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Leaving Lights Outside?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by SAWYeR, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    I came across an interesting thing a few days ago. In my town, we have a thing called "Festival Theatre", which is three plays over three months. All of the lights are ETC Source Fours, PAR 64s, and some Altman 360Qs. All of the lights are hung off of construction scaffolding and are left outside fore three months straight. In fact, as I am writing this, they're out in the rain. Is it okay to leave lights like these out in the open. It is also very, very humid now.
     
  2. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I believe if the lights are left on at full to burn off the water or rather evaporate the water yes. As for just in the off position I'd assume no.
     
  3. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Wait? They're left outside? As soon as I catch a plane to Chicago, my inventory is getting bigger. :rolleyes:
     
  4. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Make certain that all the electrical connections are sealed to be water tight.
     
  5. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    That's basically what I thought. 15 or so new Source Fours? Why not. As for those connections, does under a plastic tarp count? I'm not actually working the show.
     
  6. cue1go

    cue1go Member

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    Those are all pretty hardy lights. Out in the rain I don't know about though. I hope they're tarped over. Ditto on keeping the elec. connections water tight. I know you're not working the show, but watch out for cable wear as a result of the show conditions. I'm not at all worried about the PAR 64s.
     
  7. drawstuf99

    drawstuf99 Active Member

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    I still think that anyway you put it, having theatrical lights outside for three months isn't the best idea w/o protection. I'd be interested in hearing how you could best prep them for lasting...I've seen many shows outside (Disney world...etc.) but their lights are at least always in a covered area. And they've got money.

    I saw a Par64 dropped off of a 30 foot genie, crash into the floor and still work. The gel frame slot was a bit bent, but it still works...surprised me the lamp didnt even break.
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    One day, just to test the limits, some of the crew and I decided to try to break a PAR64 MFL lamp by throwing it really hard against a metal surface (with proper eye/ear protection on, of course). As hard as we tried, we found it impossible to break it just by throwing it.

    But, on the outside lights question, I've seen a few outdoor theatres that have their lights in boxes with one side open (the sides towards the stage). This keeps them sheltered from the elements, but still allows them to be focused and maintained easily. I think that the backs of the boxes were also doors to make lamp replacements easier. Still, after moisture of any type gets on the fixtures, it's usually good to warm them at 20% for half an hour or so to get all of the water off.
     
  9. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    This is actually a pretty common practice. I bought a bunch of used fixtures from an outdoor theatre in S. California a few years ago when I was trying to grow my inventory quickly. They do show wear and tear quickly, and there is rust around the edges. I am selling off what is left of these on ebay now, so you can see pic's of them. There is rust on the shutters and at most of the screws/bolts.
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah I've heard of this sort of thing too. As long as there's a little shelter and some warm up time at low wattage it's usually ok. I would be more worried about security than the instruments themselves. They are pretty hardy.

    Do you remember the Super Bowl half time show with Prince in the rain this year? Live Design had a great article about it. It was basically a tech nightmare. They had 66 Martin Atomic strobes that got fried by the rain. But pretty much everything else worked... except for one DMX line that got cut when they brought the stage out on the field. Some poor tech sat in a puddle holding the wires together of the shredded DMX line so that they could run the show.

    Let me see... Ok here's the article. It's a fun story.
     
  11. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Ouch! Yea, lots of people do that, but it is destructive. Lets put it this way: Hang a light in a theater for thirty years. Hang a light outside for 30 years. A little dramatic, but you would be lucky to find the C clamp left! Disney used to have two Genie super towers in front of the castle loaded with pars. There they would sit day in and day out through the Florida rain. When they got too bad, they would replace them. Point is, for them it was the only way of having the lights available when they needed them and that was more important then how long the fixtures lasted. As an owner, my highest priority is on preserving equipment. As a user, I would only care about what is needed to achieve the show I was doing. Electric aside, Something like an aluminum par can loaded with a sealed beam is not going to care if it gets wet while off. On the other extreme, I've seen movers used on outside shows getting wet. You might as well just toss them in the dumpster. (There are manufacturers building outdoor movers, but they look like R2D2 !) ;)
     
  12. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Disney has switched to almost all LED's for outside use. Those will last 30 years without a problem.
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    I'll be down there in October to have a look and get some pictures! Last year when I was down, it was still traditional lighting although on fixed towers, and weatherproof movers. Hard to imagine LEDs cutting through on all those daylight shows they do, but we will see....
     
  14. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    They had some really cool "Princess and Pirates" shows at night, where the main street area and the castle would change colors. That had thousands of Colorblasts and other LED's everywhere. Also, they had LED par 64's on the small stages all over the property (Polynesian Village, Contemporary, Pleasure Island, etc....). They had conventionals, of course, for the long throws. The LED's really worked well for changing the colors on the wall washes to the music and switching from Princess to Pirates.
     
  15. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    My RA this past year was one of the people in costume for the parades. We were talking on the way back from Lincoln Park zoo. She knows I'm in tech theater, and we were taking about how they did those parades. There's a sensor in the street that is triggered when a specific float drives over it. Those sensors trigger the lighting changes on the castle.

    She also siad that something broke during one parade, and they couldn't get the sensors to trigger. The techs were running around like madmen, and it was a logistical nightmare trying to coordinate everything by hand, since those triggers also changed the music. It was fascinating listening to it (for more than one reason). I may have some details wrong, but that was the jist of it.

    And now back to your regularly schedualed program.
     
  16. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    There should probably be a thread on this form just called "Disney" They do so many things so well, it's hard for them not to come up in conversation! I visited their "War Room" where the parades are controlled. (For those that don't know, the Magic Kingdom is actually built on the roof of this subterranean structure.) All in all my only gripe is how much they do leave out in the rain! I was eating lunch over at Epcot. There was a stage behind the area that had been dismantled. Still laying on the ground mixed in with the mulch were several very expensive truss feeder cables, ends uncapped and resting in the water. They sat there the whole week I was there! Very frustrating. Probably a lack of communications between teams. Seems like they should have one "cast member" who's job it is to simply walk around the parks and jot down a list of what balls are dropped in sound and lighting. Just screwing the caps on would have helped a lot. Its one thing to know that equipment will be exposed to water as part of the show, but quite another to have unnecessary exposure.
     
  17. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    That is one problem with buying used and surplus gear from Disney. There are a few dealers that deal in just used stuff from them. Some of it is useful stuff (fixtures, audio equip, cables, etc...) and some is just collectible stuff (old ride cars, signs, etc...).

    I bought a few dozen Par 16's from a display there (tiny little cute Par's) that I used in a motorcycle shop for a display. They were pretty cool, and gave it a very industrial look, but they were very dirty with rust on all of the edges. The good part is that they were VERY cheap. I paid less than $1.50 each which included shipping and a package of new lamps. I just had to sand and paint a few of them.
     
  18. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I watched a video once about Disney Tech and how their events are done.
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Do you want a cookie?
     
  20. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Following the post above, just for esses 'n gees. (see attachment)

    Yeah, I forgot to mention the subterrainian (I'm pretty sure I misspelled that) city. My RA had many stories about running through the tunnels to be at the opposite side of the park from where she was, when she needed to be there yesterday. It's all pretty fascinating.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007

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