Hey, art vets with more experience than I...

Hey, art vets with more experience than I...

Postby Tin Halo » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:56 pm

What do you guys use for lighting setups for your playa installs? I'm wondering what to do about
• simple warning/safety light visibility so your install doesn't get run over, and

• general lighting so your work can be seen at night.

What types of lights? Generators? How powerful? Solar? What panels? Where?

All tech info and details of past setups appreciated.
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Postby Mister Jellyfish Mister » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:05 pm

Hi Tin. I've got progress blogs on all my projects where you can read up on lighting techniques at www.mutantvehicle.com

Cheers!
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Postby Token » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:54 pm

Tin, that's an open ended question.

A great answer is: a free running tesla coil.

Or

A long stick of magnesium billet lit on one end.

Or

16 high powered strobe lights running slightly offset frequencies to form visual harmonics.

How do we narrow this down for you?
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Postby Tin Halo » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:21 am

Let's try this:

• simple warning/safety light visibility so your install doesn't get run over, and

• general lighting so your work can be seen at night.
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Postby Pink Daddy » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:13 am

I had a deep playa project in 2008. It did not have much of a night signature, which is what I wanted. To ensure that Artica was happy with it being safe at night, I installed four solor-powered ground lights, one in each cardinal direction. The charge lasted the entire night. One stopped working after a couple days and I'm not sure why. I accidentally broke another one while checking on them.

They were the cheap ones you get for your garden, very small. If I paid a little more for them, they would have probably lasted longer. But, two of them lasted for 10 days without any problems and it kept the art piece from being run over by darktards, bicyclers, and art cars. The lights were just bright enough to be seen far enough for someone to recognize it as an art piece.
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Postby Tin Halo » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:20 am

That's the kind of info I'm after. Brand? Link? Store where you purchased them?
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Postby Pink Daddy » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:34 am

I can't remember the details and I'm unable to find them on the internet. You can do a Google search for 'solar lights' or 'solar landscaping lights' and find some good stuff. They're sold on Amazon and at Home Depot.

Here's a tip in case you're going to use the garden ones. They come with a cheap, hollow, plastic stand. The spike that is provided for them is intended to be used with dirt, not playa. But, as long as the stand is hollow, you can use this method.

Hammer rebar into the playa at least 6 inches. Ensure that there is at least two feet of rebar above the ground. Drill a hole sideways through the light stand. Run durable rope through the hole and down through the bottom of the stand. Tie a clove hitch and a few half hitches on the rebar with the rope, use the end that is protruding from the bottom of the stand. Slide the stand onto the rebar, pulling on the rope to remove all of the slack. Tie the rope around the stand below the hole that it's coming out of, add a few half hitches to secure it. The rope will keep the stand mounted to the rebar, which will make the light extremely sturdy.

If that didn't make enough sense, I'll try and draw some sketches to help explain it...
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Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:48 am

hd was having a sale and those lights were like $2.50 each.

perfect for all over the pier project.
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Postby fbcota » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:30 pm

We have used solar garden lights from Harbour Freight and Costco for the past 2 years. They are led solar lights that work ok. About 1/4th of the cheap habour frieght lights died by the end of the week with 1/10th of the costco lights dying by the end of the week.

We used the cheapest ones we could find. I think it was a $1 per light for the cheap cheap ones.

Pros: Emit light, cheap, no maintenance
Cons: Dim, break easily
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Postby Token » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:29 am

As others have said, solar garden lights. Although I think they are 100% crap.
High brightness LED lights.
Christmas lights.
El Wire
Cold cathode.
Compact fluorescent.
Neon.
HID.
Sodium.
Runway markers and strobes.

You really want to think about how lighting integrates with your art as part of the while design process, rather than a darkwad prevention device.
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:25 am

ummm...yeah.... that's why I'm asking, see.... I want to know what's worked in the past, see what's available, see how it integrates...

Honestly, Token... you seem determined to generalize my questions and cast me in some sort of less-than-intelligent light. Not sure what's up with that.
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:29 am

fbcota wrote:We have used solar garden lights from Harbour Freight and Costco for the past 2 years. They are led solar lights that work ok. About 1/4th of the cheap habour frieght lights died by the end of the week with 1/10th of the costco lights dying by the end of the week.

We used the cheapest ones we could find. I think it was a $1 per light for the cheap cheap ones.

Pros: Emit light, cheap, no maintenance
Cons: Dim, break easily


One of the considerations was re-housing the garden-variety (hah!) lights into something a little more sturdy. I'm speculating it's about 50/50 on the causes of failure, split between weak/crappy housing and shitty electronics (some of which I might be able to reinforce, with parts from work).
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Postby robrob » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:31 am

Tin Halo wrote: you seem determined to generalize my questions and cast me in some sort of less-than-intelligent light. Not sure what's up with that.



i think what Token said about integrating lighting into the design process as opposed to sticking up some warning lights around the perimeter was a great piece of feedback.
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Postby CapSmashy » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:48 pm

Tin Halo wrote:Honestly, Token... you seem determined to generalize my questions and cast me in some sort of less-than-intelligent light. Not sure what's up with that.


