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Abandon teaching incandescent ?

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by SteveB, May 7, 2019.

  1. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Nah, the transition will be janky and piece-mealed but with costs coming down on LED's people will find a way to pay for LED's over maintaining their tungsten inventories. Lot of the small theaters that might be deterred are the same ones who want to stop buying heavy duty power cables, two-fers, lamps, gels, and such. Especially the venues that are constrained with how much power they can tap into. They'll go to Guitar Center and pick up a handful of Taiwan's finest rather than buy a single new tungsten fixture.

    It won't be pretty but it will be inevitable.
     
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  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jay Ashworth "asymptotically". I've got to admit, Jay; you sent me to Google with that one. @BillConnerFASTC How often do you find Jay's "asymptotically" casually rolling of your tongue? @MNicolai @derekleffew @TimMc Same question; how about it??? @Quillons ; how about you???? (Deep in the heat of your Mechanical PEng courses)
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I estimate there are not 500 professional/touring theatres in US. And over 30,000-35,000 K-12 - public and private - albeit a number are gymnatoriums and cafetoriums. Higher ed - I don't recall my last estimation off hand - maybe 3000-4000.

    Some of those will rely on tungsten for at least 20 more years I'd guess.
     
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  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I think for the purpose of original post, I would wonder how many theater/venues/studios that would have Professional LD’s working there, exist. That’s where the students getting trained now are likely to be working. Not the thousands of schools.
     
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  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Very few in the pro venues. Most of those students - the very small percentage who will find employment designing lighting - will be in pro venues. Most in educational.
     
  6. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, but when lamps become Unobtainium, it's over. And from what we're seeing reported elsewhere on CB that's happening with certain types already.

    Yeah, I don't see the community theater in my mom's hometown finding $10k to replace the console, dimmers and limited lighting they already own but sooner, rather than later, it's gonna happen.

    I brought up touring because it reflects a balance of design integrity, practical application and commercial reality that others inevitably follow. Today we loaded in the Beautiful - The Carol King Musical and probably 70% of the show is incandescent (Color Ram II, anyone?) so the transition is still in the beginning but trust me, Jay, I think the train has left the station.

    Our choices depend on our roles in production - as techs (and not designers) my gig is to put the lights in the air and circuit/DMX them according to the plot; as a community theater LD the gig is to make the 17 working fixtures look like 70 fixtures; as a teacher the gig is to instruct students as to how the craft evolved, how to design for the craft, and give students the intellectual and artistic tools that allow them to improve on their knowledge, art and skill as a career path.

    I totally missed the Digital Prediction of Audio Domination, figuring analog would still have a smaller but parallel place in sound. Are there still thousands of little Mackie mixers in use? You bet. Are the going away? Yes, sooner or (probably) later. Are there thousands of new, large frame analog consoles being sold each year? Nope, not even. A little bird told me that Yamaha finally scrapped the 300 PM5000 that remained unsold after it was introduced right about the time the D-Show came out. I submit that at the mid and upper end, lighting will not be significantly different.
     
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  7. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @BillConnerFASTC IF they can still source replacement lamps for their luminaires for beyond the next decade??
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  8. Quillons

    Quillons Active Member

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    Really interesting discussion

    As a student I want to be employable, both now and in the future. In school I want to learn the basic concepts and have the opportunity to touch the really cool stuff that I may not see for a while since I'll be starting on the bottom of the totem pole in the working world. Depending on how your classes are laid out, I think it would make the most sense to teach the color theory and incandescent stuff in the early years- you want the students to be able to get summerstock jobs and (correct me if I'm wrong) those will probably be incandescent for at least a few more years. Once students are starting to think about full time work, then they might want to know more about the fancy LED tools that they may encounter in the wild.

    And @RonHebbard: I mean, not everything is asymptotic, but one of the pages I can bring to one of my finals is titled "Asymptotic Bode Plots". So, it comes up.
     
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  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    What uou learn in school will probably be out of date within 10 years. I learned hand drafting. 3 - 4 years out AutoCAD. And more. Like who needs to understand patch panels today. Just assume youll see several generations of tech in a carer.
     
  10. Quillons

    Quillons Active Member

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    This does not bode well for anyone if the experiment I did looking at the rotation of the earth is out of date in a few years! :p
     
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  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @BillConnerFASTC and @Quillons ; Perhaps I missed Ms. Quillons point. I'm understanding you both to be essentially in agreement but let's begin by preparing for technology most likely to be encountered during your first summer's employment then increment up from there to whatever's most likely for your second summer's work. Optimistically upon graduation, you're prepared to deal with wherever the "bleeding edges" are at that point in the future.
    Possibly I've misinterpreted post #50???
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Well sure you learn what will prepare you for after your formal education. But much will change. You should learn to learn.
     
