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Design Issues and Solutions Check Out My Plot

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Pie4Weebl, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I figured some of you might have a lil bit of interest in seeing a dance plot I am working on. Here is the trick about the space, its a 3/4 thrust so traditional booms are out of the question. They have been uses in the past and parts of the house blocked off but I felt that was unattractive. The load in should be interesting. The previous show closes at 9pm sunday, and the load in needs to be complete, focus done, with dancers on stage at 5pm monday night. Should be a long evening.

    The Plot! (PDF)

    Design wise, many of the choreographers wanted stark lighting, which heavily weighed in on my design choices. For high sides I have a warm and cool from each side. R33 and L202 come from SR and R68 and N/C from the other side. I have a Congo downlight system, backlight in the form of scrollers as well as a lav spring leaves gobo wash. From the front I have a socket filler system as well as an abstract harsh gobo system, the construction gobo. I have a few movers to pick up specials.

    Questions? Comments? pre-load in starts a week from today!
     
  2. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Ha. I'd add this to my plots, but people would always be making fun of me.
     
  3. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Why congo down?
    Why are your insturment numbers running SR to SL? ....is that something you were taught? Industry standard is SL to SR
    Why don't your movers have instrument numbers? They are instruments...and should be numbered.
    You also have several regular instruments that aren't numbered.
    The blue highlighting drives me absolutly batty.

    Lose the note about "When hanging the plot," Its filled with bad grammar and will not instil confidence in your crew by its very nature.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  4. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Because it looks good. You should try it some time, it helps add light in a very hard to define way. More important than that is the fact that I know I will get a lot of millage out of it during the show.

    I number them based on how I see it from the house, works for me and no one has complained about it.

    Aside from the lights in the voms I have no clue what you are talking about.... I thought about numbering the movers but decided not to, because I don't think the lx crew would count them as lights really...
    I don't see that on my copy of the pdf so I am not sure what you are talking about....

    Considering I know everyone who is hanging the show, everyone who has seen that note thinks more designers need to add it. It does instill confidence in the crew, the confidence that I am not going to be an arrogant pr*ck to work with like many designers can be. And if you can't have a little fun with the plot what is even the point ;)
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Can we make fun of you for...
    ?
    Egg on your face!:twisted:

    Looks good, Victor. Dance never works terribly well in an other than proscenium space, and yours certainly fits that. Incredibly bizarre hanging positions. Please post some pics of the room, as well as some production photos when you are done.

    When a UNLV graduate comments on your grammar...
    Add the word "is" between "it" and "painfully." I believe this note was inspired by something that [user]Icewolf08[/user] commented on, as done by an 829 designer. I like it for its humbleness. Probably wouldn't use it on a Broadway or corporate plot, and not really sure how professors would feel about it, but I don't think it's detrimental.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  6. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    :oops: well I will give you that one :mrgreen: That brings up the question of how should I spell that, I realize I have never had to write that word out before.
    Thanks!
    Can do, courtesy other people's facebook here are two of the room, and I should have some quality production photos once the thing opens, I'm having a real photographer take shots, that will be miles better than anything I could do with a point and shoot

    Looking up at the cats from SL
    [​IMG]

    View of the stage from the cats:
    [​IMG]


    The system is something else. The main catwalk, has a pipe like a normal enough cat, aka on at hand height and a toe rail. New pipe is the pipe just in from center of that. It is in the cats, and at a toe rail level, and you under hang the lights there, good shots but hard to focus. Outer Ring, which is on the inside of the cat as well as all those center positions, are toe rails where you overhang the lights. So you have to know the space very well to be able to design in it. Many first time (pro) designers there end up hanging lights that can't make their shot. Pipe 2 is a winch pipe, hence most my heavier movers being located there.

    I'm excited
     
  7. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Yoke:mrgreen:
     
    Pie4Weebl and (deleted member) like this.
  8. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    I think the reason you got a question about the L181 backlight is that it may not be the easiest color to use with the rest of your plot. The pale tints you're using for sides and fronts could make the 181 seem to 'vibrate or crawl.' It's hard to describe the effect... but I think you'll know it if you see it.

