GAM's Prism gizmo for lighting units

Scott Parker visited with GAM's Joe Tawil at the USITT 2011 Conference in Charlotte NC. Joe showed off GAM's newest wizz-bang Prism rotator that slips into the gel frame slot of your lighting unit. It's an overview and slightly commercial in nature. Enjoy.

Rosco's Gobo Rotator highlights

Scott Parker visited with Rosco's Chad Tiller at the USITT 2011 Conference in Charlotte NC. Chad showed off Rosco's newest wizz-bang line of gobo rotators. It's an overview and slightly commercial in nature. Enjoy.

Pools, Waterfalls, ...

Techie's Corner Welcome once again to The Techie’s Corner. This months topic is the third and last chapter about "Water on Stage". Chapter One was about rain, Two was about sinks and this chapter is about POOLS, STREAMS AND WATERFALLS. If you haven’t read the first two articles, they are available in the back issues section. Unfortunately the archives can not store bit map images so the illustrations will be missing. If any reader would like to see the illustrations, please contact me by e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), let me know which article you are interested in, and I will be glad to send the illustrations. Streams, pools and waterfalls still have the same concerns of supply, delivery, storage, conditioning etc. as sinks and rain. For a complete description of these, see the December ‘98 issue of TRE, "Rain On Stage". I would like to reiterate that this discussion is intended for the live stage, not theme parks or the mega budgets of Las Vegas. Pools are unique in that after the water gets to the stage, it just sits there. No pumps or barrels or pressure vessels. The effect itself is the storage vessel. Unless the actors jump in or splash about, the pool itself is the "recovery" and "control" mechanism. If there is a great deal of splashing then you have to deal with how the water affects the floor or "ground" around the pool, where it goes if it is enough to drain away, how quickly the area will dry on its own, the time interval between performances.

Read more ...

Fire on Stage

Well, we did water, so we thought we should add fire.

Again, thanks to Michael Powers for allowing us to publish his Techie Corner articles.

Welcome back to the Techie’s Corner. The last several columns have been about water, so now it’s time to talk about fire, hot burning fire. Leaping flames flashing and flickering or, in the case of many stage effects, a gimmick that can make an audience feel the warmth from a fire that couldn’t melt an ice cube.

There are probably a 1,000 ways to make fire on stage and only a few of them actually involve flame or combustion. However, long before we actually make the fire, we have to decide just what the fire is supposed to accomplish. Is it just eye candy for the set or is it establishing the mood of the moment. What is the mood? Is the fire a warm flickering glow of romance or a feeble attempt to ward off the cold of a hovel a la “Boheme”? Maybe it is the warmth of friendship around a campfire or the despair of the homeless gathered around a fire in a trash can. nMaybe it is the evil, mysterious glow beneath the witch’s cauldron in Macbeth or the entire face of a building during the burning of Atlanta. Is the fire a friend that wards off the cold or an enemy that is trying to steal our home and threaten our safety?

Read more ...

Fire part II

Techie's Corner - Fire and more fire.

 Last month we discussed what fire could do, some of the moods it could evoke and some situations and reasons for using it. For a review, please read last month’s article available in the back issues of TRE. As with past articles, the illustrations are not currently supported by our archive storage. So, if you read the article and would like to see the illustrations, please feel free to contact me and I will send them to you.

 Last month we looked at a battery operated fire effect. This month I will describe a line voltage (USA 120VAC) device. This device can be made to imitate the flickering of a fire, a TV set or any other low level, random flickering light source. The device involves a 15 to 40 watt, 120 volt lamp, and a fluorescent starter and miscellaneous wiring for each lamp you use in the effect. Note: There are many types and brands of starters and some starters will need a ballast to provide sufficient power to operate the lamp. If your circuit does not work without a ballast, it will be cheaper to buy another type of starter than to buy a ballast. The starters cost between $ .50 and $3.00, ballasts run $15 to $30 each.

Read more ...

Fire part III

Hello and welcome to the TECHIE’S CORNER. When last I wrote we were discussing fire. This month’s column will touch on “Fire the Old Fashioned Way”.

Fire has been a major problem in civilized urban areas as long as man has been civilized and urban. It has only been in the last century that man has found a source of light, other than flame, for lighting his world. Flame in the form of candles, torches, oil lamps, gaslight, limelight etc. When theatre began to emerge from the dark ages in the form of pageants, passion plays and miracle plays, gone were the stone and marble edifices of the Greeks and Romans. The permanence of great stone structures was reserved for cathedrals, castles, forts and palaces. Structures and buildings for spectacles, pageants and theatre were now built mostly of wood and of course, wood burns. In addition as theatre emerged in it’s own right the trappings of the stage were largely made of wood and canvas, costumes were large and voluminous, all combustible. Since that time, one of the most common forms of death and destruction in the theatre has been the result of fires.

Read more ...