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Lets talk about lighting design....

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TimMiller, May 6, 2008.

  1. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Where on earth are people getting this idea to put all of their cools on one side of the stage or cat walk and all of the warm on the other? My college TD hangs everything this way on all of his plots. He also uses R60 as his "cool" which actually shifts the color temp of the set off, resulting in REPAINTING due to colors appearing to be different than what they are.

    I was taught you hang you warms and cools all together on the left and right sides so you have even light with both warms and cools. Not one side of head cool other side of head warm.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Tim, Tim, Tim. There's a book you need to read (or at least get Cliff Notes). It's called A Method of Lighting the Stage, by Stanley McCandless. Theatre Arts Books, 1932. Out of print, but still obtainable. At the time of writing, others were doing it, but McCandless was first to publish A method, which by some mis-guided souls became THE method.

    In short, see this Wikipedia entry. For the best rebuttal, read Stage Design, by Howard Bay, Drama Book Specialists, 1974. Also out of print, but [user]gafftaper[/user] received one this past Christmas. I made him get it as he seems to be a fan of McCandless, and "a method" is rarely used outside of academia by modern lighting designers.
     
  3. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I dont like seeing people with one side blue and one side amber. There is a church here in town that did all of their "kids rooms" this way. And they had it this way in all of their side light, i'm like you gotta be kidding me. Also richard cadina was supposed to be heading up the project, aparently he got left out in this part. Parents dont like seeing their kids with one blue cheek and one amber one. Looks pretty weird.
     
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    No R60 is filtering out a portion of the Red and Green wavelenths of light. Its not a color correction by any means. The TD in this instance isn't taking the time to think about how his light will affect other elements of the show...or he's conscioulsy making the choice because he wants the set affected that way.

    Both what you were taught and what your TD was doing are valid methods of stage lighting. Valid doesn't always mean good. But there are more than 12 ways to skin a cat.
     
  5. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    It can actually be a pretty powerful tool Tim. For example, you can use it to suggest time of day, amber from HR and blue from HL for morning, since most people think of East as to the right due to maps sitting that way. Then amber from both sides for mid day, and blue from HR and amber from HL for evening, followed by all blue for night.

    I also use this trick in high sides sometime to add a little depth. I can use it for any other number of tricks, like limbo, hot and cool, good and evil, anything that has opposing and opposite sides. So it is not just amber and blue, sometimes its red and blue, sometimes blue and purple, etc etc. Sometimes one color just looks very flat, especially if there is something in the way of back light like a scrim or the stage needs to be separated into levels.

    Now while I will agree that some people just use it to use it or use it because its the only thing they have been taught, in the right hands it can become a truly powerful, multi-dimensional tool of lighting.
     
  6. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I have used it to show time of day. But not for lighting a show that is supposed to take place inside of a rich guys house in Venice around the 1800's. I'd be more after the ambers and not worry much about the R60 blue. I'd personally Double hang everything with a layer of R80 so you can get the darker aspecs of night then have you amber which is closer to candlelight.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Before you can answer this question you have to do a lighting inventory and dimmer count. Now remember the ability to double hang every position is something that very few theaters had back in 1932 when the method was written and MANY H.S. and Community theaters still don't have that option. So start with the question I need a way to light the stage with some interesting color that doesn't look flat but I only have a limited inventory what can I do?

    The method is a way of creating some interesting dimension and color with a limited number of lights. My personal feeling is it works great when done correctly and with a few modifications. Modifications? I always double hang your extreme left and right positions so they don't end up without the overlap.

    The method is easy to teach. It has worked for 75 years... it's a great starting point for basic lighting design that anyone can grasp. Many never progress beyond the method and that's fine as long as they figure out how to keep the edges from getting to pink or blue.

    P.S. if you are lucky you can find copies of the 1972? edition of "A Method" for about $20 on line. I have a 1958 edition that I got as a gift that cost over $50. There is also a supplementary "book"... spiral bound actually... called "A syllabus of Stage Lighting" by McCandless from 1964. I think it was the course syllabus for a lighting class at Yale back in the day. These run around $25 if you can find one and I found it really interesting.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2008
  8. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    We have 192 channels of dimming, along with over 200 S4 lekos and about 100 S4 pars. Along with an array of par cans and other misc things. So fixture inventory is not a problem.
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Tim imagine you only have 24 1.2k dimmers and 36 instruments with 1000 watt lamps and a patch bay. How do you light the stage and give it some character? Thus the need for THE method. The concept is still valid, however with modern facilities our capabilities go way beyond THE method. I wish that old Stanley was around today because I would love to see how he would alter his method to fit a facility like yours.
     
  10. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Of relevance, I've been considering McCandles for my current show. Based on what I've got, I feel very limited in terms of what I can hang color wise. I'll see how this show evolves over the next few rehearsals, and take it from there.

    (However, as Soundlight and Alex are aware, there are already some issues going on in the dept, and I'm not sure if I'll be allowed to implement any semblance of this method; nay (paraphrased), "I need 5 frontlights per area".)
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Ahh... the "Hit em with everything you've got from the front and pray it works Method". You would be surprised how often that is used in schools. It goes particularly well with the "Gel? What gel?" method of coloring the stage and the "Those are all the lights we don't have money to buy lamps for" maintenance method.

    Hang in there Charc College is coming.
     
