SHEDDING LIGHT

This is the place for Technical Tips, Questions and Answers.

SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 08 Apr 2013, 19:48

The CvdC post has reminded me that it has been about 8 years since I last performed night shows, it was over in South Yorkshire at Mexborough, near Wombwell, great atmosphere, at the annual Xmas Lights switch-on evening. I used a small M16 mini spot, using 12 volt it put out a decent amount of light, in 30 minutes it drained a sealed lead acid battery that would probably power my small amp for 24 hours.

My only need for lighting these days is when I occasionally work in a private home which is decorated in such a way as to have no decent lighting in the room, just a few trendy uplighters, and I've got away with it by asking for a spot lamp to be brought in.

I'm currently converting an old frame into my first hands-in-front-of face booth, and so working out my blackout behind my Aida screen, and 'someone' mentioned that in the theatre a see-through' screen would become opaque if a light was shone across its front surface. I experimented, it works, but thought it too complicated, as probably needing one light from each side.

However it set me back experimenting with 'additional lighting' as one might need for a dull interior, or an outside, evening show.

LED torches have had a tremendous leap forward in the last 5 years, not the handy little cheap ones that are all about, but as sold by specialist suppliers, and using a Cree led units. As with other techy stuff their capability leaps forward each year,they produce more and more light, and longer runtimes despite their small size.

In the past they would have had less appeal as 'additional lighting' as they were designed as lights that did have a certain amount of 'spread', but primarily had a much brighter, central 'hotspot', also those with decent power were powered by relatively expensive batteries.

One company Zebralight has an amazing range of torches and headlights, and it is these headlights that have the most potential as 'additional lighting' As well as being small, about the size of a lipstick they put out a lot of light, also their beams are designed to be a wide angled 'flood' beam with even lighting, no hotspots.


The biggest breakthrough that makes them more usable is that in the last year a version using AA batteries
has been released, so one can use cheapo AAs, but get better and longer outputs using Lithium AAs, or even better Eneloop AAs, which the circuitry has apparently been designed around. (If you use rechargeable AAs you need to look at Eneloops)

I've tried lighting my booth with my Zebralight h502, (it's the most suitable, the bigger H600 is as they say 'awesome' ) ...and it does a great job, and being very light in weight it is easy to support in just the right position. The only downside is the price at just short of £60, but they are so well engineered, and they do have 6 different levels, accessed by a great (in my opinion the best,) user interface! My name is Les I am a Flashaholic.
http://www.zebralight.com/H502-AA-Flood ... _p_91.html

Image
Image
Image

Image
Image
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 10 Apr 2013, 20:19

Light in front of the gauze serves the same purpose as no light behind the gauze - it increases the opacity from the front. There are one or two dangers to avoid - and the main one is bright light. You do NOT want a bright light. A bright light defeats the object in three ways. Firstly it lights puppets and back-cloth equally brightly (because of the close proximity of puppets and scenery in puppet theatres) and this actually reduces visibility because the puppets merge with the background. Secondly over bright light, especially if from front or top tends to light the interior of the booth below the playboard and reflect from the floor up behind the back-cloth and thus destroy the opacity. Also unless your booth cover is totally light-proof there can be interesting shadows at front and sides. Thirdly bright light tends to restrict your vision through the back-cloth and you find that you can see the puppets OK but you cannot see the audience. This destroys one of the main advantages of hands-in-front manipulation.

The simplest method I have found is a clip-on light (with universal joint) fitted with no more than a 40watt bulb. This clips on the pros in front, and is angled to flood the playboard area but scarcely strike the back-cloth. I have found this amount of light quite adequate for modern living rooms with very low level lighting, and also in very gloomy pubs and in unlit marquees on a dull day. This small light also marvellously adds sparkle even in a well lit room.

If you are prepared to carry the extra equipment probably the best arrangement for a Punch booth would be footlights plus two wide angle spots on arms from the playboard shining from the front sides left and right. The reason for having more than one light source is to cancel out shadows as far as possible. But again I stress, keep the light level low, and avoid direct light on the back-cloth as much as possible.

I haven't a great deal of experience with non-mains lighting. I do carry for emergency use two led blocks, about 10 inches long, which in effect act as striplights and are powered by AA batteries. These have magnetic fittings.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby CvdC » 11 Apr 2013, 05:00

Les I like the one battery used by this sort of light. Keeps it simple.
Do you use just the one to fill the stage?
You can also get some very fancy LED lights for video cameras now. But I like that these would be unobtrusive.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 11 Apr 2013, 09:18

Yes, CvdC the one commonly available battery, and the tiny size of these lamps are a real advantage, as mentioned the cost is a drawback, but the general opinion is that they should be reliable and last many times
longer than cheaper torches.