    As for plot things... the reason it's important to follow the SL to SR numbering convention is because a lot of times the electricians will prep things (like color or accessories to add) based on the instrument schedule, not the plot. So you may well some day find your plot hung correctly then colored and templated backwards. It would be really frustrating with a plot that was ALMOST symmetrical so it might take a while to notice why things weren't where they should be....

    Many times, movers are numbered separately from conventional lights... but they should be numbered and put on the instrument schedule (so it may go 1. 2. 3. M1. 4. etc....) for the same reason - in the documentation you need a number to refer to the light, so if you need to leave a work note, you can say M6 on the 2E needs to be moved 2 feet... or swapped out with a spare... or have a custom gobo loaded etc. For small rigs, saying "the second Mac 2K on the 2E" may be fine... but eventually there will be a mistake made and the miscommunication is YOUR fault if you didn't specifically define a language to refer to each individual light.

    There seems to be an extra cyc cell on the cyc electric... overlapping two others? And the cyc lights should be numbered as well (well... lettered) for the same reason... if the gel is burning in one of them, you want to tell the electricians that cell three of cyc light D on the 7E needs to be swapped out. Many times they could figure it out from "one of the R80s is burning..." but if they don't, it's your fault for not communicating again. Same with the color blazes.

    Design wise (don't you hate when you want to talk about design and get drafting notes? I hated that in grad school! And now I do it myself. Turns out that drafting is important...) it looks like a fine, safe plot. It's hard to get into trouble you can't get out of with L202 and scroller backlight... and the R33 is a fine warm match to 202, though not the one I would have picked.

    My personal preference would have been to put something more saturated in the frontlight, because... I don't want the front light to wash out the modelling from the sidelight and backlight. The two options for this are either to put a pale tint in the front light and run it down on dimmer where it turns to mud, or to put something with a little stronger color in the front light and run it up to a level where the color actually reads the way I want it to.

    Not knowing how you plan to cue the show... I would have considered either coloring the gobos the way you did (paler than the area light to cut through and lay on top of it) or substantially more saturate than the frontlight, planning to use them as a full stage wash and then add area light just in the areas with dancers... so the gobo on the floor becomes the backdrop and the area lights and/or follow spots (are you using follow spots? They should be on the light plot if you are...) will light the dancers only where they're standing. With full stage dances... this may be impossible... but you can still get good effect out of slightly more saturated templates with pale area lights with good cue structure. You can either start and end a number with a cue where the templates are emphasized, then add the area light on top for better visibility as the action of the dance grows... the payoff of the templates is felt for the whole dance, even if they're mostly hidden by the area light for much of it. And it gives you something dramatic to drop back down to for a solo, when you CAN take out a lot of the area lights and just light one area with the gobo wash surrounding it. The other thing you can do, if you don't want the gobo look for separate cues is to record part cues... so gobos come up faster than area lights, and go out slower... so you make the audience feel their effect without ever having to hit them over the head with them...

    And you mentioned that they've used booms in the space before? I know they're ugly in a thrust space like this... but if you can position them where they don't really block a lot of audience views.... I always maintain that a light plot has to be judged ugly or beautiful by the cues it makes... not by what it looks like with the house lights on... Now if you're make it possible for dozens of people to actually see the dancers... well that's a different story.

    Of my suggestions... I'd say that the drafting ones are the only 'shoulds...' I do feel that following industry standards in graphics is very important. I know, as you pointed out, that you'll be looking at the plot from front of house, so numbering left to right for you sounds convenient... but the plot and schedules are NOT for you... they're for the electricians. The channeling can be done from your left to your right if you want (as you did) because the channel hookup and magic sheet are YOUR documents about how the plot works artistically. But the technical documents about how it goes together have one purpose - to get the necessary information to the electricians, and so putting it in the format they expect and are used to protects your design and keeps your electricians happy.

