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Cues... dumb question.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by letechyroyal, May 23, 2008.

  1. letechyroyal

    letechyroyal Member

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    So I use an ETC 24/48 at school. No one has ever read the manual so that's what I'm doing. We are so basic with it we have never used cues, and I don't even understand what to use them for. Help me out. Thanks
     
  2. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Er, my post will get shot down, but essentially a cue is any lighting state, they can be more "advanced" or really "lights up / lights down". Shows done by high calibre LDs regularly break 300 cues. However, doing the show lights up/lights down your cue count could be 30. All of your lighting states (Cues[Qs]) should have been worked on and set in advance of the show by the LD. This way, nothing changes from show to show, all the Board Op (or, Go Monkey) has to do is press Go, when told to.
     
  3. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    Simply put:
    A cue is a collection of the levels that the lights are set at. You may have all lights on, some lights on, one light on or no lights (Blackout).

    If you just use the sliders on your lighting board set one way for one scene then change them for another you have already used two cues, maybe three cues if you went to blackout first.

    In lighting on boards with memories the cues are stored in memory. Then instead of having to race around having to move all the sliders you just push one button.

    By using cues in memory you can make your lighting look better because you can set a light to a level like 97% so it looks just right. When not using cues in memory you may to have set the slider to 95 or 100% becuase the scale on the sliders may not be marked in 1% units.

    You can also use what is known as submasters to store groups of light settings. This is handy if you are doing something like a talent quest where you don't get any time to work out specific lighting details. Eg You might put the different colour lights for the Cyc on different submasters. So if you want to a blue cyc just pull up the blue submaster, red - red submaster. You could put the lights for a large group across the stage on a submaster . Then you put the lights need to light a small area for a soloist on another. So then instead of having to change a lot of sliders you just change one or two submasters. It makes things a lot easier.

    We use cues in memories usally when we know somthing is going to be the same way each time like in a play.

    If you have a play or musical coming up learn how to record cues on your board you will find it so much easier.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Charc nailed it, but to expand just a bit. Assume a simple, one set comedy play, perhaps by Neil Simon. For simplicity in this example, no main curtain is used.

    Q1=House Lights Full, Dim light on set; for audience walk-in
    Q2=House Lights to Half, no change of stage lights
    Q3=House and Stage Preset to Black; actors take positions
    Q4=Lights up for Act I (LBO doesn't do anything for the next 45-60 minutes)
    Q5=Fade All to black, actors exit, end of Act I
    Q6=House Lights Full, Dim light on set; for Intermission; (copy of Q1)
    Q7=House Lights to Half, no change of stage lights
    Q8=House and Stage Preset to Black; actors take positions, (copy of Q3)
    Q9=Lights up for Act II (LBO doesn't do anything for the next 45-60 minutes)
    Q10=Fade All to black, actors exit (copy of Q3)
    Q11=Lights Up for Curtain Call, wild applause and standing ovations
    Q12=Fade All to black, actors exit (copy of Q3)
    Q13=House Lights Full, Dim light on set; for audience walk-out; (copy of Q1 and Q6)

    So even the simplest of shows has a minimum of 13 cues: 3 copies of Q1, and 4 copies of Q3). Most likely there would need to be more cues between Q4 and Q5, and between Q9 and Q10. Sometimes 1, sometimes 100. They could be motivated by an actor turning on or off a light switch, or could be a 20 minute long sunset to show the time of day, or could be just that the director/designer want to focus attention DSR.

    Using cues in a memory lighting board insures exact repeatability. Q9 will be the exact same look every performance. Yes, the LBO is there merely to press <GO> when the Stage Manager calls the cue. But the LBO also must know what to do if Q9 doesn't, for any reason, look the way it's supposed to (burned out lamp, faded gel, knocked instrument focus, etc., etc.).

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Derek's example is great, and that visualization of a cue-stack. Your cues would look like that list, and your active cue, or the light currently onstage, will change anytime you hit the GO button. Normally, cuestacks work numerically, 5 is after 4, and they are both before 6; that being said, you can do a lot with programming and hop all around, though that shouldn't normally be your goal.

    Your board is extremely powerful, in comparison to what you are currently doing with it.

    We already know you don't use cues, but I have a couple more questions for you now:

    Do you use submasters?
    Are you running it as a 2 scene or 1 scene preset board?
    Do you ever control channels from the keypad?