The main benefit is that because of the beam pattern they can evenly illuminate a wide area when placed as near as 12 -15 inches. They are very different light sources from what we usually expect of a 'torch', and designed for 'area lighting' not finding ones way. I have a led block, probably as described by Chris, and even these 72 individual leds produce a central hot spot, probably because they are housed in a common reflective 'tray'.

The Zebralight I suggested, the H502 FLOOD BEAM is the update of the original H501 a design from about 4 years back, and as with that design it has no shiny reflector, so produces an even flood beam. It also produces a far wider beam and is almost 3 times brighter. The original H501 had an output of 95 Lumens,(3 levels) the H502 has a max of 260 Lumens, (6 levels)

On its level 5, at 160 Lumens (giving longer battery life (1.9 hr) than 260 and not losing much in perceived brightness, placed above it does a good job of illuminating the whole performance area and a bit further. A second light to the side, I use my original H501, adds light and reduces some of the shadows on the figures.

http://www.flashaholics.co.uk/zebraligh ... -h502.html
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 11 Apr 2013, 23:29

My 'playing with little lights' has been partly a 'displacement activity' due to the fact that there were lots of other things I really should be getting on with, especially the painting of my first see-through scenery on Aida material.

I took some inspiration from an illustration in...
Image

... deciding to go for a fireplace, with pot dogs and a chimney breast and beamed ceiling
Initial painting of block areas didn't go too well, perhaps should have primed the Aida.

Image

It also started to wrinkle, so put it back in the frame and weighted it down. Second painting went on far easier. Will not add much more detail apart from pot dogs and clock detail. Could even just put one big hand on and then have Judy looking at it and using the old Hilda Baker joke.

Image
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 12 Apr 2013, 10:37

I've been thinking about your £60 flashlight Les. Yes it does sound very costly for a torch. But think of it as a theatrical lantern and compare it with other items of stage lighting and it isn't really expensive at all.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 12 Apr 2013, 11:31

Yes Chris, different markets have different ways to arrive at a price, and weighing up price and value etc is not straightforward, and of course we have our personal views. At £59 it sounds ridiculous for a tiny torch,( about the same price as a basic microwave oven!) ..but it is a tiny torch, or rather a headlamp, with special qualities, and its small size is one of its biggest plus points.

Listed at £58.95, there is a bit of discount available so it ends up at more like £55, but that includes free and fast delivery.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 23 Apr 2013, 09:19

Really like your backdrop Les

The way you have 'light' beams falling across it and shadows too , all very lovely.

Its a vexed question isnt it ...to scenery or not to scenery ?
Last year I switched to Blacks on almost all my booths , which I know makes the puppets look better to the audience , and more visible at a distance.

But on Saturday I did a regular gig in Hinckley town centre for a St Georges day event.

My first ( and most narrow) booth is the one best suited for the location , and for this one I dont have blacks made yet , so I dusted off my street scene scenery

And it was very 'cheery and bright' to see it again.

Anyhooo digressing .

Love the look of those torches Les.

Certainly they would brighten everything up when playing indoors where the other indoor room lights are dull.

But would two of them have enough wellie to light an outdoor show at night ?

If so , I have flashlight envy ..and perhaps a purchase is coming on .

Cheers Richard
User avatar
Richard Coombs
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 839
Joined: 16 Aug 2006, 09:42
Location: Lichfield Staffs UK

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 23 Apr 2013, 16:10

Hi Richard, I've tested the H502 FLOOD BEAM on my booth, along with a similar model, in a dark room and reckon 2 of them would do the job. It's a lot of cash to 'try out' something, but you could purchase one and make your own judgement.

Flashaholics give great service and quick delivery,( http://www.flashaholics.co.uk/zebraligh ... -h502.html ) and if you use the code 'return5' you should get 5% discount, making it £56ish, this includes delivery.

As a bit of extra lighting in a poorly lit room it is worth carrying, and also remember that it is a headtorch, so comes with a lightweight well designed headband, so it's useful for setting up and breaking down in the dark, and loading the van in that dark alleyway.

My preference is for scenery, it adds to the 'magic'. Recently played about with a silk type scarf with a nice blotchy pattern and liked the look of that compared to a plain black backcloth.

Image
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 23 Apr 2013, 16:51

Thank You Les .

I've been impulsive and just ordered two by paypal.

The clincher was that one will make a good head torch for upcoming nightshoots while filming.

So with double usage , its less of a gamble.

Thanks too for the Promo code ...a nice little saving.

( and be careful messing around with ladies headscarves ...who knows where that could lead !)