  12. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    It might not get any better in college though. THe tech teacher spends a LOT of money on the set and we end up getting about 5 lamps per run. Now at 1.5 lamps blowing per preformance or rehearsal, that gives us about 3 1/3 days of lamps. We have a full tech week so 4 Rehearsals in the space and them 7-10 preformances so that gives us 11-15 shows/rehearsals which require 1.5 lamps each. That means I need between 16.5 and 22.5 lamps per run. If I get 5 lamps, that means I am short 11.5 to 17.5 lamps per run.

    Needless to say, we have a lot of units that get stripped every show. Then, when we hang the next show, we discover that at least a few units don't have lamps in them(we put the cap back on the unit after taking the lamp so the working caps don't get mixed with the broke ones). So I start the next show with even fewer lamps. I actually got them to buy 8 lamps between 2 orders this time because I had no more units to strip that didn't have EHD's in them. EHD's dn't blend the greated when everything else has FLK's. The EHD's are surviving relics from when we had analog dimmers that blew up about 5 years ago.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Start a new tradition. When you put a cap back in a unit that it missing a lamp, loosely tie an overhand knot in the cord. Teach everyone this, and you will always know if a fixture has a lamp in it or not.

    Seems you're going thru lamps too quickly. Are you using long-life lamps? Do you bounce them around while they are at full? Do you always run them at full? Running at 90% instead will increase your lamp-life by 400%.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Derek, I'll refer to your searching skills on this, as I could swear we've covered this a couple times prior, but lamp life, when not run at full, with regards to the halogen cycle has always confused me.

    Perhaps a definitive wiki article is in order?
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Once the wiki comes back in its entirety, remind me. Here's my thoughts on long-life lamps. Since you lose intensity, you'll more than likely be running them higher, so the halogen cycle not working isn't really an issue. Also, I believe we've determined in the Preheating Conventionals thread, that that the halogen cycle only stops works at a very low percentage, like 25% or something.

    In this post, [user]Gafftaper[/user] states:
    This cycle doesn't work when lamps are dimmed, so it's good idea to run your Halogen lamps on high for a few minutes at the end of the show. So that the process can kick in and the tungsten molecules can be relocated back to the filament.

    But he is citing Richard Cadena's book, Automated Lighting. There are many errors in this book, so now you've got me on a quest to prove them both wrong...

    On this site, the author states:
    In order for the halogen cycle to work, the bulb surface must be very hot, generally over 250 degrees Celsius (482 degrees Fahrenheit). The halogen may not adequately vaporize or fail to adequately react with condensed tungsten if the bulb is too cool. This means that the bulb must be small and made of either quartz or a high-strength, heat-resistant grade of glass known as "hard glass".
    Since the bulb is small and usually fairly strong, the bulb can be filled with gas to a higher pressure than usual. This slows down the evaporation of the filament. In addition, the small size of the bulb sometimes makes it economical to use premium fill gases such as krypton or xenon instead of the cheaper argon. The higher pressure and better fill gases can extend the life of the bulb and/or permit a higher filament temperature that results in higher efficiency. Any use of premium fill gases also results in less heat being conducted from the filament by the fill gas, meaning more energy leaves the filament by radiation, meaning a slight improvement in efficiency.


    In this post, (same thread as cited above), [user]gafftaper[/user] states:
    -A tungsten filament can reach temperatures over 3600 degrees Fahrenheit and can produce temperatures on the envelope over 1600 degrees F. (DON'T TOUCH!)

    While I can't find an exact envelope temperature, according to this site, the max. pinch seal protection temperature of an HPL575/115V lamp is
    Philips P3 technology, Max 500 degree C [932 °F] pinch temperature.
    No pinch protection, Max 350 degree C
    [662 °F] pinch protection.

    So one could surmise the halogen cycle may stop working below ≈50%. I can do more investigation if you insist, but ship can probably quote the figures off the top of his head without any research.

    Mr. Cadena's and [user]gafftaper[/user]'s statement about running the lamps to full (which usually happens during the curtain call anyway) can counteract the loss of the cycle during the show seems valid.

    [user]charcoaldabs[/user], did that answer your question? You owe me 01:41:00.00 (SMPTE notation) of my life back!:)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I can't remember where I got those statistics about filament and bulb temperatures but I will say they were not from a definitive source and I welcome someone with better data. So PLEASE prove me wrong Derek!

    Charc the short version is if you can run your lights in the 75%-90% range instead of at 100% you will have significantly longer lamp life. Running them down in the 25% and below range possibly puts you in danger of shortening the life but that is debatable without some better data.

    If there is further discussion on preheating lets put leave it in that other thread.
     
  17. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Sure its cadinas book and not brad schiller. He wrote a book called The automated lighting handbook, i dont recall cadina writing one, but of corese i could be wrong. Just making sure credit is given to the correct source, yet they are both really great guys, i remember back when cadina worked for highend, and i'd go there to hang out with mitch peables, and cadina and brad would usually hang around also, ah those were the days. Nothin like walking in the door dropping about 50k and walking out with some new toys.
     
  18. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    for the civic theatre i stick with the mccandless method. usually my cools(r60) from house right and warms (r33) from house left. recently ive added a heavily frosted warm and cold on the opposite sides to help balance tone. its a small enough space it works well for me
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Nope. Automated Lighting by Richard Cadena
     
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Automated Lighting
    , Richard Cadena. Focal Press, 2006
    Lighting Design for Modern Houses of Worship, Richard Cadena. Focal Press, 2008.
    Mark, I think I've already proven you and Mr. Cadena wrong, but if you'd like me to continue, I will. But again, it will be easier for [user]ship[/user].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014

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