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Author Topic: Moving rigging for fixtures?  (Read 1010 times)

Michael Dench

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Moving rigging for fixtures?
« on: June 03, 2018, 01:44:07 am »

Hello all!

Apologies straight off the bat, for any newbie mistakes. :)

Iím starting to create some new works, with each one intending to feature an original song, original choreography and original lighting design.

One thing Iíd like to look into, is small automated lifts/platforms that a moving head fixture could sit on top of. As a visual representation, think of a kinetic ball sculpture with the ball controlled by DMX, except in this case, the fixtures are being moved up and down by a platform below them. Iíd really like to experiment with the concept of the source of each beam changing its vertical position.

Does that make any sense? Is there any forum thread that already exists, that I should be looking at? Maybe there is a pre-existing product in a different industry, that could be reappropriated?

Thank you for any advice or direction you can offer. :)


Denchy
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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2018, 01:46:51 am »

As a visual representation, think of a kinetic ball sculpture with the ball controlled by DMX, except in this case, the fixtures are being moved up and down by a platform below them. Iíd really like to experiment with the concept of the source of each beam changing its vertical position.

Sorry, that should read: *the balls controlled by DMX winches*
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 02:49:19 am »

These are your guys.  They have automation software and all the technology to turn your vision into a sustainable production.

http://www.taittowers.com/tait-products/

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 05:11:23 am »

These are your guys.  They have automation software and all the technology to turn your vision into a sustainable production.

http://www.taittowers.com/tait-products/

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

Thank you Scott! Appreciate the recommendation. :)

Have you come across anything like a platform device I described? I noticed on the TAIT site that most of the products they supply are winch-based systems. Iíd love to find something that can be set up from the floor, so itís more portable for different temporary installations and travelling performances.

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John Fruits

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 06:55:10 am »

Another company you might find of interest: ALL ACCESS
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John Fruits

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 07:21:36 am »

Finally found this one again:
https://youtu.be/W2HCRa8JyY8
SERAPID
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 08:48:23 am »

Hi Michael, what kind of budget do you have for this, and what "level" of show are you looking to put on (bar/club/theater vs. stadium/arena)?
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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2018, 10:09:29 am »

Thank you for the links and recommendation, John!

Jeff, Iím literally doing this as a passion project at the moment, self-funded so to speak. Collaborating with music producers and dancers, but self-funded to start off.

And the setting will most probably be black boxes and theatres.

What are your thoughts?
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2018, 01:41:30 pm »

Several questions:

How much weight to move?
How much vertical travel?
How fast to raise; how fast to lower?
How quiet/how much noise while moving?
Continuous adjustment vs. fixed increments?
How precise must the adjustments (trim height) be?

And finally, what is your budget?

COTS solutions might include a CO2 powered Genie materials lift, modified with a DMX controlled gas valve. 

Edit- this is the model I was thinking of: Genie GH-3.8 lift.  Rated at 300 lbs/136 kg; 12.5'/3.8 m max lift.  It may be available for rent in your area.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 05:20:21 pm by Mark Cadwallader »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2018, 03:57:00 pm »

Jeff, Iím literally doing this as a passion project at the moment, self-funded so to speak. Collaborating with music producers and dancers, but self-funded to start off.

Thanks Michael.  The reason I ask hinges on the questions that Mark brings up.  While TAIT is one of the industry leaders in what they do, you're going to pay a professional price for it.  While that might not scare you if you're producing large shows in stadiums and arenas, they and the others mentioned above will almost certainty be beyond what your able to spend.

Which light fixtures are in question?  The logistics behind lifting a 100 pound moving head up and down are a lot different than some of those DMX-controlled pendant sculptures.  Along the lines of COTS solutions, I've seen a few DMX winches and elevators from time to time.  Keep in mind that DMX is generally considered unacceptable for primary control of anything life safety related. 

