Vintage Lighting Backstage at the Fox Theatre Atlanta, 1929

robartsd

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I also saw someone using a wooden board with notches of different depths, one per handle, as a preset. Have all the handles at 0, and slide the board upwards. It would push each handle to the appropriate intensity for that scene. You would have one board per cue. Then grab a broomstick, lay it across the handles, and pull down for a master fader.

/mike
Reading about this type of system for setting levels in The Magic of Light inspired me to create a foamboard cutout to quickly set the levels for a scene on a two scene preset board for my church's Christmas show that closed last week. The director's vision for this show helped me realize that a programable control would enhance our productions even if it did no more than control the 12 channel dimmer pack that we currently use. I plan to ask for the budget to buy a DMX to 0-10v converter and a USB DMX dongle in a future production so that we can program the show on an old PC running MagicQ or QLC+.
 

JD

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Never ran a resistance board, only autotransformer type. Still, an aerobic experience! There were always show compromises made to deal with physical logistics. (Things we would not think of doing today.) Bringing up a scene was always harder then taking down a scene. Usually involved several rapid pace sub-routines such as setting transformers for rear, overhead, then front of house so the scene kind of rolled into existence from back to front.
 
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derekleffew

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Does anyone understand how the preset function worked ( or what they mean by preset?)

It looks to me as if I can attach any dimmer to the master fader wheel, and can choose to attach to the up or down side of the wheel, but I can't quite understand how that is a preset,
I think they're using the term "preset" differently than how it later became known due to the advent of multi-scene preset consoles, i.e, they're using "preset" to mean "proportional (electrical) mastering" as opposed to "mechanical mastering."

From a section on piano boards from Scene Design and Stage Lighting, Parker and Smith, 4th edition 1979, pp586-587:
PRESET BOARDS
Auxiliary or preset boards are comparatively small and are usually placed on top of the roadboxes for convenience. A standard preset board has either twelve 500-watt or eight 750-watt dimmers which generally are used to control a single spotlight each, though several small-wattage lamps occasionally are ganged together to be fed by a single dimmer. In turn, each group of four dimmers of a preset board is fed by one of the 1500--3000-watt dimmers of a 14-plate piano board and hence are mastered by it. Thus each instrument connected through a preset board may be set for a different reading, and all may be brought to those readings simultaneously and proportionately by bringing up the handle of the mastering dimmer. Each dimmer of a preset board has an associated switch so that instruments not required for a certain scene may be turned off.
Yep, today's concepts of dimmer-per-fixture, breaking special s out of a wash, and groups of channels date from the 1920s. And of course, tracking.
 

SteveB

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I think they're using the term "preset" differently than how it later became known due to the advent of multi-scene preset consoles, i.e, they're using "preset" to mean "proportional (electrical) mastering" as opposed to "mechanical mastering."

From a section on piano boards from Scene Design and Stage Lighting, Parker and Smith, 4th edition 1979, pp586-587:

Yep, today's concepts of dimmer-per-fixture, breaking special s out of a wash, and groups of channels date from the 1920s. And of course, tracking.

Yes, I recall well the supplemental preset boards that sat on top of the main piano board.

Bob's comment though was that the Preset function of the Hub unit had the switches doing some kind of preset function. No clue what.
 

millamber

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Feb 22, 2010
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Atlanta
Sorry to bump this post, but I felt I should mention that the Hub board at the Fox is still installed, although the loads are disconnected. I was just there at the beginning of the month loading in the Nutcracker. I'll be back on the 28th and will try to get more pictures if I can.
 

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JD

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Using it as a cable rack? Oh well! Odd mix of technologies there, with that plate with six XLR connectors mounted in it!
 

gafftapegreenia

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Yes, the panel feed is dead and it now serves as a rack for random cables. What else are you gonna do with such valuable wall space, look at it? :p

Something that IS functional is the power distribution room. Note that the beam sized exposed copper plates on the ceiling are the mains.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150745229150648.723358.141137570647&type=1

Also, heres a shot of dimmer beach from that same stage right vantage point from when I loaded in War Horse there in 2012.

337067_3750644125287_962320138_o.jpg


Hello there Mr. Whittle !
 
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gafftapegreenia

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Looks like Boot Camp for anyone with a paranoid fear of Arc Flash!
Yeah man, just walking by the door to the room and peering trough it's reinforced glass window gave me the jeebies.


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epimetheus

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This is just awesome. Need to add Atlanta to the vacation roster just to see this beauty of a theater before it turns in to dust.
 

gafftapegreenia

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Zebulon1880

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image.jpg
That brings back a scary memory. An old community theater I worked at many years ago had a piano board (resistance dimmers) with interlocking masters and an auxiliary bank of resistance dimmers without any kind of interlocking. The master was a broom handle!
Found this in a 1936 Kliegl Lighting Catalog. Resistor Boards and Piano Boards.
 

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