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Topic: Lighting the house
Message: Posted by: Tony S (Nov 8, 2005 08:49PM)
There are several points in my show where I go out into the audience to pick a volunteer. In order to keep better control I'd like to be able to light the house from two lighting stands up on the stage (one stage left and one stage right). I typically perform in auditoriums with 400 to 500 seats. I'd appreciate any help you can give me regarding what kind of lights would be best to use for this application.

Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Nov 8, 2005 09:10PM)
I have installed into another touring show exactly what you are refering to. We installed 4 Source Four pars aimed at the ceiling. By aiming them at the ceiling they can be low...even though these are at 20'. They make for a nice soft light with no hot spots right in the audience's eyes. At times they use two, others they use all four.

Hope that helps.

Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Nov 8, 2005 11:54PM)
Kevin is right on with this. Bounce light on the ceiling gives more even and softer light in the house, yet everyone can see clearly. The only thing I use differently are the lighting fixures. I use 2 500w "Scoops" which are large flood lights. But the Source Four's are likely much easier to troop around.
Message: Posted by: Tony S (Nov 9, 2005 05:56AM)
Thanks very much. I appreciate the help. I'll look into these options.
Message: Posted by: Paul Arthur (Nov 9, 2005 12:50PM)
You might also look into some used Molefay units. These are what concerts typically use to light the house from the stage.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Nov 9, 2005 01:15PM)
Those are great lights. But if I'm not mistaken those are mainly used for audience blinders. While they do light up the "house"...LOL, I'm not sure that's how he wanted to do it.

Message: Posted by: Tony S (Nov 9, 2005 01:30PM)
I'm definitely not looking to blind anyone!! could be good for misdirection though!
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Nov 9, 2005 01:43PM)
Rather brazen for misdirection, if you ask me!

"Where did that elephant come from? Could it have been brought out when our retinas were frying? Hmmmmm, I wonder..."
Message: Posted by: Paul Arthur (Nov 9, 2005 03:05PM)
I wasn't advising that you blind the audience by any means. When using a couple of them at less than full power, they work fairly well as touring house lighting. We used them on trees at the four corners of a house a couple of times and it looked rather nice. The nice thing about Molefays is that each of the individual lights in the instruments is individually focusable making the spread very versatile. You're basically getting 8 individually focused pars in a single instrument.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Nov 9, 2005 04:05PM)
Just to clarify- I certainly didn't mean to imply that anyone was intending to blind their audience. I just found the notion to be rather amusing... :)
Message: Posted by: halcon (Nov 9, 2005 06:50PM)
Guys you are spot on about bouncing lights into the ceiling. I work in the entertainment biz (sometimes as a gaffer sometimes as DP) for a nice soft light ceiling is a great choice. also many auditoriums have house lights on dimmers. perhaps an assistant that knows your cues could help with that.

Message: Posted by: Tony S (Nov 11, 2005 10:11AM)
On 2005-11-08 22:10, Living Illusions wrote:
I have installed into another touring show exactly what you are refering to. We installed 4 Source Four pars aimed at the ceiling. By aiming them at the ceiling they can be low...even though these are at 20'. They make for a nice soft light with no hot spots right in the audience's eyes. At times they use two, others they use all four.

Hope that helps.


Kevin - do you think I'll need 4 source fours to light a 400 to 500 seat auditorium? I'm thinking I might start off with 2 and see how that goes, unless someone with more experience here tells me otherwise.

Thanks for your help.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Nov 11, 2005 11:11AM)
We design, install and program lighting rigs in churches, theatres and touring shows. So anything we can do to help, just ask.

The shape of the ceiling along with size of the house will determine how much light you will need. But, I would definately start with just two...tjhat may be all you need, it may be all you budget will allow right now. Speciafically try to stay with Source four's. They are samller than Par 64's, use 57.5% of the wattage of a 1000 watt par, yet put out the same amount of lumens. The beam spread is changed by switching out lenses that come with the light. Par 64's only chnage beam spread with another $25 lamp. In the space of one Par 64 lamp you can fit one dozen of the 575 lamps for the S4.

Hope that helps.....although it may have just raised more questions...LOL

Message: Posted by: Tony S (Nov 11, 2005 11:15AM)
That definitely helps. I truly appreciate it. Do you have any suggestions on where to purchase the source four's. I did a google yesterday and it came up with a lot of different places. Thanks for the help.

Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Dec 4, 2005 03:47PM)
I don't think two source fours will do you for such a large auditorium...You'll likely need 4 of em, esp if you're going to bounce them off the ceiling.

You could also use a wide angle filter on it to distribute the light more evenly and choose a gel that also dispurses the light.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Dec 18, 2005 10:25AM)
A source four PAR is still a tight pattern fixture compared to a standard Fresnel. It wouldn't be the ideal fixture to use for your purpose.

A 6" Fresnel will give you a far wider pattern, still controlable if you put the barn doors on the fixture.
Two 6" Fresnels will light up a large main floor no problem.

Strand 3380's are the most common, and most affordable. They're a 1K fixture.
The 3380's will however come in at a little higher price than a S4 PAR, and they're a bit bigger and heavier....but an ideal fixture for what you've described.
Message: Posted by: Fitz (Dec 19, 2005 01:41AM)
Just wanted to mention last time I saw a "well Known" traveling illusionist. He was useing two 750 watt CYC lights to light up the house. He also had the same lights pointing at the audience, and by useing dimmers controlled the intensity and effectively used them for misdirection as well. I wont mention his name but the program said his LD was David Cotkin...

