Open Forum

lighting upgrade

  • 1.  lighting upgrade

    Posted 05-09-2019 10:32
    I am looking for some advice and resources that pertain to lighting. In the theatre at my school we have twelve 40 year old Lekos for front light and three electrics of overhead strip lighting. The pigtails are dry rotting and in need of repair. We rent equipment for our shows and have a hard time getting a good smooth focus with our existing fixtures. Our school is looking to upgrade our theatre and they are very interested in making the transition to LED fixtures. I know there is a great deal of variation in the quality or longevity of LED fixtures. If you changed to LED, are you happy with the change? If you have had issues, what are they? Any information would be appreciated.

    Nancy Lomas-Reynolds
    Director and Theatre Coordinator
    Voorhees High School
    Glen Gardner, NJ

  • 2.  RE: lighting upgrade

    Posted 05-09-2019 13:50
    Go with the safe option and start having conversations with local lighting professionals.  Nothing is worth burning the place down.  You'll need a lot of pertinent people involved to ask for the kind of $$$ you're going to need.  Get some local help.

    break legs

    [Drama] [Dan] []
    [Drama Teacher/Director]
    [Dublin Coffman HS]
    [Dublin] [Ohio]

  • 3.  RE: lighting upgrade

    Posted 05-10-2019 09:07
    We recently did a lighting upgade and went to all LED lighting.  Some of the major concernce are power: you can not run your LED's through a normal dimmer they will need a constant current.   We at first ran exstention cords to any where we could find power until the funds were there to do a perment power runs for the lights.  With the new tech comes a learning curve.  yes it is nice to have color changing lights and movers but then you need to learn how to use and program them to make them do what you want.  With our install I and my students did all of the hanging and dmx cable runs if you are comfortable doing this it will save a ton of money, if that is an issue.  Led's are like tattos once you have some you will want more.  The most important thing is that you get what you payfor.  If you go with cheap lights they will perorm cheaply. Spend the extra money and get quality not quanity.  Make sure you budget for all of the extras in cables dmx 5pin, 3pin, conetor power cables I made my own.  this all adds up.
    With everything working I am very happ with the change.

    Charles Puetzer
    Stage manager
    Michigan City Area Schools
    Michigan City INStage manager

  • 4.  RE: lighting upgrade

    Posted 05-10-2019 15:13
    Yes to upgrading to LEDs (but keep the old fixtures as well - they may come in handy) and YES to consulting with professionals. It's one thing to add a few LED's here and there, and a completely different thing - as Charles points out - to change completely.

    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA

    Theater kills ignorance

  • 5.  RE: lighting upgrade

    Posted 05-11-2019 11:52

        It is great that you are making the change and even greater that you have the support of the school.  I am a gear head and techie.  It helps that I worked for Guitar Center for years and in the production world.

       Outside of many the houses of worship and venues I have converted to LED via my time at GC, I have personally converted 2 churches, a few pro venues, and many schools to LED.  My school will make the conversion in August.

       It can be expensive.  There are retro fit caps for Source 4 fixtures.  The cost per fixture is about $400.  The conversion takes 40secs.  The previous response is correct.  Cabling will get you.  Be sure to measure as best as possible and order an additional 5-10ft for any long running cables to be safe.

    MY DMX is a great software!  It comes loaded with hundreds of light fixtures already installed.  If your fixture is not listed, just call the company and they will email you the file for your specific fixture.  The software is FREE so download it and have your students download it and play with it. The cost is the dongle which is about $250. Students can design at home, save on a flash drive or the cloud.  Upload at school and see their creation.  It also has a cool 3D feature.  You can see your fixtures and approximately place them in their location on the digital stage and see your cues.  Depending out your light board, you can connect your light board to the dongle so your light operator is not strictly using a laptop.

    I am all for the advancement of technology, but I am a firm believer in teaching the traditional methods.  Not all professional venues have or will make jump into the new tech age of theatre.

    It is a lot, but I am more than happy to go in depth with with.  Besides Jersey has to look out for Jersey.  I'm from North Jersey and went to Stockton.



    Neptune Pringle III
    Director of Performing Arts
    Georgetown Visitation
    Washington DC