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I want to put lights behind the cyc for star effects.

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by wemeck, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    I want to put lights behind the cyc for star effects. I was wondering if there are any recommendations or existing systems to do this. The solution can be either on the actual cyc batton, or on the backwall.
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Not sure what lights behind a cyc will do for "stars". A cyc will just show the light from behind. Are you thinking about doing this with a drop that has a double backing that lets no light shine thru except for areas where the backing layer has been cut?? A true "star drop" uses fiber optic lines & a projector that can do "twinkle" and colors. If you are using a cyc--you're better off using a gobo projected on the front from a few wide field fixtures.

    -wolf
     
  3. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    What I want to do is have a series of small power cables, small then width of a standard mic cable. At the end of the cable I want a mag-lite or mini mag-lite lamp. Those little suckers get bright! I want the diffusion of the cyc to help make the "stars" distant looking. Hope that helps.
     
  4. Jo-JotheSoundDog

    Jo-JotheSoundDog Active Member

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    I have seen a stardrop consisting of a cheaper version of the mini mag lamp that was just the wires tied off to a hemp border. So it could be flown in and out. The problem I had with it was the physical size of the lights were exactly the same across the whole thing.
    Fibre optic drops are amazing and you can get the fibre optics in different thicknesses to help create the different size stars. You can also seperate bundles to create the "red, blue, and yellow" stars.
     
  5. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    Was this unit from a kit/product or just shop made?
     
  6. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    AHHH...ok..now I see what you wanna do. ok--well here is the concern that I see that you may wish to look into. Mini-mag type lights can get bright--very bright, and very hot. Check your cyc to make sure its flameproofing is still in tact, or you can burn or scorch your expensive cyc. Cause to get the stars to appear ANY where close to looking like stars, instead of dim blobs, you are going to need the lights to be in close proximity to the cyc (at least 6"). Additionally--if you want to do this type of effect you do NOT want your cyc lights behind the cyc--or you will just reflect shadows from the cables onto the cyc that will be visable. Its like doing shadow puppets. Do the cyc lights from the front or regular position in a nice deep blue or something, and leave it dark behind the cyc except for the stars. You are going to be doing a LOT of soldering to get this effect, and especially random...however I have done something similar behind taffeta liners of tents that is safer AND gives a nice star effect, by using simple christmas light strands hung or draped. Best way is pick a batten behind the cyc--and hang a few runs straight down, drape a few runs in curves etc. And get the kind of lights that allow you to pull out lamps and not kill the whole string. That way you can pull out a few if they get too much to be in one area--thin out the stars. Twinkle lights today have "auto-faders" and microchip programs for all sorts of neat effects. There is one that I KNOW does "twinkle" where the strands have random lights that slowly fade or twinkle. Very cool. Get them in white--and yes you can find them in regular and VERY bright intensity. I have yet to see a town that does not have a "christmas store" or an arts supply store like Micheals or something nearby and these folks tend to stock this stuff year round almost. That would be my suggestion so you don't risk burning down your cyc<g>. Mini-mag lights are designed to be in enclosures--they get super hot. Xmas lights will get hot but not crazy hot like a mini-mag light will. Plus-0-you can get the x-mas lights so the wire is white--less visable.


    Any reason why you don't try this with a gobo front projected on from a few units? The gobo's can be overlapped using at the least two units--throw the bench focus off so its to one area on one unit, and another area on another unit to make one area brighter or whatnot, add some clear heatshield with a few 1/2" strips of R-03 or CT blue in it, and then you set a slow crossfade between the two units, or just use a gobo rotator on a DC cell motor with a cross-hair ( reverse image "+") gobo to just ever so slightly make the stars twinkle as it rotates and the cross inturrups the stars. Just curious....

    hope that first bit of info helps ya think more on your project...

    -wolf
     
  7. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    As I think about it--here's a link you may wish to check out. Not only do they have twinkle lights of all kinds, BUT they also sell a fibre optic kit to do a star-field on a cieling...may just be the ticket you are looking for. Click the link--scroll down the products on the left and look for Galaxy fibre optic..

    http://www.nsl-ltg.com/


    hope this helps ya...
    -wolf
     
  8. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    another company to check out is ASI Production Services

    asiprod.com

    Is that like what you are looking for?
     
  9. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    more links I have found:

    http://www.i-weiss.com/products/curtains/fiberoptic/

    http://www.stagingequipment.com/fiberopticcurtains.htm

    http://www.theatricaldrapery.com/fiberoptics/

    I hope this is what you are looking for... most of these places offer rentals... but if that is beyond your budget... I would really start hunting down white christmas lights, especially the ones with the microchip with them.. but be careful! sometimes those microchips are a pain to get set right and have them stay that way!!
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I'm still not really sure what you are asking about. A cyc drape by nature is an opague piece of drape be it white, blue or gray. It's impossible to see anything thru it. Are you meaning to attach your twinkle lights to a scrim in having it see thru enough that you can project a special cyc type lighting upstage of it? If that's the case, unless your scrim is really dry rotted and already slated for replacement, don't do it - scrim material is far too expensive to chance with hanging lights off it. And even if dry rotted and trash, it will probably fall apart or not be flame resistant enough to be using to create this effect.

