Source 4 on a stick

Shawncfer

Active Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
So this summer I'm working at theatre this summer that want's to use follow spots. Well, they have some arc follow spots but one of which isn't working, and on top of that they wanted something new. So I suggested some 10 degrees. So a couple calls later, we have new 10 degrees, a couple of irises, and some handles. However, the City Theatrical Yoke for the follow spot is pretty pricey and we couldn't afford it. so we're hoping to just use a regular yoke for it. So here are my two questions for y'all.

Have you guys used a S4 follow spot with the regular yoke? Any tips or tricks to make it go smooth???

Obviously the end of the barrel is pretty heavy, so have you guys found any counterweight thing to rig up to help balance it out??

I know the theatre is wanting to make these follow spots a permanent thing. And eventually will by the City Theatrical Yokes. But it just wasn't in our budget this year.
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
I've seen large followspots with a string of large washers hanging from one end or the other, but it would probably take quite a few of those to counterbalance that lens tube. The only decent attachment point is the plastic rear handle, but I'm not sure how well it would hold up. The safety attachment point is on top, and probably too close to the center.

The good thing about the washers is the ease of adding or subtracting weight.
 
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rochem

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Joined
May 20, 2008
Location
New York, NY
Have you guys used a S4 follow spot with the regular yoke? Any tips or tricks to make it go smooth???
The theatre where I worked last summer used nothing but S4-19s with the normal yokes for follow spots, and we had all put a lot of hours on them by the end of the season. We had only the City Theatrical handle and the manual iris on each, but nothing else. The biggest thing we found is that, with a total of 5 different people running these throughout the summer, everyone has a different style and technique. You can make it work and make it look good, it just takes a lot of time on the spot to get it to work how you want it.

For me, I liked to have the "name-that-rhymes-with-'duck'-knut" tightened all the way down, then I loosened the yoke bolt by about a turn and a half from tight. This keeps the "pivot point" where the spot is loose lower, and prevents it from accidentally sliding up into the C-clamp, and that seemed to work better for me. I found that by keeping constant forward pressure on the spot (primarily by pressing forward on the handle), I could make it turn and move smoothly with hardly any jerkiness. The key is to always keep that strong forward pressure, even as you move all around the stage, as that will prevent the spot from shaking sideways and jerking around. The tilt knob should be loosened, and I made sure to have the tilt knob on the left side (viewing from behind) of the unit so that I was able to use it as a convenient rest for my left forearm, letting me keep my left hand on the iris without actually resting on the body of the unit itself. That's what worked for me, but my coworkers had very different techniques, and what works for you may be entirely different.

Also, don't let your follow spot operators try out the City Theatrical yokes - once you use those, it's very difficult to go back! :)
 

porkchop

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Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Location
Vegas
If you get it balanced evenly it should work alright. The tilt lock may need some beefing up, but you'll only know that once you start using it. I would also install it in such a way that you can lock and unlock the pan of the unit easily.
 
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Shawncfer

Active Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
And have any of you all used them where the bar the C clamp was on was underneath the S4?
 

chausman

Chase
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Jul 11, 2010
Location
Spokane, WA
And have any of you all used them where the bar the C clamp was on was underneath the S4?
I've never used them that way myself, I have seen Source 4s used (not as followspots) with the clamp below. The entire FOH in one space is the edge of the balcony rail, so everything is "upside down"
 

lighttechie5948

Active Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2006
Location
Long Island, New York
At my theater, we rented the City Theatrical yokes for a bunch of shows and one of the carpenters decided to build his own. He studied how the CT ones were designed and got the same parts. He built two for about $100. Definitely not as nice as the CT yokes, but they'll do for now.
 

DaveySimps

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CB Mods
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Feb 25, 2007
Location
Macomb, MI

dramatech

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Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Location
Winter Haven, FL
In "Cats" we used 7, four FOH and three high up upstage.

In "Joseph" we used 7, Two FOH, two on pedestals at the front of the proscenium and three on the top of scenic pieces upstage.

In "Rent" we used 6 plus two on Right arms, Three FOH, Three on top of scenic pieces upstage.

Our irisis are of a varienty of manufacture, but most are City Theatrical. Some of our handles are City Theatrical and most are units that I manuctured on my Milling machine, from the excess length on race car front stabilizing bars. Two of the yokes are homemade with ball bearings. The rest are stock ETC yokes. All of the units have had the center of gravity moved forward with home made pieces similar to the city theatricals. Four have "Times square" boomerangs with modified mounting plates and the dowser replaced with a fifth color. Two have manually operated scrollers, and one has a boomerang of my own design. All units are bottom mounted with a device of my own design and two have illuminated sights.

Four units are semipermanently located on our FOH 2, the two Right arms are located on what we call "the Zero pipe", directly over the apron, The remaining units are assembled as needed for each show.

The reason we have so many different varieties, is because I am a tinkerer and just love coming up with different designs. They are all in a constant state of flux, if I have an idea for an improvement.

We have several LDs and production managers, that love lots of follow spots on musicals. It seems the more we use multiple spots the more the directors want them.

Tom Johnson
Florida's Most Honored Community Theatre
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Location
Denver, CO
I have shop-built S4 10deg followspot mounts that work pretty well. I used a piece of black pipe (1 1/4" maybe, don't remember offhand) vertically for the support. In my case, I attached it to a balcony half-wall, but it could be put on a base to free-stand (like a short boom). I then used a 12" piece of smaller pipe that would sleeve inside the bigger pipe with little slop. I put a pipe cap on that, so that when sleeved in, the cap bears on the bigger pipe, creating the pan. Grease helps. I drilled the cap and bolted it right to the yoke (with lock nuts).

We didn't counterweight and it seems OK. I coach the ops to have on hand on the handle and one on the front of the lens tube for stability, unless they're operating the iris. It does take a little touch, but can be operated smoothly.