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Typical Plot Size?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jaredwooden921, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. jaredwooden921

    jaredwooden921 Member

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    Hey Guys..

    I was wondering what you usually size you usually print your light plots. I want a fairly big one and I'm taking the file to Kinkos in the morning. Thanks for your help..
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I prefer getting plots in 1/2"=1'-0" scale, I don't care what size that paper is as long as the entire plot fits on one page. For our theatre that usually means Arch E (48"x36") sheets. The other size that is common is Arch D (24"x36").

    By entire plot on one page, I don't mean that you have to squash all the info on one plate, often designers will do a separate boom plate. You of course should always include a centerline section on a plate as well.

    Also, I know that it may seem a waste, but I find it more convenient to have all the plates the same size.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, whatever will get you 1/2" scale is usually the best bet. My other standard of measure for less-equipped theatres is "will it fit on a card table?" because that's often what I use as a plot table during hang and focus.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    It Kind of depends on how large/involved of a plot it is. 1/4" usually works for most blackbox spaces some folks like nothing smaller than 1/2". I typically provide LD's with a 16" X 20" GP in 3/8" or 1/2" just don't let kinkos "Print to Page" or you'll have no idea of the actual scale. Although I guess with lights things are a lot more forgivin than with exact placement of set pieces.
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I use a card table also, I believe it is 36"x36" or close to that, but I would rather have a plot in a normal scale than one that fits my table. I have a couple designers who love to send in plots in 3/8" scale (because it is the biggest scale that you can fit our theatre on Arch D paper), and that drives me nuts because the math is harder when you don't have your scale rule. 1/2" and 1/4" scale are real easy to deal with when you are on the floor with a tape measure and not a scale rule.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You are asking the wrong question. Don't choose the size of the print out. Choose the scale (1/4" or 1/2") and print it to an accurate size however large that may be. Never blow up or reduce a scale drawing because you have no idea what the scale is then.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I second what Alex said. No larger than 36x48 and no smaller than 24x36, unless a very small space. As far as scale, always put an scaled ruler as an icon on your drawing and add the phrase "Unless Enlarged/Reduced" after [1/2"=1'0"] in this day and age of PDFs and other electronic reproduction. A separate "Hanging Plot" layer can be created with dimensions for hanging every fixture, and discarded once the show is hung/pipe tapes are created.
     
  8. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I used to be of the opinion that 1/2" was needed.

    Now, I'd much rather deal with 1/4". For me that's usually 2-3 plates in Arch D (plus another plate for the section). When I fold up a drawing it doesn't take up a lot of space. And, if I don't have a lot of layout room I can fold it like you do a newspaper to see the particular parts I need easily.

    The key is good layout when you're drafting. If you can condense the FOH to make both the FOH and overstage fit one plate, you might consider it. As most FOH positions are fixed (catwalks, balcony rails, etc) they don't need to be the "true" distance from the stage.

    --Sean
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    As for the 1/2" vs 1/4" debate, that's a direct function of how big is the theater and how much gear do you hang. If we are talking about less than 100 instruments in a small educational and or community theater venue, 1/4" is probably just fine. If you are hanging 500 lights for a show in a massive theater... you need 1/2" or you won't be able to figure out what's going on.
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    1/4" all the way. I HATE HATE HATE E sized plates. Also, I never want the set on my LP. I don't want focus on the plot ether, all I want is the instrument, the color, unit number, and channel number. Don't leave me boxes to fill in the dimmer number either. For me a plot goes as far as getting distance off center info and which way the fixture is pointed, then its paperwork from there on out. I always put my distance off center on my ppwk and sometimes the direction the unit is pointing. This makes making pipe tapes much easier. A D sized plate usually folds up very well to fit into a binder, an E size plate is usually too thick to fit neatly. Plots are useful, but it is a pain to rifle through a plot to find things, ppwk/lightwright is the way to go.
     
  11. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I'm gonna have to differ with you on the set and focus on the plot footer. Alot of times lights are hung in relation to the set, especially specials and putting them in relation to the set makes more sense. The same goes with focus if you are hanging a light and see that how you hung it won't make the shot you can go ahead and add the side arm or whatever then to take care of it and save time in focus.

    I want to punch designers who don't use much information on their plots. We just hung a show and the plot had no color on it. It was a blast to go find the hookup any time we quickly needed to know a color.
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I disagree. If the theater is bigger, then the plate gets bigger (you know, because the building is bigger). As an electrician, it's not as if you have MORE information per light on a larger show.

    I regularly hang shows in the 400-600 unit range. Unless the LD has very poor drafting skills, I would MUCH prefer that size show fit a 1/4" Arch D.

    --Sean
     
  13. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I completley disagree.
    The only information you need on a plot is the unit number...that's what hookups are for.
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Did somebody actually teach you this ?, or did you come by this opinion based on years of experience. In any event, it is total nonsense.

    The plot is the graphical representation of the lighting designers intent. It needs to have whatever information is pertinent to those users the designer is communicating to - using the light plan and any other assorted paperwork required. Requiring the recipients of the plot to have to scan additional pieces of paperwork for information that should be readily available is absurd.

    I suggest you read Steve Shellys "A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting" as a very well written How To.

