house lights


Well-Known Member
OK, as i'm sure most people know, my school's "theater" is in the gym. The gym lights take about 15 minuets to warm up and turn on, so we're going to be using 7 575 watt S4-Par's as the house lights. We're going to aim the lights up at the (white) ceiling and the light that bounces off the ceiling should give us a nice even spread for the house. I was going to use the WFL lens on the S4-Par's, but then it struck me, that it would be even better not to use any lens. However, i'm not sure if this would be better, worse, not change anything, or what. So, thats my question....

any suggestions? i'm also open to other ways of getting house lights to work.....
Hey zac850, I think sense you are aiming them up at the ceiling, you shouldn't use any lens at all. But if it is too harsh, I would suggest using a diffusing gel. :D
See ya...
unfortunately, no scoops. I was expecting some, but none of them came in our shipment...... so nope......

i'm assuming it doesn't mater if dust falls into the light or anything...... this will be a permeant thing, so I want to make sure that its safe......
Safe yes, the lamp's diect heat on the gel bad. The lens will absorb some of the direct heat on the gel, it will also smooth out the beam of light. Give it a shot with what the light beam looks like but you will probably want to disperse the beam. The VNSP lens is about a clear sheet of glass thus I expect that the natural beam angle of the PAR is in VNSP beam angle. That might be a bit more narrow than it useful.

Also when shining the lights up at the ceiling you first have a lot of light absorbed and reflected off in all directions by the ceiling. While this in-direct lighting method is very smooth and dispersed, plus less harsh, give it a shot before you commit to using the method, it might be a little less intense than you need.

The scoops will no doubt be very useful for this given you don't need a night time wash. Lots of toys to play with now. Congrats.
so are you suggesting to use a vnsp lens for the house lights? I want a wide beam of light bathing the ceiling, so that will bounce down onto the audience for house light. I will not be geling these lights, so.....
If I were you, I would go with a WFL lens because it spreads the beam more, so you can get more light dispersion out of a shorter throw. I really don't know your particular situation, but I would definately put a lens in the fixture for safety reasons and the fact that it is designed for use with a lens. Also, if the lamp were to explode, the lens would shield any projectile, which I would guess would be very minimal, since your lights are fucused upward. Still, you can never be too safe.
I also just thought of the fact that you will want to keep dust off the reflector as well. And with your venue being housed in a gym, you never know what kind of crazy toys could end up in your lights.
I agree with ship. I've never pointed parcans strait up. But I guess it would probibly get the gel a whole lot hotter!!! Did't think of that. I like what ship said. Use a MFL first then try a wide lens and see which is better. Good Luck :D
Hey Zac,

I use Par 56 cans quite a bit for bouncing light off of roofs with good effect. Now, keep in mind that these are 300W lamps and will run cooler than your S4-PAR's but I find them very good and no more harsh on gels than usual. Another light that I have used for this purpose is the good old 500W QI flood light. cheap and effective and (the ones over here) have a clear glass cover to keep bugs and crap decreasing the life of the lamp.

Might be a better option than wasting S4-PAR's on this application as I am sure that you could put them to good use on your productions.

Just a thought
I have at times used the ceiling bounce effect. Last instance was with ETC S-4 Parcanss with 375w lamps in a classroom with a deep Rx27 red gel. Very nice effect, the cans almost took upon themselves their own flame pot effect. Ceiling bounce for lighting can be done and given the throw length in combination with the beam angle and intensity, can be very useful for a good matt diffusion/dispersion of light. Good idea on your part for thinking it. Just a question of throw range to the ceiling, than reflective light off it range to the audience in addition to reflective light off it, if or if not it's going to provide sufficient lighting to read the program. Kind of depends upon throw distances for the most part and ceiling texture and color of course. At least in your concept the direct and overly intense light sources by way of glare factor is taken care of. The eye is drawn to the brightest light source, thus you won't have audience complaining about looking at parcans shining directly down at them. Good idea for providing light. Dust factor is a minor factor in my opinion, the lamp is going to get dust no matter if there is a lens or not when pointed up. Just that the without lens the par should be a VNSP my point. What MFL/WFL lens works best is something for you to investigate. Sure a WFL might provide a larger dispersison of light, but the chief question is if that light once reflected is sufficient to light the old ladies in the audience wishing to read the program.

Hope to hear your results and details of the show design soon. All of our fingers are crossed.
I decided to aim them at the ceiling with a WFL lens in them. I still don't know how well it is going to work, since I'm still waiting on UPS to hook my board up to the dimmers (yes, I did try to test them from the dimmer rack, but it wasn't as easy...)
zac850 said:
I decided to aim them at the ceiling with a WFL lens in them. I still don't know how well it is going to work, since I'm still waiting on UPS to hook my board up to the dimmers (yes, I did try to test them from the dimmer rack, but it wasn't as easy...)
Sense when did UPS start hooking up DMX?
UPS is delivering the DMX cable, and 3 more multi-cables that I need as well......

yea, i guess that didn't make all that much sense in the first post, did it....?
Safety question here:

Since you're in a gym, how are you going to deal with the potential for balls and other high flying objects hitting the par cans?

The lamps hanging from your gym's ceiling are designed to be hit and then swing. The par's are going to be clamped to a pipe, which means they're going to absorb the force, and eventually probably get knocked loose. In general, I don't know how a parcan would take being hit with a basketball a few times.
Would you like to be hit with a basketball a couple of times??

Im guessing your pars wouldnt like it either :p

if your school has a tech department, just get them to whip up some simple metal cages that you can clamp onto the pipe to cover the light...
the cage idea was an old plan we had floating around a while ago. The current plan is since we have a tall gym we're going to move all of the lights up to the top, so like 30 or 35 feet away from the basketballs. The hope is that they won't be able to hit the balls even if they try (and if they try I will kill them with my bare hands) and there is no way in just planing a game of basketball you will be able to hit them.

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