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  13. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    I think we agree the trains left the station, Tim I just think we disagree on how fast the thing is moving - this is the United States of course. :)

    And I think Bill's projections and theater count estimates are in line with what I expected and based my opinion on.
     
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  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I still have a telephone patch and 6k dimmers in use. Pro companies use these every day. Incandescent won't be dead until the HPL is dead. Any school that only teaches the newest stuff is destined to have students who won't be able to work. I had a person who couldn't replace a lamp in a 6" fresnel a few years back... this was someone with a degree from a good school. You need to know it all to compete in todays world.
     
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  15. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Footer It's important to appreciate and utilize the subtle distinctions between 'knowing it all' Vs. being 'a know it all'.
    I'll descend from the podium and relinquish the lectern.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  16. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    By the way, it's worth pointing out that the used market for LED's is pretty robust and competitive with tungsten. If you don't mind dealing with the IP6 connectors, there's an almost endless supply of few-year-old D40XT's on ebay recycled out of Disney and cruise ships because the fixtures outlived the attractions and resellers don't know how to get rid of the low-demand XT's and XTI's.

    I just did an eBay splurge and now have a couple C-stands in my living room with 21" Pearls lighting up artwork on my walls, CSPARDB's for ambient lighting, and a D40XT and an X7 in my home office. We'll ignore for a moment that my neighbors probably think I'm trippin' LSD after sunset. $500 Colorsource PAR DB's, $300-400 D40XT's, $60 Selador X7's (the original series that Rob Gerlach and Novella Smith built in Rob's garage before ETC bought them out). Scratch and dent but still in great condition and with a 30-day proof-of-life warranty. Not a bad deal for ~80% off retail price and all I've had to do is replace a gel clip, a couple fan grilles, and buy some lenses. Last week I saw an Element 2-6000 go for $1400.

    Not everyone can buy used but in comparison, tungsten S4's for the longest time sold for almost the same price as new ones unless they had 575W caps. They were just about impervious to depreciation. If the current used LED market is a sign of things to come it won't be long before LED is ubiquitous.

    Like I said before. Not sexy if you have to manage a commercial theater with 300 fixtures used 340 nights a year, but plenty good enough for all the places don't need any more fixtures than you can cram into a minivan.
     
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  17. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    I've seen many corporate locations just starting the transition to Source 4WRD to begin upgrading their existing Source Fours. Their rationale is money.
    They could care less how much power the lights draw or how hot the lights get. Ultimately they just don't want to comp the customer because their gobo burned out or pay a tech to replace lamps.
    Also in tons of these corporate events, there's no time to configure DMX LEDs but if you're able to put 10 Source 4WRDs on one dimmer, you've saved labor on both ends.

    I don't think conventional dimmers and S4s are going away until RDM becomes simple enough for the lowest wage union guy to program.
    Permanent hangs and long running tours are a different story, but for corporate and community theatre, there is little training that will help DMX LEDs move forward.
     
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  18. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    I think we still have a rack with 12 channels of Colortran 6kW dimmers and a pre-Sensor ETC rack with 48 4kW dimmers. Neither have moved from their lonely corner of the shop in at least 2 years.

    I've done the kind of lighting you mention and it's one of the reasons my primary skills are in audio and related fields. ;) Seriously, it's as valid today as it was 25 years ago, and we've come up with some ways to emulate those Olde Skool ways.

    Remember when nobody expected lights to.. to... move?
     
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  19. theatricalmatt

    theatricalmatt Active Member

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    I think the pedagogy of lighting is fairly diverse. When you talk about "teaching incandescents," it really touches on several overlapping fields: There's color theory, as well as lighting design, which is fundamental to any serious study of lighting regardless of how it's generated. Then there's the technical aspect, how an incandescent does its thing versus how an LED source generates what we might perceive as the same caliber of light.

    When I got started, we made lights out of coffee cans and lamp sockets -- horribly outdated now, but *really* hands on, and so *really* satisfying for many students. You get a little bit of that with a Source Four, but almost none of that with a Lustr -- there just aren't any bits that you can easily put hands on. I could conceive of m-a-y-b-e showing a highly interested student how to solder LEDs with a really cheap LED PAR, but there's absolutely no way I would risk a $2500 lighting fixture to an undergraduate. So the result is that I have students who learn some of the mechanics of focusing a light, but more time is devoted to lighting design theory than hands-on work.

    The unfortunate side of that is that, the typical theater hierarchy (*one* designer with a crew of eight or more electricians) developed for a reason, and it's a hard mold to break out of! It's nice to have a small black box space with a permanent, all-LED rig, because students also get *really* into throwing up washes of really saturated color for some reason. Something really primal and satisfying about it.
     
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