    Stuff like that is only scratching the surface of what you can do, but will mike your lives oh-so-much easier.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  6. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    The question asked in this thread is one that I had. However, having read the responses, I'm still not sure on the difference between a submaster and a cue. The first we use frequently, the latter never.
     
  7. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    The submaster is usally a slider onto which you store a collection of light levels. When you need to use it you normally physically move the slider to the level you want. On a simple submaster the lighting levels change at the rate you move the slider. On more complicated desks you can add times to the submaster eg you may move the submaster from the 0% to 100% position on the board in less then a second but the lights take 3 seconds to change.

    A cue may have exactly the same lighting levels recorded but it is usally held in what is called a stack. The stack is just a collection of individual cues setup in a sequential order. Then by pushing a Go button each cue sets the current lighting levels.

    Using Derek's example cue list we might start with Q0 Blackout ( Derek didn't use this but Q0 is often a blackout builtin to the board). NB You have to tell the board which cue to start at, in this case we'll say we are in Q0 blackout.
    Now press the Go button and Q1 will be activated so we will get
    Q1=House Lights Full, Dim light on set; for audience walk-in
    The next press will move us to Cue 2
    Q2=House Lights to Half, no change of stage lights
    and so on until we go from Cue 12 to Cue 13
    Q13=House Lights Full, Dim light on set; for audience walk-out; (copy of Q1 and Q6)

    When the audience has left you can just set the board back to Cue 0 which is a blackout, turn the desk off, and go home.

    I hope this helps.
     
    Clifford likes this.
  8. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    Yes, it's perfect! Thank you. ETC didn't explain that in the guide.
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    So just to elaborate on cutlunch:

    A submaster could have the same lighting state as a cue.

    However, cues are usually the better option (again, this is when you know everything is going to be the same show-after-show). For instance, using cues, I didn't have to be at the theater last night, and was able to have a family dinner & go to the shore, knowing my design will be the same as the night prior.

    Using cues is also a great way to get all your timing right; I'm sure you've found with your subs that the op doesn't always have the timing right.

    Having a cue-stack makes it really easy to visualize the show and cue-to-cue.

    In addition, if you record something into a cue, and the actors mess up the blocking or timing, no one can blame you. :mrgreen:

    ---

    Submasters can be really helpful for rehearsal lights, or for some lights that any ol' teacher can (theoretically) turn on. Also, submasters are great for creating looks or grouping lights while still maintaining tactile control over them.

    For instance, maybe you want to use Sub 1 as a full stage wash, great for rehearsals or random assemblies, also great if you need a full stage wash. Perhaps you want to break down your lighting or acting areas into subs; if you're lame like me and run your followspots on dimmers, you can throw 'em into subs; safety lights perhaps? You can also use subs to set very specific looks, if you plan to use them multiple times; any special color or gobo systems; or whatever fits your style. Use the subs in whatever manor makes your life easiest.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  10. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    I know exactly what you're talking about in terms of not always being on cue.

    We have sub1 as wash, and nobody is allowed to change it, not that they'd have anyreason for it. The only reason I'd hesitate to use cues where I am is that we're a high school theatre. Our actors (and other shows) aren't always perfect. An example would be their in-class play. We had it this week and it'll play again next week. Our drama teacher (who is also the tech superviser-and note it's not teacher) didn't want a run crew. Actors cannot run shows. I believe they are physically and mentally incapable. We were lucky to get an ASM so we knew when to up lights. A few times we lit early, and had to take them down again (very embarassing), so it's a good thing we had subs for that.
     
  11. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Danger: Strand Syntax; Stand at least 10 meters away!

    That can be worked around with cues as well too. My board has a stop/back button we can use to jump to the previous cue in a snap-count, I can also hit " Goto Q X", to go to any cue in a snap count, or "Goto Q X time 5" to x-fade in 5 seconds, or just "Load Q X" and hit "GO".

    By the way, I'm in H.S. too.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  12. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    You're right, we've got a back button. None of us have ever used cues before, so the entire section to the right of the Grandmaster (on an ETC Express 48/96) hasn't ever been touched. This is all new to me. Not a bad thing I guess, as I'll be TD next year.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  13. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Is your space dimmer-per-circuit? How many circuits/dimmers do you have?
     
  14. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    *Should have been ETC Express 48/96, not Expression*

    I'm assuming by circuits you mean what we call channels. If that's the case, then we have 60, plus two for the incandescent house lights that aren't currently working. The board allows for up to 1024 dimmers, but I couldn't tell you how many the theatre actually has, unless they're the same.
     
