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Board upgrade

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Stoldal, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    As I said in a different thread I am working with a high school that is building a theatre. I am thinking ahead to the future. Right now the plan for the theatre is 300 I series leviton dimmers, 20 color kinetic LED panels(3channels each), 4 Cyberlight CX(20 channels).

    In the future the plan is to get around 6-10 moving heads lights, like MAC 500. I will not know what we will get until the time comes.

    Will the Leviton Innovator 600 control board work, or will it be a pain controling all of those fixtures with that control board.

    Should i talk to try and get them to buy a different board, and if yes, what board?

    Thanks!
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    You might be happier if you can talk them in to getting an ETC Ion, which has been exhaustively discussed in multiple other threads. Another option would be a Compulite D-Lite, which you'd probably pick up really quickly since you've used a Vector Lite. One of the nice things about the D-Lite is the small flip-up touch screen for fixture parameters. The Innovator is a great board, and I've used it quite a few times, but it doesn't have the ML-specific cueing functions that you'd get out of an Ion or D-Lite system. The Ion is probably gonna become one of the industry standards pretty quickly (along with EOS, which uses the same software), so you can argue that point, too.
     
  3. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    Ya, I really like the Vector Orange board, but with the price tag around 15k , i think that may be out of the question. The board has not been purchased. I am going to talk to them( aka school admins.) about changing the board. I am just wondering about the price range. In conparison to the Innovator how much more is the Ion going to cost. Note that i was never told the cost of the Innovator. I may have to contact the companys to get the prices, but any help is great
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Ion is probably going to end up being a worthwhile 2 to 4 K over the price of an Innovator.
     
  5. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    One problem I see is the theatre is using ColorNET.
     
  6. tgates

    tgates Member

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    I know this is slightly off topic, but, if you are going to get new movers down t road, I think color mixing is a Good Thing to hold out for for a theater. Personally, I think it's one of the most important features of a good moving light in anything but a dance sort of setting.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Ouch - that's a tough one to overcome. The theatre should have Art-Net, not ColorNET if they want to be an up-to-date installation. But chances are that someone bid on the system, and what you're getting is what you're getting. That's what sucks about bids. If the bid requested a moving light console, well, the Innovator has a set of encoders and can control moving lights, so I guess it falls in to that category. Is ColorNET a protocol that uses ethernet cable and RJ-45 connections? Because if so, transfer over to ETCnet3 instead of ColorNET would be easy, or you could put in ArtNet, which would be a great addition to a new space.
     
  8. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    here link is the PDF of what as of now we are getting in the threatre. I think it does use CAT 5 cable.

    The board uses ColorNET protocol, but the other part of the systems says it uses Luma-Net III protocol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  9. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    So basically, if the system's been bid on and spec'd, there's not much you can do. The whole system was designed around ColorNET, and all of the houselight stations are Leviton/Colortran stuff. It's gonna be very tough if not impossible to get this egregious error of specification fixed. It seems counter-intuitive to spec High End and Color Kinetics gear but end up with a Colortran boards. Sure, colortran boards were good back in the day, but the Innovator has had the same design for the past 4 or 5 years at least, if not more. They should've specd a console that was forward-thinking. Oh well, maybe they'll realize this when you get the moving heads next time 'round.
     
  10. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    Ya it has been bid on a nd spec'd. It is a school, and the school admins where the ones that chose what company we would go with. Ya that is why i started this thread. I just dont see the Innovator working will with 15 + moving heads/scanners. I just dont want to have a out of date system before we have even built the theatre. I am not trying to rant. we are getting a theatre we will make do with what we have.
     
  11. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    Mstoldal what are the actual model names for the LED panels? I went to the Color Kinetics site and couldn't work out the specific model you were talking about. What do you plan to use them for cyc etc?

    I am wondering if it might be better to maybe drop some of the Led lights so you can spend a bit more on the control board. Getting money for another LED light is easier then trying to replace the lighting board in a few years.

    I am a bit confused, will the administration listen to you over what goes into the theatre? Because it sounds like every thing has already being decided.