That last bit gets into another consideration.  Seeing as you're essentially cooking this as you go (nothing wrong with that), what's your experience with overhead rigging and how that applies to life safety situations?  Much will depend on what you're actually flying, but if it's anything more than a few pendants you need to think very carefully about how all this will be suspended and controlled, especially if it'll be over anyone's head.  If this is all new to you, you might want to consider truss totems with an elevator (scissor lift or similar) on the top.  That at least simplifies the rigging part substantially.  Good luck!
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2018, 04:12:54 pm »

Thanks Michael.  The reason I ask hinges on the questions that Mark brings up.  While TAIT is one of the industry leaders in what they do, you're going to pay a professional price for it.  While that might not scare you if you're producing large shows in stadiums and arenas, they and the others mentioned above will almost certainty be beyond what your able to spend.

Which light fixtures are in question?  The logistics behind lifting a 100 pound moving head up and down are a lot different than some of those DMX-controlled pendant sculptures.  Along the lines of COTS solutions, I've seen a few DMX winches and elevators from time to time.  Keep in mind that DMX is generally considered unacceptable for primary control of anything life safety related. 

That last bit gets into another consideration.  Seeing as you're essentially cooking this as you go (nothing wrong with that), what's your experience with overhead rigging and how that applies to life safety situations?  Much will depend on what you're actually flying, but if it's anything more than a few pendants you need to think very carefully about how all this will be suspended and controlled, especially if it'll be over anyone's head.  If this is all new to you, you might want to consider truss totems with an elevator (scissor lift or similar) on the top.  That at least simplifies the rigging part substantially.  Good luck!

Jeff, if I read the OP correctly, I think he is using the term "rigging" in a different sense than most theater and entertainment folks usually do. I don't think he wants overhead suspension; I think it is more of an extending platform (think old-school auto mechanics shop hoist).  Something like a telescoping totem or such. That's what made me think of a materials lift. But maybe I don't yet understand the vision.

I completely agree with you that whatever he does needs to be well designed and built with adequate safe working load limits to protect life safety.
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2018, 04:50:45 pm »

Maybe something like this would work : http://wahlberg.dk/shop/lifting-columns/lifting-column/
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Don T. Williams

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2018, 10:58:06 am »

Not know exactly what kind of weight and how far it's being lifted, you might look at a video monitor/TV screen lifts or a projector lift.  Some of these also will "drop" from a ceiling and lift back up, but the range of motion isn't very large.  Commercial hydraulic cylinders and systems are a possibility but will be noisy.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 02:28:32 am »

Maybe something like this would work : http://wahlberg.dk/shop/lifting-columns/lifting-column/
those are actually pretty awesome

Any idea on what the pricing is like?
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2018, 02:50:19 am »

those are actually pretty awesome

Any idea on what the pricing is like?

Ä1.050,00 on that site, I've seen them around $1800 usd on others.
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John Fruits

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2018, 03:02:30 am »

Rosebrand is the US distributor and $1800 is their price. 
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James Feenstra

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2018, 10:31:41 am »

Ä1.050,00 on that site, I've seen them around $1800 usd on others.
that's actually way more reasonable than I thought they'd be!
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2018, 10:45:31 am »

Then there are these units : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHGU7B21jrE , although they seem to only work hung from a truss but have a longer range of motion.
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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2018, 12:22:21 am »

So sorry for the tardy reply!

Thank you so much everyone! Iím really enjoying going through all your recommendations, and considering all the different products youíve posted links to. Some really great solutions out there.
Let me take a few moments to answer all your clarifiying questions, as I have definitely used some of the wrong terminology and have been too vague with some details (sorry)!

First of all, let me bring clarification to a detail that Jeff and Mark brought up... I definitely used the word rigging very incorrectly! Sorry.

My intention is to use these lifting units from the STAGE, on the ground. I am NOT intending to rig these devices from rigging from the ceiling or on truss or overhead supports.
Thw word rigging really should have been replaced with something else more appropriate.
Should I change the title of this topic, to clear up some ambiguity?

