# Rope Light - brand suggestions

#### cvanp

##### Active Member
Hey all,

I am looking into purchasing rope light for Guys & Dolls (to be used in the "Hot Box" sequence).

We need quite a bit of it, unfortunately (around 67 feet to light the real proscenium arch, 36 feet to light the false proscenium arch).

I'm also looking to get fancy, and I want to do chase on the lights. I was looking to get one of these ropelight chasers: http://www.theatrefx.com/store/commerce.cgi?product=controllers_chase but I'm open to suggestions there too.

Price is an issue... I am under a fairly low budget however I am still trying to look at all my options. So I guess ultimately my question is what brand and what suppliers would you guys recommend?

Thanks CB!

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#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
The least expensive solution, I suspect, is to use these, and write an effect in your lightboard, can't remember if you've stated what you have. Available in 16' lengths at Lowe's and HomeDepot in many colors, but I can't find them on either website. You could only chase 16' (or less) chunks this way, but might work. Much more expensive option are these, chased individually, again via your lightboard.

The only problem with the controller(s) you cited, is not being able to dim the ropelights and having a person backstage turn on/off the chase, also limited to one type of chase, unless it is changed clunkily (just made up that word. A great effect in most musical theatre is to have the lights fade up solid, then for the reprise, chase them. Audiences don't expect that, but I'm disappointed when it doesn't happen!

For one production I had a backdrop of various Broadway Theatre marquees. I also had many strands of old-style ropelights and a 4ch. controller. Some of the strings had one circuit out, others two circuits, etc. I plugged them all in, and outlined each sign with a different "style" and color of broken lights, thus each sign chased differently, all from one controller mounted on the drop's batten. Worked great!

Also, if you're outlining a Proscenium, best to wire so that the two sides chase up the legs and meet at top center, symmetrically. If you only do up one side across the top and down the other side, make sure you can reverse the chase. Using 3 or 4 of your dimmers and a good lighting console opens up endless possibilities. The effects attributes: positive, negative, forward, reverse, alternate, bounce, and build, can all be used to create dazzling effects, with little effort.

Yes, I am a chaser geek, comes from my disco days. Anyone know what a "black ball chase" is?

#### cvanp

##### Active Member
Our lightboard can't quite do that... it's an almost 20 year old Lehigh console and the wiring on our stage was badly installed so half our plugs don't work. It's really a mess, which is why I'm looking at another option for the chase. Certainly not ideal by any means but I have no choice.

#### BillESC

##### Well-Known Member
Chris,

What color(s) rope are you looking for? We've got a bunch thats been sitting on the shelf for years. Controllers as well.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
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Follow up with Bill! He may be able to work a killer deal for you if it's stuff he's having a hard time selling.

I did a show in college where we got a bunch of clear plastic tubing, slit it open on one edge and shoved Christmas lights in it. It was a huge pain in the butt for us students but we got a killer deal on the tubing somehow which made it really cheap. These days the cheap rope light may cost less, but it's an option to at least consider if the other routes are too expensive.

#### Pie4Weebl

##### Well-Known Member
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For Guys and Dolls why would you want to use rope light over the classic string of 40 watt bulbs?

#### cvanp

##### Active Member
I'm really just looking for clear but I'm open to other options if that isn't possible. Bill - I'll be sending an email in a moment or two.

@Gafftaper, interesting DIY ropelight solution. I sure have plenty of slaves (read: junior high kids) who could do that if worse comes to worse but I think ropelight is the best solution if it works out.

@Pie4Weebl: it's a more modern interpretation of the show. It's still distinctly fifties, but the sets are a bit more avant garde, acting is being updated, tempos are being picked up to give the music a more contemporary feel, etc. Not to mention the fact that the set this is for has to double as another set -- the ropelight will be more conspicuous than a string of light bulbs.

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Sorry, cvanp, I forgot you were "that Lehigh guy." Yes, by all means, follow up with BillESC in private!

Gafftaper: The "old-style" ropelights to which I referred were exactly as you described, except factory-built without slitting the tubing, and 6pin Molex connectors on them. Ness Lighting, today AMDJ, was the manufacturer/importer. Even if this is what BillESC has, instead of the "modern" molded style, still a perfectly viable option.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
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We are all sorry that he is the "Lehigh guy" Our condolences go to you.

Yeah it wasn't easy shoving the lights inside the tubing but once we got the hang of it, it went fairly quickly. We built a massive 30' wide stair case for "Will Rogers Follies" and had our homemade rope lights under the lip of each step.

