Touring with Fixtures

Capi

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Sep 14, 2005
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Albuquerque, NM
I'm interested in how you pack lighting instruments for transport, namely a touring show. They would be in a box truck. Do you use road cases or another method? I hope it is clear enough what I am asking. Let me know if I need to clarify anything. Thanks for any insight.
 

sound_nerd

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Nov 24, 2004
Location
Toronto Ontario
We use roadcases for all of the touring gear. 8-way truck pack cases for the ERS fixtures and the fresnels, two way cases for the movers. The only fixtures that aren't in roadcases are the par bars/acl bars, which get put on a rack that holds 9 bars. The lenses for the ERS fixtures live in another 8-way case in the event we need to swap lenses out.
 

Eboy87

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May 3, 2004
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Chicago, IL
I never thought I'd get a chance to use this, but, in light of Pie's post:



That is all.
 

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Will you be pre-rigging anything? If you are going to be going the unistrut pre-rig route, meat racks made for that are your best bet. I personally don't like conventionals in cases, I prefer meat racks (or swing truss if you have some cash....). Few things of info would be helpful... how many fixtures... are they hung in clumps or all over the place...
 

Les

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Not to continue hijack but... Once I did an images search on Annie because I was designing the show and I wanted to see the set. Google has a dirty mind!!!
 

Capi

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Albuquerque, NM
Will you be pre-rigging anything? If you are going to be going the unistrut pre-rig route, meat racks made for that are your best bet. I personally don't like conventionals in cases, I prefer meat racks (or swing truss if you have some cash....). Few things of info would be helpful... how many fixtures... are they hung in clumps or all over the place...
First of all, this is a summer tour that has gone out the last couple years. The last two years it was Godspell and this year is Joseph. Anyway, the way they had it last year, and I assume it will be done the same this time, is they had, IIRC, 4 S4's on a pipe (bolted to it) with a Gator Clamp at each end of the pipe. This was then attached to the truss when they reached the venue, and the truss was then flown out. I think they had probably 20-25 lights for front light hung this way. They we had a S4 pars in shop-built box trusses and a few other fixtures upstage, but I'm not sure how.

In the past, transportation went like this: They had two or three 4x4 beams with angle brackets on each end spanning the width of the truck. The pipes with the S4's were then set on the beams with the fixtures hanging down. There were some problems with this. 1) The lights were free to move around and hit each other, the wall of the truck etc. 2) Occasionally, this caused the nuts to come off the bolts leaving the unsaftied lights dangling.

I plan on doing some things different this year. (If you haven't guessed, I was not on the tour last year, but I heard stories from my friends and room mate) This year, if we go the same route, I'm going to make sure every light is either double nutted or use lock nuts, make sure everything is saftied, and use blankets between the sets of lights and probably strap them to each other, if not also to the wall.

I am interested in any other ways transportation, or any other tips I can garner. Thanks.

BTW: My curiosity got the best of me and I Google Imaged "meat racks". Didn't really get anything that shocking....maybe if I turned the Safe Search function off... But I don't think I will.... Thanks for all the advice.
 

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Meet BK Broiler (Big Kittie, Bunnie Killer amongst other names for him) - a roadie of one tour experience (accident but adopted by that local crew also) and who loved to walk the truss. And his sister Carlie Simon. BK was the best shop cat ever and my cat about the shop. Here they are one night at my desk while I stayed late in inspecting lamps. Could type away all night on the keyboard, he wouldn't care thus she wouldn't. BK would let you know if you offended him such as with a camera flash. Beyond that telling you about it nothing mean - no biting or other stuff. Not a mean bone in his body for humans - his best friends and all were no matter who - he loved people and especially liked nothing better than me carrying him about the shop in one hand.
Poor BK was also a hunter of local renoun in catching from snakes to baby bunnies and one morning after spending the night locked in the shop got out. The car that slowed down to let me cross never saw him running out. Poor thing died in my arms = one of those situations one still cannot believe actally happened but did. Best cat I ever met. all including his sister still miss him. His ashes now live above my desk - his home in the shop, and many still visit him in missing the big orange hunter.
Don't think there is any photos of him or either of them walking the truss but he especially loved walking out on stage while a designer was designing or across a truss being prepped for a show. This cat was a great roadie.
I have had one of those type of cats, loved being onstage, would usually try to follow me up a ladder. One day I had a wall unit flown in for a focus, got done with that piece and went to rail to take it out, had the piece about 10' off deck when I saw the cat jump off and run off stage... that cat never go on any scenery again.
 

derekleffew

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...4 S4's on a pipe (bolted to it) with a Gator Clamp at each end of the pipe...
By Gator clamp, do you mean what I call a "Clancy Clamp"? Can't find a picture at the moment. But it was first sold by JR Clancy and then I think sold to Rosco. Or did you mean Gator Clamp?

They we had a S4 pars in shop-built box trusses and a few other fixtures upstage, but I'm not sure how.
NO, NO, NO! "Shop-Built" trusses are NEVER acceptable, unless that shop is JTE, Tomcat, Global, or select other professional companies having the engineering and manufacturing certifications behind them.

...In the past, transportation went like this: They had two or three 4x4 beams with angle brackets on each end spanning the width of the truck...
Commonly called "Loadbars."

...I'm going to make sure every light is either double nutted or use lock nuts, make sure everything is saftied, and use blankets between the sets of lights and probably strap them to each other, if not also to the wall...
Good ideas always when on tour.


