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Conventional Fixtures Spot light crash course

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Radiant, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Just found out that I'll be operating a spotlight for Bad Company on Saturday :mrgreen: So, um, how exactly does one do that? I've never messed with a spotlight before. I have no idea what kind of instruments we'll have either, as they're being hired in for the show. I do know there will be two spots, and I'm the lead. They'll be used for an outdoor rock concert, about 2000 or 3000 people attending. So who's got tips, techniques, principles, methods, etc? I'll probably get some hands-on time Friday night for our pre-rally, er, rally. Much thanks!
     
  2. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    You're running lead followspot for Bad Company?

    Edit: Perhaps this would help?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  3. Les

    Les Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Practice Pickups (that's a big one). The key is to do it without having to ghost. Practice using the dimmer (if applicable), irising in and out, dousing, etc. Oh and be able to do them accurately while following someone. It really will take a bit before you start to feel it.

    Breathing control is also important when you're trying to be really still. When I first ran spot it felt like every time my heart beat, the spot would jump... Of course I was pretty nervous, too. Still, a steady hand and the ability to do a blind pickup are about the most important things.
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Do you have an idea of how long the throw is, as of yet?
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Use the search, Luke. This was a good thread, and I referenced the best site: 10 Commandments for Followspot Operators.

    Since it's for 2000-3000 people, I'm guessing the throw will be 100'-150' probably on a scaffold just behind the FOH mix position. I suspect the fixtures will be Altman Voyagers or Lycian SuperStars. Please be careful climbing whatever the structure is, and if it doesn't look safe, don't be afraid to refuse to climb it--the life you save may be your own.

    Oh, and remember,
    Bright end toward the stage!
     
  6. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Yup! Follow the link in my signature. Technically, it's Brian Howe, lead for Bad Company for a decade.

    Not a clue. We're setting up the stage Thursday, lights and sound Friday. The church band will play Friday night, Bad Company loads in and plays Saturday.
     
  7. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    My Search-Fu is so weak... Sorry, I looked for "spot" and "spotlight" thread titles. Didn't think of "followspot". Off I go to read CB some more - who needs sleep?!?!

    I doubt the spots will be near the sound board, only due to the unique nature of the event. It's a motorcycle rally, and space will be at a premium for the bikes. So, in years past we've put the sound board awfully close to the stage, near the SR corner, then just walk about the parking lot. I'll see if I can get a copy of the campus map for the rally.
     
  8. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    **** you, that is what I came into this thread to say!
     
  9. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that website... I will be sure to print these off and share with ops at my school next time I'm LD. Someone needs to beat some sense into them.

    My advice would be to know how to change the bulb and where spare bulbs are. Although if you're renting, you shouldn't have to worry- but then again, my high school's musical the one spot stopped working halfway through one of the shows and Mainstage didn't send a spare bulb.
     
  10. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Hey! That little book was stuck in with my new Lycian! Someone is selling them? ;)

    Anyhow:

    Well, if it's rock, the two rules of thumb that come to mind are:
    1) Crotch to six inches above the head.
    2) Learn how to interpret a heavy British accent!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  11. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Good idea! We're hiring in lights and sound from LKP Concert Productions. They're operating some things, we're operating others. If a lamp goes south, LKP will have some people nearby.

    Thanks for the thread [user]derekleffew[/user]. I may try to tape/zip tie on a pistol red dot scope. Or maybe they'll have a device attached. Or maybe the Zen force will be with me...
     
  12. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Since this is a one-off and you're a local (so to speak) the LD's standards for you are probably going to be a little lower than if you were working with the band all the time. Most of what I've done with these types of bands is a little wider - knees to about a foot over the head. The two things I hear most often are: keep the artist centered in the light, and if they do some stage business, like swapping guitars or drinking water, dim off of them. However, some artists like to be seen drinking alcohol (or at least what they want you to think is alcohol) on stage so you'll stay up for that. I doubt you'll do too much with the color flags, and your iris will probably be fairly consistent. Mostly, I bet it'll be dimmer or douser and position. I like to keep the back end of the unit against my chest. Helps aim it better and it typically doesn't jump around too much. But you'll develop your own technique based on the unit and your stature. Only downside is if the unit has a rear fan, in which case that technique isn't so good. Just pay attention to the instructions and make sure you can hear the com well.

    First rule of spot op for this kind of stuff, however, is: the LD is always right.
     
  13. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Hmm, I don't know who the LD is. I'm the LD for the church, but not for this event. LKP is providing all the gear, and maybe they were tasked to design also. Or maybe the band has their own. I know they'll have a manager on site - I'll ask a staffer to inquire as to what the band prefers.

    I did find out we'll likely have both spots on a scissor lift, or maybe one on a lift and one on a rooftop. It will be cramped on the lift, but safe and sturdy.
     
  14. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    =O Followspots from a scissor lift? What if one of the operators needs to get down for some reason?
     
  15. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Spot ops should be able to run the show without leaving. And that includes delays, encores, etc. Truss spots don't get to leave.

    And am I wrong or is this just Brian Howe and not the whole of Bad Company? Either way it'll be fun.
     
  16. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Tie line is pretty useful stuff...

    Correct you are sir. Paul Rodgers seems to own the rights to the Bad Company name. We're currently marketing it as "Bad Companyformer lead singer Brian Howe."
     
  17. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    The video on the website does not seem to have that disclaimer tagline in it... not that I really expect lawyers to come banging on your door.
     
  18. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    The video is a month old, maybe more. I noted a distinct shift in our marketing over the last couple of weeks that indicates it is a Brian Howe concert, former lead for Bad Company. The still image on the website, right next to the video, says "former lead, etc." We should escape the lawyers clutches.

    Here's another question: Is it kosher to slap a bunch of Gorilla Tape to the body of a rented followspot? I probably won't do it if it's a nice newish looking fixture, but the more I think about it, I really want some kind of cheater to help me with picking up the lead. Then again, maybe I'll stay with a fairly constant beam through the show and just follow my mark, and not have to worry about being on target coming out of a blackout. I just really want to do a good job!
     
  19. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    SpotDot 2000 is your friend, magnetic base and all. No tape. (But you'll probably want a 2" strip of gaff for the "SpotDot leash". Available from ToolsForStagecraft.com.
     
  20. Radiant

    Radiant Active Member

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    Yeah, but it's $89. That works out to $44.50 per hour for the two hours I'll need it. :(
    I've got a great red dot pistol scope that works on the very same principle, it just doesn't have a magnetic base... yet... (I sense a project!!!)
     

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