    Also your idea of 6 - 10 Moving head lights seems a touch excessive for a school if it is at the cost of ordinary lights.
    There are just some shows where using moving heads can be overkill.
    Or will you have a lot of outside hires that will make it worth while. From other posts you don't seem to have many non-intelligent lights are you getting new lights apart from the intelligent ones you have mentioned?

    Sorry I am just playing devils advocate but from working in schools I know once they spend money on something they don't like you turning up next year asking for more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  12. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    I understand that money is important. That is why i want to get a board that is goingto last us for a long time, and can keep up with the new lights. I have not gotten the exact list of what we are getting, so i dont have the model #s. I will post them when i do. The four Cyberlights CX we got where donated. It is a private school, and some of the parents of the drama kids have $$.

    The admins do not listen to me, but the person the admins listen to listens to me and trust what i think.

    I do like the idea of cutting some of the LED lights to get a better board. I asked for list of everything that we are geting light wise. I will come back and post that list when i get it. I was told we are about three month out before everything is ordered.

    Always thanks for the help and the comments
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Mstodal,

    If it's already been bid on and accepted then it's probably nearly impossible to make any changes. Once ETC started releasing their new consoles I tried to see if it was possible to change from Strand to ETC. I found out it would be about the same cost to buy a second console and throw the brand new Strand one away as it would be to upgrade. The contractor markups on lighting gear is INSANE. Secondly if you change something once the bid is agreed on they slap a change order fee on top of it which is a VERY steep penalty. So it's really not worth it to change once the bid is accepted.

    A far more important point for you to look at: The markup on lighting gear that does not need installation is huge. In my project, the contractors bid prices were between $500 and $1000 per Source Four (we ended up paying around $260). If it's at all possible you DO NOT want to buy any loose gear, things that don't have to be installed by electricians, through the contractor. Anything that isn't screwed down you should be purchasing yourself. You'll literally get 3 to 4 times the equipment for the same price. If you've already accepted the bid, it's too late. :(

    As for the Color Kinetics gear, I've had the money to buy some LED gear in my budget and chose not to because it just isn't quite ready for serious theater use yet. It's great for DJ work but without spending 2-3 thousand per fixture, you aren't going to get enough punch to compete with conventional stage lights. Yet. Give it 5 years. If I was to buy an LED product right now it wouldn't be Color Kinetics. They may own the patent on just about everything to do with LED lighting but they are not leading the way in good mixes of white or in total lumen output. In my opinion, there are lots of other LED products out there that are superior to what I've seen from C.K.

    Finally, the most important question is will your system be upgradeable to be fully ACN compatible? If it is then you will be fine in the long run... in fact it will be easy to plop an ETC (or any other console) in the system once every thing's running ACN. If it isn't going to be upgradeable to ACN then you just got yourself a beautiful computer that only runs Windows 3.0! If it isn't upgradeable to ACN, that's like buying a system in 1990 that wouldn't be upgradeable to DMX512. ACN is the future and it's very close to being reality. ETC, Strand, Martin, Hog, High End... all the big players have been designing their gear to be compatible with ACN for a year or so now.

    I'm all gloom and doom, sorry. Hey maybe C.B.'s Vegas Superstar Derek can help you out some how.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Pretty much everything has been said. [user]Mstoldal[/user], I'm afraid you're getting what you're getting. The good news is there's lots of competition in the LV lighting market, so you should be able to rent a console and lights for the big musical or production when you need them. [user]Gafftaper[/user] wrote a good post about how high schools should not invest in "toys" until they have all the basics they need. Where was that [user]Gafftaper[/user]? In my opinion, MAC500s have very little place in a theatre. Personally, I'm not sure it makes sense for anyone to own moving lights. When a MAC2000 costs $10,000 to buy and $150/week to rent, it takes 67 weeks of constant use to make economic sense, not including the maintenance or lamp replacements, both of which are substantial. And face it, most of the high school shows will not need, or even want, moving lights. Don't get hung up on the toys. The MAC2000 will cost as much as 38 SourceFours, but will not do 38 times as much. Just my 2ยข.

    And a high school with 300 dimmers; that's fantastic! Be thankful. I know you've been putting up with 24 TTI dimmers in a gym for a long time.
     
