Do you allow inexperienced light techs to use your equipment

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
One of my boss's was an actor in school and is now a lighting crew chief to major world tours, and the go to expert on all follow spot I learned from. He was once an actor. I was once a set designer and Master Carpenter, now said to be someone experienced in lamps, electrics, and antique lighting etc. 20+ years later in a 30+ so far year career in change from it.

One part of what I do is train people, and all those I meet, I tell that I am never too busy to bug with any form of question. Yes, I probably am busy with something important, but never more so than teaching someone something or answering a question. The more and better I teach, the less work for me in the end, and the more help I get at some point, or a next generation to carry on.

What does your contract say? Seems like you should have less grumpy relations with the students than with where you work so far in concerns. I get your being grumpy in having to do something that might screw up your system for operations or your doing it normally, but I hope given what the policy is, that you follow the above and are as supportive and best teacher as possible as the person tasked to it until it fails or contracts change. And given your complex system, can also save the restore disc or have backup programs for when as you fear it will happen.

Back in the day, my TD trusted me with the Strand Lite Pallet III with Q-File as a backup. Q-File with instruction I could program, but there was little hope of actually using it during a show in actual use as a backup. I was not ready at that point to fully understand how it worked. This in part due to instruction, but also my comprehenson of how it worked I assume your gear is more modern than this stuff in not yet replying to what gear you have in use, and protective of? Raises the comprehension question question that would also would be attributed to me. Can as said above, are you able to fail safe the system or need help in some way to make this happen?

How can CB help solove the problem you have with the light board you have in making this contracted policy work?

Hope is to inspire change and not intimidate.
 
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Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
The impression I've gotten from this thread is that these students Tym is being asked to teach/support are outside of his administrative span of control, and the paths down through the ToE are murky...
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Tym could be a great teacher once he stopped being an actor in now having to have a role different in controlling the lights. Tym himself needs to grow to work requirements or cite problems with them we understand, in my opinion. What light board are you using in helping to lock out the core of it to anything students might do to it?
 

Crisp image

Well-Known Member
Even experts were beginners once. Just saying.
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
This whole thread dredged up a fun old memory.. turn back the wayback machine to 1975-1977
Derby High School, Derby Kansas. Lighting equipment all in a large mesh cage just off stage left.
Big honkin Rheostats. Stack of 5 horizontal levers for the patchboard then fed into 3 big ass mains.
Patchboard was telephone retractable plug style with semi crumbly insulation. We had an apprentice student system
where the lighting guy chose and trained his successor. Janitors would only open the cage for the Drama teacher, and the Main and apprentice student.
Not even the principal or the superintendant would be allowed in. I got pulled from countless tedious hours in the class room to run lights for assemblies, and lectures, and concert rehearsals in the big auditorium. Ahh Good Times. Neither the sparks, the ozone, or the missed class time kept me from a successful HS career.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
This whole thread dredged up a fun old memory.. turn back the wayback machine to 1975-1977
Derby High School, Derby Kansas. Lighting equipment all in a large mesh cage just off stage left.
Big honkin Rheostats. Stack of 5 horizontal levers for the patchboard then fed into 3 big ass mains.
Patchboard was telephone retractable plug style with semi crumbly insulation. We had an apprentice student system
where the lighting guy chose and trained his successor. Janitors would only open the cage for the Drama teacher, and the Main and apprentice student.
Not even the principal or the superintendant would be allowed in. I got pulled from countless tedious hours in the class room to run lights for assemblies, and lectures, and concert rehearsals in the big auditorium. Ahh Good Times. Neither the sparks, the ozone, or the missed class time kept me from a successful HS career.
It's now a Middle School and that dimming was replaced, maybe 2x since you were there.
 

Lasermike

Active Member
We have a 13 year old running both our current el cheapo board from Guitar Center and the schools board at the same time. I’ve not seen the schools board but suspect it’s old and not too complicated as it’s only 8 channels. The stage manager calls out cues and what he wants to happen up to the kid on the mezzanine and he makes it happen. I doubt I could do that. In our old space, we were the secondary user of the board, meaning it didn’t belong to us. It would be set up by the LD then handed off to a kid along with a list of cues. It worked well as the stage manager got to choose who was in the booth.
Michael
 

Aaron S.

Active Member
Question: What lighting console are you running?

As someone else mentioned we all were inexperienced at some point in our careers.

Maybe these acting students don’t know how cool the lighting world is. Maybe once they get their hands on some actual equipment they will fall in love with this side of the industry and then you will have a great technician on your hands.

What exactly are they wanting to do? Write cues? Bring up subs? Change color on LED fixtures? I think a great argument would be more along the lines of “this is their time to be in class for acting not lighting design” if they want to use the lighting equipment they can sign up for a lighting class where they will be properly trained.

My venue has hard and fast rules, but it’s a Union venue.

Also, what really are your concerns? From everything I have read all your concerns can be solved by you coming in the next day and sticking a flash drive into the console and opening a show file.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
First Union venue I have worked in in the Chicago area ever requested that we keep the Strong Super Trouper II Tricorn security screws on it's lamp housing access cover.... but please provide some of the screwdrivers also - we don't have any. Evidence, someone tried to remove Philips screw mounted the vent cover plate on one in not having the security screw driver for access to the lamp. "We always used Vise Grips to remove the other screws." Forget who was IA or theater staff in which was doing what.