Mark, answers to your questions:

- Weight to move: the fixtures Iím planning to use will all be small, maximum of 10-15 kgs (22-33 pounds), usually lighter than that. Picture fixtures similar in size and weight to something like a Chauvet Intimidator Spot 255 IRC.
- Vertical travel desired: anything like 1 mitre/3.3 feet (or more) vertical travel would suit me fine. Iíd say, minimum 1 metre/3.3 feet.
- Speed of raising and lowering: as this is a first endeavour, I wouldnít be fussy about speed. If the lifting mechanisms have a set speed (slow or fast), I can happily work with that.
- Noise while moving - ideally, Iíd like the units to be quiet while in motion, but most of their movement will be accompanied by sound/music, so an operational noise can be masked.
- Continuous adjustment/fixed increments - I want to be able to continuously adjust the unitsí height and movement as the performances play out. Iíd like to be able to control the units so that they can be stopped at different heights at different times.
- Precision of asjustments - I canít be sure of the minimum increments of measurement that I want the adjustments to be capable of (maybe half inches?), my main priority is to have the adjustments in height to be smooth and seamless. As if the fixtures were floating beams of light.

And no, I DEFINITELY couldnít afford those Genie material lifts, unfortunately! But thanks so much for the recommendation, Mark. :)

Sorry if my ever-stringent requirements and minimal budget are frustrations in this line of enquiry, everyone!
Maybe it might be a better idea to just suggest some sites and/or search terms that I should try.

Len and Don, thank you for the link and the suggestions on product types to look into! Much appreciated. Unfortunately, I donít think I could afford nultiple units of the Wahlberg units. But Iíll keep my eye out for them. And Iíll check out some screen/video monitor lift products, just in case the perfect solution pops up!


Thanks for all your help so far, everyone. :)

Michael

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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2018, 12:27:31 am »

One more quick detail I forgot to include...

Jeff mentioned that DMX is not necessarily the appropriate control language for this kind of task.
I am totally open to incorporating whichever control language Iíd need to use in this situation! Iíll be using computers for control during the performances, but happy to look into control via hardware (maybe slaved to a computer, or however it would work) as well.
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Geert Friedhof

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2018, 06:49:44 am »

The main safety concerns with DMX are the one way nature, and the chance of misformed or misread packets, leading to unwanted operations of the fixture. With a normal dmx fixture an unwanted flash or something won't kill you. With pyrotechnics, lasers, or moving objects it can be nasty when those fixtures start doing things on their own. So you need another form of control, with two-way traffic and packet control.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2018, 05:22:37 pm »

One more quick detail I forgot to include...

Jeff mentioned that DMX is not necessarily the appropriate control language for this kind of task.
I am totally open to incorporating whichever control language Iíd need to use in this situation! Iíll be using computers for control during the performances, but happy to look into control via hardware (maybe slaved to a computer, or however it would work) as well.

Hi Michael - Geert's response is spot-on concerning the limitations of DMX.  That said, per your input we're not dealing with situations where we need to move (literally) tons of lights and trussing over people.  So long as your lifts can't punch a light through the ceiling or cause damage/injury due to unintended/uncontrolled movement then I'd wager you could probably get away with DMX, understanding the trade-offs and potential of control bugs. 

COTS products do get expensive.  If speed isn't a huge concern here the Spiralift style of elevators might work nicely.  I'm sure there's a way to securely bolt everything together - just watch your CG if things start getting tall.  Beyond that and the products already suggested, you could really go DIY and play with mounting linear actuators or pneumatics inside of box truss.  That'll probably be cheaper, but with the major disclaimer that you're liable for whatever happens should they fail catastrophically (hence why COTS products are expensive and usually have a high factor of safety).  Good luck! 
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Michael Dench

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Re: Moving rigging for fixtures?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2018, 11:35:56 pm »

Geert and Jeff, thank you for your follow-ups and clarifications!

Iíll keep you all posted on the end results of this endeavour. Hopefully, some great looks and moments can come of this all. :)

Thank you all for your guidance! Very much appreciated.
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