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Rigging lights to a drop ceiling


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#1 Alex Hall

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:13 PM

What is the best way to rig small lights (250w) to a drop ceiling?
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:16 PM

It has been talked about here before, so try a search for more detailed info and safety considerations.

For a light as small as a 250, a drop ceiling hanger would be a real good choice. Its a piece of grip hardware designed to fit onto the slats of a drop ceiling and gives you a baby pin to mount from.

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#3 Alex Hall

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:27 PM

Thanks Kevin
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#4 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:31 PM

Also called a scissor clip:

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Make sure to use a safety, either out of aircraft cable, trick line or similar.
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#5 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 06:47 PM

Nail in Baby plat would work. If you are using a 250w light on zipcord, you can staplegun the cord to the ceiling. Just use a long staple and make sure it doesn't go through the wire, just over it.
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 09:01 AM

Take a small thin board attatch a baby plate to it. Remove a tile, slide the board up above the ceiling, and rest it over several tiles. This will distribute the weight. If you have enough room you can set the light uo into the ceiling so it doesn't appear in your shot.
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#7 Walter Graff

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 09:22 AM

Here is a tip! First remove a tile and carefully inspect the hanging system of the grid. Normally only aluminum wire is used to hang the grid and the wire is only twisted once around a eye hole so it can only support the weight of the grid and lightweight tile. If it looks secure, then the next step is to pull on a crossbeam and see if their is give. If it feels flimsy, you will need extra support. I can not tell you how many times I have seen small scissor clipped lights take down an entire grid of floating ceiling. That becomes a problem. And the strange thing is it always takes down every least tile. You don't want that. So I would suggest you only hang the lights near parts of the grid that are supported directly to the ceiling and then check to see how the grid is attached making sure there is more than a simple hook in the aluminum cable that supports the ceiling. Many times I will require my guys to run our own safety cable to the floor slab above and then to the grid offering additional support guaranteeing me that I will not pull down a ceiling. Remember that a light alone may not weigh much, but connect it to a cable and snake that cable along the ceiling and do it with two or three lights and you are adding 50 pounds to a drop ceiling and as I said (I've installed quite a few so know the procedure) they are normally not hung to support much more than the tiles they hold. Also only hang a clip to the long crossbeams and not the short cut frame. In other words we hang a drop ceiling by cutting long channels that go fomr one wall to another. Then we use small crossbeams to make the square grid. You'd be better to make sure you are attaching to the long uninterrupted channel than to the short crossbeam channels which are only held in with a stub and can break free far easier. Also all fixtures must be safetied not to the ceiling grid but something either attached to the ceiling slab or pipes, etc that have far more independent support than the drop ceiling. In a number of cases where I saw drop ceilings get pulled down it was because a fixture came off a stud and the safety pulled on the drop ceiling grid that cascaded with the fixture and the fixtures cable causing the collapse.
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Glidecam

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Visual Products

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Technodolly

CineTape

Opal

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post