Cheers Richard
User avatar
Richard Coombs
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 839
Joined: 16 Aug 2006, 09:42
Location: Lichfield Staffs UK

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 23 Apr 2013, 17:18

Or if you haven't quite as deep a purse as Les you could buy something cheaper. From Maplins you can get their Flare SOS torch. These also feature CREE technology, are little bit bigger than the ones Les suggests. They are not as well made, but are very well made and sturdy.
Their beam pattern has a spot or flood setting. The flood setting is what we need, and is pretty even and suitable for our purposes.
These torches also work on a single AA battery and have a longer burn time (3 hours) although are slightly less bright (100 lumens as opposed to 160 lumens). However you can buy two of them for less than £40 the pair and you get 200 lumens of reasonably even lighting.
What I would suggest is that if you want to experiment then these are a cheaper way in, are very practical in themselves. Nevertheless their success might well tempt you to invest in Les's beauties.
These torches are not head-lights, but they are a very convenient size for mounting in a microphone holder and this itself can be mounted on a wood spur protruding at the side of the playboard which is better than trying to light from above.

ImageImage
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 23 Apr 2013, 18:27

They look good value torches, and 100 lumens is enough for a general purpose pocket torch.
I'd be interested to see how the spot to flood works, few other manufacturers incorporate this, the German Led Lensers do, with variable success. At what distance from front of playboard do you think they are suited Chris.

The head and reflector look relatively deep, so it will have a good throw in 'spot', presumably for 'flood' the light unit moves higher up in the reflector for the wider beam, but I'd guess it's never super-wide, meaning that it has to be placed further away from the figures to avoid hotspots, making positioning trickier. You can remove hotspots by using some kind of an added diffuser, but this reduces the light output.

The Zebralight H502 Flood has a very wide, diffused beam. Top setting is 260, 0.9hr, so your max output of a pair could be 520 lumens
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 23 Apr 2013, 18:33

Oooh ..NOW you put that up ( just sent off for a pair of Les' wonders ) LOL ..ah well


The headlight aspect to the others will justify their purchase in the short term.

I was rather taken with Les' overhead rig made of the metal curtain tracking ...something similar was in my mind to mount these above the show.

But your suggestion CCS , along with the speaker stand mountings would make an excellent way to put footlights into the equation , giving both top lights and footlights to be able to do a night show entirely with own kit.

( not something I currently do ...but the sort of Booking that could come in for many of us for say a Bonfire night event pre the fireworks)

And when you look at these torches as stage lights , rather than torches ..then yes CCS , the high cost suddenly doesnt look as high as other alternatives . And these can be self contained as part of our own kit ...rather than having to rely on the event organiser to provide lighting , which would almost certainly be wrong , or wrongly placed.

Best wishes to all. Richard
User avatar
Richard Coombs
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 839
Joined: 16 Aug 2006, 09:42
Location: Lichfield Staffs UK

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 23 Apr 2013, 18:38

Just spotted your post Richard, they are also great when away on hols etc and staying in a strange bedroom, even have a glow in the dark reflector, and run them on Eneloops for economy, ebay or amazon prob cheapest.

Yes, stick to AAs, don't get involved with the 'hard stuff' of CR123, 18650s and 14500s.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 23 Apr 2013, 20:56

Firstly to Richard. I think it best to think of these really as emergency lights for when you are in a dim situation without any hope of mains electrics. In this case it is wonderful to have such small lights and a couple of batteries to brighten things up. However, although you could get away with a show in a blackout illuminated by only these torches it wouldn't look cheerfully bright by any means. The puppets would be seen but the atmosphere would be shadowy. To give you an idea of the amount of light consider that an ordinary 60 watt bulb gives over 700 lumens. Two Maplins would give but 200 lumens, even two of Les's only 500. Therefore if you were planning to night-time shows on any sort of regular basis it would be better to think in terms of mains, generator or battery power pack systems. These torches are brilliant to enliven low level light situations but are not enough for brilliant lighting. I also carry a single clip-on mains reflector lamp. I prefer it to the torches (or leds) if I have mains available.

Les, the spot/flood change of these lamps seems very effective, although the spotlight setting is of little use for our purposes, although marvellous for toy theatre. There is no real hot-spot to worry about. I would say that using them on battens from the corners of the playboard then 8 inches front of playboard would be OK. I have mine each lighting up about half the stage with slight overlap at the centre since the edge of the beam being a skewed elipse isn't as wide a coverage as the centre beams. If you set the lamps well to the side you can focus to light the playboard area front and back of the pros and avoid too much glare through the back-cloth. The system I illustrated using the microphone clip and threaded stand adapter does give you a virtually unviversal joint to aid focussing to light the right area.
These torches will also work from top right and left corners of the pros, only six inches in advance of the pros. but this position is not as good for the puppets faces as the more frontal bottom light from playboard level. This is because in the Punch show puppets must lean forward of the playboard and look down (to keep an eyeline with the kids) and this plunges the face into deep shadow if you only have top lighting. If you were to use top lighting alone then it would be a good idea to paint the top surface of your playboard white.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3224
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Next

Return to Punch Workshop

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron