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What kind of spot?


dclholly

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I'm a projectionist for a part-time community cinema. We often have guest speakers for Q&A sessions after a film and I have been asked to look into some improved lighting for these sessions. The speakers (normally 2 people) usually sit around a coffee table and I would like to highlight this area. We don't own the building which means I cannot change the existing lighting and cannot install anything permanent. In the projection room we have a spare projection window containing ordinary glass (roughly 25cms square). The distance from the projection room to the stage area is about 20-25 metres.

 

My idea is to have a spot, maybe on a stand so that it can be packed away when not in use, aimed through the window at the stage.

 

Can anyone give me some ideas of what is available that might fit the bill?

 

I have no experience of lighting, so any help in pointing me in the right direction would really be appreciated.

 

Paul

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Well you could certainly fire a follow spot or other narrow angle profile through there, from the back, but the results would be hard and unflattering. Unless you can squeeze in some stands to give you a better angle, as in downwards, it will look pretty unpleasant - and for the people being interviewed, rather bright to the eyes, with the audience and light coming from the same rough area. A couple of tall stands either side would be much better, and with something like a small Fresnel on top, would look much nicer.
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To light a 3 metre circle at 25 metres throw is a beam angle of less than 7 degrees. As paulears has said you could use a profile spot to do this, but you would need something like a Selecon Pacific 5.5->13 zoom or CCT Minuette 6->14. You might get away with a CCT Freedom ECO pebble convex at its narrowest beam of 9 degrees. The latter would give you a slightly softer light and you can use barndoors to limit the beam size. A couple of PAR56 cans on floor stands would give you a bit of upwards fill.

 

Before you go out and buy anything call your local lighting hire company and ask for advice. Hire a couple of lanterns and see what is possible, or even get a demo from them.

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What Paul said makes a lot of sense. Lighting the speakers with a single spot from the projection room will look, to be frank, pants. It'll be very flat, very two-dimensional, and very blinding to those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of it. As Paul said, your best bet is to look at a couple of stands, one either side of the stage and slightly in front, with one or two small fresnels on each (500w/650w units). You can run the whole shooting match off a single 13A socket, it'll give you a nice soft-edged light but with enough control to stop it from going where you don't want it to, and that kind of angle is much kinder to the speakers' eyes (not pointing straight into them when they look out towards the punters) and gives a result that's visually much more pleasing.
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Another option to try is footlights. try a Par16 Blue Room Wiki as they are very compact so can be set up and focussed beforehand. Set up yout coffee table and chairs then focus the Par16 so they light the persons head and body. It might take two at different angles to light each person so they are not in shadow. The light will be going up so try and position the Par16 so no light spills on the screen. Having the table and chairs close to the front of the stage will help. Par16 globes have different beam angles available, try a wide, maybe 60 degree for the boy and a narrow, maybe 16 degree for the face.

 

Mark the location of the coffee table and chairs, usually with a small piece of tape under each leg, so no focusing is needed after the film, the lights are less obtrusive and draw less power.

 

A footlight has a steep angle and does not look too flattering when too steep, so the shallower the angle, the better the look. Try positioning the footlights so they are pointing almost straight at the person, so if the two people are facing each other across the coffee table, the footlights will be at about 45 degrees from the edge of the stage. Look up Keylights for more information.

 

Most cinemas have footlights installed as curtain warmers, but they are designed to wash the entire width of the screen.

 

If you get the angles correct, you can still project film as they talk as there will be no spill on the screen.

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I'm not that far away from you. Possible contacts for you are Stage Electrics in Cambridge, or Think AV in Newmarket. PM me if you want any details or help. (though very busy at the mo I may have some time to swing by)

 

edit to correct the Freudian slip, bust = busy :blink:

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