moving "ghost light" ideas needed

techie_stg

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Location
Fayetteville, Georgia
first timer here- need to simulate a "ghostly light" moving across stage in a path down a stairway and across the room (The Innocents). Have an etc express, and thought I would try a moving lite or maybe a dual gobo rotator on an S4 to get a sparkle/pulsating effect with some color changing...sounds great, but I have no ML and no rotator and no idea how to do it...yet. Any suggestions or different approaches? It's community theater with some budget, and I want to learn to use ml's so I thought i could combine the need with the opportunity and get something out of it...what better way to learn?
 

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
do you need a bulb across the stage or just a beam of light. If its just a beam of light, then the cheapest and easiest way would be to get a spot with a narrow beam and use that to run it. Just tell the spot op where and when the beam should move, and you should be set.

If you really don't want to use a spot light, I would say use a ML, but they are expensive, and if you already have a spot light or two, then the spot light would be the easiest.

Regardless, I believe that a spot light would be cheeper to rent/buy then a ML.
 

techie_stg

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Location
Fayetteville, Georgia
your'e right - the spot is the easiest thing. I was hoping to find a way to make it "dimensional", not just shining on the stairs, floor, etc. I guess that requires a haze or something to hit to make it appear in the air vs. on the floor, furniture, etc. It's a dark scene except for the "ghostly light". Maybe I need to look at a blacklight leko (?) with a flourescent "target" being moved by a grip in black? It would be great if the blacklight could pulse and appear dappled as through a leaf gobo...am I dreaming here? Or should I just hire a real ghost and go from there?
 

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
hiring a real ghost would be easiest, but I've heard they are very expensive, and that the union is horrible...

If you wanted dimension I would suggest using a hazer or a smoke machine, depending on the look your going for. At first I thought you meant a real ghost light, like the light you leave on the stage once everyone leaves. I would have suggested a guy in all black pulling the light. If the light just needed to go across the stage then you could possibly have someone pulling a cart with some black light target on it across the stage, but if you want it to go up and down stairs, or really do anything but go in a straight line, that would be difficult.

I think the best option would be to use your spot light, along with a hazer. If you wanted a gobo'ed look, then I would suggest setting up a S4 with a gobo near a rail that someone could operate like a spot light--possibly with a gobo rotator in it as well.

I don't know what your application is, and if this is a high school show or something larger, but ML's are expensive and take time and energy to program and set-up the way you want to. If you have the time and money, then a ML would be cool, since you have all of the color's and gobo's and can rotate all of the gobo's and all of that stuff. However, that is difficult to set up.

I think that a spot light with a hazer would be best.[/i]
 

bdesmond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
I'm with Zac here on just using a followspot. You could use a fogger or somethign of that nature to give it a cloudy look, but, in the dark, a followspot beam is going to show up well enough with the dust and dirt and everythign else that's normally in the air.

You can also buy a handle that fits on the yoke of a source four and allows you to move it something like a followspot, assuming hte fixture is up on a catwalk or some other accessible place. You could then use the gobo.

Given that you're new at this, I wouldn't recommend jumping into an intel right off the bat. As Zac said, you're going to spend a significant amount of time programming one, even if you're well versed in programming the things.
 

blsmn

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Location
Wisconsin
If you have a catwalk where you can shoot from, you might also try using a multimedia projector to project a videotaped image. You would probably still have to haze the stage, but doing it this way you could experiment with creating something either through taping or digitally that would give you the look you want. Set up the projector on some sort of swivel mechanism and the operator could use it just like a follow spot. Most newer projectors have a shutter on them and can be left running until you need it and open the shutter. If you have video of something that is actually a moving shape it would give that extra dimension to the effect also.
 

techie_stg

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Location
Fayetteville, Georgia
folks- some great ideas. It's for a community theater show and I have a few months to experiment. I guess the spot/s4 from the catwalk may be the economical thing to do - time and dollars. I'll have to work on how to manage fog/haze so the entire beam doesn't light up, only the stage area. I'm also going to experiment with the blacklight idea. It may be a possibility since the stage will be darkened. I'll reply with the winning approach! thanks again!
 

bdesmond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL USA
blsmn said:
If you have a catwalk where you can shoot from, you might also try using a multimedia projector to project a videotaped image. You would probably still have to haze the stage, but doing it this way you could experiment with creating something either through taping or digitally that would give you the look you want. Set up the projector on some sort of swivel mechanism and the operator could use it just like a follow spot. Most newer projectors have a shutter on them and can be left running until you need it and open the shutter. If you have video of something that is actually a moving shape it would give that extra dimension to the effect also.
A few things I see here:

Projectors are fragile
They need focusing when the throw changes, which even moving around a stage from a fixed point can cause
Bulbs are quite expensive and not easy to replace like a par can or something.
 

blsmn

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Location
Wisconsin
bdesmond said:
A few things I see here:

Projectors are fragile
They need focusing when the throw changes, which even moving around a stage from a fixed point can cause
Bulbs are quite expensive and not easy to replace like a par can or something.
Granted, projectors are fragile, but I'm not quite sure why this would be a problem. I've used them to project various images in at least 10 shows now and have never had a problem. If they are mounted/turned on and off/used properly it shouldn't really be an issue. The units are getting smaller all the time - I recently used a 2000 lumen Panasonic to project a fireworks show on a scrim for "Middle Aged White Guys" and the projector is about the size of a dictionary so it was very easy to work with and hide.

In the particular scenario that the original poster was talking about, having the projected image be in a sharp focus would probably not work anyway - what he seemed to be looking for is just a shape moving across the stage and not a defined image. The advantage I can see from a projected image is that you could actually have the shape change as it crosses the stage instead of it being just a single shape.
 

3D

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
Location
TEXAS
your thinking about a candle here right? like a ghost carrying a candle down stairs. why dont you build a track into the hand rail of the stairs and put string around a battery operated candle and put the candle in the track (make sure the track is smooth) and let the candlestick glide down the handrail with someone holding onto the end of the string. this way you can control the speed and pull it back off the stage when your done. You may have to wire the candle to a dimmer so you can turn it off. Its kinda elementary and old school. but you could try it.

3D (Derek D. Deiterman)