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Hiding Foot Lights

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by thebikingtechie, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    I'm starting to work on the light design for "The Women Of Troy" which were doing this February at a high school drama festival. My drama director has asked me to get a little fancy (aka, time for me to have some fun). Anyway I'm thinking about the possibility of using footlights to create some shadows since it's a very dramatic one act. This is where I could run into problems, I don't have that long to set up, I think she said four hours but I think it's a little shorter. Though cabling will also be a problem, my main problem is hiding the footlights. I don't know for sure what type of stage it will be on, and I have to be very flexible, so I can't rely on an apron bar or anything like that.

    My thought is to see if I can hide some single cell cyc lights on stands in fake rocks on stage. Has anyone done anything like this before, any other ideas?

    I know if I use rocks (if I get approved to stick a few rocks on stage) heat could be an issue.

    Thanks
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Another concern beyond the valid ones of heat and time would be the blocking of the stage that a ground row of some sort might have on the first rows of the audience. Could be possible but if you don't know the stage, it could also be tricky to do. A 3" gap as long as the scenery is flame treated should be sufficient if you use a ground row or scenic element. As I remember that play - great play, there is a bunch of acting done on the stage floor. Talent blocked by the Cyc light, even ground row or scenery masking it to anyone in the audience would be a bad thing.

    Believe last time I saw the play it was on a raked stage - one with many levels/rocks etc. but a definate rake to it which the actors enjoyed in adding to their fealt uncomfort with the material in getting into their roles. Such a raked stage while it takes a lot of effort in design and even more still in install especially if multi-level, could be more feasible in masking the lighting.

    Mini or better yet Micro cyc lights a possibility? Smaller in size often possible to do in 18" sections seperated by cables and in the micro type easier to seperate up into masked set designed elements.

    Otherwise perhaps some 3" Fresnel Inkies, PAR 20 or PAR/MR-16 fixtures with barn doors? If not LED of various wash or cyc version that could get smaller yet but have that soft wash beam spread? Could get a bunch of punch out of any of them, the filament types would need frosting, the LED might seem a bit cold or less lively but they might be possible.

    Another option might be to do MR-16 track light fixtures of some sort. (As long as safely and properly done as a "practical" or special fixture.) Install the track light on the stage (or on blocks to stabilize it), plug it in and install the mini-fixtures such as gimbal ring versions as if down stage microphones and hope nobody takes offense to them. Should disappear fairly well on stage out of stage convention - they are there but not there. The track itself can be individual short sections of track seperated by cords or one long length plugged together either of which would virtually disappear on the stage deck. Such fixtures are often very small if of certain styles and available 75 Watt, 60 degree EYC type MR-16 lamps at 12v which perhaps with some gel and barn doors could both wash and keep tight the effect. (Realizing you would need a transformer and the track lighting equipment, if not modify the fixtures or better yet - recommended get someone qualified to wire them in series without the transformer. Should be fairly simple but would not be possible to use them on the track light bar - they would have to become individual fixtures that are wired in series and that would get a bit more tricky but feasible.) MR-16 lamps in low voltage have lamp life problems when dimmed but not so much that they would not survive a few productions. Wiring in series seems to remove this halogen effect low voltage dimming problem. Otherwise, 150w/120v MR-16 lamps in 60 degree are also availble in the standard GX/GY-5.3 base. This in addition to some home center grade GX-7.9 and GU-10 lamp base type, 120v lamps on the market with a 40 to 50 degree beam spread and fairly high 50 Watt lamp. Track lighting has different types of lamp bases to them. Often the home center type track lighting these days will only be available in the 120v line voltage type which uses the different lamp base so as to prevent low voltage lamps installed into it. There are not as many varieties of cheaper home center type track light lamp as a true/normal GX-5.3 MR-16 base lamp in style companies like Juno offer fixtures using. This including even MR-16 colored lens lamps for the GX-5.3 base style. Such a base is normally low voltage but there is 120v versions available. Low voltage track lighting would also be beneficial on stage decks due to its lower voltage. On the other hand, home center grade fixtures can have their lamp bases changed fairly easily, or in any case are often sold very inexpensively if not amongst a discontinued style that is dirt cheap.

    Is it possible to fence off part of the audience sides to do low angle audience box booms? Otherwise low angle side stage shin buster in key light mode when needed?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Ship got there first, I was going to say that inkies or birdies usually work well for foot lights. I have also used MR16 Zip Strips as footlights. They are pretty low profile and it is easy to toss three or four strips across the front of the stage and call it a day.
     
