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Running Lights

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by sejordan, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. sejordan

    sejordan Member

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    Location:
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    Our theatre is looking for a new system of running lights. Currently we use clip lights with either blue or red lamps or gels taped across the reflector.

    Does anyone have an idea or system that requires fewer extension cords and is a little more efficient and visually appealing?
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    We are a professional company we and we still do it that way. Sometimes we hang a couple old ERS units over the props tables and such, but that is about it. We also use rope light to light the upstage crossover and sometimes to illuminate the edge of the deck offstage.
     
  3. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    For props tables we use Littlites. They are dimmable and come with a red lens if that's your fancy. We've also used ACLs in similar applications with good success.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've got a few extra S4 Pars I've been using... but that's just a luxury due to inventory and locations it's just easy. I've used rope lights in the past and they are great... although that seems like bad advice with the recent fire apparently caused by them. Just about everyone I know uses clip on lights or rope lights.

    A few years ago I took a bunch of clip on lights and wired them into several "christmas light strings" for use in a show. You could do something similar to cut down on the number of wires. You could also install some wire mold and outlets for your clip on lights to plug in in just the right places so you don't have extensions all over the place.

    Disclaimer: If you don't 100% know how to do these things don't guess. You should consult an electrician or you might burn your theater down... and that would be bad.:(
     
  5. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I'll admit right out, my system is elaborate, but saves ton's of time in not setting up and striking clip lights and assorted extension cords.

    I have an overhang in the SR wing, with a suspended catwalk below, roughly 15ft. above deck. From that I mounted a DS to US set of Kindorf channel steel, to which I hung running lights in N/C and Blue. There are 5 Altman MicroEllipses @75w in N/C as well as 5 PAR38 fixtures with blue 90w floods.

    For US crossover (behind our black-out drop), mounted with beam clamps from the grid, are 3 - 360Q 6x12's @575w lighting a path across the US floor as well as the US wall.

    The rail lights are the original DS/US box installed with the rigging system in the 50's and consist of 16 - 34w A lamps.

    All home run to a Colortran ENR 12x2.4kw dimmer pack on the SR catwalk, controlled by a Leprecon LP612 controller mounted in a box on the DSR wall. The control allows for 5 zones of clear for SR, 3 zones of blue SR, 1 for crossover and 1 for rail. All can be switched to run from a Unison LCD station at DSR as well, though we don't use Unison for running as a practice.

    All equipment was surplus from assorted sources, so the only expense was running power to the ENR, cabling to fixtures, Kindorf and installation. We've had this system in place about 8 years ?, with the MicroEllipses replacing the original Colortran Mini-Ellipses.

    Fancy and expensive if I had to do it with new gear, but it works very well.

    Steve B.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  6. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I haven't tried it yet, but I keep thinking those cheap little battery powered LED lights at Target/Home Depot that are designed for dark spaces in the home would work wonders in a theater - dim, and no power cord. I'm thinking about the ones you tap to turn on, little bubble lights. Small night lights work well too, depending on where your outlets are.

    Currently I opt for the power-cables-running-everywhere method described above.
     
  7. nobl13

    nobl13 Member

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    Location:
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    We just use clip lights. What they lack in convenience in setup, they make up for in economy and versatility.

    Zip cable is one of the reasons God invented gaffers tape. ;)
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    The Blues System is a cool product that I saw a demo of that would be awesome for back stage... but we are talking about a full install product here. Not something you can just throw together yourself.
     
  9. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    ACLs? Isn't the typical ACL lamp life something really low like 25 hours?
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    In college we always used clippy-lights with blue gel or lamps dipped in blue lamp-dip.

    I've seen a couple of spare stage lights (S4s, Lekos, PARs, whatever) used to light the lock rail before. Also seen those old-school striplights for that purpose too.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Member

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    I had an ASM who didn't bother to tell me that she needed additonal runlight and every day just left her flashlight on and set it on the floor. Never asked me for replacement batteries either!
     
  12. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    On full -- yes. You double lamp life for every 10% you dim it. A little trick from an archetectural lighting designer . . .
     
  13. coolbeam

    coolbeam Member

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  14. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    We use old clip lights that used to be the pit orchestra's music stand lights, with blue, red, or regular 10W lamps in them. Backstage, there's not much room other than the stage, so the ambient lighting from stage works, usually. If it doesn't, well, the stagehands are fine - it's the actors that go bump in the night. In reality, though, I usually have a few saturated blue scoops in the plot, so those also work when the stage is supposed to be dark.

    For non theatre shows, we sometimes use those small halogen desk lamps - but for halogen lamps they are surprisingly dim. We NEVER tape gel on them, and we NEVER remove the "safety stick" that keeps the light from getting too close from flammables.
     
  15. trwenger

    trwenger Member

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    We use blue rope light from Spencers. It's about 5 or 6 bucks for a string of about 8 feet. It works great, it flexable, and conects to each other at the ends.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  17. CavezziMagnum

    CavezziMagnum Member

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    Over the years I have seen amny different methods in place. Most recently, at what I would suspect to be the most famous theater in Atlanta, their system is rope lighting. It is also used as their cue system for fly rail. There are 3 strips that are plenty of light when turned on.

    As stated in an earlier post, there is plenty of spill from the onstage fixtures that illuminates well, however, in the darker scenes, that isn't the case.

    And of course, who hasn't seen the clip light method? Tried and True.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  18. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Location:
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    Good point there, but it's highly likely they were using it wrong. Sure, it gets *warm* if it's ALL STRETCHED OUT. But if you have it bunched up in any way it gets wicked hot. We discovered this in my high school theatre when we used rope lights to light a piano's keyboard for Celebration. The excess, someone decided, should be coiled and covered in a blanket to keep light in. The wolhe mess was melted together at the end of the first night. Definitely would have started a fire eventually.

    At the (professional) theatre I worked in this summer (The SaGaJi theatre in Colorado Springs, for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company) we just use clip lights with blue-dipped lamps in them. In the theatre I work in now, (it's a roadhouse, so that makes a difference) the Union Colony Civic Center, we have nice installed run lights all over... So that's more along the lines of this BluesSystem or whatever. My main point is: Clip lights work great. You can put them where ever, aim them easily, etc. Most theatres tend to have plenty of power outlets, so the need for tons of extension cord is eliminated...
     
  19. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I use clip lights extensively. Plus with the large box of 34 watt blue dipped lamps I have, I'll never run out.
     
  20. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    *high five*

    We have cans of blue dip... If we break ALL of our lamps, we can just DIP MORE! :mrgreen::mrgreen:
     

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