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BlueLight x1

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TDjohn, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. TDjohn

    TDjohn Member

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    Hi, My name is John Hauer

    TD/Theater manager at Crystal Springs Uplands School. Please wait...

    I found you all as I was researching DMX lighting control. This time it was specifically BlueLight x1. Any input?

    I do need new control. I like PC control. I am not stuck on any idea though. whatever is good.

    John
     
  2. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    Welcome John! Glad to have you here. Be sure to stop by the wiki and search function. They are great features of the site.

    I moved this thread to the Lighting Forum for greater visibility. Many members do not stop by the New Member Board on a regular basis, so I did not want you to miss out. Hopefully the folks that cruse the Lighting Forum will be able to help direct you in the right direction.

    Enjoy CB!

    ~Dave
     
  3. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Questions for you:

    What kind of shows do you do?

    How many lights do you have?

    Do you have moving lights?

    What is your current board and why aren't you happy with it?

    What is your budget?

    Where are you located? (so we can help you find someone to bring a board to your space to demo)
     
  4. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Have you tried the demo?

    Of all the PC solutions, I thought BlueLight was the most intuitive, but I did not purchase and cannot speak to the reliability or full functionality.
     
  5. TDjohn

    TDjohn Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the replies already. I walked away from this computer and there were replies when I returned.

    Questions for you:

    What kind of shows do you do? I work in education. in our space annually there are about: 6 stage plays/6concerts/40 meetings with multi media/and a few variety shows.

    How many lights do you have? 250 old school source 4's etc (192 -- l86 dimmers) ; 14 HES trackspots; 12 HES studio colors; about 30 leds right now will become a little under 100 leds as we develop. some f/x machines;

    Until I saw Bluelight I had not considered A/V part of lighting, but now I do. 3 video projectors - many different laptops arrive with media on them and a question "can you display my presentation?' or "I need to play this behind my dance."

    Do you have moving lights? see above.

    What is your current board and why aren't you happy with it? Rosco Horizon (one universe) - out of channels and out of useful product life.

    What is your budget? Ah, here's the deal. I am developing right now because I have a donor. I could go as far as a full-on ETC board -- if I wanted to push all the resources that way, but I don't see the point. That is a lot of fixtures, etc.., to give up. I have student operators who love computers. The Horizon computer control solution has worked great. They assume they can work it when they see it. When they see a board, they assume they can not work it.

    Where are you located? (so we can help you find someone to bring a board to your space to demo) San Francisco CA area.

    Have you tried the demo? (of Bluelight)
    Not yet. I got a quick reply from innovative, but I did not see the demo download site yet. Right now I am on a Mac (in the video lab). I will have to have a chunk of "PC time" to enjoy such a thing as that demo. I need to be physically in one place - the lighting booth. My PC laptop took a fall.

    As far as Bluelight are there any special concerns with the computer used? Can I expect a somewhat current PC (over 1.4 Mhz) running XP professional to work? Or, should I look at that very closely?

    Also on my mind are HogPC (the 4 universe box), and Martin Light Jockey - any comments? other products?

    As an aside: (this may be meaningless) but because I have many students I need a way for them to easily understand the stage layout.
    Right now, I set up 15 areas on stage.
    I can set my screen width so I have 15 columns so (old style channel layout)
    1-15. Front key lights
    16-30 Front (medium) fill lights
    31-45 warm top fill lights
    46-60 cool top fill lights
    61-75 back lights

    The result is that every channel in a vertical column: 1,16,31,46, and 61 control light that roughly goes to the same place on the stage. Therefore, if a performer is standing in area 4, we can nail them with many choices rather quickly.

    After that (ch76 - 512) are where you find specials, wigglies leds, etc. So any new operator moves from simple to more complex as they progress upward in the number of control channels they work.

    etc.



    Thanks for any help,

    John
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
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    I know that people like a lot of the computer control solutions, but personally I am a big fan of a dedicated hardware controller. All of the new generation of consoles are based on Windoze XP Embedded, so the really don't operate any differently than a computer. Also, I find that having dedicated buttons and such make programming much faster. It also may be just my opinion, but it seems like you are bound for fewer issues with a dedicated hardware controller than a computer, especially in a school setting.

    By the way, what do you mean "old school" source fours?
     
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    "250 old school source 4's etc (192 -- l86 dimmers) ; 14 HES trackspots; 12 HES studio colors; about 30 leds right now will become a little under 100 leds as we develop. some f/x machines;"

    Ditto Alex's comments

    A real dedicated lighting desk with lot's of buttons and wheels will be a lot more efficient then a Laptop/Desktop with a mouse and a lot of keyboard shortcuts to remember.

    That's pretty much alway's been the consensous among lighting professionals who do it every day and is one of the reasons there's still a huge market for dedicated desks, ETC, Strand, Martin, MA, Jands, Avo, Compulite, etc.... There are many more versions of dedicated lighting control desks then PC controllers out there, for a reason.

    Steve B.
     