...BTW: My curiosity got the best of me and I Google Imaged "meat racks". Didn't really get anything that shocking....maybe if I turned the Safe Search function off... But I don't think I will.... Thanks for all the advice.
A "meatrack" is almost always a custom built item. Originally designed by R&R lighting companies to hold (8) 90" long, six-lamp PAR64 can, PARbars, in a cage with exterior dimensions approx. 4'w x 8'l x 5'h. Building such a "meatrack" for your, probably, 5' long (4) Source4 bars, would speed your load-ins, but take up more truck space--I guessing last year the S4bars were up high and allowed room underneath. Here's the second item Google returned for me, which led me to this PDF. However, they will be cost prohibitive for you. So have the same people who built the truss, build you a meatrack. Just don't let them build anything over my head.
 
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soundman

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Sep 4, 2003
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Nashville TN
What's an 8-way case? Maybe a link...
Something like this- granted this design does not fit into a standard truck pack plot it gets the point across. Something like this is great for positions that only need a fixture and it would be impractical to make bars for them. Like pipe ends, two fixtures way off stage. If you leave color and any gobos in them and label the yoke with position, distance from center, and channel number hang and trouble shooting will be a breeze.
 

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Capi

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NO, NO, NO! "Shop-Built" trusses are NEVER acceptable, unless that shop is JTE, Tomcat, Global, or select other professional companies having the engineering and manufacturing certifications behind them.

My profound apologies...these trusses don't fly at all! They sit on the ground and, I think last year, provide side light, as in shinbusters, etc. They are just basically long steel boxes (1" square tube) that sit on end with horizontals for about 8 lights (top and bottom hung) Sorry I didn't explain that one. As for the clamps, I can't find an example anywhere online. They are lighting clamps, but the bottom jaw is hinged so they weight of the load closes it. If I ever figure out the actual name, I'll let you know.

Thanks for the tip about the meatracks, but I think it is indeed a space issue in the truck.
 
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SerraAva

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Sep 10, 2007
Location
Southern New Jersey
The 8 way lamp cases I use are very packer friendly. They hold 8 lekos, or 16 S4 Pars. There are also 2 slots down the one end of the case for dimmers, gel frames, safeties, bases, etc. You can stack them too. They fit two high on a 26 ft truck and 2 wide long ways. Next time I have them out, I'll snap a picture of one for you Capi. I haven't been using them much because I have been using the Houdini’s lately. They are just a huge case that also go 2 wide on a 26 ft truck, but can hold many more fixtures. Problem is no dividers, so the lights get banged up way more.
 

derekleffew

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Capi: Ah, no problem. Didn't mean to snap at you, just overly cautious. I call those "Sidelight Towers." Best I have seen were from Production Arts, but I think all 4 of the big NYC shops had their own version: Vanco, Four Star, Bash, and PA.

I'm pretty sure we're both talking about the same clamp, amazed that I cannot find a picture of it on the web. Aha! Found it! Buried in Rosco's site, the Sure Clamp. JR Clancy did sell it to Rosco. Great for touring, as needs no tools, but too expensive to use on every individual fixture. Many tours use this clamp to hang the Unistrut onto which fixtures are permanently attached. I've never seen it used for R&R, they use PARBar Hangers, or Swivel Cheeseboroughs.
 
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Capi

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Albuquerque, NM
Yup, that's the clamp! And I understand being overly cautious...I wouldn't want any "shop-built" trusses over my head either!
 

sound_nerd

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Toronto Ontario
What's an 8-way case? Maybe a link...
I'll try and find a link.....but an 8 way case is divided into 8 sections on the inside, each able to fit a Source Four sized fixture with the clamp attached. Fits two cases wide in a truck, or four cases wide if they're spun the other way.
 

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There are many ways to pack lighting, it all depends on your budget and how they are hung. We've had many big productions come through our theater. Cats just did their load-in today for the week. The 1st electric truss was all prehung. The truss sections came apart and stacked on top of each other for travel. Other shows have racks of lights. For movers, unless prehung, the only way I've seen is in road cases. I wouldn't suggest any other way for those. Road cases are probably your best bet.
Meat racks for movers are starting to become pretty popular, especially for shows that are out for long periods of time. Cirque is now doing this with all of their shows, and it saves about a trucks worth of space and makes ins/outs much faster. Downside being is that each rack has to be individually made for your type of fixture, so you can not mix and match. Have fun with cats... and don't go running around with an open blade...
 

JD

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Jan 1, 2005
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North Wales PA
So nobody uses pre-hung anymore? (pic from 1983) All the lights were mounted on raceways inside the truss. For transport, the raceways lifted in. For show, the lowered down. each position locked with safeties. Plug in 4 VEAMS, and a 40 foot truss was up and running. (Not visible in shot, but yes, there are 1/8 cable safeties on each fixture)

(End of (long) night shot, USA network "Hot Spots" show)

EDIT:
Trusses were designed to stack 3 high in truck with lights inside, wheels indented and fit into each section.
 

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Capi

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Albuquerque, NM
That's pretty cool, John. I didn't even know they made such a thing, although I should have guessed it. Last year we had portable dimmer packs (Lightronics) for everything. These all went a distro which was fed off a small gas generator. Since most of the venues we tour to are smaller (churches mostly), we don't have the benefit of tying in anywhere. I'm hoping that this year we will be able to either rent or buy a dimmer rack with Socopex (Socapex?), and get a more industrial genny, since the one we had last year kind of sucked for various reasons. That way we could leave everything circuited and just run the Soco to the breakouts, instead of running individual cables to each dimmer pack from the distro. Each pack only has four circuits, so that is a decent amount of cable. Here's hoping! :pray:
 
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