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Subway Tunnel Light Simulation

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jmac, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Any ideas for a Newbie?? Working on a show to be set in NYC subway car. For portion of show, subway car will be "moving" down the track. Need to somehow simulate car passing by the regularly spaced wall mounted tunnel maintenance lights, which should be very briefly seen (against black backdrop) streaking past the car windows at 40 mph+/-, periodically every so many seconds.

    There has to be a better idea than just flashing a light (or strobe?) on/off quickly, but I'm stymied, thinking of how to suggest the motion of the light passing from front to rear windows at subway speed...

    This is for low budget community theater, typically with rented conventionals and a Leprecon LP-600 or LP-1500 series memory control board.

    Any thoughts appreciated!
     
  2. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    How many seconds between flashes???

    I've only been on the NYC Subway twice... and that was a long time ago.

    Have a ninja run behind the windows with a regular light on a stick??? (Ok, too slow...)

    Also, would the audience even notice if the light wasn't there?
     
  3. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    If I had the money I would mount an LED strip behind the windows and create a chase that moves past the windows really fast. You could do this with regular lights too but you would need a lot of dimmers.
     
  4. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    I haven't been on the subway lately either. I'm guessing every 3-5 seconds or so (?). Any NYC subway riders here??

    The audience may not notice or care, but the director will; it was his request..
     
  5. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    You could use something like a Rosco IQ to sweep across the area and then turn off as it reaches the other side.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  7. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Are you going to have some sort of actual prop subway car where they'll be sitting in front of the window thus having a back drop behind the window? Depending how you have the scene setup I could recommend a few things.
     
  8. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Sounds like a neat idea. Unfortunately, we don't have big dollars, and have limited number of dimmers due to lack of power. Thanks.
     
  9. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Sounds like a good possibility. I am totally non-experienced with moving lights/mirrors. Do the IQ's move fast? Can I set it up with a basic memory board, or do we need to rent a better board?
     
  10. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Thanks. I also have no experience with gobo's and rotators. I will try the visualizer. Is there also a good primer on how to set them up and use them? Thanks.
     
  11. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Yes- the entire set will consist of a portion of the interior of a subway car, with windows looking on to a black backdrop. I don't know if the windows will be continuous, or maybe two or three windows spaced apart.
     
  12. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    The IQ is a fairly basic unit so you should have no problems using it with something like an express (i used 4 IQ's with dmx irises on an expression). Anyways the light should be fast enough to get the effect you want.
     
  13. meatpopsicle

    meatpopsicle Active Member

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    I would mount a couple of lights on a pivot point on the upstage corners of the set, with a 1/2way decent throw between the subway windows and the unit, and spin them around. The point is to have the fixtures flash by on the windows creating moving patterns of the windows on the interior subway car. Remember, subways don't always go fast. You might have to preset the spins with the power cable or work out and axel power point. For really fast subway car I would suggest a three light chase. The spinning light gag is used in "poor man's process" in the movies a lot. It'll look better at slower speeds than a chase.
     
  14. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Depending how long the scene is and crew you could just setup a few lights with some crew bellow the windows and experiment with the effect of having them start with the light pointing off where no one will see it then have them do a spin as a flashing light passing by and have each person go in sequence simulating the passing of the light.


    So person one starts with the light for example pointing off to the right where no one can see it and in a half circle motion simulates the light until its no longer seen off to the right behind the set then the next person in line and so on.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Some advice, if going for realism. Don't over-use whatever effect you decide. The only time the tunnels are lit is when an express train is going through a local station. Then it's brighter than one might expect, as the stations are very well lit with fluorescent/mercury vapor lights. There's seldom, if ever, any lights in the tunnels between stations. If you're not in NYC or Chicago or somewhere else that has a subway, maybe rent the movie Money Train, and/or Silver Streak, for ideas.
     
  16. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    All the subway tunnels in the Boston system have florescent lights throughout the tunnel. Although they by no means create the effect that movies do in the case of this he might want to have it pronounced more as it is like in the movies to simulate that it is moving.
     
  17. wfor

    wfor Member

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    An old movie trick is using a flicker wheel. Its like a pre-strobe light. Basically its a wheel you place in front of a light that has slits in it. At high speed, it could look pretty realistic, more natural than a strobe light, which gives more of a camera flash effect, that fades out. I suppose you could use and ERS mounted on a boom, then build some sort of apparatus that could be hand spun or motor driven. Not sure about the material. No matter how long the effect is used, its going to get hot. You'll also have to experiment with slit size. They do sell those "animation wheels" but they're mighty expensive for a motor and a metal disc.
     
  18. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice. It's early in the game and I don't yet have answers as to whether it's more for realism, or more to express motion (probably the latter). As a little more background, this is for a rendition of Godspell, with a sort of NYC "9/11" twist. Entire show is in a NYC subway car. Subway is rolling at beginning and then crashes, which is the transition/costume change point, etc. leading into the story... I guess I will likely need some crash pyrotechnics effects as well...
     
  19. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Probably true, may have to be a bit exaggerated. Seems I've seen high pressure sodium lights in some of these subways tunnels too, or maybe when coming in to Penn Station ??
     
  20. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Thank you all for the creative ideas. With our less than limited budget, sounds like the manual swivel/pivot concept, or maybe the flicker wheel should work well. Will have to experiment a bit, when the time comes. Thanks, again!
     

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