Lantern Challenge

icewolf08

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So, for our next show we need to have two lanterns that come on stage lit, then get set down on a table, and have to dim out at the end of the scene. So, of course the lanterns can't drag cable when the come on, the dimming is not actor driven, and I think that is about all the detail I can give (I haven't got more). We are talking handheld oil lamps, so they are not very big. I haven't seen them yet so I don't have pictures. So ideas welcome.
 

Van

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Let me see if I can dig up the circuit. There is circuit for bttery driven lamps tht works just like an "on at dusk off at dawn" electric eye except it works in reverse. The lamps stay lit as long as they are in the light, then at the end of the scene, when lights go down, the lamp would dim out. I know I have the circuit in my computer at work, I'll check when I get in.
 

JD

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How about one of those fat capacitors they use with car power amps. Charge it up, then the lamp will slowly dim down and out as the cap discharges. Speed can be changed by the draw of the lamp and the size of the cap. Best part, only two parts! Cap & lamp.
 

Grog12

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Let me see if I can dig up the circuit. There is circuit for bttery driven lamps tht works just like an "on at dusk off at dawn" electric eye except it works in reverse. The lamps stay lit as long as they are in the light, then at the end of the scene, when lights go down, the lamp would dim out. I know I have the circuit in my computer at work, I'll check when I get in.
Ok...totally want one!
 

jmabray

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How about one of those fat capacitors they use with car power amps. Charge it up, then the lamp will slowly dim down and out as the cap discharges. Speed can be changed by the draw of the lamp and the size of the cap. Best part, only two parts! Cap & lamp.
No I don't think that would work. If they bring the lamp on at the beginning of the scene, it would dim during the entire scene.

I know what he is looking for. I built the circuit for these once as well. It wasn't too terribly difficult. You might try looking in one of the old "Technical Brief" Collections. I believe that is where I got the diagram from....

Come to think of it, I might still have mine somewhere. What does it need to look like? If it fits, I might just be able to ship it to you (If I can find it, that is)
 
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TimMiller

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Depending on your set and theater, we have done table lamps as fly pieces. The table lamps fly in, onto the table, then the dimmer is turned on, end of scene, dim them out and fly them out. Also if you have floor pockets just have a person dedicated to making sure they get plugged in and unplugged. You should have seen it when we did leMes. We had cables all over the place during certain scenes going to foggers to fire in a specal position or strobe strips we made to look like gun fire (they worked extremely well). And we had about 3 people dedicated to running the cable plugging it in and then striking it.
 

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Depending on your set and theater, we have done table lamps as fly pieces. The table lamps fly in, onto the table, then the dimmer is turned on, end of scene, dim them out and fly them out. Also if you have floor pockets just have a person dedicated to making sure they get plugged in and unplugged. You should have seen it when we did leMes. We had cables all over the place during certain scenes going to foggers to fire in a specal position or strobe strips we made to look like gun fire (they worked extremely well). And we had about 3 people dedicated to running the cable plugging it in and then striking it.
I think they want them carried on.
 

Van

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Here we go, finally found the link.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/circ/actrelay.htm

Notice there are two circuits represented on this page; a Dark Activated, and Light Activated. You want to use the Light Activated. this way it makes the photo cell work opposite of it's normal function. A Cadmium Sulfide photocell increase it's resistance as it is exposed to light. So typically you put one in line with a power source and during the day, no light as the resistance lowers at dusk, the light comes on. What we are doing with this circuit is exactly opposite. As light hits the cell, resistance is increased and this throws the "switch" of a transistor. Note: you substitute you lamp wiring where the " relay " is shown on the diagram. You can use the guts from a battery powered led votive candle, I like those for oil lanterns.
I hope this help.
Oh BTW all these components are readily available at Radio shack, and can be wrapped up into a very tiny package. the only hard part I've ever run into is mounting the "Eye" in a position that it gets a good sampling of the ambient light onstage. Obviously if the Actrons accidentally cover the eye with their hand, the light goes out.
 
