Continued from August 2011 CTI Newsletter

Roger Desmond's Prop Lighter

Roadies are often required to create custom props and lighting equipment.  Roger Desmond faced this challenge on the U.S. tour of Billy Elliot. 

We asked Roger how he did it and what it looked like.  Here is what he told us.

CTI:  What were the general parameters and design needs for the project (what did you need to do)?
RD:  There was concern whether or not the fire marshal in San Francisco would allow the use of lighters and cigarettes onstage. We needed a fallback plan should that have been the case.

CTI:  How did you create and document the design?
RD:  It was a project that needed to be turned around so fast that I basically had to use things that I had sitting around the house.

CTI:  Were there specific design, budget, time, or physical constraints that you had to work within?
RD:  There wasn’t much time or budget to scope out finding specific housings to fit everything into. The largest problem was size. The creative team wanted it to be as small as possible, but that was proving to be difficult because of the battery size. Lots of the actors wear tighter fitting clothes and dance in them, so it was crucial that they be as small as possible so that they could dance with them in their pockets.

CTI:   Which City Theatrical products or services did you use, and why did you decide on CTI products or services?
RD:  I decided on using the
Candle Kit (Incandescent) No one else that I could find makes a component candle that looks good enough and is compact enough as a raw component to use.

CTI:  Did you do any preliminary testing?
RD:  Yes. My original testing was just heat shrinking the candle to protect it, then using a prox switch as a trigger. I then just taped the 9v battery to the candle assembly. This prototype was great for demoing the lighting output of the candle, but not feasible for using as a final because I didn’t think it would hold up.

CTI:  What was your overall experience in working with City Theatrical on your production?
RD:  GREAT! I was curious as to what the rubber material was when I disordered the input leads to replace with a 9v battery mount. I also wondered if there was the possibility to run on a smaller power source than a 9v battery.

CTI:  Would you have done anything differently in hindsight?
RD:  If this were to be a production product, a better housing would be all.

CTI:  Do you have any other comments or anything you think should be in the article?
RD:  To emphasize that if you want to integrate a CT product into a project and have questions, call and ask Larry and Andrew!!! They are great and very supportive!


Click here to watch the prop lighter video