# Lighting Light Sources & Bulbs

#### silverbullet761

##### Member
Hey All, I am new to this forum but I would like to get some input.

I am in a my high school drama group. This year we are trying to blow everyone away with a great show (long story and I won't bore you with it) but my high school is small, and we really don't have a budget. So, I'm building our lighting system, which will consist of:
(2) moving mirror scanners (color wheel, focus, zoom, RGB individual
mixing)
(10) Beam (not spot) PAR 38's for strong white beam aimed downward,
very quick rise and fall times (for strobing)
(3) Static digital projectors- each for screen build into set
(1) Digital Projector with moving mirror (X & Y axis) to allow for direction
control and aiming. (cheaper than buying many globos and pro-
scanner
to put them in). Mirror similar to moving-mirror scanner over lens.
(?) Various PAR 38's for standard stage lighting.
(5) Static color-mixing (color wheel, not gel) PAR 38's (1 for each
section)

I can make the lighting, it's not a problem. I have already designed the scanners and we have the projectors. The PAR-38's are the ghetto coffee can ones (hey, i do what i can with the budget i have). The one problem I have is that I need LIGHT SOURCES. We don't have the budget to buy Xenon bulbs that would normally be used in the scanners and the 10 beam PAR's that need to strobe. So, I need to know, what kind of bulbs could come close to the brightness but are cheaper? I have got my hands on 2 photoflood bulbs that will give me the brightness I need for the scanners, however they have a life of only 4 hours each. So, after rehearsals, they'll be burned. Bare in mind that the life of the blubs does not have to exceed more than 20 hours. The scanners are only used in the finale (for a total of about 10 minutes). The strobing PAR 38's are used in the finale but they might also be used more.

TO SUM UP: What bulbs can I use that have a fast rise and fall time and are very bright, but are not expensive.

*To give you an idea of what I mean by Beam PAR 38's, think of the sequence of "Season's of Love" from RENT, where the players are standing across the stage and each has a strong white beam from above on them. That's what we are doing basically doing, except ours have to strobe in the finale (on for about 3 seconds though). The rest of the time, they are solid on.

#### Jezza

##### Active Member
I don't have a great sollution for you for the sources for your scanners, however i'm a little confused when you say spot v. beam. In the "Season's of Love" opening scene in RENT, PAR 64 w/ either NSP or VNSP bulbs were used (narrow spot, very narrow spot) with haze to create the "beam" effect which I think you are trying to emulate. That would entail renting a hazer. Foggers work if you shoot them through a fan to get the job done cheaply, but they will never have the hang time nor the same look and effect as haze. As for your sources themselves, any toungsten source unless very small will take some time to dim down and up or as you say has a moderate to slow rise and fall rate. The more complex luminaries utilize mechanical dowsers on servos that can create the strobbing effect that you are looking because they can be acctuated so quickly. In my experience, strobbing a toungsten fixture never yeilds the desired effect. They'll flash and look exciting, but a true strobe you will never achieve. Sorry I can' be more help.

#### silverbullet761

##### Member
i've heard i need to use a hazer, but i really don't want to do that. In the past when we used fog machines is caused an asthma nightmare in rehearsal and set off the fire alarms. I'll look into a hazer though, check out pricing or see if i can build one. as i understand it, it's just a different pumping system and different glycerin mixture for the fluid as opposed to a fog machine. any idea if hazers would be as likely to set off the smoke detectors and fire alarms (i don't want the fire department to show up again...)

I have considered using the servo idea you mentioned. But like I said, i have barely any budget, so i'm trying to cut back on servos. I'm looking at doing the same principle, but only using solenoids instead. It won't be controllable as to how much light, but it would be able to be strobed.

The main problem I'm trying to solve is high lumen output (rise and fall time is not as important as there are ways around that) for a low price. If you or anyone knows where I could get xenon tubes at wholesale or cheap, I'd take it very seriously. small halogen would work, but then I'd have to do some color correction because those tend to look yellow.