Message: Posted by: silverking (Dec 19, 2005 11:22AM)
Be cautious about using fixtures that look like cyc lights, but are actually factory modified cyc lights and have their reflectors replaced to be used as mini scoops, or work lights.

Selecon is one company that takes their basic Aurora cyc light and modifies the reflector for use onstage as a work light or scoop. It's the work light you would want if you were to use this type of fixture.

It looks identical to a cyc light, unless you examine the reflector.

A regular cyc fixture has an extrememly tall, but very narrow pattern. This is so they can illuminate a 30' high cyc, and also why you need a large number of them to illuminate the cyc all the way across.

One other consideration with a modified cyc fixture is that there is no way to modify or control the beam pattern. This may or may not be a problem depending on what you're doing onstage at the time.
Message: Posted by: g0thike (Dec 20, 2005 05:35PM)

Which Source Four Par do you recommend.

Personally I went to this site to look at the different ones like the Zoom, Jr, etc.


Which one do you recommend?

Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 20, 2005 06:15PM)
We personally use and have spec'd out to other shows the Source Four Par EA. We also use the Sourse Four Ellipsoidal in spreads of 19, 26, & 36.

silverking mentioned that the Source Four Par is a tight pattern. Indeed it isn't as spread as a Fresnel. However, at the throw distance that it would at for lighting a house, it does just fine. With the wide flood lense on it, the diameter of the beam at 35 feet is ner 30 foot in diameter. If that is not enough then the other option would be the Fresnel route as silverking mentioned. However, to carry bulbs that can fit in a multitude of fixtures, I would stay with ETC and get the Parnel, which is a source four fresnel.

Here is the photometric data for the Source Four Par with the various lenses that are included with the fixture, such as, Very Narrow Spot, Narrow Spot, Medium Flood and Wide Flood...

Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: g0thike (Dec 20, 2005 07:42PM)

I usually just get a 10 inch reflector from HomeDepot and a 500 watt screw on photoflood light bulb, so you are talking greek to me.

Thanks for the info though, but can you go here for morons like myself:


And then paste the URL of the product(FIXTURE) you recommend from the drop down list, because I am looking at a list of Source Four Par fixtures and different variations and I am lost because I see no EA, I do see Parnel but I also see the CE. What is a CE.


Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 21, 2005 05:06PM)
Here is the link for the exact S4 par...

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Message: Posted by: g0thike (Dec 21, 2005 09:09PM)

I see it, I am happy.

Is their a way to mount a 4 barn door thing to control the spread?

Also, what is "Dimmer Doubling". Or how do you dim the light?

I havnt gotten into DMX controllers yet, but is it compatable?

What does it cost?

Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 21, 2005 11:59PM)
You most likely will never need to worry aout Dimmer Doubling.

Yes there are barn doors available to put on this light.

Any conventional light will be dimmable via DMX if used with a DMX dimmer.

A new S4 Par goes for about $160 online.

If you need more info on DMX and dimmers, let me know. I'll show you what we use and the other options out there. We have spec'd out both hard light boards as well as software based.

Message: Posted by: g0thike (Dec 22, 2005 12:17AM)

Your in the major league of magic and I sometimes get to bat in the minors. Most likely I wont be needig DMX software, boards or a DMX dimmer. Can I just splice the cable with a regular dimmer from Home Depot?

I was thinking of aiming a light to the stage and another one up to the ceiling and just have an On and Off switch that I can trigger with my foot, a foot pedal. Just imagine those guitar effects pedals for a one man show. Do you know what my options might be? If it can Dim In and Dim Out that would be awesome. Any ideas?

Message: Posted by: silverking (Dec 22, 2005 01:48PM)

These fixtures are only 575 watts each, so there's nothing to prevent you from using a simple Lutron dimmer from Home Depot to dim the S4 PARS.

You'd have to put two dimmers in a metal electrical back box and wire them up as two seperate circuits, but that wouldn't be difficult. You could then plug the two dimmers controlling the two lights into one 15A circuit.

I haven't seen anything of a foot pedal myself, but you could mount your back box with your two dimmers in it on a board, which would sit on the floor. Hot glue a small block to the top and the bottom of the Decora switch on the dimmer so your foot has something to push in, and you've got two foot controled dimmers for less than a hundred bucks

If your electrical skills aren't up to knowing how to wire this up, an electrician would be able to wire it up for you in 15 minutes for very little cost. It's a good safety practice to not overrate your skills with electrical wiring, especially if it plugs into a 120V outlet.
Message: Posted by: socalmagic (Dec 26, 2005 01:46PM)
I also use my own lights to light the house in many facilities. I also do a lot of shows outside where there are no lights. I use a movie light called a Studio 2K by Mole Richardson. It is basically a very large fresnel. I use a 1,000 watt bulb so I can have two on the same circuit. They are large, but not too heavy, they can be focused from a spot light to an extremely wide field, and they have a soft light. We put them on top of triple riser combo stands, so they get very high and do not blind people. I used to try and bounce the light off the ceiling, but ceilings differed so much, and the light was not sufficient for me. Plus it is impossible when I perform outside.