Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Paint Scenery

I've known my share of set painters and set designers over the years, I'm still friends with some of them and they let me light their work (which must mean something!) They've asked me at various times "How do you know what colour to use in the lights?" and my answer a lot of the time has been "How do you know what colour to paint the scenery?"

 If I'm not spattered with paint from a flicked brush of paint the answer mostly is "Fair point". It doesn't help though when a fraught teacher asks "How do I find out how to paint scenery?", imagine my delight that I found this site from a gentleman in Ireland who has an impressive portfolio of images of sets he's painted but importantly - he's happy to share how & why. Have a look and pass the link on - you never know, it might come in handy!

Do I need to Fireproof my scenery?

The idea for this post came about after we had a delivery the other week of Firecheck (as the BBC say - there are other fireproofing solutions available - we just happen to stock this one) and one of the containers had leaked in transit.
The supplier rang today to check if we need any more - end of term, summer fetes and pageants were coming up and they thought we might need to restock. We declined - we'd just ordered and whilst we sell Firecheck regularly, given that a lot of schools and colleges are preparing for shows - we don't seem to sell a lot.

Of course, it begs the question - do people bother fireproofing scenery? If not - then why not? I know that over the years I've advised folk building timber scenery to paint all the revealed timber and this will provide a similar level of safety. What do you do with draped fabrics or hanging materials, cutouts made from fibreboard or polystyrene - you can't paint a gauze you want to see through (not unless you're VERY careful)? Some folk may still be mixing their own in a metal bucket - there's enough recipes to be found in old stage management books or on the internet, but are folk doing this in schools - seriously?

As you can see in the picture above, Firecheck comes in two styles of container - a handy pump bottle or a chunky container you can decant in to a garden spray bottle. So it's a no brainer isn't it - to keep a small container handy and as you make scenery - proof it? Of course - someone will be asking why? Well, we could start with - "You're responsible for the safety of the cast and audience for your show" - burning scenery doesn't fulfil that in all honesty. Anyway? Do you really want to lose all your hard work and hours of labour because some lighting techie rigs a lantern too close to your handiwork and sets light to it? Having it fireproofed could mitigate the damage done perhaps by stopping fire spreading? Then there's the stage curtains and the auditorium window curtains  - they're fireproofed too aren't they (or shouldn't we ask?) or did you have them reproofed when you last had them cleaned?

So many questions and so little space, if you're suddenly thinking "Hold on - I need to know more" then give the office a call and we'll talk over options with you. Then again, as Firecheck will fireproof just about any material you're likely to use on stage - you could hop over to our online shop and order some anyway.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our Breakaway Glass Range

For some months , I have been looking to review what we sell in the breakaway glass range, how we sell and how we transport them.  We have now updated our online shop and sales catalogue with new information, so take a look at the changes.
For many years we have stocked Rosco wine bottles and whilst we will continue to do this, we have expanded the range quite considerably.   We now carry stock of :-             
Green wine bottles
Brown "Bud" bottles
Modern beer glasses
Most bottles have labels for you to attach if required. We now supply of a number of other types of bottles and glasses in a box of 10 units. This makes great savings on the individual unit cost and is aimed at the small theatre market who need a bottle or glass for each night's performance.
One of the big issues with breakaway bottles is how to transport them.  Obviously the easiest thing is to come and collect from us, but with customers buying from all over the country this is not always possible. When we ship out case quantities we will be trying out a new style of container which holds the inner box of breakaway glass in place with large springs.  Have a look at the Boingy Box! 
Check out our online shop, which has photos of some of the range we will be supplying, and if you can't see what you want, give us a ring, we may still be able to quote.
Remember breakaway glass is by nature very fragile and expensive , but consider the alternative ?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Looking for waterproof LED PAR's?

We've just taken delivery of 16 of these units for a customer (along with some nice fibre transit cases for them)  after we'd tried to source some waterproof units from another source.
An LEDj225 IP Rated PAR Can
LEDJ 225 IP Rated LED PAR unit
The first thing that struck me when I took one out of its packing was "Flip - this is heavy" (or words to that effect!) but when it comes out of the box you can see why, it's an aluminium body with heat cooling fins. I doubt this would blow over in a breeze, so you don't need to spend time pegging it down - how it would fare against a forklift or something, I'm not going to test it!

It's an IP65 rated fixture boasting sturdy waterproof connectors for mains and DMX with In/Thru connectors for the mains, so if you have to light a tree or something then siting a couple side by side isn't a big chore. It has fixed colours programmed in or the usual jump/fade chases or DMX with a master dimmer channel! The LED chips are 3 colours behind the same lens (though I suspect there may be a RGBW version along soon) so you don't get colour fringeing on shadows when you mix colours.

It looked plenty bright in daylight inside our warehouse so would probably work very nicely for highlighting a building or marquee but I'm not sure it has the 'legs' to light a high rise.  If you're looking for a nice cost effective unit then this might well be the unit to buy - £158 (+VAT) each and £60 (+VAT) for a twin transit case.

 They're not in our catalog or eShop just yet, so if you want to know more then ring the office

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sometimes - "Thank you" is enough...

We were all pleasantly surprised to receive this eMail yesterday, so often customers say "Thank you" verbally but rarely do they have time to write and say it. On the occassions that they do, it makes it feel more special.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

You need hands...

So the song goes anyway, but rather than share a (to be honest - rubbish) Max Bygraves impression with you we thought you might like to know that we now stock Dirty Rigger gloves in our shop and our eShop.

They've been available in the UK for the last few years and come in a variety of styles and sizes - for an idea of the variety then have a look here.

They are comfortable to wear (I bought a pair of Framers (nice piccy here) a couple of years back, when they wore out - it was a "no brainer" to replace them) and the design has been given a lot of thought in terms of practicality.  I even managed to persuade a couple of the other guys here to buy some - our driver loves them in the winter, no more cold alloy bar on bare hands!

If you want to order some, you can ring the office or use our eShop this link gets you to the page, however the one's with the LED on the thumb are out of stock at the moment but then we all know how to balance a maglite behind our ear anyway - don't we?

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The LEDj Q Color flood

LEDj Q Color Led Flood
ProLight gave me one of these to demo to a customer last week - who then proceeded to not turn up - but I powered it up to show someone else and what a cracking unit!
It has 18 8watt LED’s and each chip can emit Red, Green, Blue and White. Because each units chip is behind its’ own lens (the little clear circles you can see on the picture) then when you’re doing colour mixing you don’t get colour fringes around shadows, just a nice crisp shadow. The white chip also means that pastels can look very sweet and with everything full on you get a nice useable white rather than blue white. It’s designed so it can sit on the deck on it’s own yoke or be hung on a rig with the usual in/out connections for DMX and power and has a fan that (so far) runs relatively quietly.

To control it, you can use either 4 channels of DMX or 6 – the advantage of the 6 channel mode is that you get a “Master dimmer” channel so you can preset a colour and then fade it up and down smoothly without the colours running through the spectrum (which is what tends to happen when you control RGB separately). The beam angle is 25 degrees, so 10 degrees more than the average LED PAR can – I reckon over a decent throw in a small venue that you’d get a beam similar to Patt 123 on medium flood.

The unit pulls 170W of power, so running half a dozen isn’t going to cost a lot in terms of energy plus there’s no gel to use. They list at £236 each (plus VAT) and I think certainly demands more than a passing glance. You can find them in our eShop here.