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Hi there (new member ;))


I am a member of our schools Lighting Club, and have the responsibility of planning, rigging and operating the rig for my Year Groups Talent Show to be held next school year.


Having recently helped out with a production of Barnum at school, there are some new things I would like to try. One of these things is moving lights. I have worked out a deal with ShowCAD who have been kind enough to say they will provide a USB-->DMX Adapter for our production, and a copy of their software. Now we have the control sorted out, I thought it would be nice to have some moving lights to experiment with, even if it was for something as simple as figure of eights, or even random movements. None of the lighting club have ever used moving lights before, and the school doesn't own any of its own. Therefore I am considering proposing to my Year Head, that we rent some in.


I am looking for a company in the Hampshire area who can rent us 2xMac 250s and 2xMac300s for as little as possible. We are an educational establishment, and I am willing to send a letter to any companies who may be able to help us (using school letterheaded paper). This will be after September, when we return to school. If any companies would be willing to lend us or rent us some of the above lights, I would be most greatful if we could be put in touch. I am also considering renting in some ParCans + Scrollers, however renting anything in generally means money, and I don't know what the budget for lighting will be (if anything at all!).


I hope this is clear !


Thanks in advance,


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I don't know how much experiance you guys have but I would possible question the use of Mac 250/300;s as your first foray into the world of moving lights,


They do take quite a but of programming to make to most out of and can be a liability if you can't get them programed up in time.


When I was at school, My first play with movers in a show was with 4 6ch scanners and 4 pancans.


Even so they did take quite a but of working at to get them to be effective.


However you could have someone with you who has used them before and so I could be talking absolute rubbish.


The company I hired the scans from do offer a reasonably deal - and they cost much less than mac 250's . PM me if you want their no.


Good Luck.

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Bright* might be a good idea to look into, they are based in Taunton but would be able to deliever to Hampshire with ease. I'm in Dorset (Christchurch) so it's not two worlds apart!


Ok for the advice...


I'm sure you've thought this through etc, but I would establish a clear plan for your movers now, and be sure exactly what your going to use them for... A clear plan of action will help you in the long run.


I personally don't think the Mac 300's would be of much use, you wouldn't be able to wash a reasonable size stage with two, and for £120 (less than the £160 for 2 Mac 300's) you could get 12 scrollers and some extra Par 64s or Cantata F's for the same price which would do the job 10 times better.


Now how much power do you have to power your movers? i.e. have you a dedicated 16A or 32A feed on stage, which is independant from the dimmers, or normal 13A ring etc. You'll need this to power the movers.


You'll also need a desk to control the movers, if you've not already got a desk that'll control dancing dustbins. In your case I'd look into a Zero 88 Fat Frog.


You could also consider Mac 500's or Pro 918's (a Mac 500 in a mirror) which are only an extra £5 a week from Bright. In fact the Pro 918's are about £45 a week and therefore much cheaper! I only recommend Mac 500 (or equiv) because you'll find them much brighter above a 1k Par rig.


Have you got somewhere to hang these movers? You'll need flyable or motorised bars, or some way to get upto the bars if they don't move. NOT an A-Frame ladder or Zarges!


6 scrollers and distro etc will set you back £80 from Bright. 2x mac 250's and 2x mac 300's would be £320. A Fat Frog is about £75 so that makes £475. Of course you'll need to add power distro on top of that, and DMX cabling etc. So your looking at about £600 ex vat and delivery. Bright will also do you a 25% discount because your a school.


Well what more can I say. Good luck, feel free to ask any question here and privately by PM.


PM/E-Mail me off list if you want contact details for Bright or any extra help. I'm more than happy to offer it.



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Well, in terms of power, for Barnum we just got some pretty hefty extension leads and gaffered them to the wall. Then we used LX tape to hold up some 4 way strips :blink:


We have a friend from a Performing Arts School nearby who can assist us with the Macs and Parcans - we used them in Barnum which is where I got my inspiration from.


The Macs will be for adding some energy into the dancing/singing numbers. Changing colours, just whizzing around randomly would be ideal really. The show will (hopefully) have a lot of musical numbers, including some quite heavy rock music played by our GCSE Music students, and so I thought quite a dark wash with some movers and flashing floods would look quite groovy.


For Control, the nice guys at ShowCAD are going to lend us a USB-->DMX adapter and a copy of Artist for the duration of the show. Artist, if you don't already know, has support for the Macs, and provides the tools etc... to program them. It even has a little palette for changing the colours, lamp status, etc... with the mouse - just click on the buttons.


