lighting 2 temp stages on a football field [relay for life fundraiser]


I'm lighting 2 outside temp stages 12x 30' and 8x16'. Neither one will be higher then 2' off the ground.

I have 2 poles [1"] black pie with a tripod base 6' diameter. I have some old spots and flood lights I can hang on the pole. How could I protect them if it rains?

My other question is about footlights. Is making my own out of ordinary exterior lawn fixtures [screw in bulbs] and tin cans for reflectors a good idea?



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If the lawn fixtures are UL rated, you should be fine doing that, as long as you don't modify the wiring assembly or the socket at all.


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I dont really do much with lighting, but i'm sure other people arround here will be able to answer your questions.

I really just wanted to give a shout out for Relay for Life!! We are doing a Relay here at my college too and I would encourage everyone to look into a local Relay that may be happening arround you and check it out and donate something if you can! Their national website is here with a local event search feature!

For anyone in Central Mass, I'll be at Worcester Polytech for a good porton of the event send me a PM if you'd like to visit and get a peek at the technical stuff happening all this week leading up to it.


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For footlights, I have used halogen outdoor fixtures (150-5r00watts, usually two mounted with an IR sensor to turn on when motion is sensed). I have mounted them individually on a small plate with a single-gang outdoor electrical box,. I wired each one up with a 6' cord on one end and a 1' cord with an edison receptacle on the other (so I can daisy chain them), using the SO cord and the correct compression cord grips. These fixtures have built-in reflectors and don't need any modifications.


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Premium Member
A use of a fixture other than for its intended purpose and any modification to it defeats the UL listing of the lighting fixture. On foot lights - they are more specials in not really being used for good normal illumination - more for effect and perhaps outside such as in your situation a bit of wash in compensating for fairly flat angle if not high top rear lighting otherwise available. Do you need foot lights as per a design or help from them so as to illuminate the stage and perhaps correct for some beam angle problem? What specific type/product of fixture is intended to be used - this would help much in understanding what you intend to do.

Ordinary lawn fixture means many different types of things these days other than a classic exterior Bell type lamp housing for a PAR 38 lamp with a steak in it’s bottom. Can you refine what specific fixture type is intended if not this type housing? After this, further refine the tin can reflector - this assuming that the standard Bell type ground steak fixture doesn’t have one thus any reflector added to it by theory won’t do anything. Instead, it’s a fixture that relies on say a PAR 38 lamp’s internal reflector to do the reflecting. Is such a concept more a top hat to catch spill and more focus the light or reflect the beam of light in which case one needs to know what specific fixture it is and how the tin can is expected to act as a reflector.

On stands.
You state the poles 1" dia. With a tri-pod base 6' in dia. of some form say of collapsible stand that’s hopefully sand bagged or staked down than barricaded around to prevent the audience from tipping them over if they get rambunctious. Nothing of the height that the stand reaches to or extends to for fixture height given you have given the height of the stage but not throw distance or throw angle. Two separate concepts of discussion, 1" pipe with a 6' base of unknown height, verses 2' or less stage with unknown throw distance, angle and height. One is the design part, the other mechanical part.

How can you protect them from rain? You cannot. No matter the fixture, either it’s exterior or you are using one suitable to get wet as a temporary or not so bad exposure type of thing. A classic PAR can can get drizzled upon, if the rain gets too bad or the exposure too long, I would not want to touch it but it most likely if serviceable in a safe way would work fine in a storm. Grounding being a separate issue than protection of the instrument and it’s ability to safely function while wet. A PAR can wont’ work safely in a pool of water but potentially could work just fine during a storm as long as you are not focusing it. The ground is path of least resitance to you getting electrocuted from it - it has little to do with ability to work while wet or the concept of some hot/neutral/ground shorting by way of water.

Most outdoor lighting is either weather proof or has a scaffold tent about it to for the most part protect it from rain as much as possible. At times also, say a indoor use follow spot would tend to have a dropcloth over it while not in use. No real such say Technobeam condoms for a simple say spot or flood light. Could put your fixtures in rain domes such as Eco Domes used for many modern moving lights but such a concept is probably cost prohibitive. Have a plan for shutting down if it gets beyond a drizzle or the rain/drizzle lasts too long.