  15. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    My school has an Express 24/48 its quite a powerful console. Once you learn it you will love it-- until you get to the point where you want to add movers and LEDs.
     
  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Yarp. I'm a little hazy on terminology with the Express(ion), but I do recall them being called Dimmers. Really that corresponds to the DMX-512 standard. You can have 512 separate attributes/dimmers per universe, the Express has two universes. Dimmer is not really accurate as you can control anything that operates on DMX on the Express, it just might not be the easiest thing in the world (eg. moving lights).

    Each fader on your board controls an individual channel, Fader 1 = Channel 1, etc.

    You can softpatch dimmers to channel, so one channel can control multiple dimmer.

    You can also hardpatch multiple circuits to a single dimmer, which would require a patch panel.

    Of course you could also twofer two lights onto one circuit.

    So in theory you could have 1 Sub, controlling 2 channels, controlling 4 dimmers, controlling 8 circuits, controlling 16 lights. In practice, you don't often see hard patch panels anymore, a lot of dimmer-per-circuit systems.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  17. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Right, so lets straighten you guys out in simple terms. First off, the Express 48/96 has 192 control channels, these are the channels that you would see on the screen. The Express line all come with two DMX out ports to allow easier connection to multiple devices, and you can control two full DMX universes (1024 dimmers [addresses or outputs]).

    What does all this mean? Somewhere in your theatre there is a rack (or more) of dimmers. In a dimmer-per-circuit system that [user]charcoaldabs[/user] was talking about each dimmer would be connected directly to a plug somewhere in the theatre. These plugs are generally numbered, and the number would correspond to the dimmer number.

    Then we get to the console and what we call soft-patch (or now sometimes just patch). The soft-patch is a way for the user to lay out the channels in a order that makes sense to the designer (or user). Maybe you want all the blue down lights to be in the same group of channels, but you have them plugged into dimmers that are not next to each other. Soft-patch allows us to tell the console which dimmers we want on which channels. So maybe your blue down light is on dimmers 40, 45, 50, and 55, but you want it to be channels 1-4, in soft-patch you can tell channel one to control dimmer 40 and then channel two to control dimmer 45, and so on.

    On the Express 48/96 depending on the mode you have it set in, each fader can controls either the first 48 channels (two scene mode) or the first 96 channels (single scene mode). The rest of the channels can be accessed by using the keypad. Chances are you have your console set up with the default or 1-to-1 patch. This patch has dimmer 1 on channel 1, dim 2 on chan 2, etc. This setup with a dimmer-per-circuit system would mean that when you plug a light into a plug labeled "10" you would be able to turn it on using channel 10 on the console.

    As far as cues go, I think that has been sufficiently explained.
     
  18. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    This is all beginning to make sense. Thank you both very much. As to our dimmers, I have an idea where they are...I think. We have an electircal room that we never go in and that produces a lot of humming. Usually only people form the district are allowed in. There are two huge grey boxes on the walls. I would assume that's where they are. I'm not there now, and I wouldn't have the key if I did. Next time we can get in there, I'll give it a look. I'm not sure if the boxes are locked or not.
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not to offend anyone, but so as not to confuse Clifford and [user]letechyroyal[/user], let's only use Express(ion) syntax in this thread, okay? For instance, to run cues out of order, Cliff, you would just press [Cue] [x] [GO-AB], where X=the Q# you want to go to. The board will fade from whatever is currently on stage to the new cue in the time as specified in the new cue.

    For the moment, let's ignore the C/D timed fader and only use the A/B fader. Express(ion) doesn't use "Goto Q0" as a way to get everything to black, so ignore that. To go to black, one way is to press [Clear-AB] above the fader pair. Another way, if recording a blackout or fade to black, would be [CH] [1] [thru] [(Highest channel#)] [at] [00]. This captures all channels and puts them at a level of zero, including those being controlled by submasters. Once recorded, press [Rel] once or twice to release all captured channels. Usually when using programmed cues, all submasters stay at zero.

    Below is a screenshot of an Expression3 screen with the cue list I talked about earlier. The Express' screen looks a little different as I recall.
     

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  20. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    Okay. I'm playing with the off-line software, and I can do everything above. The only question I have at the moment is how would I change the fade time of an individual cue?
     

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