Conventional Fixtures Installing Stage Work lights 7 years after the PAC was built... tips?

GMAN1981

Member
Hi everyone!
I work at a 600 seat auditorium and have approached our budget committee about installing work lights for the stage area, as the only lights installed above the stage itself were performance lights (mostly Strand SL, Altman PAR and Fresnel, Cyc, and strips). Needless to say, after I showed them how much A/C and electricity they were eating up they wanted to install lights.

My maintenance head has informed me that they want to go ahead and install flourescent tube fixtures in two rows between the first light row off proscenium arch, and another one between our second of three travellers. They would use a traditional light switch on both stage left, and stage right near our stage manager Strand SL panel. And before anyone says anything, yes I know Strand SL installed 7 years ago!

I have a couple of questions.
1) What questions should I ask the maintenance head so I make sure that the installation does not affect teching of shows?
2) For a traditional stage with a 22' tall proscenium, at what height should I hang the maintenance lights?

I appreciate your advice!
 

shiben

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone!
I work at a 600 seat auditorium and have approached our budget committee about installing work lights for the stage area, as the only lights installed above the stage itself were performance lights (mostly Strand SL, Altman PAR and Fresnel, Cyc, and strips). Needless to say, after I showed them how much A/C and electricity they were eating up they wanted to install lights.

My maintenance head has informed me that they want to go ahead and install flourescent tube fixtures in two rows between the first light row off proscenium arch, and another one between our second of three travellers. They would use a traditional light switch on both stage left, and stage right near our stage manager Strand SL panel. And before anyone says anything, yes I know Strand SL installed 7 years ago!

I have a couple of questions.
1) What questions should I ask the maintenance head so I make sure that the installation does not affect teching of shows?
2) For a traditional stage with a 22' tall proscenium, at what height should I hang the maintenance lights?

I appreciate your advice!

Put them above and below your grid, and make sure there are lots of them. Other than that, good plan.
 

jglodeklights

Well-Known Member
If you have a pipe grid, I wouldn't really recommend putting them BELOW your grid as having immovable obstacles when working is less than ideal.

If you don't have a pipe grid system, then you will want to hang them about a foot or two higher than your normal trim height, which should be about 24 to 28' depending on the show and designer and what your inventory is. Pick the greater of the two and add 1 or 2 feet.

That said......... You are going to need a lot of fluorescent tubes to get enough light at that height to be worthwhile to use as work light. Installing 6 HID gymnasium style units would actually be a much much better choice.
 

cdub260

CBMod
CB Mods
At heights between 15 ft. and 40 ft., you'll get the best bang for your buck if you install high bay fluorescent fixtures. The reflectors on these fixtures are designed to direct more of the light down so that you get maximum efficiency out of your fluorescent tubes.

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When I upgraded the worklights over my stage a few years back, I installed these in the down stage wings where I had a relatively confined area to light and these in the larger upstage portion of the backstage area. (Yes my venue has a lot of backstage area.) My install hight was roughly 22 ft. The two downstage wings which are roughly 16 ft. x 24 ft. are each lit by a single narrow focus high bay fluorescent. The larger, upstage area, measuring roughly 20 ft. x 65 ft. is lit by three of the wide focus high bay flourescents. In total I have five of these high bay fixtures providing light to a rather sizable area.

In addition, I'm only using four of the six lamps in each fixture for work lights. The other two lamps are gelled with Roscolux 68 for use as backstage running lights. This set-up provides more than adequate light for both work and show conditions. I did have to modify the fixtures somewhat to achieve the four lamp, two lamp split. The fixtures come standard with two, 3 lamp ballasts. I had to replace those ballasts with a 2 lamp and a 4 lamp to get the configuration I wanted. As it appears you're just installing work lights, I don't think this will be a concern for you.

If you can convince your maintenance department to go with high bay fixtures, you'll be much happier with the results.
 

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Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
From what it sounds like, your in a venue without a grid... and deadhung soft goods. \

Biggest issue with florescent lights and deadhung venues is soft good fading. Its a double edge sword. In order to get the lights out of trim, you have to put them high. However, that then puts light on your borders. They will fade extremely fast. Just something to keep in mind. High bay fixtures will help, but they still won't be perfect.
 

JChenault

Well-Known Member
From what it sounds like, your in a venue without a grid... and deadhung soft goods. \

Biggest issue with florescent lights and deadhung venues is soft good fading. Its a double edge sword. In order to get the lights out of trim, you have to put them high. However, that then puts light on your borders. They will fade extremely fast. Just something to keep in mind. High bay fixtures will help, but they still won't be perfect.

Kyle
Are you saying that flourescents will fade faster than incandescent - or that just having the light source up high will get more light on the soft goods causing faster fading.
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
I agree that having lights both and below grid is much more effective. However the lights on/below the grid HAVE to be moveable and thus not hard-installed. This is certainly possible, I've done it before with both HID-style fixtures, and fluorescents. (Helps that I am both and Electrician and an 'Electrician' :p)

I agree that the type of fixture depends a lot on the grid height, and height above the grid available. For a tall grid, I'd defiantly go with HID lighting, the quality of light is much better for this. High-Bay fluorescents help compared to standard-fluorescent fixtures (they direct more light directly down than normal fluorescent fixtures), but they still don't have the punch at distance as HID.

The only occasional downside with HID (and this is not as bad as it once was) is that they take quite some time to fully "strike", and you can't turn them off and right back on. Now since you want them as work-lights, this is NOT A PROBLEM.

Another idea is a mix of fluorescent T-5 or T-8 along with some HID.
Again this really depends on your space HUGELY.

Anyways Fluorescent and HID lighting really does use less power than your normal tungsten-halogen stage lights, however the colour temperature is completely different.
 

Ric

Active Member
You should also consider how the 'work lights' will be accessed for maintenance.
I'm currently going through the pain of getting our whole audience lighting system replaced due the lack of forethought when designing them.
We're now having installed individually motorised lights that will drop down to floor level for replacement when each globe blows.

Back to the topic, over our stage we have portable 500w flood lights as work lights for use when setting up on the stage, but we also have fluoros installed at various places; in the grid, on the gantrys, on each side of stage. We have issues with how some of the fluoros are accessed (or can't be) so they never get replaced...
 

GMAN1981

Member
Hey everyone!
Thanks for all the updates. I am going to forward this information to our school electrician. Our grid isn't deadlocked thank goodness, and I agree that the lights should be installed above and below, good ideas. Any other thoughts?



Hi everyone!
I work at a 600 seat auditorium and have approached our budget committee about installing work lights for the stage area, as the only lights installed above the stage itself were performance lights (mostly Strand SL, Altman PAR and Fresnel, Cyc, and strips). Needless to say, after I showed them how much A/C and electricity they were eating up they wanted to install lights.

My maintenance head has informed me that they want to go ahead and install flourescent tube fixtures in two rows between the first light row off proscenium arch, and another one between our second of three travellers. They would use a traditional light switch on both stage left, and stage right near our stage manager Strand SL panel. And before anyone says anything, yes I know Strand SL installed 7 years ago!

I have a couple of questions.
1) What questions should I ask the maintenance head so I make sure that the installation does not affect teching of shows?
2) For a traditional stage with a 22' tall proscenium, at what height should I hang the maintenance lights?

I appreciate your advice!
 

GMAN1981

Member
Yes --
the lights would be on for dance classes and rehearsals for movement, music etc. HID sounds like a good idea. Are they pretty efficient?


I agree that having lights both and below grid is much more effective. However the lights on/below the grid HAVE to be moveable and thus not hard-installed. This is certainly possible, I've done it before with both HID-style fixtures, and fluorescents. (Helps that I am both and Electrician and an 'Electrician' :p)

I agree that the type of fixture depends a lot on the grid height, and height above the grid available. For a tall grid, I'd defiantly go with HID lighting, the quality of light is much better for this. High-Bay fluorescents help compared to standard-fluorescent fixtures (they direct more light directly down than normal fluorescent fixtures), but they still don't have the punch at distance as HID.

The only occasional downside with HID (and this is not as bad as it once was) is that they take quite some time to fully "strike", and you can't turn them off and right back on. Now since you want them as work-lights, this is NOT A PROBLEM.

Another idea is a mix of fluorescent T-5 or T-8 along with some HID.
Again this really depends on your space HUGELY.

Anyways Fluorescent and HID lighting really does use less power than your normal tungsten-halogen stage lights, however the colour temperature is completely different.
 

Edrick

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
A lot of places (retail / industrial) have been making a shift away from HID. The problem with HID is overtime the actual light output decreases far faster than florescent. Also the new T5 bulbs are far more efficient and don't have the startup time. From what I've seen from electricians they don't really recommend HID anymore, not to say it's not still a usable and developed or even widely used method, but they're liking florescent a lot.
 

Edrick

Well-Known Member
Premium Member

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