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Dark Routines for Movers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by JD, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Although it is handy to send a dark routine to a mover to confirm it has power and is on line without putting any light on stage, I have notices that many operators leave a lot of movers in dark routines during shows. I can't think of any benefit to this outside of visual conformation that distribution is working. Am I missing something?
     
  2. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Dark routines--as in, movement without the shutter open?
     
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Yep!
    Often done at concerts. Can't be good for them, so I figure there is some reason.
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps Ship sent them a used lamp because the previous tour didn't set the (what's the term?) lamp hour counter?

    Other than that, that's a very good question. Maybe they set all the light to X pattern, or something, then it is easier just to leave them dark then to change them to home, what with the short programming time?
     
  5. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    I'd probably agree with that, just board op laziness I'd suspect--unless (and this might not be true, and you could also get around it) the design was to have those fixtures turn on later in the middle of the ballyhoo or what have you, and to make sure they synched up, have them run the motion with the dowser closed until they went on. That, or last-minute changes meant fewer fixtures being on, but without enough time to go ahead and make sure they went back to home and were still.

    But that seems unlikely, especially for a professional board op. Its easier to just leave them.
     
  6. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    Move in black cues are a huge element in moving light programming. For instance, you want a light to be in a certain spot on the stage for a certain cue. Instead of having it track from the home position to your set position you program the light in dark in your set position so when that cue comes up the light is already in position all you have to do is open up the shutter, etc.

    If there is an effect running in black, then there is a movement that the LD wants to happen when the lights are already in motion instead of tracking from home.

    Now grant it, it does have value in your design if your lights do track from home to their effect or static positions but this is not always wanted in say theatrical applications.

    Does this make answer your question?
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Many people will put a fixture in a movement (can-can... all that fun stuff) and just leave it there and open the shutter when they want the effect to run. Its programming laziness most of the time, sometimes though it needs to be that way. Many people will put the effect on one pallet, run the effect, and punch the shutters when they want the effect.
     
  8. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Would make sense if they moved to a new position and stayed there, but what I keep seeing is more of a oscillation. Saw it last time the Clapton show was in town, again at the Chesney concert, and quite a few times in concert videos. Usually just moving to and fro with no apparent setup for the next cue. Almost like they are being exercised! I use plenty of dark cues myself, but these don't seem to have an end purpose. My only "guess" would be old data left over from a prior scene that is now being used as a blackout. It's just a matter of seeing it so many times that you start to wonder if there is some reason for it! ;)

    Just caught Footer's post. Yea, kind of what I was thinking..
     
  9. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    /channelderek What exactly do you want to grant it? A new home? A place in the show? Or where you looking for granted \channelderek

    (Proof I hang around here too much)
     
  10. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    Sorry Grog12, I am a roadie not a English Major. I'll try harder next time... not really.... :)
     
  11. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I also do it because it's easier to grab the whole rig, position it, and put a cue in to douse certain fixtures.
     
  12. zwolf59661

    zwolf59661 Member

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    I saw this at the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert I was at this year. I figured it was probably some sort of malfunction in the light, but then didn't really think anything of it.
     
  13. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    On the whole, I try to not leave fixtures moving or rotating gobos or any thing when they don't have to be. Sometimes, as mentioned, I'll force many fixtures into the same routine so when I want to add additional ones for a chorus or something, they are all synchronous -- you don't have to wait for the other fixtures to play catch up.

    However, I think its a pretty lazy and inexact attitude by many a board op to just leave fixtures wiggling unnecessarily. Burns out motors, wastes energy, just sloppy to begin with. A lot of times I'll this happening at the end of a song -- blackout the fixtures but let them keep wiggling away until the next song? -- HOME THE **** THINGS!!! Just because the audience won't notice a **** thing doesn't mean you should fall into sloppy programming habits. Take pride in your work -- just my .02.
     