#### Pie4Weebl

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
if I get what you are saying, you plan on building the scanners yourself? YOu might want to try and rent some cheapo american dj scanners from a local dj, somehow I think you could get them on the cheap or free if a parent or student has a dj business. If I have been able in the past to coax other students to give me enough money to get a pair of mac550s and a hog for a show anyone should be able to do it.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Seems like your drama group has a lot of gadgets and home owner specials but noting really very useful for proper lighting, spot, fill and wash.

To figure out how specifically to improve what you have, we need to know specifically what you have.

2) Scanner (What Brand and Model?)
10) PAR 38 Can (What Wattage?) This is “flood” (not spot) correct?
3) Digital Projector (What Brand and Model?)
1) Moving Mirror Digital Projector (What Brand and Model?)
x) PAR 38 Coffee Can
5) ?Scroller? Or Color Wheel? (No big deal either way as far as lighting goes.)

PAR 38 lamps have fairly large filaments - comparatively lots of lag time even if under dimmer warming to bounce them up and down. This is as opposed to a “photo flash” lamp that has a very small filament designed to go to full fast (useful for lightning effects.)

What do you mean by “photoflash lamps” in a scanner? A typical Photoflash lamp I can think of (3 hours) would be about a big Edison/Medium Screw based big old 5" long A-21 lamp that’s 250w. Not really feasible as a light source for a typical scanner. Or was this a lamp used in some PAR 38 cans to strobe? In that case, given it’s a 250w source of light, you can get more intense in giving up speed for longer lamp life - all wattage dependant upon intensity. There is other options but first refine the intent is in a PAR 38 and not in a scanner.

I’m noting that it’s ok for a 20hr lamp by way of budget as long as it’s intense, yet you don’t have a budget for lighting fixtures. Wouldn’t a 1,000 much less 20,000 hr lamp be a bit better or at least more cost effective?

What do you mean by xenon bulbs - are these the ones intended for the scanner lamps, something like the QT-8500 for a Trackspot which is a xenon / halogen filament lamp? Not sure what you mean by “xenon tubes”, can you be more specific about what specific lamp you are looking for? I won’t recommend sources to shop at persay but might recommend what to shop for.

So with the above, what type of lamp and fixture to be used in, is it that you are looking to have a fast rise and fall time?

On making lighting/haze machines... there is some school systems that allow or turn a blind eye towards students/teachers in ability or lack of any real help to make what you will. But remember that if you burn down the school, that blind eye will become an absence of knowledge that you were doing this and thus a denial of guilt and fault much liability completely in your court. It is highly not recommended that you are making your own lighting fixtures - no matter how easy it might seem. The problem is always in that little bit you didn’t know. Heck, I have been building fixtures from scratch eight years now professionally much less wiring fixtures about fifteen years, and there is still stuff I’m still learning or techniques I’m figuring out. What seems simple enough often can be dangerous with what is not known and compensated for.
Remember, this stuff isn't just stuff you are tinkering about with in a home workshop, it's stuff that hundreds of people potentially depend upon being safe while attending your performance - this dependance upon safety with their lives.

#### SHARYNF

##### Well-Known Member
One thing to consider and it really has been mentioned before but might have been missed. That cool cone of light that you see shining down has a lot to do with haze, it is not the intensity but the haze that makes the beam visable.

Renting for some reason seems to be avoided with school productions, but is used all the time in pro systems, other wise you send a lot of money for stuff that rarely works correctly, gets thrown out. A local rental company if the equip is not being used at the time might be willing to work a really good deal for you

Sharyn

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Perhaps some easy and safe sources. There are surplus gear collection type places that sell stuff cheap such as American Science and Surplus http://www.sciplus.com . Never know what you might find by way of lighting fixtures and lamps of all sorts.

Otherwise there is junk yards that if not in general, specialize in stuff that used to be say in stores. Way back when from "Kohlar's Trading Post" - if still in business (Lombard Illinois), I once bought some track lighting fixtures in PAR 46 and PAR 56 size that worked great. Came out of some department store after a renovation where they went to more modern fixtures. Remove the track lighting elements and wire them for a cord. Given a standard track light fixture is often a short throw fixture, easy enough to add by way of brackets and J.B. Weld a coffee can and even rock and roll style gel frame clips to the fixture - easy enough to bend and attach for a normal size snout to the lamp and gel standard gel frames.