    Otherwise, given the scrim and the budget that lets you attach lights to it, I agree attaching X-mas lights to it is the way to go given your paramiters - at least so far see below. Not as bright in intensity as a point source, but certainly more relyable and easier to hang than mini-lights. By the way, " lights that allow you to pull out lamps and not kill the whole string." you would be looking for "Shunt" type X-Mas lights and they are not easy to get in this off the shelf in this price forcing quality out of the market and made in China world.
    Good luck in finding them. NSL might be a good supplier for the normal lamps but on the high side. There is other sources for non-shunt lamps - many of them by mail order that sells those types of things year round at a better price especially in bulk. If you wish you can contact me off line and I'll look a few up since I never got around to adding them to my web links.

    A better idea than using scrim would be to use one of many forms of netting to hang the light strings off. Much cheaper and easier to get in large sizes. Much less, a net is going to have a lot less of a blocking influence with ambient light down stage of it.

    It's just a quesion of what size holes you can deal with. Still this whole project would be very labor intensive and limited in results over that of a gobo pattern - especially glass gobo pattern when chosen right. Yes it's less ornate and three dimensional but far more cost and labor intensive. Building upon the concept of this, you can have many fixtures with similar star or dot patterns to cover the scrim, than more to overlap those stars that could be made brighter or with some careful programming to glimmer with some stars going out, and others growing brighter. A simple programming of cues and very careful focus of patterns overlapping each other would take care of this.

    Than there is LED's. Now that might be the way to go if really interested in going your own way with mounting lamps to a net or scrim. Cheap, cool and bright for the wattage and voltagel imposed upon them.

    Above all that, I'm not really sure what your concept is with having a see thru star drop effect. It's a amost interesting concept but very odd because stars usually would have a black background. In that case it's by far easiest yet just to rent a fiberoptic or even incandescent star drop and be done with it.

    Can you help me understand your concept further so I might learn a new technique?
     
  11. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    We moved our ground row of kliegl strip lights behind the cyc 18 months ago because we needed the floor space in front of the cyc for a set. Well the color spread on the cyc was hardly reduced. Since then we have kept the cyc ground row behind the cyc. We have between 18" and 24" of space between the cyc and the back wall of the stage.
     
  12. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    What material your cyc is made of?
     
  13. Jo-JotheSoundDog

    Jo-JotheSoundDog Active Member

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    Both set ups I mentioned were shop made. The one with the mini-mag style lights hanging from the hemp border was totally fabricated by our ME. If I remember right, it took him about six months to build, lots and lots of soldering.
     
  14. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    Leno Drop with the dimensions of 28' x 74'
     
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Ah' it's a scrim not a Cyc. That would explain how you can see thru it.

    Again, you are attaching what to a scrim? Not in my theater unless you want to caugh up a few tens of grand to replace it.

    If you have not attached anything to it yet, you might want to take a step back and price out how much it will cost to replace the scrim when and it won't ever be usable as a normal scrim again.

    Much cheaper to attach to some form of netting or Bobbinet.
     
  16. SbhstechieImlah

    SbhstechieImlah Member

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    yeah I agree with ship u really don't want to take a risk with such an expensive item
     
  17. wemeck

    wemeck Active Member

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    I dug a little deeper and found out our cyc is a filled scrim, which is a type of cyc. A friend of mine was telling me about how the U of I uses a rear projection screen material as a cyc, a lot more expensive then filled scrim. I also was never advocating anything that touches the material. I was just interested in rear projection of stars. The 18" to 24" I have to play with would require either a hanging solution from the pipe or simple attachments to the back wall.
     
  18. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    What's your scrim as it were to back of wall depth? That would be a good start. Second, do you have another lineset upstage of the "cyc" to hang this star drape from given that's the way as opposed to projection on it?

    Kind of a difference between doing your original idea of some kind of drape or net hanging the X-Mas lights modified from the Mini Mag Lights or LEDs. Stagecraft has a huge debate about doing things like this. Otherwise say installing something like a few Mac2K washes with star patterns up stage of the cyc or other pattern projector that won't be too distorted by the angle of projection much less projecting an image that's say 12' long at the longest throw and 1' at the shortest. Very hard to control intensity this way. The above star pattern unless you can get the projector as close as perpendicular to the screen as possible and still have it cover the area is going to be really difficult to do.

    I would go with just renting a normal star drop and be done with it.
     

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