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Safely Hung Batten

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by midgetgreen11, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    I was just wondering what some of you professionals thought of this, whether or not this is logistically safe...


    This past summer we were in a hurry because the LD backed out last minute so we had to create a plot, our electrics do not raise or lower, and our teasers [is that the technical term?] were hung so low that we couldn't hit our platforms from the front.

    So what we did was, we hooked numerous safety cables TOGETHER and looped them around the original batton for hanging fixtures, and got the same piping and hung it below by the safety cables. We DID, however, safety the fixture yokes to the original battons for extra precaution.

    Is this something we should do in the future or is this something we should never do again?

    And yes, i spelled safety wrong, don't i look like a fool.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  2. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Re: Saftey Hung Batton

    Option B young man...option B.

    Not only dangerous but mildly illegal.
     
  3. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Re: Saftey Hung Batton

    haha thanks, its probably not the only illegal thing we've done.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Personally, I like all my battens well-hung:rolleyes:; that's why I use qualified, professional riggers.

    "Teasers" is acceptable, but professionals generally call them "borders." Some insist that only the one farthest downstage is called a "teaser," I think to synonymise (made-up word) with "tormentor." Others insist that the downstage most one is a Valance, and if matching the Main Curtain, a "Grand Valance."

    NEVER do this again! You took the best steps you could at achieving safety, but there ARE better and safer ways. The Policies of Control Booth forbid us from talking about what those are, other than Hire a Qualified Rigger. You can search for Certified Technicians in your area at the ETCP site.

    What you are describing is typically called a "tail-down" by stage electricians, but usually does not apply to an entire stage-width batten. Sounds like a permanent solution should be installed, as doesn't every user of the space have the same problem?
     
  5. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This is what we call hellua funny....on so many levels.
     
  6. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Yes they do, but the school won't provide the funding to fix it. The school provides NO funding for the auditorium.... except for electricity. the booth is an ESL teacher's office and has soundproof glass.

    Our solution to the problem for the following show was to completely remove the teaser... sorry, border, behind the second electric, and to once again, use safety cables to raise the batton that the teaser was hung on behind the first electric.

    I love well-funded programs... we like to call it "gorilla ghetto theatre."


    The funny thing is, its a brand new school [well almost...2001, its the newest in RI] And the auditorium looks absolutely spectacular to anyone who doesn't do tech. when we have our tech table in the back of the house, i hear people walk in and gasp about how nice our space is.
     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    For some reason I'm intrigued by this......seems to me that a auditorium/theatre built in '01 wouldn't have this kind of problem...unless they bought borders that were too long....Have any pictures? Because the schools website sure doesn't.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Here's what I would have done/would do, provided in fact [user]Grog12[/user] is correct in his assumption that the borders are too long.

    Go to JoAnn Fabrics (or similar) and buy enough of the largest safety pins they have for every 2' width of the problematic borders. Be sure to get the "rustproof" variety as the flameproofing in many drapery fabrics can cause steel pins to rust prematurely.
    [​IMG]
    Pin up the the bottom of the borders just enough so they allow the lights to hit their targets, but still mask the fixtures from the audience's view. Then "forget" to take them out at the end of the production. If you do a proper job, no one will every know, and every future user of the space will thank you.
     
  9. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Done it, the director made us take them out because it looked worse than the fixtures themselves. *sigh*

    I find it interesting that you actually found my school's website... sketchy... anyways, back on topic, i'll see what i can dig up. [grog]
     
  10. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Well i can't find any pictures of the teasers, and the amazing part about the new school, was that the athletic facilities were all built first, and we live in a town where athletics is king, or so they say, academics is...

    So the theatre got the cutbacks... the auditorium was just poorly engineered all together, the sound proof, non-openable booth window is about two feet wide. There is no fly system. The dimmer rack was bought used, and all of the light fixtures are from the old high school. The lighting console, if you could even call it that was bought used. The sound board is only attachable to the system in the booth which no one uses, because its on the third floor and is really impractical to get to. There are closets center stage on the back, that store tables, flourescent light bulbs, classroom chairs, and two-ply toilet paper which are daily accessed by the custodial staff, whom i love, and i don't mean that sarcastically. The amplifiers and speakers that were installed, are always on max volume when turned on, because the slider is on the board which is inaccessible, and so you can hear a constant buzzing unless you go backstage and turn off the amps. The two speakers in the rear of the house were blown during the first show ever performed in the new high school... the annual variety show. Athletics keeps a portable score-board thing in our wings directly below the wood loft, and outside the prop room/scene shop door, and expect us to take care of it. The wings are full of band and chorus risors, The FOH lights are so close to the apron, that its almost downlight. It was originally supposed to house 1800 seats and have its own load in door/dock... it was placed in the dead-center of the school and seats 746. It was supposed to have a sunk orchestra pit under the stage or whatever.... Directly in front of the stage is a concrete floor. Underneath the balcony are two sets of houselights that are non dimmable because they are flourescent. One set is only accessible from backstage at the dimmer rack [despite being non dimmable]. The others are on a switch located inside the rear house doors. Sorry to bore the crap out of you, just no one at school listens to my anger. and what sucks, is that there's nothing to be done about it. They're not going to redo the entire auditorium. The school is going into a 2 million dollar deficit next year.

