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Hello, Dolly! Lighting Design and ETC Expression 2 Question

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by DHSLXOP, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Hi everyone,
    My school is doing the show Hello, Dolly! this year and I am one of the student lighting designers for the show. I have been thinking about the cues and have done a couple of "designs" (specifically for the overture...if you don't know the show, the overture is mostly up-beat and has a bunch of changing tempos). Well, at the end of the song, the music has very quick beats (each one comes less than a second from each other). What I want is for a light change to come every beat. There are 2 box booms in front of the proscenim and each has 6 source fours and color scrollers in them. I have designed it so that on the first beat theres a blue gel from the scrollers stage right and then on the second beat it has red coming from stage left. It then repeats this for a few more beats. The problem is, I know that the stage manager can't call the cues that quickly, so there has to be another way to do it. On an ETC Expression 2 console, is there a way to do that?

    Also, for the rest of the overture, since the gels in the scrollers are not in the order that I want them to be (and I can't change them), I will need to alternate between two sets of lights. (So that one is on while the other is scrolling) (3 from each box boom) It would look like this (the x represents a light on...the - reprents the light off)
    Group 1:
    SR:
    X -
    - X
    X-
    SL:
    -X
    X-
    -X
    Group 2:
    SR:
    -X
    X-
    -X
    SL:
    X-
    -X
    X-
    Does this make sense...and if so, is it do-able?
    Thanks
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Use follow cues. If the SM calls the first one right on, you should be able to pop between cues at the specified time (accurate to the tenth of a second) through the console. That is you hit go, and that triggers the first cue, which triggers the follow on the second. When the second fires, it triggers the follow on the third, and so on. Works pretty well. The follow time is adjustable anywhere from 0.1 seconds and up, I believe.
     
  3. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Thanks!
    Do you know how to enter this on the expression?
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Follow cues is a great idea, and it does look like what you are proposing to do with your alternating lights should work, you may just have to try it. If your cues are so fast the the SM can't call them experiment to make sure the scrollers will be able to change in time. Also, the other option you have instead of follow cues is if your board op has good rythm, let him/her take the cues on his own with the beat, this would allow for the fact that you probably have a live band that may not play the overture at the exact same tempo every night. Or, if there are only light cues happening in the overture that the SM is calling, they could just give a standby for cues 1-20 (or whatever) and then just GO... GO... GO... I have worked shows where we had close to 100 cuse in one number and the SM would come on and give me a "Standby lights 100-200... if anyone else besides me or the board op talks during this sequence i'll shoot you!" It worked.

    I think that on the Expression you create follows by using the LINK button. It's funny becaue I was on An Expresstion for 4 months over the summer and now I totally forget. But I think it would be "Cue X LINK Cue Y ENTER" and then you will be prompted for a follow time.

    Have fun with it because if you figure it out now, the next show you do you will be able to come up with something even better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
    DHSLXOP likes this.
  5. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. The show is in the next 3 weeks, so if I remember, I'll post how I end up doing it, that is, if the director lets me do it at all...
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Nope. It's not the LINK. There is a specific FOLLOW command in the express/expression architecture. You say CUE [#] FOLLOW [time in seconds].
    the things in brackets are the things that you input as numbers, and the things that are all caps are keys/soft keys that you push. When you do this, this will happen:

    Say you put cue 1 with a follow time of 4 and a fade time of 2 (I assume you know how to enter fade times). You put cue 2 with a follow time of 0.2 and a fade time of 0.1. You put cue 3 with a fade time of 0.5.

    Here's how this would execute:
    You press the go button for Cue 1
    Cue 1 fades up over 2 seconds
    4 seconds after you push the go button, cue 2 executes it's fade over .1 seconds.
    4.2 seconds after you pushed the go button, cue 3 would execute with a fade time of 0.5.

    This comes from my careful reading of the expression manual.

    But I have been known to mis-interpret.
     
  7. drawstuf99

    drawstuf99 Active Member

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    On an Express, I do believe the button is "link" because you are physically linking the cues together, but when it prompts you on screen it mostly says "follow." IE: Follow time..etc. Thats an express though, but I've heard they're quite similiar.

    you're right on the fadeup & follow times. The follow time is how much time you have after the GO button is pressed, NOT after the cues fade up. Example, if you have LX1 fade up at 20secs and the follow time on the next cue (the time it waits after you press "go for LX1") is 15sec, the first cue wouldn't load all the way up, I'd just go into LX2 or w/e. Make sense?

    That tricked me one time, but once I understood that it wasnt difficult to manage. It's good for music thats played with a CD or something of that sort, you can have very accurate musical cues.

    any of that help?
     
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  8. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Yah, that helps a lot...I've never had the chance to really play with the board at all, since we don't own the theater and we're only in there from load-in to strike (all of one week), so its nice to be able to learn more about the board before going in to program.
     
  9. chieftfac

    chieftfac Active Member

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    Hey, you never said if it is live music or canned (CD, Tape or other). If it's live music just do the cues live and forget programing the stack to auto-follow. The musicians will never play it the exact same every night (not to the 1/10 of a second anyway.)

