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Conventional Fixtures Motorized shades as a color changer.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TupeloTechie, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    We are doing A Christmas Carol in our small space and for FOH lighting we only have 5 circuits. However there a couple of areas that I would like to have 2 different colors of frontlight, each at different times. I cannot hang two fixtures because there is not enough circuits and no hard patching either. We don't haven any color scrollers and wheels and there is no catwalk where an electrician can change the color between scenes.

    I had an idea of adapting some sort of roller shade with a sheet of gel as the shade and placing it in front of the instrument mounted to the ceiling about 1 foot above the bar.

    Does anyone know how I could motorize these roller shades for cheap, I have looked at pre-built motorized roller shades and the cheapest I could find was around $100 which is about $90 over the amount we have for each one.

    Or maybe someone might have a better idea for switching color at a low cost.
     
  2. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    TupeloTechie, perhaps your best plan is to make your FOH color neutral and depend on another position where you do have more capability to use (or change) multiple colors. It's very hard to DIY a color changer, even if only for two colors.

    For an idea, look at the lower right corner of this page from the 1913 Kliegl catalog.
    [​IMG]
    source
     
  4. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Having no idea what kind of space you're in, I can only offer limited suggestions. I can assume that the hanging position in question is a FOH bar as opposed to some form of a catwalk, which obviously means that you can't have someone up there replacing the gel. The Kliegl thing actually gave me an idea. Could you tie a small string to the top of the second gel frame and run that string over the house bar to a booth at the back of the theatre or something similar? Thinking about my theatre, this could feasibly work, but yours may be very different. You'd have to build some sort of a framework on the bar to guide the color frame, and obviously make sure that nothing's going to fall during a performance, but it might be workable.

    However, I second Derek's idea of using a neutral front. Do you have box booms available? If so, a neutral front with some slightly more saturated colors from the box booms should produce a pretty good wash. If not, use lots of side and back light and use your front light to fill in shadows rather than as the first thing you bring up when writing cues.
     
  5. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    Well this is a small and wide space, the proscenium is 40' x 15'. The house has about 7 rows of seats totaling 164. There is only one position FOH and it is a single bar about 5 feet in front of the plaster line with a 17' trim. I usually always do the neutral fronts for shows in this space just because it is so wide and there are only 5 circuits, however for this show I need a couple of the front lights to be a different color without and back/side/top. I am really thinking about the cd rom idea, it seems like it would work well for the situation.

    Also there is no booth in this space we run the show from a little cubby-hole to the right of the proscenium.
     
  6. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    How much money do you have for gels? What about a manual curtain pull, moving one sheet of gel across the lights. You'll still get a lot of glare from the lighting striking the gels, but that might solve your problem? Basically create a giant manual color scroller.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    What about this: Do you have enough circuits elsewhere and cable to just make a few runs out to the FOH position? You may have to do some creative cabling, but if you have the gear for it, it could be worth it.
     
  8. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    This was actually my first idea, however all the other circuits are being used, there are only 21.
     
  9. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I assume renting a few scrollers is not an option? Depending on your location and your organization, you might be able to get a pretty good deal on them, especially if you have worked with your local dealer before. Is this for a school or for some sort of charity or something like that?
     
  10. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    Well I was able to solve the problem by borrowing 2 old chroma q scrollers and a psu from the local community theatre.

    Thanks.
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Glad the crisis is solved.
    Now that it is, a purely hypothetical exercise:

    Suppose one had enough fixtures, but not enough (dimmer) circuits. Could one plug a DMX-controlled "shoebox" dimmer (4x600W) into a circuit with the 20A dimmer at full?

    Preliminary testing in my mad-scientist laboratory (garage) yields some interesting (to me, anyway:twisted:) results. Has anyone else ever (intentionally) plugged a dimmer into a dimmer?
     
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I've considered it with my little portables, but wasn't sure what the final effect might be, and I admittedly don't know enough about electricity to start experimenting.
     
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have! For our 2007 season, I needed eight circuits for a fireworks effect (No this was not pyro!). I had two available, so I used two portable dimmers with 4 controllable outputs each. I don't recall the brand off hand. Granted, I was not actually dimming anything with them, just using them as switches, but for what I needed to do it worked just fine for our entire two month run.
     
  14. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    So Derek, or others who are in the know, what does happen when a shoebox dimmer is connected to another dimmer? Especially on the technical, electrical side of things? I was excited, figuring more was coming after Derek's post.
     
  15. Traitor800

    Traitor800 Active Member

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    I have personally done this once cause I needed some more dimmers and was out of wall plugs and I have seen it done once cause the ME didn't know better. Both times were for less than 2 weeks and neither time were there any ill efects. When I did it it was a leppracon ULD dimmer pack on a sensor rack with the dimmer set to non dim on the board. And the time that I saw it done it was one of the same model ULD packs on an old Hub electric system, again dimmer set to non dim on the board.
     

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