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Conventional Fixtures Tophats...

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by uncmempm, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. uncmempm

    uncmempm Member

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    Are there any disadvantages to using tophats? Why would you ever use a half hat if you have a full tophat? Does half vs full really make a difference?

    I need to buy some and want to make sure I get what is best...
     
  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Top-hats like Barn Doors restrict light spill. One problem with top-hats is they reduce gel life in some situations by reducing convection air flow. A half-hat allows better airflow, so if you only need to block spill in one direction they are a better alternative. Haven't seen too many in use. Don't see many barn doors either these days. Could just be that top-hats contain fewer parts (usually one piece) so they require less attention.
     
  3. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I use top hats and barn doors a lot, but mainly in small format. If we have a large general wash for a stage we'll usually just allow the spill, unless it pukes all over our legs or cyc.

    A great use for half hats though is in FOH lighting positions, or on stage positions that are visible, when you are especially focused on keeping the spill out of the audience area, but don't need the spill completely reduced, or want to make sure that the audience isn't distracted by visible lenses. Plus they store better than top hats, unless you go for the City Theatrical Stacker top hats, made specifically for easy stacking.

    My biggest problem with top hats, except for the Stackers, is that they don't store well. It's easier to put them to use than it is to keep them in storage.

    On a side note, what I've done with all of my barn doors and top hats is affixed saftey cables to them, as they are more likely to drop out of a fixture than the fixture itself falling.
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    As MNicolai says, tophats are very useful for masking lights. It really cuts down on the distraction factor. We're in the process of hanging a large plot for theatre in the round, and the LD has apparently requested a tophat in every light.
     
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    "Pukes." That's great terminology.

    What I was going to say pretty much has been said. We've been told at my school by some "lighting design professionals" that we could use top hats on our third electric (the electric farthest upstage and therefore useful for back lighting) to keep the light from... um, puking... on the audience in the first three rows. (Though we usually have 14-in scoops for back light, which is the main problem...)

    I say "Lighting design professionals" because it seems like the main thing they wanted us to do was purchase several movers from them even though our current system won't support them...
     
  6. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I see them a lot on touring shows that come in to one of the venues I work at. Usually, they have a frame with the sound rig that sits on the wings, and there are ellipsoidals mounted in there as well for whatever special or fill, etc. They usually have a half-hat.
     
  7. Nikgwolf

    Nikgwolf Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but to my knowledge, a full top hat (for example) is not compatible with a 50 degree source four due to its wide spread, whereas the half hat will not cut off the beam, but still reduce flare or spill.

    One thing I'm still confused about though, is the difference between the half hat whose height is half of the full top hat and the half hat whose shape is one half of a circle (typically used in side positions FOH) Which one's which?

    Nik


    Flickr: nikgwolf512's Photostream
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    City Theatrical's Millnery Dept. There are actually only three styles: Standard (Long Full), Short (Short Full), and Half (Longitudinally). The other mutations are the Tapered and Color Extender varietals. See also http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/7514-tophats-donuts.html?highlight=stackers.
     
  9. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Yea, I can't say I've seen a short half hat.

    Let's not forget the other fun things:
    [​IMG]
    Concentric Rings
    [​IMG]
    Louvers
    [​IMG]
    and Baffles.


    Another question. I know about donuts and half hats and what they do, but, aside from making a gobo sharper, what else would one use a donut for? Would it accomplish the same thing as a top hat on an ERS?
     
  10. Nikgwolf

    Nikgwolf Member

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    Thanks Derrek for the definitions...and as for the doughnut's second purpose: Frisbee! (at your own risk)

    Nik
     
  11. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Bear in mind also the Apollo Tapered Tophats, the first commercially produced tapered tophat offered to the lighting industry. Stackers came after the fact-

    Apollo Design | Tapered Top Hat - 6.25"


    Apollo Tapered Tophats are almost half the cost also, at $12 MSRP each...
     
  12. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    When will I be able to stop taking a bandsaw to Tapers and Stackers (girls your both pretty) in order to make half-hats?

    1. No. Well, yes. The audience will have one less distraction, thus allowing them to concentrate on the play. In many instances this becomes a disadvantage.
    2. The glare bouncing off the opposite side of the inside of a top hat can be MORE distracting than whateve problem the tophat is solving. Current Broadway shows have a hat, usually a half-hat, on practically every profile, certainly on every unit DS of the prosc.
    3. Yes, see #2.

    1. Why do you think there ust be abother use? 2. No. Well yes, in that a doughbut will make aby edge sharper. Unlike a top hat, all doughnuts cause a loss of inensity.
     
  13. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    :lol:Its funny you should mention a lack of barn doors. It reminded my of something from my early days in my current job. My first year on staff at the Pageant, I cleaned out several cabinets, and two storage sheds. In my cleaning, I came across piles of old barn doors. As it turned out, I actually had more barn doors than my combined total of fresnels and pars, so I had more barn doors than I had lights with which to use them.
     
  14. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have used donuts to cut spill from my Source 4 Jr.'s, but have found that there is a very fine line between limiting spill and reducing the effectiveness of the fixture. Frankly I've had more success by changing the lens than I have by adding a donut. Roughly translated, while a donut can help, it will not fix a problem with the fixture.
     
  15. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    When it comes to Barn Doors, I really only like them on Fresnels. Why? Because they are designed for Fresnels, and that is where they work. On a PAR, a set of Barn Doors doesn't act like shutters as it does on a Fresnel, it acts as a mechanical dimmer. I've tried barn doors on a par enough times to tell, that it will not cut the light, but rather slightly reduce spill while drastically reducing output. When it comes to PARS, especially S4 PARs, in my opinion top hats are really the only way to go. Get top hats with color extenders, and put those on a S4 par, and you have just completed the snoot of a traditional par.
     
  16. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Ummmm......why are you using a bandsaw to make half-hats? City Theatrical sells them.

    I'd also suggest that the regular half-hats are better. Thicker, square flange makes them stay in the light better, and you can nest the half-hats.

    --Sean
     

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