  8. TDjohn

    TDjohn Member

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    Hello,

    I know the arguments about using boards. But, boy do the PC solutions work with tech savvy kids with whom I work. Also, it could be a gender thing. The girls seems to back off of sliders a bit.

    I have rented boards and the students tend to prefer working with computers -- in general. They are fast.

    if I speculate, I would think that the older folks - me - have a tactile relationship with the sliders and buttons. They kids just key stroke their way to the look they want.

    That is not to say that I have to go with a PC solution. And, it is not out of the question to have two solutions. a board for the big shows and a computer for the simpler stuff.

    I did say that I was open to input. If there is a hot console product out there that is relatively easy to learn, I am all ears.

    One friend told me to pay attention to the actual programming environment from linear que based programming to event based programming. I am not 100% clear on what that means. Since, I am que based, I think of shows linearly as they progress - how the look changes from que to cue. He said the other way is to work in terms of the unique looks from event to event.

    I am hoping that by writing more here you can read my biases and point me in a direction that leads to solutions.

    From what people have said, it does sound annoying to have to load every fixture you want to use into every event (or que if they call it that).

    "Old school source 4's" - actually running a cable from a dimmer to a fixture. The fixture does not even have on-board DMX or any control - no gobo changing, no color changing - that's pretty old school. You dim 110v AC to make it brighter or dimmer - that's pretty old school. And the cable is so heavy..... etc.

    So, those of you who prefer boards did not say which ones you prefer, nor did you give a real in-depth "why." For example you might say 'the programming on the Eos lend me through the most intuitive programming experience I have ever had. The "In" was 50% faster due to ease of operation."...etc.

    John
     
  9. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if I would call the S4 "old school..." I mean, it certainly isn't the newest kid on the block but it still is the number one selling conventional fixture. For me, the S4 is new school when compared to the rest of my stock.
     
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I think these 2 thoughts are related.

    1) I think that younger people take to computer control faster then older folks, but many of us older folks have been around computers all our careers and can possibly understand how a console works at it's basic level, better then younger operators who have no background. Thus we can grasp the operational concept faster and certainly have no fears at digging in to a console to see what makes it fail (most of love to make a console fail). Possibly the younger kids are nervous at this as they think "well it's a computer and I have one in my backpack", vs. "It's a $17,000 lighting desk and I better not muck with it", not understanding that's it's got the same basic OS as their laptop.

    2) Bottom line though, is as us older operators have discovered, having actual buttons that do what they say they do is much faster then trying to remember the keyboard shortcuts. I know the ETC Express backwards, having operated it for 10 years. I cannot program as quickly on the off-line editor, no way, no how, and there is no possibility that ANY PC based program is as fast as a dedicated console. Especially something like an ETC Eos or Ion, with dual touch screens. Ditto any operator on a Grand MA or Vista. Any good GrandMA operator can use the PC version, but they will admit the full desk is faster.

    So the question becomes, do you want to train you students to use a piece of software they may NEVER see again, or possibly get them onto a desk that they WILL see again, such as an MA or ETC ?.

    Steve B.
     
  11. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Steve's point is really the key. In the "real world," most people are using dedicated control hardware to run lighting rigs. So teaching students to use computer based software doesn't really give them as full an education in the field as possible. One of the great things about the new generation of consoles: Eos, Ion, Strand Palettes and LightPalettes, etc. is that you can interact with them in so many more ways that you could with older consoles. Now you can hook up a mouse and a touchscreen and click through the entire UI or you can navigate with the keypads and sliders. You can use virtual faders and encoders or the hardware ones.

    As far as what consoles I like, I try not to show too much of a bias as there are people from many manufacturers on this site. There are good and bad to all the consoles. From all that you have said, it sounds like you need a good all-around console. If you need kicking power there is Eos, GrandMA, and the Strand LightPalette VL. If you don't need more that 4 universes of control and want to save some table space, an Ion 2k, smaller GMAs, and the Palette Series from Strand. The ETC consoles are going to be the industry standard for a while, so it is worth training people on them, but the other ones are nice too!

    I also agree, in the not writing off conventional fixtures. it is going to be a while before people really stop using cables and dimmer and such. If you start thinking that is outdated now, you will probably be bummed out soon.
     
  12. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    As a big proponent of pc control, I have to say that educational theaters should go with what the students are likely to see in college and in the pro world, i.e., a dedicated control interface.

    But cost-wise pc is usually less expensive per universe. The downside is there typically are no faders with the base console. Hog pc has playback and programming wings. Martin LJ can accept dmx in, for use with any fader board, but in my experience it has latency. If you could find it, you could add on Fingers, which gives you 4 x 12 faders or use a Behringer product with a plug-in. As for Chamsys, BlueLite, and many of the others, they may have peripherals available, but it's been a while since I've looked at any of them.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The most promising of the PC control software and hardware solutions I have seen is the Chamsys MagicQ. One can buy as much or as little hardware as one wants (or can afford). The system operates much like an advanced version of the WholehogII, which was the de facto standard in moving light control for about ten years.
     
