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Red Dot Scope for Followspots

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys. I wondered if you had any opinions on mounting red dot scopes for use on followspots. The idea never occurred to me, until I stumbled across two on the internet. The telrad, seems to be popular, and the Spot Dot. I know you can buy cheap cheap cheapo red dot scopes for 9.99. Is there any advantage to getting the telrad or spot dot over the cheapo ones? Is there any advantage to these at all? I'm spurred to get these after seeing the performance of our followspot ops during the last performance. They looked like, and I quote: "spastic bumblebees". I hope that a scope might make them a little more proficient with their instrument. Thought anyone?

    Thanks, Charlie
     
  2. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    I couldn't help you on the brands (but as always, the more you pay, the better they'll be), but I'm 100% positive that they do wonders (especially if you're spots are high up) I work at 3 different theaters (2 of them are cheap, community theater theaters, and the other one is more professional), and the 2 community theater ones don't have spot dots. When I did a show at the community theater, my spot operator was having a lot of trouble finding the performer, and staying on them the entire time. But when we do shows at the professional theater, the spot ops are right on since they can tell what they are hitting, before they light the person. (instead of just aiming and running the risk of hitting a set piece instead of the performer) Since you said that your spots are "spastic bumblebees" i would definitely go with spot dots to ease this problem (please know though, they do take a little bit of time to get used to) Hope this helps!
     
  3. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Semi hijack, I still don't know how in the f--- a spot dot works. Is it just a lit crosshair for a spot? I don't get the point of a lit LED that "doesn't project light beyond the spot."
     
  4. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but basically its a little tube that the spot light operator looks into. In that tube, is a little LED light. If you need to light the soloist stage left, for example, you look through the spot dot to find the soloist. When you find him/her, you aim the follow spot so that the dot is in the center of their body. When you open up the shutter (i believe thats what its called) of the spot, the spot is on that person. As long as you keep the dot in their center, the spot will always be on them. I hope this makes sense and is what you wanted to know.
     
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I'll try and add a little DHSLXOP's post to clear up any ambiguity.

    These types of scopes are referred to as "Red Dots". A red dot scope is most commonly found on sub-machine guns and assault rifles. Typically, these scopes will have attach to a weaver rail. These red dots cost hundreds of dollars. Basically, as aforementioned, it's a small tube with an led projecting onto a piece of plastic. Often selectable intensities and color selection are included. It is common for these red dots to have a slight magnification, on the order of 1.5x. This makes spotting targets slightly easier. Unlike iron sights, a red dot only gives you one point of reference. This means it is important that the calibrate and use the sight with the same eye angle/position. You can calibrate the sight with small screws, that will move the dot up/down and left/right. These types of sights, when used with followspots are gaffed on, or have magnetic bases. calibrate your sight to the center of the light. Calibrate it with the light onstage. To use the red dot, identify who you need to light. Place the red dot where you want the center of the light to be, take off the douser. Tada, the light is now more or less on the mark. Now you can fine tune your position, ignoring the dot completely.
     
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  6. SteveRader

    SteveRader Member

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    I've used the spotdot for sometime. It does make a difference, especially when working in community or high school theaters with less experienced operators. Bit pricey for a scope, but does work wonders.
     
  7. Foxinabox10

    Foxinabox10 Active Member

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  8. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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  9. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    I've got a pair of Telrads on my spots. They work wonders and make even the novice spot operator look like a pro. They project a nice little red target onto an angled piece of tinted glass. They mount quite nicely onto our spots -- a couple self-tapping screws into each mounting plate into the spot bodies. They also have three little thumscrews to configure the target's aim. Never used a spot-dot, but same principle.
     
  10. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input so far. I'm torn between which sights to throw my money at. I think these are worthwhile enough, and cheap enough, to spend my own money on 'em. I'm still not sure which to get though. I really don't care about the money, just which are gonna be better to use.

    Edit:

    Here is something I didn't even consider. From your experience, where is the best position to mount these? If it makes a difference, I'll be mounting these on two Lycian Model 1206 Midget followspots.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Professionally, I see mostly Telrads, which work very well.

    A great mounting method is as follows:

    1) Find a small camera tripod, about 6 inches long, made from 3 legs of flexible gooseneck with a standard threaded camera mount. Here's a typical: http://www.wolfcamera.com/product/291660447.htm?bct=;citripods

    2) Home Depot and McMaster-Carr sell small round magnets with a center hole. Buy 3 of the roughly 2" round versions

    3) Drill a hole in the bottom of the Telrad and bolt the camera tripod mounting bolt thru and onto the Telrad. It helps to use a nylon insert nut for this to keep it tight.

    4) Remove the rubber feet on the bottom of ea. leg and use a self tapping sheet metal screw to mount the magnets onto the tripod.

    You can now simply pop the magnet/tripod with Telrad on to the follow spot, removing as needed.

    SB
     
  12. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Sounds exactly like the spot dot already is. I think that's the option I'm gonna try. I mean, after all the cost and effort of mounting the telrad, they'll even out.
     
  13. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Natch, the Telrad says you can install it with double-sided tape and it'll work. Granted, the included tape would probably melt in about 30 seconds, but I'd just look into a magnet you can screw through. I don't see why it would work any less effectively then a tripod?

    P.S. Y'all could have just said "reflex sight" and I would have immediately understood ;)
     
  14. KaR356i

    KaR356i Member

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    we have two 'spot dots' at the roadhouse I work at. I'd never used one before I started working there, and it is helpful to find someone in dim light before you turn it on, or to follow someone when there's tons of light on stage.... However-

    The spot dots, in my opinion, are difficult to look through if you aren't used to it, the light is not very bright, and the batteries run down often because it's very easy to think you have the switch all the way off when it is really still on. Ours have magnets on them, but you still have to tape the heck out of em to get em to stay. They often move after you have them sighted in. All in all, I don't like them.

    The Telrads have come through with a few different touring shows. They are MUCH easier for new spot ops to learn with, have a bigger target area, brighter light, and very simple to sight in. They are bigger and therefore don't move as easily after you sight them in- if they do, they are much simpler to re-adjust:)

    There's my two cents :grin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  15. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    A curve ball (that is the expression, no?) in my design making process, though much appreciated.
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow, I used to make a a pair of iron sights out of hanger wire, till I learned how to aim a follow spot. I think the idea of a reflex sight for a spot is a neat idea though, for newbies and Truss spots.
     
  18. koncept

    koncept Active Member

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    i still just use hangars if i need a sight. it all depends upon where i can stand in relation to the spot. sometimes you can use existing points on the spot as a sight
     
  19. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I always used to teach the new kids to look down the hinge on the pentagonal body spotlights we had in high school.
     
  20. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I would advocate some sort of safety measure in addition to the magnet.
     

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