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Hanging lights?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so I was just curious what your guys opinion are on hanging lights. Is this a one or a two person job? I've done it as a one person job a ton of times, and I've also had some really shady moments doing it. (Read: Heavy KL, underneath a a par56 at full. So that means, heavy load, sweaty hands, and I couldn't get the **** wrench on the clamp. Oh, did I mention the senior female lead was beneath me?) I, and my crew, like to have a two member rule when dealing with the heavy instruments, especially when using our AP slots, as it's hard to get 'em on, you have to make them go horizontal, and lower them, then pull up, from under the pipe. It's a hassle. However since I'm often the only one working (not the only one in the theater) that rule quickly dissolves. So what are your thoughts on this? (Excuse the terribly quality of this post, it's 3:38 AM)
     
  2. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    In high school I was always the entire lighting crew up until I gave the script and Go button to a monkey. In community theatre I was ME and then had an AME plus TD and a few handfuls of volunteers every hang. In conference world, unions handle the grunt of the work.

    Generally hangs are conducted by many people, then focus is narrowed down to just a few guys.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    you may want to take this with a grain of salt as my crews are generally college age and older, but I generally consider hanging lights technically a one man job. But this is not the complete answer. If we are hanging flying battens then the whole crew might attack them at the same time, but each person hangs their own light. For my coves, booms and box booms, basically any position that can only be accessed by a git'taller (ladder/lift) it become a one man job (sort of). You can't safely put two people on a ladder or one man lift, so usually I would send one person up and the other will stand on the deck and follow the plot and send lights up on a rope. Other than MLs, the heaviest lights we have are 2k fresnels, and if one crew member can't haul them up and hang them then we send up a bigger person.

    MLs on the other hand, if being hung on immobile pipes are a 3 man operation most of the time. Two to haul them up and one to follow on a git'taller to hook them on.
     
  4. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I prefer one on the ground one in the air with a fixed grid. With lighter lanterns it certaily can be a one man job but for safety reasons I would always go for two.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I try to get as many people involved as possible with the initial hang... how many ladders do I have? But as Rad said at the same time you only want a few for focus. Plus you want good people for focus as it is slow and tedious waiting for someone who doesn't know what they are doing. In educational situations I always match a newbie with a veteran for focus to keep things moving along as much as possible. Usually I have the veteran do like half the lights with the newbie watching then allow the newbie to start doing things with the vet there to jump in and help.

    In any case there needs to be SOMEONE else in the theater for safety sake.
     
  6. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Movers are definitely 2 - 3 person. It depends on the size, shape, the type of clamps, etc. It also depends on what you're doing. A theater show, where you have a few days of tech, you might have more time for each instrument. A tour, where load in is at 8 AM and the sets and audio are still on the trucks waiting for lighting to get hung, you don't have time for anything. You might have 2 hours from the time you open the truck doors until the time the rig has to be flown because having the locals there for more than 4 hours costs a lot of money.

    But I digress. Most conventionals can be hung by 1 person.
     
  7. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking, and in retrospect I think I'd have to agree with you guys. I think the thing about that story that spooked me, was that I was loosing my grip. Perhaps the solution is a pair of solid gloves?
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Pick up a pair of Mechanix gloves at your local auto parts store. Great bargain, no need to order anything online, and they'll last a while. Also, preset everything as much as possible when hanging the really long lekos - tighten the f***it nut in the position that you want it to be in, tighten the yoke-clamp bolt, make sure that the pigtail won't get in your way, etc. The worst thing to do is to hang a light and realize it can rotate freely because the f***it nut isn't tight, and the cable gets caught on your arm when it turns around as you're trying to tighten the yoke bolt.
     
  9. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Always, ALWAYS have at least one other person in the theater, within shouting distance (or if they're say in the next room over, have them check back in at fixed, frequent intervals).

    As far as hanging, as I say it, the more people who can do it...the better! Hanging a light is in my opinion not exactly the most complex thing (and for the complex ones, well that's what I'm here for), so I feel confident having competent techs go up into the catwalks and hang, or hang when the battens are lowered.

    That being said, if its a ladder job, or someting that requires climbing, a bit more of balance, etc, I usually won't allow anyone but myself to do it. Partially because I trust myself in those situations, being an avid monkey, and partially because I don't want anyone else to get hurt.

