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Hello and Help

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by fausteenojose, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. fausteenojose

    fausteenojose Member

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    Hi guys...

    My name is Faust
    I'm a scenic designer but now i'm working in an international school
    as the performing arts tech.
    that's why i'm new to lighting and sound technology.

    i need help because since it's a brand new school we have new equipment
    we have a grandMa ultra light console for the lights
    Soundcraft 48CH audio mixer for sounds
    Sanyo PLC-XF42 Projector

    i'm reading the grandMa manuals over and over and i still don't get it
    can somebody calm me down and give a little advice about
    operating a grandMa in simple terms
    how to start out and all...

    there's a production in December so i'll have to be ready by then

    thanks very much and i hope you all can help me.

    faust
     
  2. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    Welcome to the Booth! You've come to a great place.

    What has been your education in lighting, audio, or projection until now? Are there specific things you don't understand?
     
  3. fausteenojose

    fausteenojose Member

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    that's the thing...
    i don't have a background at all

    i did a lot of scenic design and few costumes but never tried lighting
    i think i can handle the projection and sound
    lighting is my big problem.

    i hope you all will help me
    thanks very much
     
  4. thenelsontwins

    thenelsontwins Member

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    Location:
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    Welcome! I have just moved away from the GrandMA format but I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

    It can be quite intimidating at first.

    Drop me a note!

    E
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    First, fausteenojose, welcome to the booth. Your question is akin to "How do I fly a plane? And by the way, I've never driven a car." Fear not, we can help, and hopefully prevent a crash and burn.:)

    Since you have a grandMA ultra light, I'm assuming you're controlling some (or a bunch of) moving lights. Set the User Manual aside for the moment, and step out of the plane.

    Before jumping in to console specifics, it's a good idea to get a grasp of the concepts associated with programming moving lights. We'll call this "Ground School." Two very good resources are the book The Automated Programmer's Handbook, by Brad Schiller, and Christian Choi's Programming Tips, on his website.

    If you have specific questions ("Which one is the throttle?" Not "What does the throttle do?"), feel free to ask them here.

    MA Lighting's representative in North America, A.C.T. Lighting, is very responsive to training. Do you have the grandMA training DVD? You can also find solace/help in the MA Forums and the WikiMA.

    edit: Yes, I blatantly and flagrantly stole the "flying a plane" analogy from [user]JD[/user], here, as I think it's a very good one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
    philhaney and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Is this a brand new facility? or is it existing and you just got the job recently. If it's not brand new, could you ask some of the students who are into lighting for some instructions in the basics? I'm sure they must know what they're doing.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Welcome to the booth Faust!

    Give us a quick inventory list of the lighting equipment that you want to control with the MA. How many and what type? Number of dimmers? What do you have in accessories like color scrollers, I-cues, gobo rotators, etc...?

    Unlike Derek I'm suspicious that you don't have a lot of moving lights and someone sold you the completely wrong console for your needs.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Unlike [user]gafftaper[/user], Derek feels that a member of the grandMA family can never be the wrong choice. :think: (But if you like, [user]fausteenojose[/user], I'll happily trade you the grandMA ultra light for an Express, or perhaps a Classic Palette.):lol:
     
  9. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    Spit take.
     
  10. fausteenojose

    fausteenojose Member

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    hey thanks very much you all... i never thought that people will actually reply and help me out.

    yeah i'm gonna read the basics first. thanks for the links.

    anyway the main theater is still finishing construction and will be done in 2 weeks. so we haven't started setting up the lights. i just want to be prepared for war when the time comes.

    about the moving lights. we don't have it yet but they want me to order it...my friend told me to get the Mac700 or Mac2000. how many do i need? should i get profiles or washes? where can i get it? (btw i'm in Hong Kong)

    thanks again!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  11. fausteenojose

    fausteenojose Member

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    Location:
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    42 x 700W Spotlight
    50 x 1200W Fresnel
    5 x 1000W Four-Unit Cyclorama Floodlight
    9 x 1000W CP

    we have two 96Ways 3.0kW Dimmer Rack
    we also have two iLight 12Channel Non-Dimmer

    the moving lights will follow (please check my reply to Derek)

    thanks very much!
     
  12. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Purchasing ML's can be rocky terrain. They're the kind of thing you should only buy if someone will always be available to maintain them, as they will otherwise break often and be just as costly to fix as they were to buy. I think it's great if you ask questions about specific products here, but no one is in a place to say, "If this is your budget, then should buy ____, _____, and _____." We simply don't know how the space is used well enough to make those choices for you or anyone involved with the venue. I would highly recommend though listening to what some of the people here have to say about certain products, and then take that to a lighting dealer or two nearby, admit you don't know much about ML's, and tell them your budget, venue size, present inventory, how it's used, what you want out of ML's, as well as what you need out of ML's, and then have them throw together a package that works best for you and the setup that you already have.