Halo was the brand of PAR 46, definately no slouch as far as quality - even has a rotation to the lamp mechanism. Fixtures came with lamps for as I remember it like $10.00 each. Lamp bases and fixtures in general were in good shape. Such a place often also stocked lamps and even had a Altman Q1000 in stock at one point that they just sort of acquired. Granted it had some funkeyness with it's wiring (something about a L5-20 plug inside the fixture itself made me suspicious about the wiring in general, plus one of the lenses was cracked.) Still, it was going for like$100.00 years ago. Never knew what I would find there and the owners knew that when ever they got lights in stock, they should give me a call. At this junk yard at least, constantly all sorts of motors and other things in stock. A treasure mine for props and lots of other things.

Thus two types of used gear retailers to shop with that could be safe. The former being new gear that's surplus, the second that's used gear and often will need work but often there can be good savings much less donations.

Never know what one will find in either type of place.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
If I read your message right you are planning to build all this stuff yourself. While I admire your creativity and intellectual ability I strongly suggest you seek out cheap rental options instead. Home made theater lighting gear is never a great idea and the professionals only do it when it's an absolute necessity. The guy who posted a couple of messages up named "Ship" is one of the most experienced and respected members of Control Booth. Read some of his other posts you see why. Did you get that part of the message about how he's been building things for years and there are still things he doesn't know everything about doing it correctly? Listen to the man, around here no one beats his knowledge of lamps and electricity.

When I wanted sidelighting and effects strobes for a dance concert, I politely told the dance teacher that if she wanted these effects, we were going to need some dough...so she sent some letters home with all of the dancers explaining the situation, and we had almost $1000 in a week. I got 100' of 12/3 cable, 2 900W DMX strobes, 8 PAR56's with bulbs and clamps, and 2 4-pack dimmers for that. And I didn't even use all of the money...some of it went to other parts of the production (costumes, etc.). Everything but the 12/3 cable came from BulbAmerica. So, I'd say to get some Mojo IIX scanners and some pinspots from BulbAmerica. For your wash, check in to some of their PAR38 kits with dimmers and clamps. If you're doing the order by a check, though, they won't send you stuff until they have the check in hand (for good reason), so order far enough ahead of time for it to get there. I've actually done comparison shopping of the EXACT same items in other stores. The stuff is mainly from Eliminator or Optima lighting, about the two cheapest companies out there in terms of lighting, but other sites charge almost twice as much for the same pinspots. EDIT: This may be out of your budget, but I just saw that BulbAmerica started selling LED parcans today (since when I checked the site this morning and this evening). They will incur no bulb replacement costs for ten years if you get them, and that could be a selling point to anyone that you want to get donations from. EDIT: Also, to be quite honest, even though it goes against safety and conventional practices, if you buy the pinspots and the drama program owns them...you should have no trouble duct taping them to the batten instead of spending money on clamps. Being from a school where money was locked down and weighted with an iron fist, I know where you're coming from. Last edited: #### soundlight ##### Well-Known Member #### Van ##### CBMod CB Mods Premium Member The reason that I'm replying so much is that I've been in the position before (and am this year) where I want alot of "flash and trash" (yes, that's what it's called when we LD's go crazy), but have little to no cash. eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Club-Pro-CL-301...3QQihZ011QQcategoryZ29943QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem That's the kind of thing that'll provide some cool effects, but is under$40. Spinning, colors, yeah!

Flash and trash ? That's what I called my wardrobe in the '80 's

somebody cue the Jan Hammer !

