Open Forum

Lightning Effects Equipment

  • 1.  Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 11 days ago
    I'm looking to shoot realistic lightning behind the set (through the window).  I've never worked with this effect before, so am needing to find and use the necessary equipment.

    1. Is this equipment something you typically buy and keep or just rent from a local supply house.

    I'm assuming renting is the way to go, but if it's something schools around me may have on hand, then I'll reach out to them first.  Always looking to save a buck.

    2.  If you have experience with this equipment/effect and want to share tips with me I'd gladly take it.

    Thank you so much!

    ------------------------------
    Brett Buffum
    Theatre Teacher
    Spring Hill KS
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  • 2.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 11 days ago
    It really depends on the ultimate effect you want and the lighting levels on stage in front of the window.  Most of the time however, this can be achieved with a mini fresnel, fresnel, or ellipsoidal-- just depends on if you want a hard edged shadow or a soft one and on the amount of bleed you will get through the flat, as an elips can be shuttered off.  If the window does not have mullions, or if you want to create those out of thin air on the floor a gobo is the way to go and then you will need an ellipsoidal to work that magic.... just make sure you get the right size for your instrument.  Depending on the scenery as well, it might be necessary to hang the instrument directly on an upstage flat or rig up a tree or batten for the special if you can't get the right angle from existing hang positions.

    Hope all that helps


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    Michael Johnson
    Trinity NC
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  • 3.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 11 days ago
    I prefer to use LED fixtures, they tend to strobe quicker and if you have a bump button on the console it is easy and great, make sure you use a 5000K led for the bluish white look of real lightning. I prefer the LED over the traditional fixture as there is ramp up and down on a traditional bulb, and the color is off

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    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Omaha NE
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  • 4.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi,

    Although I am uncertain what you are thinking/visioning, here is a link to a Rosco effect suggestion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLxEBPDiiHg

    This also uses a gobo for the window itself. If it is just the flash of light you need, an LED fixture can provide the bright flash (and instantaneous black out).
    This can also be done with a strobe. Part of what you want may be a flash at a higher color temperature than your conventional lights. Assigning the fixture to a bump button on your desk can make this easier to manipulate. If using thunder sound effect as well, please remember that thunder follows lightning

    Hope this helps.

    Dana


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    Dana Taylor
    MSD of Mt. Vernon
    Evansville IN
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  • 5.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 10 days ago
    What ever you use, I recommend you control the instrument manually on a fader (channel or sub).  Why?  Because lightening is jagged.  It starts off the brightest, dims, goes up to not quite as bright, dims, goes up again, until it's done.  Imagine a jagged descending graph.  The Y axis goes up to 10.  The lightening starts on the X axis and shoots up to 10, then down to 3, then up to 8, then down to 2, then up to 6, then down to 1, then up to 4, then down to 0.  Very quickly.

    Also, running your lightning manually allows the board of to adjust it to the timing of the thunder (if you also have thunder).

    I too recommend LEDs because of their quicker response time.

    ------------------------------
    Beth Rand, EBMS
    Educational Lighting Designer
    School Theatre Operations Coach

    www.PRESETT.org
    - LIGHTING INSTITUTE FOR THEATRE TEACHERS - ONLINE MINI COURSES (ask for complimentary syllabus)
    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS ONLINE COURSE FOR TEACHERS (ask for complimentary syllabus) - NEXT COHORT STARTS FEBRUARY 18!
    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS BOOKS and COMPLIMENTARY ARTICLE DOWNLOADS
    - THE ECLECTECH SHOPPE

    beth@PRESETT.org
    Westminster, CO
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 8 days ago
    Thank you all for the great information and tips.

    I should clarify the vision/idea I am going for.

    It won't be the gobo/bolt look.  It will come from "outside" or upstage of the windows.  The windows will have muslin screens to diffuse/block the light/views.  So I'm looking for that quick/bold/window filling bright light.  It sounds like LED fixtures can probably provide this (if only I had them).

    I saw a link to this instrument specially made for this.  Has anyone used this or something similar?
    http://www.attitudelighting.com/equipment/lightning-strikes-40k-linear/




    ------------------------------
    Brett Buffum
    Theatre Teacher
    Spring Hill KS
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 8 days ago
    I haven't seen that specific instrument before, but why purchase an instrument that only has one purpose?  If you get an LED, then afterwards you can use it for lots of functions.

    Beth

    Beth Rand, EBMS

    THE LIGHT LADY - High School Lighting Design Services 
    from Rand Consulting and Design 

    TECH THEATREwhere STEM supports the Arts





  • 8.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 4 days ago
    You might not even need to buy anything. Use a conventional. If you have a fresnel with a shutter attachment, close the shutters, bring the light up, then have someone quickly open and close the shutters. You could probably do something similar with an ERS - have something in front of the lens to block the light - maybe just a student holding up a small sheet of cardboard - bring the light up a moment before the effect, then the student waves the cardboard up a down a time or two, then kill the light. I haven't tried this myself, but it might work. Just remind the student next to the light to be careful since it may be hot.


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    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA
    http://mcintoshtheater.org/

    Theater kills ignorance
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  • 9.  RE: Lightning Effects Equipment

    Posted 4 days ago
    There was just recently another discussion about LED lights that might help you too.

    Check it out:
    LED lights and makeup

    https://www.schooltheatre.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=133&MessageKey=f0b51432-e98c-4cc8-8b52-da7ead1cab4b&CommunityKey=35d3756e-031c-447e-a020-14aeb57718f1&tab=digestviewer&ReturnUrl=%2fcommunities%2fcommunity-home%2fdigestviewer%3fcommunitykey%3d35d3756e-031c-447e-a020-14aeb57718f1%26tab%3ddigestviewer

    ------------------------------
    Beth Rand, EBMS
    Educational Lighting Designer
    School Theatre Operations Coach

    www.PRESETT.org
    - LIGHTING INSTITUTE FOR THEATRE TEACHERS - ONLINE MINI COURSES (ask for complimentary syllabus)
    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS ONLINE COURSE FOR TEACHERS (ask for complimentary syllabus) - NEXT COHORT STARTS FEBRUARY 18!
    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS BOOKS and COMPLIMENTARY ARTICLE DOWNLOADS
    - THE ECLECTECH SHOPPE

    beth@PRESETT.org
    Westminster, CO
    ------------------------------