As for using scans - I guess the difference is that they use moving mirrors instead of the whole "head" moving. I guess they are quieter and cheaper to rent out?


Thanks for your answers guys ;)


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Well if you want wizzing around stuff etc scans would probably be ideal as they move fast than a moving head, due to the fact only the mirror has to move, not the complete (or almost complete) fixture.


And at almost half the price they are a valid option!


I'm not sure if they are any quieter - someone else will have to answer that!



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As long as they can change colour, move, and come on or off, I'm not fussed really. The idea of using Mac's came simply because I have had a tiny bit of experience moving them with a Fat Frog (we have an Alcora which we used for the static rig at Barnum - we used the Fat Frog and a demultiplexer for scrollers, and the Fat Frog on its own for the movers - it was the same desk too!)
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Well what I'd recommend is writing down a list of what you think you'll need (once you've got a good idea of the budget) and start ringing round hire companies. I'm sure a good google will bring up some success.


I'll PM you Bright's details when I can find em in the mess on my desk ;)




EDIT: Member category upgrade please! 300 posts...

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have you thought about the minimac profile?

it is small enough to fit in any nook/ cranny onstage and is fairly cheap.


personally, I would reccomend a moving mirror lantern as they are cheaper and, with smoke, get the same effect.


I have used both and found the minimacs to be great little lights for a rock show as the 1k rig is rarely on full during the whole show, this means that the lamp can be seen easily.

they can also be floor mounted - i.e. two to either side and behind the drum kit and two washing the front of the audience/stage.


if all you want is random movement, then a generic controller such as the mc-1 or other types would do nicely.

remember that it will take a while to program in the chase sequences on the board after having figured out the show.


but, enough of that - Good luck.

andrew clunie

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I've been here and got the t-shirt from many years ago, so here's my thoughts...


Think about what you wan't to get out of this - You wan't the show to look good, you wan't to learn something and you want to have fun. The best way to achieve these in a school situation is to keep it all as simple as possible.


As already mentioned, some nice little scans would be ideal, as you won't have to mess about with 13 channels per head. You'll lose out in that you probably won't get as much output as with bigger fixtures, but you'll save yourself sooo much hasstle. It'll be much easier to rig, troubleshoot and plot this way.


Either the old MADscans or MAD Q Scans would be quite good for this, as they're simple, reasonably light to handle and simple to use. You can hire MADscans from Point Source Productions or MAD Q scans from The Moving Light Company. If you phone up and talk very nicely to MLC, they might look kindly upon you... ;)

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Not getting into the nodding bucket debate, but as for who to go to, I found Storm Lighting of Woking very amenable to the school that I worked at (Hants/Surrey border) - they're on 01483 757211.
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I'd second the recommendations people have made to look at moving mirror heads (scans) rather than moving yoke types. I'd specifically recommend the Clay Paky Miniscan HPE. Several reasons why...


- they're great little lights - lightweight, so easier to rig if you don't have motored bars (which I can't imagine many schools have) - you can just carry them up a ladder

- good and bright, too, but with a pretty low power draw, again good if you don't have serious amounts of hard power

- I also think scans are easier to program when you're first starting out with moving lights - it may sound daft, but the fact you can achieve the same focus with a moving head with two different combinations of pan and tilt can tie you up in knots if you don't work it through first, and you don't have to pay any real attention to the speed at which the light can move when you're dreaming up your chases - with a moving mirror, it'll pretty much be where you want when you want, generally speaking

- the Miniscans only take 7 channels, which is just less stuff to think about than a Mac500 with two colour wheels, 2 gobo, effects etc etc - and the channels are pretty sane too, you don't need to think about the internals of the light at all.

- I like the Miniscan HPE over the ordinary Miniscan because of the rotating gobos - makes it very easy to get a pretty effect with some "animation" out of what is actually just a single cue.


Planning is definitely the key to getting the most out of the lights. Sit down in advance of the show and think what you want to do with the lights. I don't know if the ShowCAD controller has a shape generator, if it doesn't, you'll have to plan each effect in terms of a series of positions for the movers etc.


Another tip is to only involve one type of parameter in any given chase or cue - so position is one chase, shutters are another, colour another again and so on. It means you can then combine these to get more different looks for the same amount of programming. A shutter chase can look really good without the scans moving or doing anything else at all.




P.S. For the advanced exercise, look at preset focuses and think about how they could help you in this show, and also in other situations... ;)

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