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Ban all duct tape from the theater - those following you will thank you. Never and never duct tape a fixture to anything. It’s not heat rated or any type of code or in any common sense way rated for such an application. Ok, if you absolutely are set in doing so and you should not be, five wraps is a minimum, and that is five wraps per side of the yoke - in other words, two wraps of five. Do not do this - duct tape is nasty after it gets old, much less gets heated up. Such a use also does not help with grounding the lamp bar you are attaching to.

Terms and definitions are important to learn, you seem to have lots of interest, time I think to buy/rent cheap for now, put the drill down and learn a bit more. Go to the various GE, Phillips, Osram, websites and request a catalog than sit down and read it for not just lamps but for the info about lamps. Amazing the amount of knowledge about lamps one can gain just by way of sitting down and studying a lamp catalog. Go to the Martin and High End amongst other websites and read all about such info not just in what they do but read further into how they do it. Buy books on fixture design by way especially of older books on lighting and electrical wiring. Nobody is attempting to stop you from building lighting fixtures in your garage - in fact that’s to your credit 100% that ambition and drive to invent, it’s just that you should save the invented products for the garage while you learn and buy stuff others already invented for use where people’s lives depend upon such things. That time you are spending on R&D much less constructing fixtures from scratch can also be spent on fund raising. Not as fun but all tech people need to at least become proficient with all parts of the other than and even on-stage. You are dirt poor, how many proposals for grants and or donations and discount letters have you written and or looked into? That / those lighting companies in your area, have you even asked them for donations of gear they are no longer using yet? This time spent in gaining your resources for making art is at times more useful than filling a hole in immediate needs. How many scene shops in your area and or theaters in your area have you set up a sort of “dumpster diving” arrangement with? No, legally or by way of insurance, you can’t dive for the stuff, but such places can set aside stuff for you, that you might be interested in. Think about a what.. $14.00 sheet of Luan plywood your theater doesn’t have to buy - much less a lot of them. Added up, if you have the time and labor to de-construct say part of a set, (lots of pulling staples with a pair of pliers) you now while cut often smaller than optimum, have a source of replenishment in other ways. Get that old set for the local TV news station in your area shipped to you as opposed to just dumped off the back of the truck in a junk yard. Saves who ever is disposing of it the cost of trashing it, and for it’s expected worth, a nice 501c3 tax credit for it’s worth by way of donation. Infrequently you can also get light fixtures, cable and other apparatus by way of this tax donation or simply that the entire thing was being replaced and it would take that company replacing the electrical gear more time to remove and service the gear than it’s worth - it’s normally thrown out. Search the net if nothing else for them$25.00 PAR 64 cans that come with lamps - there is a value one cannot beat if having no budget. Here is an entire lighting fixture (possibly without plug and clamp - negotiable) that would be UL listed and provide some base of light for your use so as to free up other gear for other things. One PAR 64 is worth at least two PAR 38 if not more by way of design. As opposed to lamping a fixture for that price as a good price, plus the fixture price, how about some rock and roll par cans? How about some used 6" Fresnels and 6" Lekos? Even if radial mounted, ever see a proper bench focus of a radial Leko? Thing can be bright and really good. You have nothing now persay, shoot instead of adding more “flash and trash” for proper. Buy say two even old time and ancient Lekos and they will be an amazing thing. Buy some stuff on the e-Bay that’s cheap for the price of what you might build stuff for. Better yet, fund raise, get donations and earn the gear by way of paperwork - sitting at your desk first before you tinker. I get paid as above to in part construct gear, in part it’s other things, and more and more it’s paid to just sit at my desk and do my job by way of now that I can do, do the paperwork and acquiring. Spent about two hours alone in researching bench vises I wanted to buy, sending out “request for quotes” to a number of sources, than figuring out of the prices given what was best to buy. Saved a hundred dollars at least on the bench vises I specified as a minimum grade of them I would accept. Cheaper than normal store bought crap that would wear out in half the time, and worth the effort in me just sitting at my desk instead of fixing stuff instead. The more that you know, the more work you will have to do. Less and less time I spend at my work table these days, much more time in research and paperwork type stuff. Gives the chance for others to learn and given the intrest in getting stuff right, it assures that what I’m at my desk for is correct. Sit down at your desk and instead of figuring out what size transformer will work with the servos and lamp for your latest scanner design, figure out how to get the money to get the lamps new from a normal less than “economy” source, and the fixtures at a good discount. Write some letters to anyone under the sun to see if they might take some charity to your cause in even sending you that “spare parts” fixture they have hanging about so that you can put it to use. Explain with much editing your situation, what you have been doing in the past, the recommendations that you stop doing so and devote your time elsewhere in getting safe gear. Keep it short and well written and you never know, from say High End down to someone’s garage based DJ lighting, what offers of gear or help you might get locally or nationally. This especially if you have that 501c3 in your pocket. Don’t know for sure if teacher or student at this point but if student, do the leg work than hand it off to the teachers and staff to do the tax credit and official deals. For every hour you might devote to wiring, perhaps another to paying for it by way of donations. Slow down with the saving the world of this show all by your own hands, it’s by far better to safe the theater program by way of some funding and system that will outlive you. Most important person in any theater is the theater manager. Don’t care who you are or how important you think you are, that person that not just balances the budget, but assures there will be another season for all to play, tinker and make art is that person that more is making art than anyone else - and probably has the most responsibility in all decisions one should be working for to help, and assures that there will be art made. At very least, perhaps it’s time to master that part of your field beyond study into the very specific lamps and fixtures. Raise research grants so as to research the next generation of moving light. While at it, if you are doing this wiring type stuff, get a grant for yourself in getting to college lined up and contacts in the industry to work at during summer break. Gonna find a whole new world out side of the theater at this one place - also consider this and keep your grades up so you can get into it.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
So unless the local theatrical supply store is willing to shell out a bunch of c-clamps or a bunch of $16.00/roll gaff tape, duct tape looks pretty darn good to people with no budget. And with a good razor blade box cutter ($3.95, ace hardware), you can put a clean cut through it and pull it all off easily, as long as it hasn't been up for very long. That's just my \$0.02, take it for what it's worth.