After the show, rain or shine, clean the fixtures and give them a good service call. This even if only a PAR can. Electrical contactor clean the lamp and it’s lamp base after the show at least if not wipe it down, blow it dry and oil it. Dependant upon wetness, sure if the show is stopped drape the fixtures in plastic or strike them and service them so as to prevent rust. After that, plastic melts readily - ever see what happens to a folded bunch of visqueen that gets layed above a 400A feeder cable run at capacity by mistake? Not pretty.... this much less it run across and around a Leko say.

Should be fine to use up until the show gets cancelled by way of bad weather. Nothing really to note other than all connections to your cable - the plugs need to be kept off the ground and taped and or bagged. A few years ago I was the un-lucky one that had to repair all the multi-cable that got blown up really good by way of a concert in Central Park by Sting. Something about lots of mud and water penetrating the water resistant Soco type plug. We had liquid solder once the innitial short started and it was followed by total melt down inside the plug of all phases. Yep, definately don’t want to be pulling your connectors out of the mud and water. Rule of thumb code or not from what I’m aware of in practice is to electrical tape solid all plugs so as to keep water out, than even beyond this, a plastic bag around the plug is used. This in additon to even if cable tying to a short 2x4 piece of lumber, the cable and especially the connector is kept out of the water. Very important that no matter the type you keep the plugs off the ground and protected. A fixture up in the air is often less to worry about than a plug under water.

Again, a more question of the show must go on no matter how now under ground the plugs are and how wet the fixtures get verses what stopping point and comfort level you get to before you power down the system and call it a night in having that plan of striking what's essential verses what can survive a night of getting wet. Ever deal with the after effects of a lighting rig that got left up during a hurricane? Yep... been there... lighting system in essential gear was struck but at some point what was left hanging if not even packed in sealed road boxes that got filled to the brim with water was not fun to replace. A PAR can is an amazing thing, it works when raining sufficiently. All parts on it tend to rust afterwards but it works. A DMX line will work but get corroded later while drying. After care being a concern.

This much less a specific noting and permission to use and maintain the gear after the show by the administration. It is their call to use gear that's indoor rated or light exposure at best rated on a show by way of safety and balancing value of the gear and show verses the importance of the show. Safety of the people attending the shows is fairly nominal as long as grounded and the gear is kept out of direct exposure to extended use under water. Even water resistant cable is only water resistant with an exposure rating. This being a say type SOOW cable as opposed to SO which is not water resistant.

Admin checks off on the gear and you protect it by way of other than direct rain by way of under water, protect the plug connections from sitting under water by way of at least say 1.1/2" above the ground pavement or grass and all for the most part is fine if the show gets stopped before it gets beyond the mud pit stage of gear under water.

An amazing thing in a cool way to see rain drops boil off the top of a say PAR can. Not gonna hurt any gear in an un-safe way if light rain but something to watch.
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Active Member
Believe it or not, you will probably be better off renting some lighting equipment rather than buying the cheap stuff. More than likely, you will never use it again and will have a pile of junk laying around your garage. (In my case, I have a pile of home made cyc lights with par 38 style flood lights in them). Buying a base, a lamp (bulb), a reflector, etc... would cost you at least $10 to $12 dollars. Most of the other rental companies that I work with and I rent par 64's for about $10 a week at the most, and Source Four Pars for about $12 per week. You could also pick up a couple of stage bases with the upright poles to mount them on for $20 to $30 dollars.

If you could supply the power, a decent system with 10 or so fixtures with dimmers should run you about $200 to $250 as long as you do not get crazy. Besides being more cost effective, it is safer. If something goes wrong and everything is used as intended, it is less likely that you will be blamed.

One other suggestion, PSSL ( sells par 64 packages, including the body, gel frame, lamp, clamp, and safety for $40. These are a little on the thin side, but look and work very well. When I started, I would buy a few for every show that I did and rent the rest. This way, I was making money and had to rent less and less equipment every time I did a show.


Active Member
The inside of a soda can makes a good reflector. Thats how we basically scratch-built some of our PAR-16s. Party, that.

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