  15. Stoldal

    Stoldal Active Member

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    Ya i agree with you. We are getting what we are getting. When the time comes in the future , a few years, i can get them to spend the money more wisely. Maybe buy 2 moving heads and a better board. Instend of buy "toy" that we would use a few time a year.

    We will made do wth the 4 Cyberlights we have now.

    I am we thankful that i will not have to use the TTI dimmers anymore. I still mayhave to use them when we do things in the gym. The theatre can only hold 750. and we have 1200+ student in the school.

    This is a high school theatre, not a proffesinial theatre, yes we have done great production. but for not and most of the time simpler is better to, may toy may can make many problems.
     
  16. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Bah, Our highschool was built with a i96 Dimmer Rack, Lutron Pre-Set Lighting Control, and a Innovator 600.

    A few months into usage our Innovator board started constantly locking up, and the Lutron system would randomly turn up and down lighting on stage and the house lights. Our system has ColorNet or DMX however I don't think they ever setup ColorNet as the only hookup for it is in the booth and it goes down to the rack in the electrical closet. I don't know how they'll design your school but our school wasn't designed quite well for future upgrades in the theater. There's no possible way of doing movable lights, or anything that requires DMX, colornet doesnt go anywhere, and a bunch of other stuff.

    Hopefully your Innovator system has better luck.
     
  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Thank you for that report, Rickblu. Out of curiosity, how did Leviton/Colortran or your dealer work to solve the console locking-up issue? Have the problems been resolved to your satisfaction? When was this installation, I assume recently? Anything useful you can tell [user]MStoidal[/user] about the Innovator? First-hand experience is always the best. Don't blame the lack of DMX runs or the non-use of ColorNet on the manufacturer, that's a system designer's responsibility, and most likely was eliminated due to budgetary constraints. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, but it is what it is. Was the Lutron flashing issue related to the Innovator locking up? Has that part been resolved?
     
  18. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    While I agree that LEDs are not yet ready for theatre, I have to argue this point just a little bit.
    The CK iW Blast 12 TR is a great fixture with tons of punch and is beginning to replace the Strand Coda as footlights for TV shoots. Sadly, they cost about two grand each. I may never go back to lighting a cyc with anything other than CK ColorBlaze72 or PixelLines or Martin Stagebar54. Have not used the Selador product, and feel 7 channels is too many. I'd be building color palettes for days! However, I'm glad I don't have to purchase an LED product today, as things are only going to get better and less expensive in the future. YMMV.
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    we may have digressed from boards to gear in general, but cest la vie. I have to agree with Derek, that in a high school environment, investing in Moving lights does not seem practical. The expense of owning that kind of gear is pretty high, and as Derek said, if you aren't going to be using them all the time it isn't worth it. The [user]gafftaper[/user] method, of getting something like seachangers and i-cues/RightArms is a much more practical solution. It is way less expensive, and generally more useful. It is also a lot less cost of ownership.

    On the same note, I think I would stay away from investing in LED fixtures for high school theatre for now. So far, it seems that most of the LED products that are available that are suitable for theatrical use are way beyond the price range that you probably want to be in. I think if you feel like you need color changing capability for a high school I think it makes a lot more sense to invest in regular PAR cans or fresnels and scrollers. The Apollo SmartColor with the universal mounting plate it a great unit, and you can easily stick them on most fixtures. The other thing about LED technology is that it is evolving so fast right now that by next year there will be something significantly better and less expensive, whereas PAR cans and scrollers are not going to go away any time soon.

    As for consoles, well, I would default to other people, but if you are building a new space, it seems that the best idea is to invest in current technology. The Innovator is old, the Express(ion) is old. An ETC Ion or Strand Palette will give you much more bang for your buck and will last a lot longer. You can also go with some of the other manufacturers like Compulite as mentioned previously.
     
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    But be aware that service MAY become an issue with one of the smaller manufacturers.

    Either I'm getting better or my anti-depressants are working, but it seems many people are agreeing with me on many issues lately. (Except [user]Van[/user]). I know some parts of the US are going through a cold spell, but did H E double-hockey sticks freeze over? We had LV's first measurable rain last night since Aug. 15--something must be up. Is Jupiter in Mars again?
     

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