    They're in a far better position to be able to help you than any of us are though, because they can walk in, look at your current equipment, where you have DMX access, how you're lighting is rigged and configured, and work something out. I can just about guarantee that if you walk in, appear to know what you're talking about, and don't make an effort to get their input and advice as to what would work for you, you'd probably end up walking out of there missing some very important gear to go with the new purchases and you'd end up going back to them and saying, "It doesn't work," only to find out to complete the package you need to spend $___.__ more to get the missing pieces. The best thing you can do is admit you know enough to know you don't know enough. Any good dealer can then take you where you want to go, and with the understanding that they may need to hold your hand at times getting everything working at first.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Going back to the airplane analogy mentioned above. You started out by saying "I don't know how to drive a car but I want to fly an airplane". With this added information about the Mac 700/2K's you have now said, "I don't just want to fly any old propeller plane I want to fly a military fighter jet... which one should I buy and how many do I need?"

    Wow... that's an amazing question to try to answer. Yes Mac 700's and Mac 2K's are some of the best choices in moving lights (There are other brands you should look at like Vari-lite... someone else who knows this gear better want to suggest specific options to the Martins?). When you are talking around $10,000 per instrument... "How many do I need" is a dangerous question to ask. As my friend Mike just said above, you really need someone who knows what they are doing to come in and help you design this. Furthermore who is going to be programming and maintaining all this equipment? Do you have any idea how much time it takes to maintain them? How much time it takes to program them to move and do the light tricks you are looking for?

    Whoever is going to be actually operating the moving lights would be a good place to start to answer your questions. Then move on to local dealers. Perhaps hire a lighting designer to come in and talk with you about how to use your space and what equipment to use. If YOU are the person operating this equipment... not to insult you... but you should seriously rethink this purchase. It will take you hundreds (probably thousands) of hours to learn how to effectively use this equipment and program it quickly. Even when you really know how to use it well, you won't be able to just sit down and throw together a show... it will take hours of work to program every event.

    The first piece of advice you always hear around here about moving lights is: "If you don't have a full time person who knows how to program and maintain this equipment, it's a poor idea to purchase it."

    Again, please don't take any of this as a personal insult to your skills. I've been designing lights for close to 15 years, and teaching for about 8. But I have never worked with anything close to the quantity and quality of equipment you are talking about buying. Given the oportunity to use them it would take WAY too long for me to program a simple show... and I'm pretty good at flying my little two propeller airplane.
     
  14. fausteenojose

    fausteenojose Member

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    yeah i think they have to hire another person to do the lighting...i really think i won't be able to deliver.

    i'm feeling a lot of pressure from my bosses and they really want this and this...oh well i'll ask for a meeting tomorrow.

    i just talked to our main supplier and contractor for our equipment and they said that they will do a presentation to me next week. but yeah i think we need another person for it.

    btw thank you guys for all the help and honesty. i'll post another thread for a follow up.
     
  15. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Just look at it as an employment question. If you were to tell your bosses you can do it, and it turned out poorly, then it'd reflect on you, but if you admit you aren't the one with all of the answers, then it is what it is.

    Another thing you may want to suggest is a two-year plan. First, you start off with one, maybe two lights, then after 6-8 months of learning how to use those, you add in a couple more, and wait awhile, then add in a couple more, and two years later end the cycle with a final package. That allows everyone time to get used to the new equipment at a more reasonable pace, rather than being suddenly overwhelmed with 30 ML's in your inventory, and everyone expecting you to be able to do cool things only two weeks after getting them. However, then the question is raised, as a student, how long will you be there? If they're cycling students in and out regularily, then the best bet might be having the dealer aim the presentation at your bosses rather than yourself, and include how the equipment would be student-friendly. If it's a large student-base that will be operating, then I would lean more towards, buy 2, maybe 4, and leave it at that. The harsh reality is that no one would be around long enough to master those couple ML's, let alone an entire inventory of them.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most professionals agree that the MAC700 Profile and Wash is superior to the MAC2000 Profile and Wash. If you MUST have shutters (which are somewhat important for theatre use) your only choice from Martin is the MAC2000 Performance. Without knowing specfics, I would go for the MAC700 Profile, as profiles are more versatile than washes. As to how many, as many as your budget will allow, (and based on the other equipment you've listed, at least 12, plus 2 spares) with one caveat: Read The Gafftaper Method! (it may take a day or two for the link to work properly, as we're migrating to a new Wiki). Sorry, can't help you with a local Hong Kong dealer.
     

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