  4. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I got this link in my email this morning http://www.rosco.com/us/video/litepad.asp might be a bit pricey but sounds like it could be a solution depending on the light level on stage at the time.

    Single cells or par16s in rocks seem like the best idea so far though. Lately I have been playing around with MR-16s in a prop and I was surprised to find that you can get different degrees for them and Rosco makes a product to strap a dichroic to the lamp which would make for a mighty small fixture.
     
  5. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    I had originally thought of MR-16s but we don't own any and I would like to use what little budget we have to get some Source 4s or other ERSs which will be much more useful than the MR-16s in the long run. I could ask the local community/civic theatre to borrow theirs, I spend a lot of time working there, but also know that they understandably probably won't want to lend out their equipment, especially since they're booked very heavily.

    I'm going to talk to my director about what she wants more, I'm mainly just feeling out the possibilities right now. Though out of curiosity, do you really think the Lite pad would provide a great enough punch? I got that email too, and they seem very versatile and inexpensive. I think I could even afford to buy one just to try myself. But like I said will they work for this situation, I think I'll probably have other lights up but relatively dim.
     
  6. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    MR-16s can be had on the cheap if your just buying the lamp and the base, around 7 bucks for a lamp and a base. Custom make a rock with some consideration for heat disperation and you got a thing. You would need a 12 volt power source but those are not hard to come by, an old computer PSU would do the trick in fact.
     
  7. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    First of all, I talked to my director and she likes the idea, though she said we have 1 hour of which I can only use 1/2 to set up instead of the four I thought we had.

    Second, I like the MR-16 idea more as I think about it. Soundman, do you know where I could get those, and is there a way to connect every thing safely without having much electrical wiring experience? Thanks.
     
  8. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Or consider these, from the same site as referenced above. Only slightly bigger, no need for a transformer, and able to dim on any dimmer.
     
  10. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    Is that a standard base? Ie. the base a normal incandescent light bulb would have?
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    That's how much they retail for? I really had no idea of that price.
    Anyway, either E-17 base (Intermediate Screw) or E-26 base (Medium Screw) for screw in types will work in a PAR 20 or PAR 16 fixture well as long as it has the same intermediate screw or medium screw type lamp base - would want the wide angle version of the lamp but both would do the same thing. The E-17 base most likely would be normal for a PAR 16 fixture when not "Birdie" style that is low voltage G-5.3 style and has a transformer attached. The E-26 style for a PAR 20 that works fine also. No doubt both size of PAR lamp base are also available in the opposing lamp base style.

    This as opposed to track light fixtures that use either the GX-5.3 base normally if 12v or of the 120v style using the more expensive - architectural lines of fixture, or the GU-10 base home center grade 120v track light fixtures which don't need the ballast. Track light fixtures in general are also available with medium screw and a little less common the intermediate screw base lamp base in different styles of light fixture. Say a PAR 16 track light fixture will also take a 100JDR-MR16/WFL lamp, amongst other types.

    All track light fixtures are often smaller than even a Inkie and similar to but shorter than a Birdie. I'm thinking Gimbal ring type MR-16 lamps on the other hand which have the smallest yet size to them which as a concept with all the above fixtures in discussion could in theory just be placed alone at the front of the stage without masking. Just plop out such 2+" dia. fixtures at the tip of the stage. No more in the way than a microphone planted there the audience member just has to get over in seeing.

    Anyway, the overall essence is to place small lighting fixtures down stage on tracks or individual floor bases. After that ignore them sticking up.

    Side notes also, Micro Strips use MR-11 lamps in being ultra thin in size and length. I also don't recommend a E-17 base lamp when a E-26 is available. E-17 lamp bases are often frequently much harder to get replacements to. This much less, the E-17 lamps while ANSI coded are often not generally stocked locally as opposed to the E-26 versions where if necessary you could install a PAR 16 or PAR 20 lamp in its place.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2007
  12. church

    church Active Member

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    MR16 lamps can be bought at dollar stores and the base is sold at Home Depot. An easy way to do this is to screw the bases to a piece of wood and wire the lamps in series 10 lamps in series lets you run it of 120V. Do it at your own risk. Alternatively get some of the outdoor plastic PAR38 holders that people use for outdoor christmas lights, they can be plugged together and come with a base that can be screwed to a 2 by 4
     
  13. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    I'm not sure how safe that would be, plus its not UL listed.
     
  14. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    Yah, I think I'll talk to the guys at the local theatre, they should have taken their Entertainment Electrical Exams by now and assuming they passed, can help me wire it safely and certifiably legally.
     

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