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  • 1.  Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-20-2021 06:38
    We are doing our fall play outside on a 16 x 16 stage. We have these lighting trees (which are foreign to me).  Any advice on how to use these or what would be best to use instead?

    Jen Arellano

  • 2.  RE: Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-20-2021 08:37

    Looks like standard DJ type tree lights. At best, you will likely only get a face light wash out of them. Not sure the spread on the instruments will blend enough to cover even a 16x16 space. It would be common to place them on a 45 degree angle downstage of the stage, with the trees at full height... keeps them a bit out of the audience's sight lines. You should check that they are outdoor rated first. Not all fixtures (especially those dimmer packs) should be used outdoors.


    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager

  • 3.  RE: Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-21-2021 07:13
    It depends, how many trees do you have? if only 1 you will be in a world of hurt.

    you should have 2 trees minimum one from the front left and one from the right. if you have 2 more you could do back light by putting them on the rear of your platform and having them as high as possible.

    There are concerns for outdoors use... you would want to stake and tie these down so they can't be knocked over you would have to cover the power and signal lines to the towers.

    you will always have the lights in the actors eyes due to the stage height.

    I might incorporate them onto the platform and make them part of the set for containment and easier dressing of power and signal cables.

    That is some thoughts

    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Heartland Scenic Studio
    Omaha NE

  • 4.  RE: Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-25-2021 14:08
    Hi!  For my outdoor summer Shakespeare gig, we have used these types of trees, with a sandbag holding the feet on the ground.  We set these up for each performance, since we travel from park to park.  The lights you have there will be great for a general wash of the stage.  If this is the same tree we have, it will go up to around 8 feet, maybe more, so you could have the lights above the actors, depending on the height of the stage.

    That control pack does have four channels, so you probably have the ability to turn on most of those lights separately, except for two that will be together.  If you only have one tree (although it looks from the pics like you do have two), I'd put it in the center of the audience, and cover as much area as you can from the front.  Depending on the size of the light beam and its distance from the stage, you might be able to cover the whole stage with two front lights, leaving you with three "specials."  If you have two trees, I'd follow Jerry and David's advice and put them out in the front row of the audience.  Our lights are shop work lights, so we set the trees up about 15-20' from the backdrop, in the first or second "row" of the audience, and we have pretty good coverage with two from each side.   They are straight out from the SL/SR corners, as if you drew a line along the offstage side of the stage and set them on that line.  Hopefully, that makes sense.  Pulling them out any farther takes all the punch out of the lights, and lights the audience instead.

    I haven't worked with these types of lights before.  I don't know how they'll eat through gel, if you wanted to use color in your lights.  (I have a set of film lights, and they just melt my stage gel like butter.  Sigh.)  I agree with Jerry that you'll probably want some kind of barrier to protect the dimmer pack and all connections from moisture, especially if they're not rated to stay outdoors, as David said.  If you have a good cast and crew, it doesn't take long to set them up at call and tear them down after the show to keep them safe, as long as it's not raining during the show.

    Yvette Geissinger

  • 5.  RE: Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-26-2021 07:19
    Yvette, I suggest verifying the ability of the Dimmer pack, using a PAR fixture you would have a 500W or 1000W lamp, on most of the small 4 dimmer packs they cn only handle 1800W max, please do not overload them

    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Heartland Scenic Studio
    Omaha NE

  • 6.  RE: Outdoor Lighting Guidance Needed

    Posted 10-26-2021 13:04
    Good point, Jerry!  I was basing my advice on what I saw in the photos - that three lights were patched separately into three dimmers, and the last two (first two, maybe, since they were in "1"?) were patched in the same dimmer.  I'd definitely be reading the manuals or the devices themselves for all that information if I was seeing this in my theater, but I took my experience for granted in that instance, instead of making sure the whole response was as clear and safe as I could write it.  Thank you for pointing that out for me!
    Yvette Geissinger, BA
    Theater Manager
     | (503) 623-8336
    Dallas High School
    1250 SE Holman Avenue
    Dallas, OR 97338

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