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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Stage, lighting and sound in Technical; Originally Posted by jallsop For the room as I understood it, meant that cabling could be a problem, hence my ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jallsop View Post
    For the room as I understood it, meant that cabling could be a problem, hence my suggestion of radio.
    Thanks, and I think you have a good point. We've just bought a new four-mic wireless mic unit which is working very well, and I know headsets are available for the same receiver. However, a primary school nativity play basically consists of a line of children all with a single line to say - they can't all have a headset mic, and passing a handheld along doesn't work well with four year olds. I'm wondering if I hang a bunch of shotgun mics above their heads if that would do.

    The next question, as you point out, is what I hang them from - the space we intend to use as a stage is currently an empty corner of the hall, and we can't attach anything to the ceiling or walls. I'm thinking of building a scaffold frame for the whole stage, with a number of scaffold poles running accross the stage area suitible for hanging lights or microphones.

    Does this sound feasible, or am I better spending money on some sort of microphone I can place down at the front of the stage - a boundry mic of some kind?

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    "Building scaffold..." Don't go there, it is an H&S minefield. If you buy a system of trussing, it is easier, but not without significant on-cost, and RA nightmares. How do you stop little Jimmy climbing it? Can it fall? Can it take ANY load at the span you want? Where to store it, and "periodic inspection by a competent person", and more...

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    For small children who are more likely to have their heads pointing downwards when they speak you may be better off using boundary mics such as the Bartlett TM125.

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    dhicks (8th July 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by HilcrRWise View Post
    For small children who are more likely to have their heads pointing downwards when they speak you may be better off using boundary mics such as the Bartlett TM125.
    Many thanks - that's the kind of thing I've always wondered if it might be a good idea to get. Doesn't a mic that actually sits on the stage itself pick up the sound of people's footsteps, though? Do I need to mount it just off the front of the stage somewhere on its own stand?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    "Building scaffold..." Don't go there, it is an H&S minefield. If you buy a system of trussing, it is easier, but not without significant on-cost, and RA nightmares. How do you stop little Jimmy climbing it? Can it fall? Can it take ANY load at the span you want? Where to store it, and "periodic inspection by a competent person", and more...
    I must agree with this so much. I've visited places with some shocking set ups. Especially with little children, it has to be super safe.
    The boundary mic might be better than the shotguns from the top, as hilcrrwise says, and although I've no working knowledge of the one he mentions, it would probably be an easier install too. The only caution I might have is stage noise if its a temporary stage kit. Mind you, mounting on some dampening foam might help with that.

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    dhicks (8th July 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    "Building scaffold..." Don't go there, it is an H&S minefield. If you buy a system of trussing, it is easier, but not without significant on-cost, and RA nightmares. How do you stop little Jimmy climbing it? Can it fall? Can it take ANY load at the span you want? Where to store it, and "periodic inspection by a competent person", and more...
    My vauge idea is to build a semi-permenant stage from chunks of scaffolding in the corner of the hall, then mount stage curtains on the front which stay closed most of the time to keep the children out. I'm guessing we could actually have that checked by a scaffolding inspector, as you would for a building site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jallsop View Post
    I must agree with this so much. I've visited places with some shocking set ups. Especially with little children, it has to be super safe.
    Fair enough - we have a new truss and wind-up stand kit, I could keep that for the front of the stage and use our lighting T-bar stands for the back. I could also get another new set of T-bar stands for the middle section of the stage, that should provide enough lighting points for the average primary school play.

    The only caution I might have is stage noise if its a temporary stage kit. Mind you, mounting on some dampening foam might help with that.
    Good plan, I might give that a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    My vauge idea is to build a semi-permenant stage from chunks of scaffolding in the corner of the hall, then mount stage curtains on the front which stay closed most of the time to keep the children out. I'm guessing we could actually have that checked by a scaffolding inspector, as you would for a building site.
    A chunk of scaffolding? As has been mentioned before, you're now talking about mounting things on it, which means some qualified assessment of it's capabilities. This whole job is probably going to end up costing as much as buying some portable staging.

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    For PCC mics, I'd look (sorry, listen too) the Bartletts. They are really very good for the price, and designed by the same man that did the Crown PCC. A thin piece of foam will cut out the transmition from the stage, but it does need to be thin. The mic relies on being on a large flat surface.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    For PCC mics, I'd look (sorry, listen too) the Bartletts. They are really very good for the price, and designed by the same man that did the Crown PCC. A thin piece of foam will cut out the transmition from the stage, but it does need to be thin. The mic relies on being on a large flat surface.
    Do I just put the one at the front of the stage, or will I need two or three?

