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Weight Loaders

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by sobenson, May 29, 2008.

  1. sobenson

    sobenson Member

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    How many do you send up? Does it depend on how many lines are going to be loaded? Does it depend on any circumstances?
     
  2. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    In past experiance it's pretty much whoever you have to do it. On an electrics crew I worked on 2-4 people threw weight for our 4-10 line sets in a pretty reasonable time. Our ME generally stayed on the ground which was nice when we needed more hands on but simply didn't have room at the weight rack. This process worked really good, we either had pairs one loading weight and one getting it for them, or some combination of two loaders one runner etc...

    The scene shop at the same building tended more to have one guy (the TD 90% of the time) on the ground at the base of the flys and one guys at the fly rail. We had a lot of weight on our fly rail and given that rigging day for the shop often started at 8am and lasted past lunch time it just worked better to have the loader on the fly rail. Speed wasn't such an issue because when weight was being added often so were set pieces so no runner was needed. I didn't like this system as much mostly because we were moving lines that were often 100+lbs out of weight and thats pretty much a no no as far as I'm concerned.

    Both systems worked well for the departments and we both knew what was going to happen when it came time to throw weight. The real problem came in overlap in weight needs given that our weights were split between the fly and weight rails. I can't tell you how unhappy I was when I had to tell my boss that I had run out of weights on the weight rack and I still needed 500lbs.

    MORE ADDED LATER: For reference our electrics ranged from needing an additional 800 to 200 lbs. Usually one or two would be in the 600-800 range but most of them needing more like 250-400. We were moving 10, 25, and 50 lb weights.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    In the theater I work at occasionally we are usually just swapping a few bricks here and there making tweaks to the Rep Plot. Not massive loading like Pork Chop described. We work really hard to never let the system get more than two instruments/two bricks out of weight. One person can handle the work easily in our situation. I would say go with the least people you can without wearing out one person. More people working at the same time doesn't add up to safer work in my book. In a heavy situation like Pork Chop described I would send two and take shifts with two on the ground.
     
  4. tweetersaway

    tweetersaway Member

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    I wouldn't want more than 3 up there ever. one to load, one to hand bricks to the loader, and one for communication to the floor. two people is doable. One person is just dangerous. usually with four or more, they get really talkative and non-workative. Besides, I never really liked the idea of loading more than one thing at a time. It's just too much of a chance for bad things to happen.
     
  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    You have a good point on once you get more than 3 people, and it's gonna depend on the house and the people that work there. I know for the electrics crew at the theatre I described earlier when we're talking about moving close to an actual ton of weight for some shows two pairs working independently on different arbors is effective, and a fifth person helping to lug weight isn't even a bad thing. When you move that much weight, at least with our crew, you don't talk to much because you knew by the end you're going to be really tired and the sooner you got done the better.

    I will say thought there's very few situations were I like the idea of one person lugging and loading all by themselves so I agree with you hole heartedly there.
     
  6. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I think the number sepends on the available people. I think I posted about this somewhere. I did one show where we brought in lots of MLs and being the only trained flyman available- beside the LD who had to deal with the lights on the ground- I got nominated to handle upstairs. We had to pull several hundred pounds of weight, so two assistants went with me. Before we went up I explained to them that it could be dangerous if they didn't listen and the LD also explained that this wasn't the time to screw around. They then would not help with pulling the cables that we were supposed to on the way up, and went on to the up to the loading bridge while I did the cables because they wanted to go do the "cool dangerous stuff". The LD wouldn't let them start until I got up there, so they sat there while I worked. When I finally got up there they refused to listen and did everything as stupidly as possible. They passed off weights over the open areas and stacked them too high. When the LD called up to me to hold at 4 weights off b/c he hadn't put a pipe in and didn't want it badly out of weight, one of them acknowledged him then didn't tell me and kept pulling weights. It was a miracle we didn't have a real problem since it was problably a couple hundred pounds off at times.

    I've also reweighted by myself, and while not fun, it was certainly less dangerous than that.
     
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Active Member

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    safety is a huge issue with me when it comes to weights. Like you said if someone is handing over weights over the open areas and drops it it can easily kill someone on the deck. If the other people that were up on the loading gallery weren't being safe I would have sent them back down and asked the TD for fresh hands. There is always many safety issue in the theatre and loading flys is a big one. If something is miss weighted or a weight is dropped it can kill someone, and no amount of apologizing can fix that.