Fair enough and well put defense.

#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
And a quick note about those theatrical supply stores: Some of them stock "sample rolls" of gaff. Ten yard rolls. While many don't, there are a few that do. If you hit them up at the right time and you have a good contact in the company (I happened to do both), you can get quite a few rolls as these are almost never used. I was able to get 6 ten yard rolls for taping down a very unruly extension cord once.

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#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
A random tip here on Tape... Got a gel frame in an instrument that looks a little unsafe or some black foil wrap you want to secure to an instrument? Head down to your local automotive parts store and buy some muffler tape. It's light weight aluminum "tape" with high temperature glue on the back. When it's time to remove it, it comes off fairly easily. It leaves more residue than gaff but it's much better than duct tape... especially when you consider how much it's been baked. I wouldn't trust it with anything heavy, but to provide a little extra security for a gel frame at a bad angle or black foil it's perfect.

#### dvlasak

##### Active Member
I know about not having any type of a budget, I work for a school system. So here is my 2 cents worth.
God help you if something goes wrong with something that you make, put into a public building, and isn't UL listed. You are opening yourself up personally to a very huge lawsuit judgement.

It is admirable of you to want to do great and cool things with lighting in your space. But if you can not do itsafely according to code, it is a HUGE liability to yourself and your school district. -- Leading safety expert, Dr. Randall Davidson, has written a new book which reveals life-threatening hazards. It is Practical Health and Safety Guidelines for School Theater Operations . While it is geared toward Schools, it is useful to all aspects of theater. Reading this, you quickly discover that what you don't know CAN hurt you!
Another organization that you might want to check out is International Secondary Education Theatre Health and Safety Association (ISETSA). Dr. Davidson (known as Dr. Doom in the industry) is associated with this group also.
I understand that it is discouraging not to have money to buy or rent proper equipment, but at some point, you need to realize that safety is much more important than a show that is all about flash and trash.

Dennis

Forgot the link - it is isetsa.org - you can also get to the book link from this site. Or the book website: www.theaterhealthandsafetybook.com

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