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    3 is ideal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    3 is ideal.
    Many thanks. I'm gradually working towards a solution that I can take to the parent's association and tell them exactly how many of what we want and how much it will all cost.

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    The American DJ LED fittings mentioned above are just that, DJ fittings. I don't think they would be bright enough for stage use. Fine for a mobile disco.
    You need to look at the beam angle and throw distance. Something like this may be more suitable at a good price
    https://prolight.co.uk/DJ/item.php?id=509541/
    Still low power consumption and low maintenance. You could go silly and buy Pixelpar but you budget would go on a couple of fitting.
    I would also get a variety of fittings of different beam angles. This will give you more variety of light show. Some fittings are more flood than spot.

    For control I would look at Showmagic running on a laptop or a great free program called FreeStyler. all you need is a USB-DMX interface. You can control FreeStyler from other devices such as an iPad.
    Rather than just fitting a scaffold bar, look at Andolite - Lighting and sound equipment for entertainment venues These are internaly wired and they also sell all the hanging equipment to the correct safety rating. They can make bars to your specification. They come fully wired to a box at the end of the bar so they are easy to connect.
    Rigging over public areas should always be done by a professional and don't forget to order safety chains!
    You will also need to look at how you are going to distribute the DMX to each fitting. Andolites can add DMX points to the bars, otherwise you can end up with a lot of spaghetti hanging off your bars.

    Sound wise I think with your budget you could probably get a small powered mixer, 2 speakers on tripods, two radio mic system and a bunch of lead mics and stands. A good basic starter system.

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  20. #29
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    We are at the other end of an install from jigsaw24, lectern, lights and sound.
    For the lights we have two chauvet qspot 560 moveable head lights. We have the hall as a multi use space so we had to mount them high and permanent, We also use the hall in two configurations portrait and landscape as it were, so we needed to be able to change the lights around to account for this. There was no backstage area either so all in all they seemed like the best bet. They are OK, quite a tight beam so not ideal as a main flood light source, in daylight (we have no blackout curtains just pale blinds) they add a slight accent to people at the front of the hall. In an evening performance the were OK for a performance but as they were overhead they tend to create shadow over a persons face, we had to supplement with 4 cheap T bar mounted LED par cans although they tend to give off a weak purple light when red green and blue were supposed to give white. they also give out quite a bit of fan noise which can be off putting but you get use to it and it is not so noticeable in a hall full of people.

    We are running the lighting control from show express software via a USB/DMX dongle and then wireless Chauvet Dfi up to the lights. We had a faulty dfi unit initially so we had loads of issue but once we got the replacement everything seems to be working OK (be warned the chauvet USB dongle is supposed to be USB3 compatible but experience showed otherwise.) Ideally we will add to this setup in the future but its OK for now, we also used the lights for the school disco which was quite cool, gobos colour etc on an auto setting.
    I am not a great believer in radio mikes for schools, I have worked on a show in the west end where all the cast had them, and basically every 9 volt battery was changed daily for a new one at 5 a pop! unless you have someone who knows how to use them I'd stear clear, you can get scratchy noises from movement, drop outs from failing batteries, interferance and there are only usually enough for the main cast to wear one, ideally you would have a dedicated sound engineer to bring each mic on when the wearer comes on stage and turn off when they leave. We stuck with good 'ol SM57 on a stand with a cable. Cast would deliver there lines without and then come up to the mic to sing. we looked at various shotgun mics retracting mics etc but decided against them in the end to keep it simple. I do have a couple of audio technica choir mics Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : Choir which I have used for picking up from overhead in a primary school and they work pretty well for a nativity when used in addition to a mics on stands. Bit of a ramble there let me know if you want more info.

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    dhicks (16th July 2013)

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    We use a combination of radio mics (hand held and headset), wired condenser mics and a couple of shotguns. It does take a lot of trial and error to get the placement of the shotguns and the EQ just right to stop feedback whilst getting the sound levels you want. A decent mixer will help with this.
    As for the lighting, we went with LEDs as they are much more versatile, run cooler and use less power.
    Get in touch with Steve at Astounded.com thats where we bought all our stage lighting and PA system from, he knows his stuff, and is very helpful.

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    dhicks (18th July 2013)

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