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Design Issues and Solutions Sunset

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by lieperjp, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Well... We're doing an original musical this fall, so the powers that be want to "pull out all the stops" (hmm... I get that analogy now!) and put on something better than we've done before. One way they want to do this is by having different sunset effects for a backdrop.

    I need help trying to figure out how to do this - The search feature has helped a lot, but there was one thread from a while ago that mentioned it that I couldn't find.

    Also, I have some interesting problems:
    1) We have no cyc, so they want to do it on a "white" (more like dirty white :rolleyes:) scrim. Does this pose any problems??? I foresee problems with back lighting, not only because it will make the scrim transparent but also because the scrim will be hung only two feet in front of the back wall. (Stupid stage not designed for theatre performances, really.) We have a 14'x14' rear projection screen... would I be better off recommending that? Yeah, it would be smaller, BUT it might look better.

    2) Is the fact that my channels are not all individually controls going to be a problem, especially for creating a more realistic effect?

    I'm looking forward to the challenge. But I've never done this.

    Other Notes:

    We have no movers/intelligent fixtures. IF I can get the money from the show (which should be possible because they don't have to pay for rights) I was thinking of recommending to rent two right arms, some color scrollers, and some PARnels, because I have my doubts that my current inventory will be enough to cover the sunset AND do stage washes properly. Or maybe try some LED's.
     
  2. Wolf

    Wolf Active Member

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    Well I dont see why you would back light the scrim. As you said that would make it transparent and how would you do this with only 2' until you hit a wall. I would go with front lighting it (not from FOH).

    I have never tried to light a scrim with a projector so im not sure how that would look. I personally would not go that rout. Would you be wanting to put color on the scrim with it (as a light) or project an image?

    Far as the scrim being a dirty white this will change the way it takes the color, but a few extra minutes spent you can probably get it the way you wont it.

    If you do get money to rent I would recommend renting 3-cell Cyc units and going with a Red, Blue, Green color mix. Also renting floor cycs as well that will give you more flexibility.

    hope that help
     
  3. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking back lighting to prevent shadows when actors walk in front of it.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Lighting the backdrop (whatever it may be) from both top AND bottom is almost a requirement for a realistic sunrise/sunset.

    Perhaps this is the thread you couldn't find?

    To augment (or replace) the backdrop effect, use the angles of sidelight available to you. Color your highest sides in the palest amber, and progressively get more saturated and warmer going toward the floor, ending with a shinkicker in primary red. You can also mix in some pinks as well. Use blues/lavs from the opposite side.

    Oh look, I already said all that in the cited post. Sorry for the rerun.:)
     
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  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    YES! That's was the thread. I don't know why it didn't show up.

    Problem: We have, let me count... ZERO side light positions. We DO have some volleyball net stands in our storage room, though, for some reason... If they're not in the way for the set crew, maybe I could use those... As for that method of side lighting, that's what I was thinking. The McCandless method, right? See! I do pay attention in previous posts!!!

    What do you mean by ground cyc fixtures? Like strip lights?
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Good boy! Yes, R40 striplights, or better, asymetric-reflector ground-cyc fixtures. Citing the Altman model as that's what you're most likely to encounter.
    [​IMG]

    My favorite for floor cycs is the (formerly Strand) Ianiro/Quartzcolor Orion. (They look like toasters all lined up, and can lock together to form a striplight.)
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Active Member

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    There wont be shadow from actors if you use a cyc light. Im sorry if im stating info you already know. But hang the cyc lights only a feet in front of you cyc (or scrim as in you case) and angle them on the cyc. The light is spread by the reflector and if you use cyc gel it spreads it even more. These are what I have used the most and I like them. Sky-cyc-03 from Altman.

    And the same placement on the deck for the ground row cycs.

    http://mail.altmanltg.com/publicsynergy/docs/BLItemDossier.asp?Item=SKY-CYC-03&PLID=&Country=US
     
  8. joeb

    joeb Member

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    I would agree with the necessity of frontlight from both above and the floor. If you are not able to acquire/rent cyc units for the floor, you could use strip lights as you mentioned (though the 3-cell cyc units would be ideal). If you haven't done this before, all you need to do is remove the c-clamps and lag the fixtures to the floor. You could also mount a horizontal pipe off the floor using short vertical sections of speed rail, t-joints, and floor flanges - if you could do this, you probably would have those side lighting positions though. Also, if you do you use cyc lights on the floor and the ceiling I would suggest experimenting with red, green, blue in the overhead instruments and switch out the green for amber in the groundrow units. In LDing a show that required extended transitions of day to night and back multiple times, I found the amber gave me more believable options for the sunrise/sunset on the bottom of the drop. You lose the subtle greenish blues but you gain some nice lavenders and amber/reds. I'd say set it up and experiment and find what you like.
    With something like this I'd recommend spending a fair share of time observing as many sunsets and sunrises as you can. You'll be surprised by the hues you see in the sky, and the audience will relate with some strong ambers and lavenders that aren't your typical "yellow on the bottom, blue on top" sunrise.
    Also, if you don't have experience using a groundrow, talk to the scenic designer. Depending on the style of the piece, the visible instruments could add to the show or you mask them easily. All it takes is a simple black flat (if you have stock 1'6" flats they work great on their side) across the stage. It'll disappear and add even more contrast to your "cyc" (read old white scrim) by hiding an the bottom of the instruments' wash.
    Sorry for the rambling post, but I hope it is helpful. If you have any specific questions, I'd be more than happy to answer. My favorite lighting design I've done to this point has been for Brian Friel's Translations which featured a full curved cyc, and more wattage on the cyc than on the actors at many times.
     
  9. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    "Pulling out all the stops" is actually an old organist term. A stop is a mechanical lever near an organ keyboard which by pulling it out changes the sound the organ makes. There are usually many stops, and each has it's own sound. Pulling out all the stops can result in a single note played on the organ keyboard becoming thunderous, rich, and massive.
     
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  10. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I know. I now play organ:). That's why I said I get it...;)

    Cool. Thanks for the advice. I can't wait to try these Ideas out!!!

    I think we're going to use scoops to light from the top, I'll do RGB. Bottom we might rent floor cycs (which I'm pushing for) but we might purchase some new R40 strip lights.
     

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