Side Light Down Tails

For years I’ve wanted side lights for the musicals and plays that I light in the local community.  But most of my shows involve 30 – 40 student actors, many of whom don’t have much theatre experience.  So using traditional boom stands isn’t practical.  Even if the actors could successfully avoid the boom stands, the tech crew would not be able to roll scenery pieces on/off.  Broadway solves this with lighting ladders hanging on the sides.  I took as simpler approach to hang down tail lighting supports using some pipe, cheesboros, and my LED crossbars that normally go on tripods.

Using a fixed 90deg cheesboro, a 10′ pipe is clamped vertically near the end of a batten pipe with about 8′ hanging down.  A 4′ pipe is clamped on a diagonal with swivel cheesboros to provide stability.  As noted, my LED’s are typically arranged in groups of 4 on standard Ultimate Support crossbars with hardware for tripod attachment.  I’ve also drilled and installed a pair of C-clamps on the top of the bar for fast hanging from truss in clubs.  In this case, I used those same C-clamps to clamp the lightweight crossbar with pre-wired LEDs vertically onto the downtail.

For safety, the vertical pipe has a bolt installed across the diameter at each end.  If for some reason the pipe were to slide down in the cheesboro, the bolt would provide a stop. Likewise, if the pre-wired LED crossbar were to slide on it’s C-clamps, it would again stop at the cross bolt on the end of the pipe.  Actually, it would also be stopped by the angle support.  And finally, each light is captivated in a safety cable reaching from the batten.

All on the production crew were delighted with the additon of side lighting, and the depth and dimension this added to the show.  It was well worth the effort and modest expense in cheesboros and pipe.  My thanks to Jeremy, Eric, Dave, Doug, and Keith for their work to help build and install these.  What a great crew!!



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