The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

How to light a mirror ball

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Radiant, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Well, yeah. That's my question, how would you light a mirror ball? Currently we have one hung from the ceiling in our kids' church. I hung two PAR 38's with spot lamps from Lowe's to light it up. If I want the reflected dots to project somewhat downward, don't I need the lights positioned below the mirror ball? Basically, wouldn't the light be reflected back towards the light source?

    It seems like I'm not getting enough effect with the 38's, but I don't have much else to spare with which to light it. Would pinspots work better? Or a PAR 56 MFL?
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,948
    Likes Received:
    225
    Occupation:
    Stagehand/ Production Company Owner
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  3. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Basically have the lights below the horizontal midline of the ball and more light will hit the floor some spill will still hit the roof. Basically a light from each side and play with the distance from the lights to the mirror ball. Closer will give brighter spots to close you will get a narrower pattern.

    Children will like seeing the spots moving around so I wouldn't worry to much if they can see evidence of the spots on themselves and the floor / walls they like it.

    Else then other thing to do is get brighter lights.
     
  4. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,709
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I would suggest a couple ShowGuns from about 20 feet.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,664
    Likes Received:
    329
    Location:
    PA & NJ
    Pinspots, if aimed towards the bottom 2/3 of the mirror ball and hung in the same horizontal plane as the mirror ball, should work fine. As was mentioned, Pinspots are (and have been for years) the primary instruments in lighting mirror balls. Tight beam, so it doesn't spill around the room, and only consumes 30W, but it's really bright and punchy for 30W, so it will throw plenty of light on to the mirror ball.
     
  6. DAE

    DAE Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    You need to know the physics of light and lighting fixtures to help you choose the correct light source for what you want to do and achieve.

    The Par38 is designed to light up a garden so has a spot(narrow) or flood(wide) beam width so it's 100 to 150 watt output (different versions) is diverged over a wide angle. This means that the light radiating from thr filament is covering a large area so has a low light level on any surface it hits.

    The pin spot has a very narrow beam so the light intensity is very high (only 30 watts) and because of the narrow beam angle, all of the light hits the mirrorball so it is the most effective way of cheaply lighting a mirrorball.

    To get a brighter light on a mirrorball you need to use a discharge light. These are also grossly inefficient at getting most of the lamp output onto the item you want to light, but as you start with such a high light output from the lamp, what comes out the front of the fixture works well on a mirrorball.

    On a low budget, use pinspots. If you can get some cheap secondhand scanners give them a try as you also get colour changing and gobos to try.

    There are several threads on Controlbooth on pinspots, have a browse for them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,006
    Likes Received:
    750
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    As addendum to the other posts, bear in mind that the surface the reflected light shines onto, has much to do with how bright the reflections off the mirror facets appear.

    It helps to position both the ball and the lighting units, so that the reflected light shines onto a surface that will allow maximum visibility of the reflections. Black velour is bad. White walls are good. The floor is so-so, and only useful if there's nobody on it. Position of the ball and the lighting units is important. Narrow bright beams are very important.

    Steve B.
     
  8. tomed101

    tomed101 Active Member

    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Brisbane. Australia
    When we us a mirror ball which is not very often and for short periods of time, we just hit it with a followspot. Really bright and punchy with colour changing.
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,568
    Likes Received:
    2,571
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    While the pinspot is the tradition, one of the coolest things I've ever seen was 4' mirror ball with a dozen Mac 2k's pointed at it all blasting with rotating small dot breakup gobos. Those dot's were FLYING around the room in all kinds of crazy directions. So like someone else said some sort of scanner/mover would be great plus you would get color. You could even use a Source four with a gobo rotator. If you had it close enough with a tight enough zoom.
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

    Messages:
    6,148
    Likes Received:
    423
    Location:
    Illinois
    Just finished swapping out the broken mirrors on some 60" mirror balls and one of my assistants wishe to test the fixture. He proceeded to shine his inside frost "Reveal" work light lamp onto the mirror ball and was not impressed with the output from the reflectance. Or was to some child like degree.

    Do an experiment with your Mag Light. First in tight focus, than in wide focus. What do you note and see? Are you noting that the tight focus has a much more refined beam of reflected dot off the mirror ball?

    The tighter the filament, more parallel the beam of light and or spot placed on the mirror ball = almost at any angle though there benefits of angle to it, is superior to wash of light hitting the mirror ball reflectors which do reflect but only reflect what is shined on it graphically.

    The pinspot has a nice tight filament and nice tight beam of light, the PAR 38 spot has a compariatively larger filament (point source of light) and wider beam angle. While you get dots of light, the more refined and intense the beam, the more specific the dots from the mirror ball. Moving light fixtures, narrow focus fixtures have an advantage as with pinspots and even beam projectors in hitting the mirror ball, stock PAR lamps as similar to even A-lamps do reflect but not as efficiently. The more focused and point source with intensity and filament /arc size, the more reflected.

