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Design Issues and Solutions trouble in the sky...HELP!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by aporter2012, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. aporter2012

    aporter2012 Member

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    Hey,
    I am currently doing a production of Ragtime at a community theatre just outside of Chicago. As part of the design I am looking at a vivid skyscape filled with brilliant colors. The colors would change within the clouds to make the appearance of time changing. (setting sun, rising sun...ect...) I also am looking at tying the vivid colors in the sky to respond to the emotion presented in each scene. The clouds would be made by using gobos.

    My problem:
    Since the show is complex filled with many emotions (many that change throughout the course of the scene), I am looking for seamless transitions between colors. Being that this is a community theatre, I am working under a small budget.

    What I have been thinking:

    Ideally I looked into Sea Changers. However, the cost is wayyy out of budget.

    Next I was thinking scrollers--they dont have as seamless transition between colors, but at least I would still have the colors. Again, the budget issue comes in to play.

    I then thought about using three instruments focused on the same area, each a different color and then mixing using the three instruments. However, I am then using three dimmers for each cloud and I would run out of dimmers. Also, I would have to triple my gobo order...adding to the cost factor.

    SO...that has been my thought process for the past couple of weeks. Right now I am thinking the scrollers would be the best/most logical option...if we can find some cheaply. I am looking for some input, hoping that I am over thinking this whole thing. Any ideas?

    Thank you ahead of time!!!
     
  2. thommyboy

    thommyboy Active Member

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    Are you going to be projecting on a cyc, a drop, a ground row type cut out of the a skyline?
     
  3. aporter2012

    aporter2012 Member

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    I will be projecting onto the cyc.
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    That is a tough one. Have you ever thought of using your cyc lights to mix the cyc and then putting the gobo on top of that? Have you thought of using projections instead of lights?

    Mike
     
  5. RichMoore

    RichMoore Member

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    How about LED par cans? They are cheap and give lots of colors.
     
  6. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    You would have to have a LONG throw to use LED PARs.

    Mike
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    What kind of console do you have?

    I've got a new Strand Classic Palette. I can lie to it and say that three instruments gelled red, green, and blue and focused on the same location are one single RGB instrument. The console treats them as one instrument and blends them accordingly to mix colors. I would guess the same trick is possible with one of the new ETC consoles as well.

    Renting a console and using it to blend your usual inventory for the run of the show might be an easier and cheaper solution than renting a bunch of instruments.

    Can one of our ETC experts confirm if this is possible on the ETC consoles.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Whether or not the Eos/Ion can (and I'm sure they could if the three dimmers were patched as a generic LED fixture) isn't the point, as the OP said:
    [user]aporter2012[/user], I think [user]Esoteric[/user] offered your best solution: Keep the cloud gobos neutral (no color/open white/clear) and color the background with cyc lights. You want a background colored something onto which to overlay the clouds. A cloud gobo surrounded by black would look rather odd, no?
     
  9. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    By the way, yes I realize that you might have to use a dimmer per color and unit (turning into a lot of dimmers!) at first blush. But there are a million ways around this. If your dimmers are large enough you can put all of each color (RGB) on a dimmer, so that you use only three dimmers. Then you can increase dimmers from there. In addition you can use that approach for a basic look and then add PARs or LEDs from harsh angles (high side, top, cyc pit, etc) to add texture. Then project the clouds on top of that.

    Please tell me Cyc lighting is not a lost art form. ;-)

    Mike
     
  10. xander

    xander Well-Known Member

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    I am not exactly sure how one jumps from "I need help mixing colors on a cyc the cheapest way possible" to "rent a new board", but to each his own.
    First off, I second Esoteric's suggestion. Easiest, cheapest, quickest solution. However, if you don't think that that will give you the look you are going for here are some suggestions.
    Your problem seems to boil down to this: you want to have the widest range of colors possible, using the least number of dimmers possible, at the cheapest price possible. That is every lighting designer's problem ;) Sea Changers would be an ideal solution to this, but as you have stated, they are out of your budget. The short answer is you can't have all three. You have to pick two. Since budget is set for you, you only get to pick one other. You can pick saving dimmers, and then I think you should try Esoteric's suggestion. However, if you really want to get a wide range of colors, you are going to have to use some dimmers. Using a system of three different lights in order to mix is a great idea, and cheap (assuming you have the instruments already). But, if you throw a little bit of money at it you can bring down the number of dimmers you need. Such as scrollers. If you could get your hands on some scrollers that would be great. Want smooth transitions, put them in systems of two and then crossfade back and forth. Again, you are using more dimmers, but you can't get everything for nothing. If scrollers are out the question because of budget, might I suggest the archaic (and therefore cheap) color wheel. Not as many color choices as a scroller, but cheaper to rent. Again, put them in a system of two or more and you can crossfade for smooth transitions, or even mix them to increase your color choices. Or, to get even cheaper, use a system or two lights, one with a color wheel and one with a static color and crossfade to the static so that you can change the color wheel, then crossfade back. If you are dead set on only using a one dimmer system and want the cheapest way possible to get different colors, then I would say go with a color wheel and you would have to dump the light to change color and then restore. It is your job as the LD to make the decision on what best fits the production. If it is so important for such and such effect, then maybe some money needs to be spent on it. If the money is just not there, then some sacrifces are going to have to be made. If it so important for such and such to happen, maybe you will have to use the extra dimmers to make it happen and then cut something else back. Those are the kinds of decisions only you can make. Good luck to you! And I hope someone out there can come up with a brilliant solution to your problem that makes my little speech void.

    -Tim
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  11. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Great post Tim! That is why we get paid the big bucks, to make these difficult decisions. But when using the color wheel/scroller solution keep in mind you will still need multiple units, which if you are dealing with smaller dimmers will still be an issue (and if you are dealing with normal sized dimmers cyc lights wouldn't be a problem anyway). Also keep in mind that you will not get a smooth fade even with multiple scrollers. It just isn't possible, even playing with upfade/downfade times you will end up with brown "mush" more often than you would like. We have become so spoiled by LEDs, I remember when we had to have three units to do RGB color mixing! *lol* ;-)

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  12. aporter2012

    aporter2012 Member

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    Thank you all very much!
    I talked with my business manager and he agreed that scrollers would be the most effective and cost worthy option. Thank you all very much! Now I am hoping that these really do give me the look I want...haha

    Tim-Excellent post...you gave me goose bumps! haha

    Thanks again! You all have helped immensely :)

    -Aaron
     
  13. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Good luck, let us know how it goes!

    Mike
     
  14. malex

    malex Member

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    If you decide to use scrollers, you could create custom gel strings to get a somewhat even color change. If you are renting, pick the scroller model with the most frames and piece together a string spanning the entire spectrum, each frame varying slightly. This would likely keep your spectrum pretty limited, but the effect will still be noticed if you can change other colors on stage with the clouds. While not perfect, this could be acceptable for most houses. While the scroller manufacturers may tell you that you need to have an expensive lab with a clean room and robotics to build a gel string, a bunch of stock gels and some packing tape will more than suffice if it is only a short run. Any scroller experts around that could recommend a particular model?
     
  15. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Be cautious with the packing tape idea. First off it is not as easy as it sounds. It isn't hard but it isn't easy either. Then packing tape is not heat resistant. Have you seen what a Source 4 PAR or a 1k PAR 64 does to gel? And that is meant to be in the gel holder. I would never use packing tape on a scroller that was mission critical in any way.

    Mike
     

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