SHEDDING LIGHT

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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby CvdC » 27 Apr 2013, 01:05

I was thinking that a good possible set up would be an led light panel mounted above and behind the proscenium. You can get lights for video cameras that can be gelled. These do not produce heat and can be dimmed.
Then I would have one or two footlight torches set up to put in some shadows and add a theatrical atmosphere.

The good thing about torches is that they have some use other than the rare times you may use them to light a show. I have found that bothering with power leads can be a problem sometimes, so rechargeable batteries may be a good idea. With some lights you can use both power and battery.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 27 Apr 2013, 11:22

I have those Zebra lights now ...and I have to say they deliver a surprisingly good wash of strong light.

If anyones funds permitted , I suspect that 4 would in fact give you a watchable show in total darkness ..two mounted overhead to each side ( using Les' curtain track rig or similar) ...and one on each end of the play board ( CSS style using the microphone mounts )


I have two of the Maplin , cheaper torches on order and will try a mock up using two of each.

If you added some LED lights above behind the pros ( like CvdC suggests ), then I am fairly confident you could go totally mains free for a watchable evening show.

But yes , true there is always the 'Powerpack' (Inverter) type of option too to run a stronger light.


but thank you to Les again , for bringing these marvellous Zebra Light torches to our attention ( and also for the 5% off code )

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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 27 Apr 2013, 17:59

Trust me Richard, you don't want lights behind the pros. This was a problem with early Eric Sharp booths which came equipped with them.
Think about it - what are lights for? To light up something? What do you want to light up with lights behind the pros?
To light the back-cloth from so close a position serves to a) dazzle the puppeteer who can only see the puppets but not the audience, and b) light up the backcloth so that the puppets don't stand out as well. c) Reflected light from the cloth also backlights the puppets, and top lighting the puppets gives nasty shadows which means it essential to have strong front lighting or foot-lighting to compensate.
d) light from behind the pros also lights up the whole front of the booth inside. This meant with the Eric Sharp Booths, which were covered with industrial nylon, that the audience were treated to a shadow show beneath the playboard.
Of course these remarks are specific to the conditions of the Punchman working hands in font and looking through a gauze, with the resultant shallow playing area. On-stage top lighting obviously has a place in other forms of puppetry where the action takes place largely behind the proscenium. If you were working hands above head with a deep playing area and a cloth at the back then there might be a call to light behind the pros.
The puppet is what needs lighting, and this has to be from the front since the puppet is always either against the playboard, in which case level with the pros, or else leaning forward to get an eyeline with the kids in which case it is forward of the pros.
The lights you suggest front top and playboard level cross lighting sounds as though it would work very well, and I agree with you that four of the Zebra lights wouldcertainly give you workable light - but still not as much light output as a single 60watt bulb.
Personally I am happy to have a couple of these torch floodlights as a usefully emergency measure which takes up virtually no extra space in the bag - and providing you don't store the batteries inside the torches can be left there and forgot about until needed. However if I were planning a full lighting set-up, possibly with dimmers as CvdC suggested I'd ....... I'd wonder why I was wasting my time. All we want for Punch is good general light. We don't have dimmers, spots, floods or angled lighting when performing outside.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 29 Apr 2013, 14:41

Hope the Zebralights prove useful Richard. I've been experimenting with positions and numbers, 4 is obviously brighter than 2, but I reckon 3 could be enough. Because of the type of light they produce, they do not give strong shadow problems, so they work well above, and are well out of the way. Chris' point about the forward position of the figures, especially Punch sat on the playboard, suggests to me that Punch would benefit from the third light, from his side on a strut level with the playboard.

For an extra light I've used a bigger, though still not that big H600 Zebralight up top, (used on its 4th of 6 levels at 270 Lumens) it isn't as diffused, but effective light is similar to a 60 watt bulb. Comparing incandescent output from a 60 watt spotlight isn't straightforward. Due to their beam patterns these Zebralights make the very most of their outputs, and with the H600 at level 5, 420 lumens, it easily out illuminates a 60 watt bulb spotlamp, and has much whiter light. I reckon a 60 watt bulb delivers the same effective brightening result as about a total of 300/350 lumens of led lamps.

Incidentally, one way of mounting them is to attach a strong neo-whatsit magnet to the end, and then it will attach to a penny washer glues to and strut or bracket you design.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 29 Apr 2013, 15:13

Er, actually Les I think you are perhaps underestimating the light output of an ordinary 60 watt lamp (not a spot), for example according to the European Union standard, an energy-efficient bulb that claims to be the equivalent of a 60 W tungsten bulb must have a minimum light output of 700-750 lumens.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 29 Apr 2013, 16:12

It depends how, and where they measure the amount of light, it's apples and oranges.