    The artistic suggestions I made are just things to think about. I think your plot is fine and will work well for you in tech. I only tell you the things I would have considered doing differently so you can think about them. If you reject all of those suggestions after thinking about them, then excellent. :)

    Break a leg!

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  9. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Just curious about the choice for Congo. I use a lot of saturated blue down myself just not congo.

    Plots are meant to make hang go easier for the electricians on stage.

    The lights in the voms are what I'm talking about. And as I said before, moving lights are instruments too. They need to be accounted for both in your paperwork and on your plot.
    While we're on the subject of instrument #ing and and label legends in general, make sure that everything lines up straight. You have a lot of instrument numbers that don't sit in the center of the instrument like they should, especially on instruments that aren't sitting at 90 degree angles. This typically means you need several label legends. Also make sure data for one light isn't covering data from another; such as Channel 124 is doing to Channel 169.
    Must be an issue with my work comps pdf reader as it doesn't show up on the computer either. Thank god. I'll take a screen and post it.

    Its fine when you know the entire crew, but that's really my point. Most of the time the first thing a crew is going to see of you is your plot. I don't find the statement humble, I find it self depricating and it shows a lack of confidence in your abilities. As a Production Electrician I'd doubt your abilities the moment I read it.

    And yes Derek I miss you too.
     
  10. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    Perhaps a better way to word that note might be:

    If any fixture is drawn in a position that would render hanging or focusing impossible or unsafe, modifications or accessory additions are acceptable. Any deviation from the plot should be recorded on the drawing and brought to the designer's attention as soon as possible.


    I'm still not sure it's a necessary note - good electricians will call you, ok electricians will make a best guess, and I don't WANT crummy electricians changing things on their own anyway.... ;)

    My catchall notes ( in addition to specific plot notes... like spacing, where measurements are taken from, and explanations if I've violated any accepted practices with my drawing) which kind of cover the same subject are :

    This drawing and all associated documents represent the artistic intent of the designer and do not constitute advice or expertise on engineering, rigging, electricity or legal compliance. It is the responsibility of the venue and the Master Electrician to ensure that this lighting design is executed in a manner that realizes the designer's artistic goals while remaining safe and conforming to all national and local codes.

    Any deviation from the plot must be discussed with the designer at least one work day prior to focus.

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  11. beltsvillecrucib

    beltsvillecrucib Member

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    I feel as if we're arguing about incredibly minute (and unimportant) details here. The design/space look quite interesting. It looks like you did a great job coping for the lack of suitable lighting positions.

    In many houses, the aesthetics of the rig are a huge deal. Last season we had two spans of truss running the length of the house loaded with S4's. Some were ten or five degree units and they stuck out like sore thumbs. We had to pull 'em.

    I would agree on the issue with the sky cycs overlapping; not a huge error, just one that will drive some people crazy. Another thing to think about with the movers is to either include a DMX address(if not pre-addressed) or what universe they are on (so your techs know which run of DMX to pull). I personally don't see the issue with the centering of unit numbers. They all look sufficiently centered to me.
     
  12. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    Does anyone develop their own symbols anymore?
     
  13. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    With the abundance of modern dances in the concert that are meant to have that vibe, this was a conscious choice. For the few that will need a more normal color, I am fine using backlight instead of my tops.

    I see your point, that would be unfortunate to have all my color backwards. Because the way the space is layed out, I've never really considered how people stack color pre-hang. I suppose I do this when I prep 120K systems though. Our typical gel process is bring up all the lights that should be in that color, and fixing the ones that don't come up.

    I will do this next time, this seems like a nice way of notating them separate from conventionals. My work notes will probably just refer to them by channel number.

    Point taken. I decided to just take the route of cutting the sky cycs and using the blazes only since I use the cyc so little and the skys would take a long time to hang and wire, time I don't have.


    My front light is used so sparingly, and when it is used its minimal at that. I picked a super pale color so it wouldn't mud out on me at 30%, and 302 was suggested to me over 02 for just that reason. So the pale sides in combination with almost no use of the cyc (most of the dances will have a black closed US of the scrim which I think looks very clean) will carve them out like a turkey on thanksgiving at my aunt's house ;)

    I like to use my gobos to cut through everything else so I tend to opt for pale. In situations where I need a gobo special or a deep wash I will have the VL's cut through everything else, and they will do so with ease.

    Well when booms have been used, what it consists of is setting them up in the side seating areas of the house and closing them off, leaving only a third of the venue open. The light from the opposite boom then lights up the other boom as well as that half of the side, it looks not so nice. Plus there is that whole time thing. I have from 9pm until 6pm the next day to strike a plot, and then get this one hung and focused. 200 conventionals, and 16 movers + 25 scrollers. I want to make it as painless as can be.

    Ha, thank you sir. I'm sure I will learn a few lessons. Or the show will kill me, either way it will be fun.

    Tuesday I will head to the shop to prep the movers and added distro for my plot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  14. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am with you on the note Alex. All my plots have that same note.

    As far as numbering, I number stage right to stage left as well. As far as units being gelled backwards? I have a note in the plot to pull gel but not to gel any instruments until after focus. But any electrician worth his salt will know that unit #1 on the plot and unit #1 on the instrument schedule are the same unit, not unit #1 on the plot and unit #13 on the IS. And if my ME is going that much on cruise control, I don't trust him anyway.

    Mike
     
  15. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    Sounds like you're going to have a good time! I certainly understand not wanting to kill two thirds of the seats... and I've definitely had to leave things out because the load-in time or labor were limited. "Yeah, I would be a little happier with the rig if I rehung that pipe... but I'd rather sleep a few hours tonight. ;)"

    And as long as you and the crew have a clear understanding, you can give all the lights baby names instead of numbers. ;) But when you go into a new space with a new crew, adhering to industry conventions is a good way to make sure that mistakes aren't made, and if they are, you won't get blamed for it. :) Bringing up the blue wash and gelling it works fine when you can have all the electrics on the deck, or enough electricians to reach every position at once. And waiting till after focus works too, if you have the time in the schedule (and if you really trust the electricians to lock every fixture down and not knock them all around while dropping color. ;) ) But eventually you do a show where you have to send everything in for hang, and you'll have 4 hours to focus in the morning and tech in the afternoon.... and under those circumstances you want to do EVERYTHING you can to make sure that it's all correct when you walk in the door.

    I agree with you Mike, that the ME should be able to figure out that unit 1 is unit 1... but all too often I've seen the ME throws a stack of color at a lackie, and gives them the instrument schedule to figure out how to cut, frame and drop it. Many times the person prepping or dropping the color isn't using the plot at all... and sometimes may not have seen it. If it's not the person who prepped it that actually drops it they might not have any paperwork at all... they just have a stack that's been paperclipped and labelled "1E." And if the ME gave them instructions... do you know what he would have said? "The designer numbered the plot wrong. Everything goes from SR." I'm certainly over the point in my career where I feel eager to impress the electricians... I know I'm the designer and I don't need their reinforcement to know I'm doing well... I'll watch the audience reactions for that. But when you're going to work in a space you haven't worked in before, with a crew that doesn't know you, you don't want them second guessing you because they don't think you know what you're doing... They may interpret you saying "I number it the way I want it" as arrogance and disregard for the way they work. Numbering the plot the way THEY want you to because they're the ones who have to read it shows a little bit of consideration for them... and good will from the crew gets a lot more done....


    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  16. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am partially with you Art, but a few things...

    1. What about houses that naturally number from SL? I worked at 3 union houses in Austin that number SL-SR (which is what they taught where I went to school) as if the ME were standing on the pit and looking at the stage. In this case designers that number the other way would end up getting their plots messed up if we were on cruise control (btw it is spelled out in the rental agreement that we number that way).