    <rant over>
     
  11. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    I was able to find a picture of me and our makeshift booth. the backrow of seats. If i hadn't been there, they would have left it more against firecode and left the lightboard on its cart in the walkway in the back.

    this is me errr last march doing my first high school show ever, despite only being in eight grade. FAME!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Safety cable is meant to support a shock load from a 50 pound fixture, and thats all. I have seen some hairy things hung with safety's, but they are not meant for that. Go get some legit chain and have someone who knows what they are doing drop that pipe down for you. Really, it won't take long to do, just get it done right.
     
  13. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    we can't do it without maintenance department approval, and we've already asked them. the chain is there, there's enough excess to drop the bar 6 feet.


    it took them 4 years to re-string the front curtain after people fussed with it and completely destroyed the rope.
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Now when you say "behind," you actually mean "upstage," correct?

    So maybe the problem is not that the borders are too long, but that the battens they're hanging from are too low? Or are the electrics too high?

    We definitely need pictures, and even better a drawn-to-scale vertical section (see Glossary). Then someone could PRIVATELY, away from ControlBooth, possibly offer some solutions.
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hold on so are you saying you've got chains already installed in place that are tied up in such a way that someone could go up and simply readjust them to solve your problems? This would be done by your building maintenance people when they aren't on a smoke break or napping right? If that's true you don't have a budget problem you just have a labor problem which your administration should be able to take care of.

    Listen whatever you do, DON'T do the safety cable thing again. Having bad lighting for a show is much better than having a batten fall and kill someone. Your solution has gone beyond the line of "Gorilla theater" and entered the world of "someone may get crushed at anytime theater"... you don't want to go there again. I ran an entire high school theater program on $600 a year... so I know what gorilla theater is. Trust me you can do Gorilla theater and still be safe.

    P.S. Is that light board an EDI Minstrel? I've used the 24 channel version. It's not an ION but using it'll teach you a LOT about lighting design.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
  16. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with gaff. We through weight to counter balance every fixture we hang and I'm still amazed at how quickly fixtures add up weight wise. You really never should use safeties again. We aren't supposed to talk about rigging but I think I can say the vector math isn't easy and safeties definitely don't cover it.... I actually wrote and then decided that I would probably get myself in trouble talking too much about rigging and me basically being obnoxious cause I can. It boils down to there are proper and legal ways to put extensions on your electrics, talk to the higher ups, if you really want to get nasty talk to the risk management people, it won't be that expensive to fix permanently.
     
  17. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    When you leave all of your personal information in your its not hard. Seriously all you have to do is type the HS's name into Yahoo.

    Honestly on a personal side rant, as someone who is an admited freshman in high school you have way to much information in your sig. CB is a generally safe place but the rest of the net isn't. Protect your self and your info /rant off.



    Early contender for line of the day.
     
  18. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Sorry for the confusion. the maintenance department said no. That would actually require doing work.
     
  19. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    When we put on fiddler a couple of weeks ago, with the music department who actually has more than $5 to spend, we rented four of these in order to put clouds on our cyc. Fortunately for that show everything took place on the floor and not on platforms. And even with some of our fresnels facing straight down to the stage, they were bleeding on to the borders. so i guess at this point its definitely a positioning problem.
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Is there a college/university with decent theater program, professional or community theater nearby? If you can make friends with the right person at one of these places... you may be able to get someone to come in and at least analyze your system and tell you what's wrong. If you are lucky you might find someone qualified to actually fix it. There are a lot of nice people out here in the industry that are happy to donate a little time to help a high school down the road... as long as we aren't busy at the moment working on a show. Offer to bring some of your friends over to do grunt work on a few shows in exchange for a little rigging help. I sure would help you if you were near my college.
     
    midgetgreen11 likes this.

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