I think he's trying to pull more specifics out of you in relation to what you may be planning.

Or he's being an ass. :)

He is one of the bitter and jaded crew. I tried to make him happy this year by giving him his very own Sparkle Pony of Happiness to renew his Burning Man spirit, but I'm not sure it worked. :lol:
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Postby ygmir » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:52 pm

CapSmashy wrote:
Tin Halo wrote:Honestly, Token... you seem determined to generalize my questions and cast me in some sort of less-than-intelligent light. Not sure what's up with that.


I think he's trying to pull more specifics out of you in relation to what you may be planning.

Or he's being an ass. :)

He is one of the bitter and jaded crew. I tried to make him happy this year by giving him his very own Sparkle Pony of Happiness to renew his Burning Man spirit, but I'm not sure it worked. :lol:


see, if you'd a gifted him a "reacharound of ha-penis" it bet it would have worked........
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Postby AntiM » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:11 pm

I used eight solar lights on my installment, one for each corner, one on each side. These were my marker lights. I got them at Lowes on clearance; but you've missed the end of summer clearance for the most part. They lasted most of the night. I had backups but I didn't have to use them. the dust can get in them and make the battery connection wonky. I also worried about them being stolen, but it didn't happen.

I had solar spotlights too, but thy didn't last the week. That was my "light up the project" lights, but I ended up with a darkish project at night.

I didn't use solar strings, but I have had very good success with them in other playa applications. Christmas is coming, you can pick them up right after the holidays. I've had the best luck with the ones I got at Target. If these work in your art design, I recommend them.

Halloween is here, you can get interesting solar lights right now.
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:13 pm

Did he eat it fuck it or burn it?
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Postby fbcota » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:59 pm

I spoke with the Balloon Guy this year for a bit about what he uses to light up his massive string of balloons at night. Its a pretty simple solution. A nice bright LED clipped to a watch battery with a little clip to secure them to the balloons.

He said they last forever on 1 battery. He actually thought they could last the whole week.

Graffiti research labs has some great info on Throwies (Leds with battery and Magnet), http://graffitiresearchlab.com/projects/led-throwies/

For the pier I have actually conisdered this solution. Throw them inside some paper laterns and it should be good to go. I will do some tests to see how it all works out.

From my experience with the garden lights they mostly break because the casing is fragile. People bump them, wind knocks them around, art cars hit them. I have thought for years they would be easy enough to take apart and use for whatever you need. I was going to play around with making solar paper laterns this way. Change the led and maybe the battery and run slighty longer wires to the solar charger.

I think Token is just hitting on something I have done is the past years. Lighting seems to be an afterthought on most of the projects out there. I have been disapointed about it, but I have been part of the problem. It simply came down to cost on the 2 projects I have done. The first one was way over budget and behind schedule so the planned el-wire animations got scraped. Last year, we simply didn't have the money for anything other then basic perimeter lights (as in $20 was hard to pull).

I think Jelly is a great resource as all his projects have been well lit over the years.
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:28 pm

We had a few throwies at a Maker event last year at Club Workshop. I took one and tossed it up to an electrical junction box about 10-12 feet above us. it stayed lit for almost a month (!). That said, I'd think if we're gonna utilize throwies in the paper lanterns on The Pier, one of us oughta be tasked with morning and evening rounds of 'lights on/lights off',; might as well save some energy.Might give whoever does it a chance to calmly reconnect with the piece, too.
I was thinking about re-packaging the yard lights into a PVC+steel spike combo, maybe utilize some of those clear fluorescent tube protector sleeves as transparent spots for the light to shine through.
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:38 pm

fbcota wrote:I think Token is just hitting on something I have done is the past years. Lighting seems to be an afterthought on most of the projects out there.


That may very well be, but it's a bit depressing to have someone automatically assume that a potential art-bringer hasn't taken this into consideration, and immediately run with that. That's part of the whole reason I'm asking. But that wasn't a possibility to be considered on his end.
It's worth noting that a number of other people were able to simply answer the question, yourself included, without the down-talking.
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Postby Token » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:07 pm

Jebus, I step away from the keyboard for a day and I end up the bad guy!

Sorry Tin, I'm trying to help.

I've got some lighting experiences on playa that may be relevant but I really don't want to post a resume of art I've done in the process.

Several art cars, one major art installation, several smaller art pieces etc. All were lit.

It will really help to know what your vision for lighting is. You don't have to spill the trade secrets but things like back/front lighting, diffused/focused, transmissive/reflective, colors or sequencing, quantity of light and brightness etc. would likely result in some good ideas getting tossed around.