    As example, the production electrician (responsible for the hang) may ask to NOT have focus indicators on a version of the plan being used as the master to hang the show, but may well want channel, color, possibly an empty box to log the dimmer as well as general orientation and spacing. Since the purpose of the light plot is to communicate intent of the design, I like to do as Shelly recommends - ask the person getting the plot what they think is necessary. Maybe there will be additional versions that have focus, but not spacing ?, useful when focusing perhaps after the plot is hung and when spacing is not as important (it's spaced already).

    I apologize in advance as to any perceived attitude, but I can tell you this is a sore point as I occasionally get tour plots without information that I was taught is essential, instrument type (with associated key) -unit number-spacing-channel-dimmer-color-template indicator (usually a circled "T" in the body of the fixture. When I see plots sent out without this information, I immediately wonder "what idiot trained this person".

    BTW, in the past 2 weeks I have seen 3 touring plots: The Kennedy Centers tour of Brand New Kid, The Acting Companies tour of The Tempest and a tour called "3 'Mos Divas". All 3 lighting plots have Channel as well as Template. The Acting Company has no color information, which now requires me to go to a 2nd piece of paper - the hookup, to ascertain color. That's a waste of my time !.

    Steve Bailey
    Lighting Director - Master Electrician
    Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
    Brooklyn College
     
  15. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you can ever have to much information on a plot. If the plot is reading crowded it might be time to look at the label legends and shift them or change the text size to make them more readable.

    As far as paper size goes whatever it takes. Arch D is common for our proscenium space.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  16. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I am going to side with Grog on this one. Lights may be hung in relation to the set, but that is why you have a distance from center. Unless the carpenters mess up putting the set in, the lights should be in the right place when you put a tape measure to the position. This of course is given that the LD spent the time to make sure he put the units in the right place.

    As long as the plot is in scale, it is much easier to read if the only info on it is unit number, color and channel. Sometimes gobos. After that, that is why you have paperwork. It is much more convenient when pulling color and templates to have a small sheet from the paperwork as opposed to the plot. Then, if you use hang tapes you have all the info you need on the tape (color, gobo, accessories, 2fer-ing, circuiting, etc) and so you shouldn't have to refer back to the plot all the time.

    I would much rather have a plot that is not cluttered with too much information so that I can read it and have to refer to the paperwork, which I always have at hang and focus. After focus the plot gets filed away and it is all about paperwork. Plots ultimately become too cumbersome, so you don't want them to start out that way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2008
  17. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Icewolf, I have seen plots with hardly any information that look cluttered and I have seen plots with all the information that look great. If your drafter has every layer in thick black and every piece of info at a 14 point font, it will look like crap. If they do it right it can have all the information and look good.
     
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I know that someone did their line weights and font size and style properly when I can print out a 70'x50' plot onto a standard 8.5"x11" piece of paper, and I can still tell you the color and channel and instrument number of every instrument, as well as whether it has a template or scroller or rotator or not, and it's focus area. I was able to carry a copy of the plot in my back pocket all week during hang and focus so that I didn't have to yell at the person at the plot. I was able to read everything about every instrument except dimmers, and we always figure out dimmers after plugging everything in, and just run that in to patch off the patch sheet.
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Well in that case it isn't a function of what is on the plot, it is a function of how the plot was drawn. However, on most of the shows in our theatre there is barely enough room on a plot of 1/4" or 1/2" scale to fit all the important info like channels and colors. If you put 25+ fixtures on a 50'-60' batten and then have 8 electrics over the stage it gets crowded really fast. Hopefully this image of the plot for our production for "Paint Your Wagon" designed by Phil Monat will illustrate. This plot was done in 1/2" scale, but (hopefully) you can see that some lights are so close together that even putting the color on the plot would make it near impossible to read.
    [​IMG]

    I realize that everyone has their own preferences, but I think the most important thing is legibility. There isn't much that can make up for bad drafting, but there are plenty of ways to make good drafting easier to read.
     
  20. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Go read Shelly's book. It's scary how much stuff he prints.

    I follow his logic - print everything in as many different formats as desired and necessary so that for every conceivable type of project, there's a piece of paperwork that gives the worker a clear and understandable idea as to what needs to be accomplished.

    I think that you should put as much information in as many places as possible and that it's a talent that needs to be developed as to how to draft a plot so that it has the information needed as well as not be cluttered.

    Yes, print hanging cards, but have the spacing on the plan as well. It's a visual reference for the head elec. to look at and double check the spacing for when the dumb assed worker read the hanging card wrong, hung the pipe and then thru out the hanging card. How many times has that happened.

    My system has a color coded (highlined instruments) plot that gives a quick visual indicator as which units are all going R26, or L161, etc... We use that plot for the RFU operator, who sits on stage and brings up channels for the designer. A good operator can anticipate what the designer needs next - say all the DS pools so as to match instruments. Or the DS Red Bax, to lay in the MS Red Bax. You can't do this without channels on the plot, as well as a general purpose or focus. Often times the LD doesn't even have to check their paperwork - the RFU operator calls out the Channel as well as purpose - which they can either see on their plot, or can reference the hookup - which takes more time.

    I'm attaching a plot that we will focus this Sat. as example. Note that this is a "Representational Plot" as in, it has no structure to the space, no spacing as it's a Rep Plot and fits on an 11x17.

    SB
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008

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