(BTW Beware ebay led torch claims,some sneaky Chinese torch manufacturers apparently measure on the surface of the led, not after it exits the torch)

Lighbulbs, lamps, are designed to light a room, so this spread light is measured. I'm sure they know what they are doing and that their figure of 700-750 is 'spot' on! Sorry.

I've repeated my comparison, with a 60 watt lamp, it is, as you say brighter than a spot, but still no brighter than the H600 on its 420 setting, so it will be putting out 700 ish, but a lot of them are not shining where they are any use.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 29 Apr 2013, 18:03

Sorry Les, I thought we were still talking about the torches discussed previously working on a single AA battery. I realise that you are talking about an even more expensive model, well over £70, and with a presumably more expensive battery?
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 29 Apr 2013, 18:23

Still talking about them Chris, just using the bigger H600 light for comparison because it has a known output, of 420 lumens on level 5, (750 turbo but only in 3 minute bursts, when it clearly outshines a 60 watt lamp) and comparing that with a 60 watt lamp bulb, it compares very favourably, so reckon that the smaller lights with each a max of 260 x 2 or second highest level for longer runtime of 160 x 3 should also be comparable, and in fact more fit for purpose.

Yes, the H600 also requires a couple of batteries, one as spare, and a charger, so total investment of more like £110, expensive toys, then again some people spend that on a night out.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 05 May 2013, 10:44

Yes CSS ..lights above , behind the Prosc are a daft idea on a hands in front booth ...far too near the backcloth , and would only light the tops of puppets heads ( and the inside of your working area, savante bag , hanging puppets etc) ....wasnt thinking there sorry - just getting carried away with the possibility of using small portable lights , and spoke before engaging brain ...not for the first ( or I daresay the last) time :-)

BUT ......

Having now taken delivery of 2 of the Maplin Torches , I am now in a position to make a direct comparison.

My advice ...Dont bother with the Maplin ones folks ...seriously ...just don't !
"Buy Cheap - Buy Twice" as the saying goes.

Except for the fact that they are black in colour , they in no way compare to the Flashaholics H502 Flood Beams..

Apart from their colour , they are in every way inferior ...dont get me wrong they are a nice little sturdy torch , keep one in your bedside cabinet for power cuts by all means , but for Punch use as discussed here...just not suitable.

They are quite heavy ( but CSS mounting system would cope superbly with them ...but would also be knockout for the H502's as well )
They are big ..the 502s are tiny and would be very discrete...certainly not ugly if mounted on a small outrigger on each end of the play board for example.

And whatever the packaging does or doesnt say , the are palpably less bright than the 502s
( they do switch to a wonderful morse code SOS flicker should you ever find yourself lost with your booth and in need of air ambulance rescue )

But the major downfall is their alleged 'Flood' mode ...it just seems like a slightly widened version of its 'spot' mode ...not a true 'flood' at all.
Even at a distance of two feet from the booth , it still produces a white circle of light .....the 502s give a total even and full wide 'wash' of light even from 3 inches ....quite amazing , and unlike any other torches I have ever seen : wherever you choose to mount them they will give your whole proscenium area an even wash of light with no hotspots.

The Maplins torches , by comparison , at the kinds of distances discussed in this strand - (at playboard ends , or a Les-type outrigger from above/sides) - only produce a 4 to 5 inch circle of light , enough to catch a puppets face , but only if it never moved at all . Or if at at a very oblique angle , an ellipse of light , as CSS mentions.. but this just creates a ribbon band of light ( like wide lasers in discos if you are old enough to remember such things ) ..ie : a band of light that puppets would move in and out of !


In short the Maplins torches are NOT fit for our purpose , and HO2s are and also really REALLY worth the money.
As CSS said in his first reply here ...if you think of it as a stage light , not a torch, its cost is suddenly better value

I am very lucky as I have another job that can use the H02s : in fact Les' posting of this strand was very timely for me , as it solved the problem of how to achieve an effect ( I need to internally illuminate 5 largish jellyfish puppets ) so I am treating myself to another 3 x HO2s so I have 5 for that film work ...when done I will remove them from the jellyfish , and have 4 to use on the Booth ( 2 on playboard ends and 2 from above on a Les type rig ) ..and also one left over as a really excellent head torch. It wont be until late Autumn ..but when I have had a chance to make those rigs and set it up, I will post some photos here.

The two Maplins Torches will never go anywhere near a Punch Booth , and are already next to the bed , and by the electricity meter , where in my opinion , they belong.

Hope that helps anyone wrestling with what to buy.