Some questions about follow spots "dim" = bad lamps, verses what we found in lamps are probably fine verses really bad bench focuses and even loose bench focus screws, thus bad output, and serious delamination on the reflectors lower (gravity) side due to proximity of the lamps to them. Even a bad $175.00 lamp support base heat damaged, probably due to a lamp installed, but someone forgot to tension the set screw on it.

Replacement lamps are around $600.00 each. Replacement lenses now required in one already replaced and two of 6 okay for now.... but with delamination. $1899.00 each reflector in under I think 20 year old fixtures.

"Been a few years since our follow spots were serviced."

Don't know or care who is using the follow spots without proper training between the house staff or the IA. in pointing fingers, and nobody seemingly on show site has the tool for lamp replacement on hand should a spare lamp be needed. Possibly a good thing given lack of bench focus and these three need new lamps

Don't see a problem with the lamps, just their bench focus and destroyed reflectors."

Question I have for Local #2 or IA in general is.. Is there a follow spot training program in place? Stuff like burnt pins on a L6-30 connector and plug found there might mean replacement of them and one of two screws on the hot was not tensioned properly? Why still using it to power up the follow spot given observable damage - I certainly didn't plug the fixture in to test? How to lamp and bench focus a Super Trouper II classes by the IA in not needing to remove vent cover plates and needing a Vise grips for the other screws? You perhaps get a Strong Tri-Corn 65149A00 Holt Driver $48.00 upon certification that you can properly bench focus and change the lamp on such a fixture? This tool provided after the certification so everyone who needs one has one, but can also properly operate the fixture.

24317000 Super Trouper II Reflector List price $1899.00.... Three of six need immediate replacement, two more will, one is new. Lamps at around $600.00 each are probably not needed. Certified follow spot technicians? Granted it could be house staff screwing with bench focus or trying to access lamps in removing the wrong parts - no way to know. Fingers pointed, my crew of non-IA went into the theater to service and access the spotlights. Something is wrong be it house staff not trained but using the fixtures, or IA not trained in properly using the fixtures.

Does IA have a follow spot training program further than a printed pamphlet I have and read without much detail? Assuming IA staff have to pass certification for follow spot usage program, is it always in use to prevent those without certification form doing bad expensive things to the lights operated? Only those certified to properly use a Strong Super Trouper II will be using it.

Short of that, it might come up a pointing fingers situation between venue and IA.
@ship Mega Pro 15 in 1 Security screw driver to the rescue; 7 double ended security bits + a 1/4" hex driver in one VERY convenient to carry and use screwdriver.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
And / or they change the display's language from English to Swahili overnight the night before opening; when you phone them and ask which of them reads Swahili and will they please stop by and reset it to English, none of them admit to even having touched it. It was a Strand console and they changed it from English to German. I ended up having to read the English instructions and push the appropriate buttons until I was able to reselect English.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Geshunteit!
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
The venue or rental house owns the spotlights so they are who is responsible for maintenance and repairs. I suspect most of the "break into it" vise-grip stuff was done by hands attempting emergency or last minute repairs.
 

curtis73

Active Member
Oddly enough...

We are a 501c3 based in education. I'm always letting the amateurs play with things so they can learn. Kinda comes with the territory. Only time I had someone mess things up was when one of my professional LDs replaced a female end of an edison cord in the grid and hooked the line to the ground pin accidentally. Fried every DMX chip on the pipe and the chip in the ION.

... one day before tech. Had to rent the 5 fixtures we fried and rent an ION so we could have a show.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
@ship Mega Pro 15 in 1 Security screw driver to the rescue; 7 double ended security bits + a 1/4" hex driver in one VERY convenient to carry and use screwdriver.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
*Nice* get, Ron.

Everyone should take note that MegaPro has at *least* 2 drivers labeled "tamperproof" with different bit loadouts; one leans towards drilled bits, and the other towards 3 and 5 wing bits; make sure you look at what you're getting.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
If you can't truck it.. Fu.... it was what we said about a 15,500# 155mm Howitzer in Marine artillery as a joke.... In knowing and have moved it frequently in my youth.

This or the next smaller cordless Power Bit (or the next smaller size) works - forget which I bought... https://www.mcmaster.com/7309A23/ . One of my assistants uses it. I tend to still use the Strong driver. It works and don't want to strip anything, it's also always in my ready bag along with extra alcohol wipes and replacement strike wire. Amongst other tools.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
And kudos (as usual) to Ron; I grabbed the basic MegaPro screwdriver off Amazon last weekend, and *damn* are these things well-built.
I have a full compliment of fixed blade drivers + hollow shaft nut drivers and HATED multi-bit drivers with a passion 'til the MegaPro drivers came out. My wife had one in a kitchen drawer, we had one in each car. I had several in different tool boxes + the stainless steel Allen wrenches and the security bit driver completed my collection. As I type, I have one next to my desktop tower along with a 25' x 1" Imperial measuring tape; some things you can't live without.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Another tool I probably could have used, alas! But I'm now at the point in my life where I'm selling or giving away tools, not acquiring them. Anybody want a beautiful Yankee screwdriver?
Gave mine away decades ago along with a more than complete set of bits; it was on the IA tool list when I was assimilated.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

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