#### cvanp

##### Active Member
To be honest, the Lehigh console itself isn't the worst part of the whole set up. The crappy wiring really takes the cake.

A good quarter of our stage pins plugs are dead, and at least 3/4 of our Edison plugs are dead. Routinely, our box that houses all the circuits to the lights overheats and just starts flashing random lights. During tech week leading up to the show we have to leave all the windows in our auditorium open 24/7 and lights can not be turned on during the school day. House lights die and come to life at random (we thought it was a problem with the circuits but it turns out that has nothing to do with it).

The board does have its flaws though. Some of our sliders are bonkers... slide it to full and it turns the light off. Our crossfaders are completely out of wack, and really it's best not to even use them if we can help it. We have very limited patching capabilities (for reasons I can't remember - I don't program this console) and unfortunately cannot simply go one-to-one. Makes designing the lights for the show always fun.

I can't wait to get out of this school and place with some real equipment that works...

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
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Has your dimmer rack ever been properly cleaned? If it's got years of dust built up in the filters that could be the cause of your overheating. Are you an adult or student technician?

#### cvanp

##### Active Member
I'm a student technician but it's a tiny school (less than 400 at last count) so I'm in good with our staff guy. We don't actually have dedicated technicians or anything, it's actually our school librarian/media guy who does a lot of tech stuff too. I'll have to put in a maintenance order and see if we can get that cleaned (if it is dust).

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Gafftaper--the fact that cvanp started the thread on "resumes/applying to colleges" should be a good indication to you that he is a high school senior.
To be honest, the Lehigh console itself isn't the worst part of the whole set up. The crappy wiring really takes the cake.

A good quarter of our stage pins plugs are dead, and at least 3/4 of our Edison plugs are dead. Routinely, our box that houses all the circuits to the lights overheats and just starts flashing random lights. During tech week leading up to the show we have to leave all the windows in our auditorium open 24/7 and lights can not be turned on during the school day. House lights die and come to life at random (we thought it was a problem with the circuits but it turns out that has nothing to do with it).

The board does have its flaws though. Some of our sliders are bonkers... slide it to full and it turns the light off. Our crossfaders are completely out of wack, and really it's best not to even use them if we can help it. We have very limited patching capabilities (for reasons I can't remember - I don't program this console) and unfortunately cannot simply go one-to-one. Makes designing the lights for the show always fun...
Does your school's administration, teachers, principal, school board superintendent, know about how bad the situation is? If not let them know, and play up the safety aspect. My college was able to replace the 5scene preset with a Light Palette by telling the administration "yes, it's possible the entire theatre, stagelights and houselights could go to black, and the emergency lighting won't come on as it's due to a console or dimmer failure, not a power failure, so everyone in the auditorium will be left in the dark."

If, in fact, the wiring is acceptable, your school could probably end up with a new console and 96x2.4Kw dimmer rack for under $100K, plus installation, which should be minimal. Chump change. And then you could do chases! Unfortunately, you won't be there to see it, but think of your underclassmen. #### cvanp ##### Active Member Yeah, we actually have a building project going through right now. The majority of the money is going toward building a$12million football stadium so we're getting a pretty bad deal.

I have a feeling they'll be installing a Horizon Marquee console and replacing the dimmer rack but I don't really know the details of the plan. I've tried to avoid the planning... no need to get jealous, right? They're also replacing our 60 year old speakers and getting us some new sound stuff which will be nice. Right now, my dad loans all our audio stuff to us for the musical. One parent is the broadcasting prof. at the local community college so she helps loan equipment too.

Senior Team

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
...Where are you are at? maybe there is a C.B. member near you who could stop in and help.
He's in NY, so we'll send charcoaldabs right over! No, wait, Charc isn't allowed keys to the dimmer room.

#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Yes, I am a chaser geek, comes from my disco days. Anyone know what a "black ball chase" is?
Your "disco days"? My neighbor has been a DJ since those times, he has all the house/trance/dance music ever released, I swear. He was telling me how he used to get into Studio 54 for free, and how he used to use razors to splice magnetic tape to make extended tracks. Even has a gold record in his house for a record he helped break, La Bouche or one of those early 90's dance groups.

As for a black ball chase, idk, ............. a bunch of alternative lifestyle men of color running around a club?

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
He's in NY, so we'll send charcoaldabs right over!
He can stay in PA, thank you.
But seriously, if they do decide to spend money to have this fixed I know a guy who's awesome.
Just give me a call, and I will get you his info.