     
  11. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    To make things even simpler. Compare a 5 mw laser to a par 38. Laser you see across the room, very bright. Par 38 lights up a wider area across the room but its also much more dim. One of my favorite effects is when we hit a 4' mirror ball with 4 of our 4k xenons. They zoom down to a very tight beam, which hit the ball perfectly and then we had it on a color effect. Multi color sharp beams were flying around the room. It was sweet. I have had good luck focusing a couple of source 4's onto a mirror ball. It works well. I use the 19 degrees and if i need them smaller i drop in an iris or a reducer (i usually make my reducer gobos myself out of aluminum cans :D.
     
  12. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Don't you think 20 feet is a bit much? HES says not to place anything within 4 meters, whatever that is. Google says 4 meters = 13.1233596 feet, which is a useful measurement. :grin:

    I read the recent thread about pinspots. Someone posed the question as to whether or not they're dimmable. Both Soundlight and Derekleffew recommended against it. I'd like to pick up several pinspots, a pair for the mirror ball and several for our main sanctuary. For the mirror ball it wouldn't matter if they're dimmable or not, but I certainly want them to be before I put them in the sanctuary. So, what's the verdict, especially on the Chauvet version?
     
  13. DAE

    DAE Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    It is not the pinspot that has a problem with being dimmed, as it has an iron cored transformer supplying the stepped down ac volts to the pinspot lamp.
    The problem is whether the dimmer is able to dim a transformer load.
    Some dimmers are what they call hard fired and can handle inductive loads.
    Some dimmers are soft fired so can only dim resistive loads such as a lamp filament.
    Some dimmers need a minimum load, for the older Strand dimmers it was 60 watts, some modern dimmers need 200 watts.
    You are going to have to get the specs on your dimers to see what they are capable of driving a current into.
    Have a read of this excellent article by LSC Lighting Systems on pulse fired dimmer http://www.lsclighting.com/forums/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=47
     
  14. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Just bought a crap ton of the Chauvet version....don't ask why...I don't like to talk about it....we bought them speciffically because their rep said they are dimmable...but of course that doesn't mean you should.


    Short of 4 Mac2k's or 4 Shoguns (yes I too have lit mirror balls with moving lights....it rocks) I'm a big fan of two or three lights with color doughnuts in them for lighting mirror balls.
     
  15. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I think everybody else has this coverd, pin spots are the way to go. Your problem is in using a par anything, which shoots the reflected light back at itself. The last time I lit a mirror ball for a dance competition, we used a 26 degree source four probably about three feet away from the target, and shuttered in to kill the excess.( I also use shotguns to kill flies, which is a southern tradition.) We also put it on a motor, ( less than 20 bucks in most places) and put the motor on a dimmer so we could control the speed. I recomend something along those lines, remeber almost everybody born after the 80's has ADD, so moving lights are cooler. Even geling your lights will create some cool effects, but your effect can be as cheap or as expenseive as you want it to be

    hope this helps.
     
  16. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,365
    Likes Received:
    498
    Occupation:
    Prop-tart
    Location:
    Chicago
    Uhh, pinspots for mirror balls are usually PAR 36.

    I know you're new. Welcome to the Booth! Please make friends with the search tool. We recently had a lengthy pin spot thread.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  17. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,317
    Likes Received:
    352
    Location:
    Kilmarnock, VA
    My best mirror ball effect was at the Ocean Grove Auditorium in New Jersey. It's a huge arched venue that seats about 5k. Seals and Croft were doing the east coast debut of Diamond Girl. We had a 48" ball suspended about 30' up from the floor in the center of the auditorium. From a blackout at the first note we hit the ball with six carbon arc Super Troupers. Looked like an explosion in a Beyer asprin factory.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  18. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,948
    Likes Received:
    225
    Occupation:
    Stagehand/ Production Company Owner
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    That had to be blinding.
     
  19. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Gafftapegreenia, I have read this thread, which is what I assume you refer to. http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6648&highlight=pinspots
    In it, Soundlight & DerekLefflew both said that pinspots were unsuitable for dimming, while others said it's ok. Also, I read DAE's link regarding pulse fired dimmers.
    For the mirrorball project, I'm ok with not dimming the pinspots, instead just putting in an on/off switch for the motor and lights. But lately I've been considering adding a couple of groups of pinspots to our main sanctuary lighting. I'd absolutely want them to be dimmed in the main sanctuary.
    I read all the pertinent literature for our dimmers today, and found no reference as to a minimum load per circuit. We have Leprecon Litescapes. I do know that a year or so ago, we hung 30 or so random small household lamps, little 20 and 40 watt cutsie things. (Kind of a nice effect really.) Anyway, just playing around on that occasion, a single little lamp functioned perfectly to dimmer control, before adding all the other lamps to the same channel. So perhaps the Litescapes would function well with pinspots. I'm picturing 2 rows of 6 or 8 pinspots, mounted on the floor, angled up 45 degrees so as to catch the haze.
     
  20. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,365
    Likes Received:
    498
    Occupation:
    Prop-tart
    Location:
    Chicago
    Radiant, I did not direct that comment at you, but rather at Goph704.

    Sounds like you have a good plan. FWIW, I've dimmed pin spots no problem. (Don't remember dimmer type)
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice