and Blink-it™ Beacons
beacons are miniature, less
than 1" x .5" x .5" (2.54
cm x 1.27 cm x 1.27 cm), LED markers that attach to standard 9 volt
batteries, for use on the stage, or other low-light level situations.
They give off a small but very visible light (red,
yellow or green)
that help performers to find their marks, or to see the edges of platforms
or equipment in the dark.
beacons are exactly the same as Snap-it™ beacons, but they "blink"
with an approximately 1 per second flash rate.
uses for Snap-It and Blink-It beacons
center line and quarter lines for dance companies.
Snap-it beacons are much easier to see than glow-tape, so dancers can
easily find their marks. Lay the beacon on its side with the lighted
end facing upstage, the battery then blocks all the light from the audience's
view. The point of light provided by the beacon can easily be seen by
the dancers or performers, even with stage lighting in their eyes.
Lighting Trees or Booms
are perfect for marking the edges of equipment, such as lighting trees,
booms or monitor speakers, which can be dangerous for performers moving
on or off stage in the dark. Blink-it beacons can be positioned so the
audience can't see them, but performers will easily see them blinking,
even with the side light "flooding" their eyes, and be warned
of equipment that's otherwise invisible in the dark.
Stairs, Doorways, Hand Railings
Either Snap-it or Blink-it beacons can be helpful in marking stairs,
doorways, railings, etc. - that performers need to find quickly in the
dark. For example; they can be used to mark the angular edge of a thrust
stage, so that actors looking down would see the Snap-it beacon marking
the edge of the raised stage platform against a dark auditorium floor
and Blink-it beacons can be useful reference guides for Lighting Designers
while focusing lights on a dark stage.
Both Snap-it™ and Blink-it™ beacons come in three different colors:
yellow or green.
They will run for days (approx. 125 hours) on a new alkaline battery
with continuous use, or weeks with intermittent use! (To turn them "off",
simply use the thumb-tab to unsnap one terminal.) Finally, you can do
something with that pile of "used" batteries from the wireless microphones!
discussion on 9 volt batteries
The reasons for using 9 volt batteries were many. First of all,
almost every theatre has a pile of "used" 9 volt batteries
left over from the wireless microphones, and it made good economical
and environmental sense to use this resource. Consequently the 9 volt
battery is very common and can usually found in any theatre. If the
device had been designed around, say, a watch battery, quick replacement
could have been difficult. Most, if not all, hardware stores carry 9
volt batteries; rarely do they carry watch batteries. The specific design
of the 9 volt battery has both terminals on one end, this allowed for
a smaller device that did not have to enclose the battery. The terminals
themselves feature a unique snap design that allows the device to be
securely attached. The rectangular shape allows the battery and device
to lay flat on the floor without rolling away, while providing a low
profile to the audience. The 9 volt battery also has a very good size
to power ratio. Because the electrical "draw" of the device
is very small, it can use either "long lasting" alkaline batteries
or "inexpensive" carbon batteries.