  14. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    i have programmed shows on both pc and consoles. I hate using PC maily due to the key layout as stated before. Also, with a console running xp embeded, you are much more likely not to have a problem than a computer running a full blown version of windows. What really bothers me is windows updates and things, nothing like trying to run a show and your computer threatening to restart or i just up and restarting, like i have run into several times with the emphasis. I know down here, i have had several schools tell me they are looking at pc based but arent sure. What i do is go down there with a Hog and a Hog PC. They play with both, i tell them they are basically the same, i am also sure to tell them with a console, you cant really break it. You can play through every menu and setting. If you feel you have really screwed up some setting just perform a clean start and your are back to factory defaults. I like pushing consoles to their limits and seeing what crashes. I also program very fast, so this pushes consoles. The kids really like the console over the computer, not only just for the feel and physical keys over short cuts, but it is much more impressive to be sitting at a console than a laptop. Yet networking to your console via laptop is the coolest :D.
     
  15. Franklights

    Franklights Member

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    definitely the hog PC... if for no other reason you are an educational venue and your students should learn a console they can immediately apply and turn their knowledge into money (a job). I have used the bluelight and it is interesting for sure and seems pretty complete, but it will most likely be the only one your students see in actual application. However the hog is available everywhere in the world. They can book a show with confidence knowing what they learned from you still applies and is relevant in the real lighting world.

    you mentioned the super widget (4 universe version) for the lights you mentioned using I would recommend a single universe and spend the difference on a DMX splitter for flexibility on stage.

    Good Luck!
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    i think he is just flat out of channels due to all of his movers. So he needs more than one universe. Depending on your price range and if you can buy used, you can pick up a hog 1000 used for aorund 6-7, or you can pick up a road hog used for around 9 new around 12-15. Or you can go the hog PC route, pick up the super widget/dp 2000, and then pick up the Programming wing and the play back wing, then you have physical buttons, which i like using much more. If you go with the widget you can run Hog2PC or Hog 3PC, so if you have the best of both worlds.
     
  17. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I am going to agree with everyone who says get a PC system like the hog, and then get programming and playback wings on the side. This should be a nice middle ground.
     
  18. BenTev28

    BenTev28 Member

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    Another voice added for getting a dedicated console over a PC based system, and for the same reasons - once the kids get used to it, they'll be able to go much faster, and it's much more reliable. My specific recommendation for a dedicated console (since you asked) is the ETC Ion. For the inventory you have, I think you'll find the functionality with movers and LEDs really convenient, especially in terms of saving space on your displays. Also, the Ion has a small footprint and in terms of aesthetic style looks a lot like a computer. The faceplate has very few faders, and the board works well with a keyboard and mouse hooked up to it (if your kids are really attached to typing instead of using a faceplate, the keyboard shortcuts for Ion are very similar to those for Horizon). Also, the Ion/EOS is the only ETC product I'm aware of with a mac compatible offline editor.

    In terms of how your students react to the board - I definitely hear what you're saying about comfort levels and familiarity. The other side of the coin, however, is that once the initial leap is made (from 'that looks complicated' to 'I can figure this out') it just feels a lot cooler to be able to use an expensive, sophisticated piece of specialized control equipment than just another computer program.

    Added bonuses to the Ion - it's cheap (ETC is specifically marketing it to schools to replace older boards. It's available at the same price as some of the most advanced software boards). And if you go with the touch screens, it's just plain cool to be able to touch your monitor and see a light come up.

    Hope that helps!
     
  19. TDjohn

    TDjohn Member

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    This may sound thick, but I am not too concerned with what happens after my institution. I want to get my shows up with the coolest look and the least pain possible. We are an ivy league prep. If one student goes onto other lighting control work later, they can adjust. I have been here 20 years and have about one new light tech per year - 20 people. Out of those 20, one has gone onto become a lighting designer. He could handle learning any board.

    The comment about a board being faster is the most apt.

    I found this:

    Start quote----

    "TheSwami TheSwami is offline

    Default Re: A Question for ETC Ion Owners
    It's a joy to program on, no doubt. Using movers and scrollers in a theatrical context is actually pleasant now. The pageable encoders alone make it a very nice console, let alone the preset/pallete controls. Almost everything's straightforward, and that which isn't (show control, file manipulation) at least isn't egregiously frustrating. And coming off an Express 24/48, patching intelligent fixtures is a dream within a dream...

    As a very wise man once said, "Aw hells yeah."

    73
    __________________
    Jeff Glass
    Lightable.Blogspot.com"


    End Quote -------


    That is very useful.

    I contacted ETC to get some help reviewing the Ion and see how I can get a demo. It has the right number of channels and may be in line with what you guys seem to suggest.

    BTW, I do have a sense of humor. Calling S4's "old school" is one expression of that.

    I watched the element 60 video and it got me thinking... Is there such a video for the Ion around here?

    Thanks again,

    John
     
  20. Erwin

    Erwin Member

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    Yes. Get a Desk.

    I have used PC software, Martin LJ, Hog PC. ETC offline... etc.

    None of them are as intuitive, easy to use or as common in the workplace as a lighting console.

    I wouldn't even consider a PC controller for my theatre. er... i mean theater :p
     

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