Thursday, October 29, 2020

Pixel Tubes

My concept on this design was pretty simple.  I wanted to create a modern twist on the old school Baptist Church house light.  Growing up in Southern Illinois pretty much every Baptist church had these acrylic cylinders to diffuse their houselights.

Acquiring the tubes:  A good friend of mine, Jason at JRLX, were talking about projects and he mentioned a church up near Chicago that was about to upgrade their houselights.  They were planning on throwing them out, so we offered the church $200 for them and arranged shipping to Oklahoma.  There are probably better ways to find / acquire these that are closer, but it was a good opportunity that we didn't want to pass up.  I have since seen these multiple times on craigslist and places like Habitat for Humanity Restore.

To light the tubes, we used GLP Pixel tape that we zip tied to the back side of the side of the tubes.  We used 2 rows to make it as bright as possible.  In order to do this we drilled 3 holes 1" apart at the top and bottom of the tube.  We used these holes to zip tie and attach the led tape.

We also drilled holes on the back side of the tubes that we used to attach the power supplies and decoders to.  We wanted everything for the tube to be self contained so that in future sets we could randomly place them without having to figure out anything more than standard DMX and power.  You can see a photo of how we mounted and wired the power supply and decoders below.

To hang the tubes, we drilled 2 holes on either side of the tube.  We crimped 1/8" steel cables (about 2' long) to these holes and clipped these cables to a lighting pipe to hang from.

As you can see from the below layout, we decided to put a 101 above each lantern.  This ended up working great as if we needed additional punch, we could shoot the 101 directly into the lantern.

Behind the lanterns we used the always amazing crushed aluminum screening.  Another small detail that made a large difference in our room and on video was the addition of some drape lighting on the wings of the stage.  The area behind our side screens was normally pretty dark, but with the addition of a few LED pars we added a touch of color that helped get rid of black holes in our side shots.

Another cool element, was that we used the Aluminum window screen backdrop like a scrim.  Behind the aluminum screen backdrop we had pixel tape spaced about 2' apart that ran vertically.  This tape acted as a low res LED wall.  You can see in the photos below how the feel changed by dimming out the LED up lights on the Aluminum window screen and bringing in the LED content on the pixel tape.

Lastly, This design helped shape and inspire another product we designed for Mod ScenesOur DMX Pixel hoists.  You can see some photos and videos of those below.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Easter 2014

Surprise!  It's been almost 3 years since I've posted a blog, but today I carved out the time for finishing this one!  It is certainly not perfect, but I've decided its more important for it to be up then perfect!  Enjoy!

For Easter 2014 we looked back to a set we did a few years back at Northland.  Easter 2012?  Our concept was to have a huge powerful opener that was a driven narrative from video on 3 large 10' wide, 20' tall screens.

Projection Screen

We used DL-3s to project onto fabric that we dropped with Kabuki Solenoids at the end of the opening video segment.  We used Solenoids from Chabuki, which worked phenomenally.  They are cool devices that open to allow fabric to drop.  The fabric we used was White Poly Silk.  We bought a roll from Rose brand and cut it to our height.  One challenge we had was that our services typically have a 15 minute turnover which made rigging the fabric between services a bit of a rush.  

We used a single man genie lift with 5 people rushing it from drape to drape in order to hang each drape between services.  Each of the drapes hung from 5 kabuki selenoids that were lamped to 10' pipes which we hung in our ceiling.  

For projection we used 4 DL-3s that were hung about 60' from our farbic pieces.  We hung them so that we could also use them to project on our side walls which are about 20' tall x 70' long.  

We ran into some issues with the DL-3s we rented.  We ended up having to open up 4 of the media servers during setup to reset and re-seat the connections.  As you can see, Dorian wanted to help with the DL-3s too.

Once our kabukis had dropped, we used the DL-3s to project onto the walls in our room.

We also had some custom steel structures welded that housed our 4 bar blinders.  We also had holes drilled that allowed us to hang 101s on them to.  The best part of these scenic/ lighting pieces is that they were on motors.  During the service we changed their bottom trim to get a great array of looks.  It was awesome.  One song we created a roof like canopy of lights and the next was almost a flat wall!

All of the blinders used mirror lamps and were wired individually.  Each lamp was wired to a 16 channel Christmas light dimmer.  This was awesome as we could do wipes and really cool dimmer fades and chases across the whole rig.

Here is an image of the dimmers we used.  They were very finnicky so we made sure to run them into a opto splitter to make sure to isolate them from everything else.  We also ensured all dimmers were on the same leg of power to minimize weird things like flickers and ghosting of the lamps.  We did also try to use a laptop to make changes remotely to make changes to the dimmers and ended up frying the network card.  So don't plug your computer into these :)

We also made some really cool towers out of our colorblast TRXs, that we used as back lights.  The vertical rectangles of light made for a nice touch on the livestream to keep everyone from sinking in the dock.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

MCKBD 2016

This years MCKBD stage set took a crazy path to get to finished.  We were on a tight budget to allow for some other spending outside of production.  Through our various ideas we ended up going through 8 revisions of this set before we landed on one.  It was nuts, and made for a great joke during the build.

Are we changing everything again?

For the set we wanted to play off of rectangular shapes.  Our main element of this was a video screen we built.  We built it 4' x 16' out of plywood, 2x4s, spandex, and half a million staples.  It was made of 1/2" plywood with a 2x4 frame.  It was WAY WAY over built.  Since then, we have built some odd shaped screens out of solid Mod Scenes panels that are much lighter and easier to build.

Here is a picture of us hanging the 120 lbs monstrosity.

In addition to the screen, we made 5 rectangular blinder arrays.  Each one (except the center) held 7- 4 bar blinders.  We had a bunch of the blinders from a past set so they were an easy win (and cost effective win).

To support the blinders, we built sections of 20' long uni-strut sections on the ground.  We latter combined these in the air to create 40' long spans.  Each sections had a top and bottom unistrut bar that was joined with 4 bar blinders in the center.  We evenly spread 7 blinders across these 40' sections.

We also used the  same unistrut to support some of our GLP pixel tape.  We zip tied it on, doing our best to make sure all the connections ended in the center for wiring ease.  Hanging the tape horizontally was a pain but created a cool low res strip of content near each blinder.

In the process of building the few additional blinders we needed, we realized we could improve them a bit.  We took this improved version and added it to the stuff we do with Mod Scenes to serve other churches.  You can find them here.  You can also find all the DYI instructions here.

We wired each of our blinders individually which gave us some really cool effects.  We used Light O Rama LOR 1602s to dim them.

As we built off our rectangular design, I started wanting to make a change to the originally flat pipes that supported our Mac 101s.

We ended up creating 4 angles pipe sets that created a diamond around the center screen.  It makes for an awesome element that draws your eyes in.  It also gave us a bunch of great varied lighting angles with the 101s.  We placed our Colorblast TRXs between the 101s for even more beams.  Angles and Beams all day!  The angles were a bit downstage from the blinders, which added some needed depth.

We built some tall risers that hugged the downstage edge of the stage for our band.  Lastly we placed some LED tape into our drummers new acrylic kit.

As always, we did a really cool design in the lobby too to boost the energy.  We blew up about 3,000 balloons and made some balloon clouds.  It was cool and a pretty affordable thing.

We had a blast with this set!  Enjoy the rest of the pictures.

We also had a bunch of fun playing real life mario cart after the series. :)