     
  8. sobenson

    sobenson Member

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    The reason I ask is my main theater is a 2100 seat road house. I am new here in the past they have only been sending 1 up. It is 85' up to the loading bridge. We only ever move 1 line at a time, unless it is a touring broadway, and then that is dictated by the head carpenter. They send up teams of 2. It is usually 2 teams if not 3, but then we are doing multiple linesets at a time.
     
  9. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I always send up at least two at a time. If you have a large touring production loading in, 4 people up top would be better. No matter how many loaders you have up there, it is always a good idea to swap them out at the first sign of fatigue.

    ~Dave
     
  10. codered11343

    codered11343 Member

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    I have never been on a load rail with more then one other person with me, and that has only happened twice. I go up to load wight SOLO 95-99% of the time. It will normally take me between 5 and 10 minutes, max, to load a electric.

    Strike can be a little different. Depending on your size crew and if your striking more the one electric or batten at a time, 2 people can defiantly make it go faster.

    But from my experience, one person is all you need.
     
  11. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Usually we only have one person loading/unloading weights. That is, unless we have to train someone.
    However, if the lineset is really out of weight, we may throw an extra person up there to move it along a little faster.
     
  12. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm a fan of two people (one tossing one running if you will) and a dedicated person on the ground giving all clears ect.

    In some instances where personnel allows it I might go with 4 up top, but that is a rare rare occasion.

    Also for the record I'm not a fan of sending just one person up to do more than add/remove a couple of bricks, and I'm even less of a fan of people loading/unloading completly by themselves. I.E. pulling the lock and running up the grid and pitching bricks.
     
  13. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I HATE doing that one!!!

    By the way how do you feel about one person handing weights to another person who rests it on the top of the weight stack then a third person places it correctly. I find this is easier because our loading dock has lots of rails in the way.
     
  14. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    I don't know, that doesn't seem safe for the little while that the weight is just resting unsecured on the stack of weights and could fall off at any second...it just doesn't seem safe to me.
     
  15. Fireguy551

    Fireguy551 Member

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    I always send up at least 2 and if we are doing anything major then 4 (2 teams of 2). 1 person is usually loading and the other is the talker and the guy who hands the bricks to the loader. I personally think that if you are loading more than 2 linesets then it is too much to watch out for on the deck.

     
  16. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    In my case, the method I use is dictated by the limitations of my venue. The Irvine Bowl does not have a catwalk at the top of the linesets for loading weight onto the arbors, so whenever possible I try to do my re-weighting at deck level. My only other option is to take the weight up in our scissor lift, which ends up blocking access to the lineset from the deck. Also, about 90% of the time, I'm working by myself when I'm adding weight to or removing it from an arbor. For that reason, I am never in a hurry when I do this. Fortunately we don't fly a lot of scenery as we have only 9 ft. of fly space above our 13 ft. proscenium, so I'm usually re-weighting electrics. I never fully strip my electrics when I'm working on them. I'll pull 4 lights, for example, then re-weight immediately before moving on to the next section.
     
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You might want to look into getting a capstan winch or something of that nature. This will allow you to easily pull things off the deck the deck to re-weight at the rail.
     
    cdub260 and (deleted member) like this.
  18. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I think you misunderstood-- It is NEVER resting by itself. One person does not let go until another is holding it. The perpose is so people aren't trying to balance it while they manuver around the railing which all-but-blocks access to the arbors. Whoever designed the loading dock thought about safety, but not functionallity.
     
  19. Toffee

    Toffee Active Member

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    The talk of some one loading a rail by themselves scares the hell out of me. There should always be at least 2 people working on the flys at all times. I like to have more but if I really HAVE TO HAVE only 2 people working on the flys then I like 1 on the deck and 1 on rail. But I PREFER and for saftey reasons, like more to be working on the deck and up in the air at all times. At least 2 people up top and 2 to 4 working on the deck with one calling cues on either end.

    Working by yourself should never be an option when working with any sort of fly system. It's just to dangerous. I know some one who died doing stupid things like that on a fly system, I don't wanna hear of it happening again.
     
  20. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    The topic of this thread has always been about how many Weight Loaders are appropriate, not about how many total hands are required.

    "Calling cues" during pig slinging? I think not. MORE people, particularly on the rail, makes an operation LESS safe. My policy is only ONE person (the Head Flyman) runs the Lockrail and calls instructions to the Loaders during Ins and Outs. During Performances, no more than the number of simultaneous moving lines, which will rarely be more than three on any theatrical show.
     

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