    Movers, on the other hand, are a completely, completely different animal. Two people at least to each mover, and a third spotting at all times. Before the batten each mover is on goes up, I personally check all the cheeseboroughs, clamps, safety cables, everything. Having one of those fall is a budgetary and public relations (rentals!) nightmare, and they're already more complex to hang.

    As far as focusing goes, unless you have a RFU, it's always a two-person job for me anyways, one's focusing, and one's at the board. If you have a RFU though, I could see just one person going up (provided you still have that other person in the theater!)
     
  10. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    " budgetary and public relations (rentals!) nightmare"

    You dont have insurance? who is renting to you?

    JH
     
  11. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Oh yea, insurance.

    Well, knowing nothing about insurance, budgets, and all that stuff, it was always simply impressed upon me that I was in deep you-know-what if anything broke.
     
  12. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Um... it's good not to break anything but you should never risk your own safty for equipment.

    Just putting that out there. Insurance will pay for all damaged equipment. Rental houses know this and dont wory about it.

    If you dont have insurance which is something to check immediently you should get some. Its irresponsible not to have insurance, you dont want to screw the rental house and your career.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Insurance is a very interesting topic in Schools and Universities. Most state run operations are "self insured" which means they decide if they are going to buy a new one or not. I imagine if I break something that is rented the college will expect me to replace it out of my budget. If I break or have something of my own stolen I can fill out a form and they college will decide if they feel like buying a new one or not... most likely not.

    Any of you rental people have interesting experiences with school districts/state college and universities and their "self insurance".
     
  14. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    All i know is most rental houses will NOT rent to you with out a certificate of insurance. With this you or your insurance company can not choose not to cover the insured which is always listed as the owner for the equipment ie. the rental house.

    I have seen tons of rental stuff break. The insurance always pays.

    JH
     
  15. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Back on the hanging subject; Although most of the work I have done in the past was with trusses that were lifted or rigged once the instruments were in place, I did find myself stuck with an occasional climb and change-out. As there were no catwalks available, I would usually strap myself in where I needed to be and pull the light from the floor with a rope, snap on the safety cable and then go about getting it fixed, wired, and aimed. You always want a spotter, and he/she should never be under you. One trick I can impart: Wristbands were popular back in the 80's and I would keep the wrench attached to one with a short piece of string. Slip the wristband on and use the wrench. If it slipped it would not go far. I wish I could say this habit was born out of a desire to be safe, but it was more laziness! btw- The only thing more dangerous than dropping a wrench to stage is the "helpful" roadie that tries to toss it back up to you !!!!!
     
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    ALWAYS teather anything to your body that can fall if you are going at heights. There should never be any reason for anything to fall off of you and fall farther then 5'. We had an intern drop a radio from our FOH catwalk 2 weeks ago, nearly a 60' fall, the radio was in 900 pieces but the circuit board held together and still works. So... teather everything, everytime.
     
  17. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    I'm usually the LD for our shows, so once I finish the plot I hand it off to my ME and his Assistants. I however, am a very hands-on kind of person, so I am one of the few LDs our school has had that will also do the hang and focus. Our heaviest lights are some old Altman Zooms, but even those can be handled by one person. The only time we'll use two or more people is if we rent any movers, or if we need to get a lot of lights into the ports of our smaller theatre quickly. Then there are two assistans up in the ports and one bringing lights up the ladder.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2007
  18. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Or IN your body for that matter! I was helping a (ummm) competing firm with a gig they were short handed on. They had a truss walker aiming. Suddenly he sat down on the truss. Someone yelled up asking if he was ok, two seconds later he lost his lunch! I was on the far side of the stage, about 30 feet from dead center and still got spattered. Needless to say, the band who's equipment was on stage was not happy. He came down ok, and the company seemed sympathetic, but I never saw him again.
     
  19. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    ewww. never heard that one before. I have seen some gross things come off a truss, a dead bird for instance, but um... ewww.
     
  20. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    If the other LDs are not going to focus then how are the lights getting focused? Also, if you have some secret about how things get focused without a designer, don't tell anyone because once potential employers hear that you don't need to be there for focus, they won't pay you for it.
     

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