    Just do it live, you'll be much happier with the results...
     
  10. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Oh, yah, its a live pit orchestra playing...I'm just concerned that the cues will be off, which will really destroy the look that I'm going for. Any other possible things that could do what i'm looking for?
    Thanks
     
  11. chieftfac

    chieftfac Active Member

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    I've always thought that the best solution for a complicated problem, is a simple one.

    Just record the cues into the stack and pull them one by one on the beat. As someone said before, don't forget to check to see if your scrollers can change as fast as you need them.
     
  12. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    :p
    I don't need to worry about the scrollers, since they're gonna be on the same colors during the very fast part...stage right will be blue, stage left will be red...so its just the fixtures turning on quickly and then quickly going out while the other side is coming on.
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I may have confused Expression with Express about Link and Follow. I went back to the Expression manual and as long as the Expression II is the same as the 3 then there is a Follow key. In which case, all you would have to do is [CUE] X [FOLLOW] Y (where X=cue# and Y=time). This is different than linking cues in that if you put a follow on Cue 1 then it will automatically take the next cue. So if you had Cues 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. and had a follow on 1 it would automatically take cue 2, but if you added a 1.5 then the follow on 1 would automatically take 1.5. If you had linked cues then even if you add a cue in the middle, it would get skipped.

    That may have been a little convoluted, so i hope it helps.
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't run ANY of this with follows.

    If the first cue is off, the entire sequence is off.

    Over-riding a set of cues with follows in Express/ion is a ***** as the console will run in the next cue, BUT the follow times stay the same.... so the whole thing STAYS off the beat. Note that I'm not at the console or OLE, so can't check this, but I just did a dance company with a ton of cues that had to be run quickly. We dumped all the autofollows as it was way too complicated to get the timing right.

    If the SM can't call it, let the console operator do it. It's just like a R& R show. He/She can probably hear the music and just needs a couple of run throughs. Get a CD/iPod/whatever of the overture and run it a few times with the operator.

    SB
     
  15. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    After going back to a few of these moments in my past, I'm gonna recommend that you take the cues yourself. Just have the SM tell you when they're about to go, and take them visually/audibly. This will ensure that they're on the right beats.
     
  16. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    I agree give it to the operator to do. After some practice all you have to say is standby lx 10 thru 20 on your control. Then call lx 10 go. Just make sure at the end of the sequence you check with him that he is currently in the correct cue at the end of the sequence.

    If the operator is not already going to rehearsals then drag them along. You are only at the overture stage so you can bet there will be more visual cues. Also they learn who is who. It's just these little things that will help tech week run a little smoother.
     
  17. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I would not suggest using any follow or computer-timing function for two reasons (which have been previously stated, so I am just repeting anyway)

    1) The musicians will not play exactly the same every night. Will a measure take 3 seconds or 3.5 seconds? Its only half a second difference, but it would be really obvious in the show.

    2) If the first bit is off, the entire thing is off.

    I have used follow cues only when it was some canned music, or if the timing didn't have to be perfect. One example was for when I did The Laramie Project we had a musical intro on a computer. It started, I hit the go button and 32 seconds into it, and then the cue auto-fired to the next cue at another minuet or so into it. Since this was on a computer, I knew the timing would be the same every night.

    I also use follow cues when it doesn't have to be exactly correct. For instance, lets say you have a scene, and you want the cyc to change slowly during that scene.

    Follow is also very helpful during a show with MLs or scrollers. You can have cue 20 bring the light with the scroller out, then follow to cue 20.1 which will move the scroller to its next location. Saves you having to manually hit the go button for a 'while black' cue.


    I would say in your case you should have your board op either take the cues alone or figure out a way to have the SM call the cues (standby lx 20-40, GO, GO, GO, GO, GO, GO, GO). I have called a show like this, and it works perfectly fine. You just need to teach the rest of the crew that unless it is a life-threatning problem, no one talks during that part.
     
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I know that where I work, once you're in a standby or warning, there is no talking allowed except from the SM and the person who is about to execute the cue.
     
  19. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    I've encountered the same problem figuring out this year's Talent Show (concert). I'd agree with most of the recent posters on this one, just have the board op do it, too much room for error.

    I would NOT, however, have the SM say "Go, Go, Go, Go, Go," etc. It's simple reaction time mathematics (that sure sounds scholarly).

    All times are arbitrary, of course.

    Just the console op:
    BEAT + reaction time of console op = LIGHTS, OFF .5 secs

    SM:
    BEAT + reaction time of sm + GO! + reaction time of console op = LIGHTS, OFF 1 sec.

    The console op would be most likely just listening to the music irregardless. I'd just do it by console op, with the SM calling the first in the sequence.
     
  20. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Thats why most SMs call the cues slightly early. If something happens on the down-beat, the SM may call the cue on the upbeat of the note before, to avoid the problems of the board up needing to hear and react.

    My first suggestion was for the board op to take the cues, but if there is some reason why this is not desired (board op is perhaps unreliable, I don't know the situation or people involved) I was just trying to give another option.
     

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