All the Best Richard.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 05 May 2013, 17:50

I've got to disagree Richard - because I have used the Maplin ones. I do agree that the Zebra ones are far superior, and yes, they are brighter. I said that originally, and it is clearly stated on the packet. But the Maplin ones are adequate for what I want, and they have a much longer battery life. Also brighter is not necessarilly better.
Also I must come to the conclusion that you either haven't tested the Maplin ones properly and are jumping to conclusions, or you have a faulty pair. Firstly regarding the flood/spot question. Mine are distinctly different. Secondly your remarks about the flood being a circular beam. In my experience all floodlamps, for stage, television or whatever, give a circular beam unless they are profiled. But with two Maplin torches only a few inches in front of the playboard I can fairly evenly flood the whole of the acting area, while not too much direct light on the backcloth. Certainly if, at full flood, your Maplins will only light a puppet's face then there is something wrong.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that the Maplin torches will in anyway be as bright or as cute as the the Zebra ones, but I am saying that they are cheaper, and adequate. And at 110 grams how can you say they are heavy? I think the Zebra is a magnificent piece of kit, and I'll probably buy another. But I can afford to, not everyone will.
I look at it this way. In 99% of the times when I could use supplementary lighting I will be indoors, and when indoors 99% of the time I will have mains power available - and mains lighting is obviously the preferable option in every way. So for me the battery torches are something that there will rarely ever be occasion to use, but something nice to have tucked away "just in case". For that rare eventuality I can just about justify an outlay of £40 plus whereas £120 plus is less attractive.
And I'm not just talking from theory, I've used them in the field. The Maplin ones do work.

I'll illustrate with a few photographs. All the following photos are taken in pitch black with no stray ambient light -a situation you will never ever face in reality. Therefore these pictures are in more than worst case conditions. Also they are not good conditions for taking photographs, so please judge from the enlarged pictures not the thumbnails which should be clicked.

I originally experimented with the torches just above playboard level, on wire arms about 5 inches forward of the playboard. These lit up the backcloth but throw nasty shadows and caused a hot spot where the torch beams overlap.

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In this position there was adequate light for the puppet and backcloth but the shadows were ugly.

Image


I found that top lighting from the front corners of the proscenium lit the puppet better and gave sufficient light for the backcloth.

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But you may feel that the shadows are unacceptable.

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A black background will absorb the shadows. Notice also that the puppet is quite well lit although behind the proscenium arch.

Image


The puppets are also adequately lit when forward of the proscenium, although they will go into shadow if they are leaned forward too far.

Image


As I said, those shots were all in a total blackout, with no camera flash. The shots are not sharp because the camera needs more light to focus properly. But I think they show there is adequate light from only two Maplin torches to do a show. In actual fact the impression was better than the pictures show.

Having switched the lights on you can see the lamps in situ. The set-up couldn't be simpler. Just two threaded mounts screwed on the proscenium top corners - scarcely visible until you attach the microphone holders and torches. That is surely just the simplicity you need for a rarely required emergency item. Also I think they look quite neat Richard.

Image


There are improvements that could be made. If you combined the playboard level torches with an extra two in the proscenium top corners you could get a more even coverage and light the faces of puppets leaning forward. But to me that would defeat the simplicity of an emergency stand-by. If I was seriously planning to do night time shows I wouldn't start from here.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Richard Coombs » 05 May 2013, 18:56

Nice and useful pics Chris.

They illustrate things well.

I will reserve judgement until I have had time in the Autumn to put together a four torch rig as described.

But it does make me chuckle that I must have a faulty of Maplins torches ...having bought two of each and run a side by side comparison , why cant I just have reached a fair-ish conclusion ...but nope , that could never be ...mine must be faulty.

Hey ho .

I guess anyone wishing to have a go themselves will have to run their own tests.

All the Best Richard
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 05 May 2013, 20:29

No Richard,of course I didn't really imagine two Maplin's torches would be faulty. I just thought I'd offer you an escape route.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby lesclarke » 07 May 2013, 07:34

.. alternatively
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby Chris » 07 May 2013, 12:51

Yes, no torches or mains power then. And think of the Gallanty shows - they had to have a candle or oil lamp inside the booth! Must have been a touch dangerous. Incidently when Geoff Felix eventually found the record of Piccinni's death he was down as a Gallanty showman, not Punch.
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Re: SHEDDING LIGHT

Postby johnstoate » 10 Jun 2013, 00:30

Yep, Sorry to disappoint but I'm still around :D Interestingly I based my lighting set-up on the picture Les showed. The light being pretty much central over the playboard, but forward of it. - After a few experiments with torches, and even a child's toy 'light sabre' (Which worked quite well!) I found a couple of ex-military map lights in a surplus store which use standard , (car-type) 12v dc. 5w. bulbs. They have a curved upstand approximately 24" high with a really 'gutsy' clip on the bottom, and a square light box at the top with two 5w. bulbs. I clip them onto either end of the playboard and feed the cable down to a 12v. battery behind the front tilt, this tends to work very well, and gives a good light onto the dolls without the hands-in-front 'blinding' problem of too much light, By cutting the outside of the light box back a little, it also throws some light towards the audience, which helps me to see them. (Handy if you wish to respond to them :) )
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