  14. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I'm agree with what digitaltec just said above. I do lots of concerts and plays reguarding moving lights. When i need a light to move to a particular position without it being noticable i have it move in blackout. If not then you see a light fly across the stage and it looks very tacky. Also once in a blue moon, they have a big follow scene where they want a mover to follow a person. But then one day the person is sick, and the stand in cannot get the timing right with the mover. So what ends up happening is the director just has the stand in come in from a different position which is already lit, so i just leave the light moving through its cues but blacked out. I dont want to edit a show and then have to go back and re edit it back in. Its just asking for a mistake, especially when you are using a tracking console.

    Now in concerts, I know claptons LD, he is very professional and really cool to work with. What occasionally happens when doing a rock show, you have your movements on handles, and sometimes the board carries the movers over instead of just the static look, so the ld blacks the movers out until he has an opportunity to set the next look. You dont want to have clapton stand and talking on stage and all of a sudden all these lights just pop on. I know it looks a little weird, but when you have rigs of 60+ movers going through the lights and telling them to stop is not always an easy task. Esp since there are lots of consoles in which stopping movement is not easy. You have to give it a defined position in order for it to stop. Then you have to release the lights as soon as you fire your next cue. I try to keep movers from doing effects pointlessly, but lights just moving compaired to lights accidently poping on, you take the movement. Also moving them is better than them just sitting there cooking. When i leave the rig fired up and i go to lunch. I leave them all in open white at least. Then sometimes i have the gobo and color wheels rotate.

    In moving lights, even when you do not have the color wheel for example moving the motor is still powered on, but the motor is actually doing the work of holding the wheel in place. Try moving a color wheel in a moving light when the fixture is on, and the wheel is set to one color. You feel some resistance of the motor holding the wheel. Also without the motor turning the heat begins to sink into the bearings. Metal expands when it gets cold, and if its moving it takes longer to expand than if it is sitting still. Same with the Pan and tilt motors. They do have motor brakes to help the motor hold the head in place, this is mainly to help smooth out the pan and tilt movements. But the motors do hold the head in place when the light is in a static look.
     
  15. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Good point! Although the fixtures are well ventilated, leaving a fixture on and doused for a long time always did remind me of a corked bottle. Makes sense if the audience is not in house to leave them wide open, as long as they are not pointing at something to close to them. (The "Showgun" warning label comes to mind.)

    As for the braking action of the motors, most are two phase stepper motors, one leg is left with a DC bias on it which leaves the armature magnetically locked. Not sure it runs any hotter, but it does leave one side of the drive chip working harder.

    I guess the summary here is that often it is a hassle to program through all the data channels on all of the movers in a show to set each at a nominal value (as 0 would nest it in the home position, probably pretty far away from it's next cue) just to achieve darkness. Sounds like it's all a mater of personal preference.
     
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    It also depends on who owns the gear, if it is your own company's, which is rare for larger shows, sure do everything you can to save them because you will be the one fixing it. If you have a few cases of spares and your time to clean up the show and the time you sit in a venue doing it is worth more then fixing the spares, let'em run.
     
  17. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    We have gear that gets rode hard doing rock concerts and then we have gear that has the easy life doing theater shows. When i take the theater gear out to do a rock show i always end up with problems due to the fixture not working hard enough. Some of the functions never get used in the theater shows, they only ever move when the fixture is homed. So i try to make a point of letting all of our gear have a good workout to prevent problems.
     
  18. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Even if its not yours you should take good care of it. Namely because you don't know where the gear has been before you and exasberbating the problem isn't really a good idea.
     
  19. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I get pissed off when i send gear out and its not take care of. I charge extra for that, its in the contract. I take care of other peoples gear like its my own, because i know thats how I want them to take care of my gear.
     
  20. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    If running the gear is not taking care of it... I have an issue with that. There are plenty of shows that continuisly run gear, and if the gear can not take that, many more things need to be looked at besides over use. I take great care of everything in any inventory I am working with, rental or not.
     

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