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BackWall Shadows Using Coda 4's. Advice Welcomed.


lx-snd

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Hi Guys,

 

Just a quick question.

I've just been asked to create an effect to form big shadows of the actors on the back wall. Now at our venue we have a small stage so what I was planning to do originally was to have 2X M16 2metre battens and place them on the edge of the stage and focus them up towards our white backwall. Now this would work perfectly, only on an extremly small budget this doesn't seem a very budget idea (talking on a hired basis) however our venue has some coda 4's and I wonderd wether this would form the same effect of the shadows. To go into detail there are going to be about 6 actors accross the stage inbetween the backwall and the edge of the stage and effectivly the M16s would/should work fine. But my question is wether with coda 4s at the edge of the stage facing up onto our backwall. Would they work just as well?

 

Comments and Advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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sources on the floor going up onto a cyc can look very good - especially with dance, but ideally to get sharp shadows you need the smallest fillament - floods are designed to wash cloths/spaces so puting things in the way of the beam isn't always that sharp, unless they're close to the wall. I often use a couple of floor cans either side of the apron which give nice coloured shadows if you pick the main colours carefully
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yeah. low floor side pars are good - as are 500 w frensnels. I always have a few minuette F's knocking around to stick on floor stands for the exact same purpose.

 

So would that give me some decent shadows if I had say to par 64 floor cans at the left and right edge of the stage? I'm not looking for anything too sharp becuase its a basic 10 seconds effect which will only be used once in the entire show. Thinking about it to get a sharp shadow would 2 source four 50 not be a big enough beam bearing in mind I have a small stage, to place them at the left and right of the edge of the stage?

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To get a similar effect a few years ago we borrowed the caretaker's work light and it worked well enough. Well, it was cheap, dimmable, cheap, safe and cheap enough. Worth a try for 10 seconds worth?

 

Note to self. Return the caretaker's work light.

 

So really, Since I have the coda 4's it might be worth having a try just using one cell to give a quick effect? Because the workers light is basicly a small flood is it not?

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I lit a dance show in the summer, using 2 coda 4 battens and it was a lovely effect. a soft edge on the shadows - but that's what I wanted.

 

I then coloured the cyc from above with about 4 irises, changing as the song went through

 

very effective I thought

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Well yes , u could try the codas. but the light of course will be very uncontollable. PAR cans or frensnels (with b/d's of course!) are best for more control of the light.

 

If you want Defined shadows you will have to use profiles, but from that throw distance, as wide as angle as you can get.

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I 2nd ojc123's work light. We brought 4 garage lights from Wickes when we were runny really short of lights on one of our school productions (which was of course funded on peanuts). We got loads of great shadows when we just gaffa'd them on the front of the stage. At £4.99 a light, it's also really cheap. They burn through gels like nobodys buisiness, but they should be okay for 10 seconds.
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The beast you need is a Linnebach Projector, which is not much more than a lamp in a black box. Strand used to make one - pattern 223L - which, I believe, was basically a pat 223 1K fresnel with the lens and reflector removed.

 

Easiest way to improvise is to remove the lens from a fresnel and either remove the reflector or cover it with black wrap.

 

Can't be too difficult - they appear to have been able to do a damn good job back in 1675 - if Samuel van Hoogstraten's engraving The Shadow Dance is to be believed.

http://archive.v2.nl/v2_events/2001/bodymovies/hoogstraten_gr.jpg

 

David

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To get a similar effect a few years ago we borrowed the caretaker's work light and it worked well enough. Well, it was cheap, dimmable, cheap, safe and cheap enough. Worth a try for 10 seconds worth?

 

Note to self. Return the caretaker's work light.

 

So really, Since I have the coda 4's it might be worth having a try just using one cell to give a quick effect? Because the workers light is basicly a small flood is it not?

 

 

definitely worth a try. I used a coda 3 batten for this effect on a show I lit ages ago - it was the only thing spare and no budget....I chased between the two outside compartments to get a wierd movement effect into the shadows, and used the centre compartment on its own for a reasonably sharp static version. The important thing as others have said is the single source to get sharper shadows, which is why a Howie Batten probably wouldn't give the best results, but a single compartment flood would be acceptable. this could be one compartment of your coda 4, or indeed a little halogen worklight on a benchbase stand will work fine - if it's good enough for Rick Fisher, it's good enough for us blue-room types. It was a regular feature in lighting designs he did for Adventures in Motion Pictures in the days before they went all west-end and big budget.

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Although it has been said that single point source (one filament) will give you sharper shadows, the simple fact is :

 

The more filaments, the more shadows you produce.

 

This can have the effect of softening the shadows, in the case of a Howie batten, when the sources are close together. If you were to use two single floods, wider apart either side of stage you would obviously get two shadow instances of each actor, hitting the backcloth in a straight lines drawn from the source and through the actor. but even two cells of a Coda 4 would produce two shadows.

 

The choice of lantern would, as has been said, be something like a single flood or a fresnel with the lens out.

 

DavidLee provided an ideal illustration of how best to achieve the effect. One source DSC low down makes the shadows of the actors nearest to source taller than those further upstage. It also puts the center of the shadow action in the middle of the scene, rather than to one side as is the case with a source DSR or DSL.

 

Working out the size of your shadows and required angles of your point source is really basic lighting design. It doesn't need WYSIWYG, just a pencil, paper and a ruler to draw a plan and a side elevation (sectional view). There are only two rules: 1) Light travels in straight lines and 2) It doesn't stop until it hits something.

 

Incidentally, it is a fallacy that you can "wash out" or remove shadows on a backcloth by adding more light sources. All you do is produce the opportunity of more shadows or change the colour of others.

 

Off Topic : I was having a discussion with a lighting industry employer this week who complained that everyone comes out of school calling themselves an LD with none of the basic knowledge of how lighting design actually works. If this post seems a bit like a grumpy old LD rant, it might be because of that...

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