    2. I always try to be considerate of the electricians and in the future I will even start to number my units SR to SL even though that looks so backwards to me! But I would still never trust a crew that much on cruise control.

    3. As far as dropping gel, it only takes a few seconds to drop the gel while you focus. Even at 400 units that is still 20 minutes over the course of the focus. Not exactly backbreaking.

    Mike
     
  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Mike, your explanation is contradictory. If the ME were standing on the pit, he/she would be inclined to want fixture #1 to be SR, no?

    Art used the term "industry convention." Stemming from the time when control was backstage, instrument #1 was SL, since we read from left to right. Once control moved to front of house, many/most (but not all) designers/electricians began numbering areas/dimmers/channels from SR to SL, but instruments continued to be numbered SL to SR. This, along with adapters designated MALE END first, is one of the few universalities we cling to. To do otherwise will always cause confusion. Refer to any textbook concerning the unit numbering of fixtures.

    I once had to execute a plot with the cyc drawn at the bottom of the page. Drove everyone nuts, and some things did get hung on the wrong side.:(

    You could, but you'd be wrong.;)
     
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    A quick note on numbering conventions. Almost every LD that we have come through numbers everything from stage left to stage right. This includes unit numbers and area numbers. As has been mentioned, this is the convention, and I believe that most lighting students are still being taught this. In theatre, just like on ships, there is only one left that matters and that is stage left, so as we read left to right (in most languages) it is only natural to number from SL to SR. With a convention like this all I have to do is hand someone an instrument schedule and they can walk down a position and drop color and templates without having to refer to any other document. Unit #1 is always on SL, and all you have to do is count.

    I do however have one LD who numbers his areas from SR to SL, which, in my opinion is backwards. He does number units from SL to SR so all told, life is amazingly confusing. I get handed a list of practicals and a range of channels to patch them to, so naturally I patch them in order from SL to SR which then confuses the LD.

    The name of the game is simplicity. Is it wrong to number your units different from the convention, no. It is a convention, not a rule. However, if you don't follow the convention you should be prepared to spend some extra time correcting errors.
     
  19. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Alex the "Wiseman" (as a compliment) wrote:

    "I do however have one LD who numbers his areas from SR to SL, which, in my opinion is backwards. He does number units from SL to SR so all told, life is amazingly confusing. I get handed a list of practicals and a range of channels to patch them to, so naturally I patch them in order from SL to SR which then confuses the LD."

    I label my areas SR to SL as it makes sense when I'm running the console, which BTW is usually in manual mode as it's an Express 2 Scene (Gasp !). NOBODY on my crew gets confused about the area's being R to L with unit numbering L to R. They don't actually pay much attention, which is both good and bad.

    "The name of the game is simplicity. Is it wrong to number your units different from the convention, no. It is a convention, not a rule. However, if you don't follow the convention you should be prepared to spend some extra time correcting errors."

    Agreed. I and (most) everyone I work with knows CONVENTIONAL units are numbered SL to SR. That's been the so-called standard ever since Warfel wrote his book. [edit by DL: Handbook of Stage Lighting Graphics. William B. Warfel. Drama Book Specialists, 1974. (Long before, actually.)]

    I also believe that the convention will change as more and more ML's and accessories become the norm, and you will start to see conventionals on a plot numbered R to L, as it follows the logical convention for operators sitting at a console in the house finding the ML's and accessories.

    I also think that with CAD and Lightwright able to easily adapt and change the paperwork, it won't matter as long as there's a note to that effect: "NOTE: ALL UNIT NUMBERING IS SR TO SL - DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU !".

    Steve B.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  20. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    The real question is: why is it any more logical to number from stage right to stage left than SL to SR? If almost everyone is numbering from SL to SR now, people are used to it, why change? It doesn't matter if I have one ML or 50, I still expect ML#1 to be on the SL end of a hanging position. I don't really see why any way is more logical than the other. One way is logical because it is the convention, the other way is logical because it is L to R as you are looking at it.
     

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