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Author Topic: Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure  (Read 2599 times)

Kevin Kelly

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Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure
« on: October 26, 2018, 12:52:01 pm »

Good morning. I work for an amusement park that is considering an installation of a "club-like" lighting display inside our bumper car structure. We are getting new bumper cars with LED lighting in the stingers, and the thinking is that augmenting this effect with more exciting sound and lights inside the building will produce a more fun ride experience.

In the past, for Halloween events, we've mounted LED wash panels up above the grid, mounted to the truss, and shining down on the ride's track. We'd like to do that again, but in a more permanent way and with a bit more of an active club feel.

I think the idea is to (1) use washes as a foundation, (2) install some variety of moving head or scanner, and (3) use just enough haze/fog to make the beam visible.

So, specifically, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on a model of wash that would through enough light to illuminate the interior of the building. The building is approximately 50 feet x 20 feet. I liked the Chauvet Color Palette, and was thinking that an arrangement of 12-16 of them might produce the desired effect. Any other fixtures that might also be worth considering?

Second, to add motion, are there any thoughts about moving heads vs scanners for this application?  One of the considerations is the fact that whatever we buy, I can't imagine that it will be designed to run for as long and as frequently as we will be using it. We would be running these lights after dark for every day during the operating season (roughly April through October).

Compounding the physical demands of just running a fixture for so long, we are an outdoor ocean-front park. So the air is salty. We do use a number of LED lighting fixtures around the park (that are IP65 or higher). However, a moving head with an outdoor rating will likely tip the project out of our budget range if we were to buy any meaningful quantity. When we have outdoor shows, we've been able to use Chauvet Intimidators with a weather "collar". In this case, the building has a roof over it, but there are nights of 100% humidity during the summer.

So, with all of that said, and with the basic parameters being washes over a 20'x50' area, with some something to dance on top of them, does anyone have any thoughts about what may be worth investigating?
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 04:30:54 pm »

What is going to be the source of the DMX signal to these fixtures?
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Scott Hofmann

Kevin Kelly

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Re: Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 04:42:33 pm »

What is going to be the source of the DMX signal to these fixtures?

Scott, it will either be run in master/slave mode with sound activation (if the fixture supports it), or if we choose to actually program shows, the source will be a DMX playback unit that we would record a show to.
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2018, 10:35:04 am »

I seem to remember that some manufacturer made a weatherized moving light, but can't recall whom. There are also  weatherproof enclosures for them. I would contact the dealer you work with or different manufacturers like Elation or Chauvet directly about what they have available.
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Scott Hofmann

Jeff Lelko

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Re: Lighting in a Bumper Cars Structure
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 11:36:09 am »

Hi Kevin, this is an interesting project.  As a quick disclaimer, if "Kevin John" isn't your actual full name you'll want to fix that before the thread gets locked.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt though!

If it were me doing this, I'd want to go way beyond a basic wash.  For a foundation I'd probably go the way of installing a grid of budget LED Pars and pixel map the whole thing.  On a 20x50 space a 5x11 grid would look nice, and you could have solid static color for the load/unload cycle if needed for safety and then do some interesting patterns and effects during the run cycle.

Outdoor fixtures would definitely be a plus here if you can afford them.  At least over the past several years many theme parks such as Cedar Point have used the Chauvet COLORado fixtures for lighting ride structures among other things, and the Elation SixPar Series has been popular at a few Orlando theme parks for general use lighting.  If programmed tastefully, a large grid of LED Pars might be all that you need.

IP65 moving lights do exist, though they're rather expensive.  Both Chauvet and Elation offer outdoor moving lights at the "low" end of the spectrum, and the SGM offerings will take the high end.  I'd opt to go the route of using an enclosure first to see how that works, as the cost is rather minimal compared to what you'll be spending for legit IP65 moving lights. 

As an aside, have you reached out to the vendors who design light packages for amusement rides?  While it's not the same thing as entertainment lighting there are a number of very impressive systems on the market that might integrate better with the ride and environment.  Back in my carnival days I never worked on the bumper cars (I was more of a Gravitron and Roller Coaster guy), but share some pictures of how this turns out!
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