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Stage Setup

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by stemiclelights, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. stemiclelights

    stemiclelights Member

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    In a few weeks, I will be setting up a stage along with lights and sound. I will need some advice on how to get this stage setup rolling. Here's the list of what is being set up, 15' tall truss, 2 S4 Ellipsodals, 2 S4 Pars and 4 Par Cans, along with 2 Fresnels.

    For sound I will just place on the ground, with stands, as that would most likely be to complicated.

    My Question is about the dimmer and control booth setup up, with all the lights I have, what is the best way to arrange the dimmer packs with the cableing. If anyone has any suggestions for helping me, that'll be great. thanks,

  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Portland, Or.
    Vague Posting..... Brain overloading with multiple universes of posibilities...
    Effervescent thoughts cascading in shimmering rivulets of ....
    Wait, resolution, a clear concise and succint solution;

    Put your dims as close to your power source as possible, then run soca around your truss to all your fixtures.
    That's the way I always do it.

    In the future when asking questions of this type it is important, to specify many of the possible variables such as; Venue, type of production, and in addition to type of fixtures supply dims to be used and control system being implemented.
  3. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree this is a very vague post, theres about a million different good answers that probably have nothing to do with what you are really asking. That being said, things that I would consider for power distribution and control positions are this.

    Dimmer position:
    Where is the power coming from?
    Where can you store your dimmer racks where they are accessible, preferably out of sight lines, and most of all safe.
    Do you have any cabling supply or run restrictions?

    You have 10 lights, if you want to control all of them individually I would say do the smallest possible run from the venue power to the dimmers and then run a Pyle cable up the truss and have it break out up there so you run the absolute minimum in cables. But not many people have Pyle cables sitting around so you'll probably want to use Socapex as that is much more common, you can do two runs if you want individual control, or if you could get away with all the lights in 6 dimmers then you could use one run of Socapex. If you only have the cables to go straight from the dimmer to the fixture (i.e. 2P&G) you might consider placing your dimmer at the base of the truss and have your power run all the way to the stage if that is going to make cabling easier. It may or may not be because feeder can be heavy. Also you might have to consider your cable by the run it's going to make, if you need a long run in a shallow raceway you're not going to be able to use a cable that has a big connector cause it won't fit in the raceway unless you have cables long enough to go the whole way. In the situation I have imagined this would call for short power run to dimmers and 2P&G cables through the raceway.

    Control position:
    Is one person running lights and sound?
    Is this a preprogrammed show or are you just gonna design as you go?
    How many people are going to see the performance?
    Is there a handy place for your board?

    IMHO light designing and observing the effectiveness of the design is done best from a position that is above the stage and preferably about half way out in the house. I don't know sound very well but I would imagine that elevation doesn't matter but being in the middle of the house might be nice. Things that would make me change this is if doing that will cause a strange and/or long cable run that will inevitably be a tripping hazard for the audience and/or if I need to access the stage often (like to consult the performers for what they want). Also in many venues there's a place that just calls out "FOH should be hear" often ignoring this is a bad idea.

    Overall it doesn't sound like this is going to be a large scale performance so remember to keep it simple, the majority of the details will matter only to you and you're the one that has to pack it all out. Do the work and do it right but don't get carried away and leave yourself a load out pain.
  4. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Las Vegas
    What type of dimmer packs do you have? Are you using something that has to be tied in? That's obvious. Are you using the small portable packs for lighting trees (think NSI, Lightronics)? That depends on the amount of cables that you have. You can place those near the instruments so that the majority of your instruments will plug directly into the pack without the use of extension cords. This will take more control cable. If you have a limited amount of control cable, then you want to spread them as evenly as possible, but you'll know your limitations.
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Central Wisconsin
    If you are using the portable "shoebox" dimmers, don't go to a hardware store and pick up a cheap orange cord to plug them into the wall. Be sure to get the properly rated cords to prevent electrical fires. (But I'm sure you knew that.)

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