Again, don't mean to be a jackass or insult you.

And Smashy, the pony has made me a kinder gentler prick, but the enema kit sure helped with the splinters.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:14 pm

A kinder, gentler Token???

Shoot me now
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Postby Bob » Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:00 am

There's nothing like playing twenty questions with artistes who refuse to divulge trivial things such as scale, shape, materials, finishes, purpose, interactive elements, etc.

http://www.burningman.com/installations/art_guidelines.html
http://www.burningman.com/installations/light_art.html
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Postby AntiM » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:34 am

Several years ago, Sparky in Hushville made wonderful lanterns from disassembled cheap solar lights. One set had shades made from printed transparencies. Another set were made from those big industrial sized plastic may jars with stencils (?). I have no pics and only vague memories, but they were very cool and simple to construct.
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Postby Tin Halo » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:14 am

Bob wrote:There's nothing like playing twenty questions with artistes who refuse to divulge trivial things such as scale, shape, materials, finishes, purpose, interactive elements, etc.


Holy fuck, man, here's the deal: I've had a few ideas, haven't settled on any of them. Lighting is one of the primary considerations, before I undertake anything, which is why I'm asking. Some of the ideas may not be do-able by me given lighting considerations and constraints; I don't want to decide on an idea, follow through with it, only to get to the end and realize that the lighting aspect of it is either shot to hell or shooting the installation all to hell. A huge part of my decision is based on lighting. I am in the exploratory stage, and am asking questions appropriate to the exploratory stage. I am not 'refusing' to do anything.
In essence, I am doing that which Token was imploring me to do early on in this thread, long before he was imploring me to do so.

Is that an acceptable answer to you? I sure as hell hope so, 'cause it's the only answer I've got.
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Postby Tin Halo » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:20 am

Token wrote:Sorry Tin, I'm trying to help.

I've got some lighting experiences on playa that may be relevant but I really don't want to post a resume of art I've done in the process.

Several art cars, one major art installation, several smaller art pieces etc. All were lit.

It will really help to know what your vision for lighting is. You don't have to spill the trade secrets but things like back/front lighting, diffused/focused, transmissive/reflective, colors or sequencing, quantity of light and brightness etc. would likely result in some good ideas getting tossed around.

Again, don't mean to be a jackass or insult you.


Okay, understood. Even if you didn't view this so much as an apology, I'm going to run with it as one, 'cause it makes my day a little smoother. 8)

There are no 'trade secrets' to reveal, really. It's nothing overly technical and dramatic (though I'd love it to be). I do not consider myself an 'artist' in the sense that the rest of you consider yourselves or your peers artists... I'm just a guy with some talent and crafting skills that has some modest things I'd like to share on the playa. If I have to fight too much harder to learn about the in's and out's of doing something like this, I'll take it as a sign from the universe that I should be spending my energies elsewhere, and say 'forget it', otherwise I risk making a bigger fool of myself than I already do.
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Postby Token » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:38 am

Tin, don't get discouraged. There is nothing going down in this thread that needs be personal in any way.

I'm not an artist. I tinker, smith, weld, fabricate and engineer my way into art. If it were not for folks with vision, I'd be all reverse polish notation calculators and formulae.

Eplaya has been a fun playground for many cool art projects and if you take it as a creative medium and skim past the snarky editorial, some very cool art can happen.

Keep trucking and take Bob seriously when he gives serious advice. Me an' Bob share similar personality defects at times but you gotta love us for our faults.

Go read the Contraption threads and see what can come of ePlaya geekgeneering.

Edit: can't spell fer sheite this mornin'
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:48 am

I don't get it.

What in the hell are you trying to light up?
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Postby Bob » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:54 am

It's not about you, Mr. Halo -- some of us are simply hoping the next artiste will read threads like this and take notes on how to engage other intelligent adults of a certain bent in a social networking context. Or not.
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Postby Elorrum » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:07 am

AntiM wrote:I used eight solar lights on my installment, one for each corner, one on each side. These were my marker lights. I got them at Lowes on clearance; but you've missed the end of summer clearance for the most part. They lasted most of the night. I had backups but I didn't have to use them. the dust can get in them and make the battery connection wonky. I also worried about them being stolen, but it didn't happen.

I had solar spotlights too, but thy didn't last the week. That was my "light up the project" lights, but I ended up with a darkish project at night.

I didn't use solar strings, but I have had very good success with them in other playa applications. Christmas is coming, you can pick them up right after the holidays. I've had the best luck with the ones I got at Target. If these work in your art design, I recommend them.

Halloween is here, you can get interesting solar lights right now.


Lowe's is going through a major product changeover and reset of landscape lighting. in with the new, out with the old. look for yellow clearance tags. Some of the new solar lighting is pretty neat, brighter leds, landscape spotlights, some bubble stick lights that are cool. but the old stuff is going to go cheap, I'm watching for it.
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