightening the bolt on the C-clamp is very dangerous, it weakens the structure of the clamp and it can damage the hanging position. Repeated over tightening can lead to failure of the clamp, besides, one the clamp is finger tight it won't come off the pipe, we only tighten it further so that the fixture does not sway.
[top]On a Boom or Vertical Position

When hanging lights on a boom or vertical hanging position there are two basic ways to get the fixtures up. You can attach the C-clamp directly to the boom which will put the yoke of the fixture perpendicular to the boom. This can make focusing tough as you have to twist the light in odd ways to position it. Also, it may then be hard to get your shutter cuts if you are using a fixed barrel unit.
The other way to hang a fixture on a boom is to use a side-arm and T-Bolt. To use a sidearm you need to take the C-clamp off the fixture and replace it with the T-bolt. Don't put away your C-clamps yet though. The T-bolt is designed to slide along the sidearm and has two set screws that lock it in place.
First, hang the sidearm at the height you need it. Most use c-clamps, so the hanging procedure is the same as described above. Once the sidearm is secured, slide the light onto the sidearm and lock the T-Bolt at the distance you need away from the boom. This hanging method allows the fixture and yoke to hang in a "normal" position which makes focusing much easier.
Lastly, take the c-clamp that you removed from the light and clamp it to the boom above the fixture you hung (or between two fixtures). Once the c-clamp is on you have a point to safety your light to.
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