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porkchop

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Van that's brilliant, I've never heard of such a thing but I bet if your local (and untrusty) radio shack can't help us the Electrical Engineering store room will be able to. Now we just have to figure out a way to actor proof it. That is if Alex like it as much as I do since he's the boss.
 

David Ashton

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Is it a bare wood table or is it covered witha cloth and plates etc.?
 

icewolf08

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Is it a bare wood table or is it covered witha cloth and plates etc.?
Most likely it will not be covered, but I am not sure. The set designer is known for designing sets so realistic that he will design (and insist on building and furnishing) rooms that no one in the audience can see. So, in short, it could be designed one way and change and then change back, but at the moment I don't know.

EDIT:
I also like the photoresistor idea, and I had a quick chat about it with the TD today. The only downside we thought of is the lack of controllability. We think that there is an inevitability that the director or designer will want to be able to control how the thing dims.
 
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derekleffew

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...We think that there is an inevitability that the director or designer will want to be able to control how the thing dims.
Use Van's solution, or point your director and designer here. Maybe they can hire one less cast member to pay for the luxury of changing their minds? In fact, if they cut the cast member who carries the lantern on stage, the solution is even simpler!
 

icewolf08

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Use Van's solution, or point your director and designer here. Maybe they can hire one less cast member to pay for the luxury of changing their minds? In fact, if they cut the cast member who carries the lantern on stage, the solution is even simpler!
HAH! I was just looking at that gear! I am going to try to get the theatre to cough up the money for that, I am sure we could find more future uses for it.
 

derekleffew

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Well, if the gear's good enough for the East Valley Bible Church in Arizona....
 

porkchop

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stoked to see if we can get the wireless equipment, one thought that came to mind though. I am assuming that the receiver receives all 512 DMX channels, if that is the case what kind of equipment is needed to tell the lamp (something we will likely solder together) what channel it is? Or can set the receivers to just one channel, that would be nicer for our setup but seems unuseful for most DMX fixtures as they tend to want more than one channel as input.
 

icewolf08

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stoked to see if we can get the wireless equipment, one thought that came to mind though. I am assuming that the receiver receives all 512 DMX channels, if that is the case what kind of equipment is needed to tell the lamp (something we will likely solder together) what channel it is? Or can set the receivers to just one channel, that would be nicer for our setup but seems unuseful for most DMX fixtures as they tend to want more than one channel as input.
Please don't mind my crew members, not all of them are capable of reading...

However, I did talk to a guy at theatrewireless today (Saturday). I was impressed that they were there on a weekend. I can get academic pricing and everything. Now i just have to impress upon the powers that be that this is the best solution to the problem...
 

gafftaper

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Seems like I remember City Theaterical or Doug Fleenor... or somebody like that having a really small wireless transmitter. Might be worth a call to Doug.

Here's another idea. No reason it needs to be DMX, what about just remote control? I've got a device I bought at Christmas that looks like a car alarm fob that is a wireless remote to a switch to turn your Christmas lights on and off. There must be some thing out there on the "internets" in remote control switches that you could use for a lot less cash than the DMX approach.
 

porkchop

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It's Alex's budget so me might have something different to say, but I like the DMX approach because of it's reusability. This would work either way but if we need 2 scrollers in an obscure location (it's happened) or any multitude of things like that we'll have the system to make our lives easier, and it's really scalable so we don't need a huge investment now to get the ball rolling.

Oh and I CAN read, but at 11 at night in low light when all I want to do is sweep up this **** fairy dust and go home I don't WANT to read the information very well.
 
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Van

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You know, when I was your age we didn't have no Fancy Shmancy wireless DMX controllers for our carry on props. We had real Oil lamps, and the actors had to light them with flints, and if they didn't get them lit in time for thier entrance then they were fired! Then they had to live on the streets and beg for money............ And we LIKED IT!

sorry just had to get that off my chest:oops: