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Just looking for some suggestions

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sony, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    So in November I am lighting a production of The Women of Lockerbie that is going to be entered in this years Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) competion. It's going to be a lot of fun and I've got some pretty good idea's.

    The concept for the play is the broken, fractured and torn pieces of society as this town in throw into turmoil after this plane crash. It's supposed to be very abstract. My biggest thing I have to do is make the river that flows through the middle of the set. It doesn't need to be a real river and the director wants it done with light.

    My favorite idea so far is to make the river out of 3ft wide sheets of jagged, wavy and possibly cracked Plexiglas and then light the Plexiglas from the edge, shooting light into it like it was a fiber optic cable and illuminating it with a nice blue to make it look like "water," it doesn't have to look like real water but it needs to be understood that it is water.

    My question though is what would be the best way to go about send the light through the edge of the plexiglass to illuminate it much like these.

    Edge lit transparent Acrylic panels

    I don't really have much if any of a budget for lighting so I can't go spending hundreds of dollars on equipment. Was hoping I could do it using what we have, i.e. Source Four's, and such.

    I was thinking of taking a Source Four Jr, placing it on it's side and shooting it into the Plexi using some pieces of metal in the gel holder to block any spill and create a slit for the plexi to fit into. This should guide the light into the plexi. Another Idea I had was to slide rope lights into a slit around the edge of a frame that will hold the plexi in place. I think the second idea would work better...but I'm not so sure I can afford 100ft of rope light.

    Anyways, hoping for some idea's, any idea's are welcome! If you need any more information I would be happy to provide it.
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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  3. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    We already have several 4'x7' panels of Plexi from previous shows. Just trying to figure out how to do the lighting. I have considered a Gobo like such but Dichoric Gobo's and just glass gobo's in general are VERY expensive, that gobo is almost $200 each...and I don't have a budget for lighting so I can't really go buying that stuff. Like I said before...it doesn't have to look like REAL water...I'd also rather not light it from the grid because I don't want water flowing on the actors faces as the river is the main point of action in the show and people jump across it several times.

    I'd rather the light be coming from the river if at all so it looks like a reflection of moonlight because almost the entire play happens at night.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008
  4. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    you need to build a frame on the edge that you want the light to originate from, and then you can place anything from fluoresent lights along the edge and up. A lot of signs are done this way. You will get a glow on the sheet, it can light up printed images below it (it was a technice used for reading lamp to light up book with little spill over but if you cut into it or carve into it it will light up the carved cut parts.

    sharyn
     
  5. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    Unless i am misunderstanding you, you are having a plexi panel on a tilt. Why don't you use Strip lights mounted behind/underneath with random shades of blue and teal that you can use to make a flowing effect.

    It might also be possible with Loosly hung fabric and a fan that causes ripples with the same Strip light idea.

    See the attached image for an elaboration on my thoughts.


    plexi panel idea.jpg
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Kevin, I think he wants to light the inside of the plexi so that it appears to glow on edge. As Sharyn said you need to build a box that connects to one edge while blocking out all stray light. Other than that you just shine light into the edge of the plexi very carefully. You need to be careful about heat buildup inside your light containment box. So choice of instrument is very important. Fluorescent seems like a good choice because it won't get as hot as incandescent sources.
     
  7. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Thanks, but the plexi will not be at an angle, it will be flat on the ground. It's supposed to be a river flowing between two hills. I however do like the striplight idea...unfortunately our strips are way too big (6'4" 3 Circ) and are going to be used anyways to light up the Cyclorama in the background.

    I like SHARYNF's idea of using fourescent tubes, however I do not have access to dimming flourescents and I don't have dimmers capable of dimming flourescents ether.

    Honestly the best solution would be to use some Color Blasts from Color Kinetics...but again I don't have the money.

    I think the Rope light is the best idea so far for my budget, but I don't know if they will be bright enough to illuminate the ENTIRE 21' of Plexi unless I place them around the entire edge on all 4 sides.

    It seems like it's time to get the Plexi out and run some experiments.
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yep. You've got the idea. Now it's time to see what you can do with what you've already got. Good luck and let us know how it turns out or if we can help with further ideas.
     
  9. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I think you may be overcomplicating this project. We've done very effective water effects using plastic sheeting and studio spots with stock gobos. Black plastic works well for still water, and clear plastic works well for moving water. I can't give you a direct link to the photo, but in the gallery on our website is a photo of our reproduction of Trevi Fountain. It's a good example of the clear plastic method. It's near the end of the gallery.
     
  10. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    I like the idea...but the director specifically said he wants the water to be made out of light. I tried making the Plexi light from the side today...but the rope lights just aren't powerful enough. So, that idea is out of the picture. My newest idea is to make the river a Big lightbox with Source 4 Zoom Jr.s Mounted on ether end. With frosted Plexi on top, a 6" Gap and then Muslin stretched over a frame underneath that. So it would be like a Cyclorama underneath a frosted piece of Plexi. Gonna build a test box next week when I have time.
     
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    In that case, you should think about using non-theatrical lights for the effect. National Specialty Lighting has a pretty good variety of different lights, some of which, you may be able to adapt to your project. Take a little time to wander around their site and see if inspiration strikes. I use their xenon task lights when I need a low profile light onboard a set. The 3 and 4 lamp units are fully dimmable right out of the box. The 1 and 2 lamp units require some modifications. Mcmaster-Carr and Grainger might also be good sources for non-theatrical lights for your river of light. Of course, it's always possible that going this route may be out of your budget even if you do find something that inspires you.
     
  12. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Thanks! I'll take a look...but considering my lighting budget is basically $0 I doubt I'll have much luck...but we'll see. I like the lightbox idea because we already have everything we need to build it. The Plexi, wood, muslin and S4's. I'm gonna build a small one a see if it works on a small scale, maybe I'll use some small Birdies (PAR16's) for the scaled down model before I go to full out S4's.
     
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Another light you might consider for this project is a Linestra incandescent tube light. Again, budget is a consideration, but this lamp would give you the ability to evenly light the edges of your plexi while still allowing you full dimming capability. One warning, though if you choose this route, these lamps are very easy to break. That's why we quit using them.
     

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