Hello fello techies

ndiaz

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Location
Palos Hills IL
My 1st post. I have looked around this bord and I am loving it.

Lets start it off, I am a light geek. I go to a very nice HS I believe somthing like 279 channels. This is a big step from only 8 in Junior high. In Junior high I was the only one who would do lights for theather, and it is alot better now that I'm in HS and there is more people who just love lights.

I'm only a freshie, but for our winter play I was picked to do light bord, so I don't have to be a stage hand again. Our "crew head" for lights is going to collage, and her job is open. Our theather guy is showing me extra things that others would never get. So hopefully the light job will be mine.:grin:

I have built a christmas display that is synced to music. Only 16 channels but at $30 a channel and no job, its all I could afford.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhxL5C_X3o0

Today is our final showing of the dance show. We use 6 DMX scanners along with the regular lights.

Thanks
nick
 

Van

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Jul 27, 2006
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Portland, Or.
Welcome aboard ! glad to have you here. I'm going to check out the vid in a sec. I love x-mas lights show.
 

ndiaz

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Location
Palos Hills IL
Welcome to controlbooth. I just watched the video and it was amazing. Could you please tell us what equipment you used to do this? Thanks. Your High School has definetly got a real asset in you.
The light bord i used was form Light-o-Rama. www.lightorama.com A simple Cat5 cable is used to connect the bord to the computer. A 16 channel bord (the one I used) runs about $400. The system is expandable to 240 bords. thats 3480 channels. Yes the HS is really helping me with some basic training in theather. I have a question, I would like to become a light designer for a theather, would it be better to become an electriction, or major in enginering.
 
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soundlight

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Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Major in being a lighting designer! I'm currently majoring in "Theater with a Design and Technology Concentration." In other words, I'm majoring in lighting and sound. Yes, I'm also taking physics classes, EE and ME classes, and the special physics dept. circuit design class, but for all intents and purposes, I'm training to be a lighting designer who knows a whole lot about the innards of what he works with and can mix sound for a show in a pinch.
 

ndiaz

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Location
Palos Hills IL
I Didin't think that they offered classes on light design. But I will look into it.
Ok so another question, what classes should I be taking during HS. Would it be better If I took math and science over econ? Or does it not matter as long as I stay in crew?
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
NDiaz Soundlight's ideas sounds quite good. It will depend on your interests. For example as well as designing the lighting do you like the technical side of setting it up? If you do I would probably take some electronics courses with your lighting design. I am not sure on the regulations in the States on electricians i.e how long you have to train? can it be done at a college or is it all on the job training?

It wouldn't hurt to either have an electricans registration or an electronics technician qualification. This means that between Lighting designer jobs you have something to fall back on. It also makes you more valuable as a sole charge technician in a smaller venue. It is all about creating options.

Here in New Zealand if you are a paid technician in a theatre and you want to change a plug on a light you need a limited electrical registration. We have two sorts. One is a 230v single phase and only lets you work on equipment that plugs in to a wall socket. The other is for three phase and some basic permanent wiring. The training and tests are fairly easy but then you have to be supervised for 2000 hours. Which is only a 1000 hours short of a what full electrician requires.

I don't know what is the story in the States but it might pay to look into this. Then you might be able to get a summer job with an electrician and get some hours done torards your licence.

It is good you are starting to think about this now so you have time to research it.
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Have you picked out a college yet? Many (if not all) colleges have a theater design program. I'm sure that there will be many recommendations here. Personally, I think that my school - Bucknell - has a GREAT program, with attention to the design and electrical sides of things, but we don't offer a BFA - just a BA. But with the BA, you can spread out alot more, and do lighting design, sound design, systems design, speaker building, electrics work, and all sorts of other fun stuff.
 

ndiaz

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Location
Palos Hills IL
NDiaz Soundlight's ideas sounds quite good. It will depend on your interests. For example as well as designing the lighting do you like the technical side of setting it up?
I do, but I think I'd rather be doing lights for a specific theather, or becoming a stagehand.

I would like to take classes at UIC or U of I. But with a 3.7 GPA I am going to have to take a couple of AP classes to boost that up. But that means more HW and Less running crew. Grr. Tomarrow is strike for dance show. and we start on the winter show. Wich s***s because there isn't any scenery just benches, so the audience has to pretend.

Here is a pic that I wanted to share
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC

Van

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I would say that even if you want to just be a designer , it pays to get a well rounded familiarization with everything technical. Now, you don't need to become a Master Carpenter if you're main interest is in lighting, but it never hurts to know where the other disciplines are comming from.
I have to admit I laughed real hard when you said ," You can major in light design ?" it's amazing what you can major in. I would say you definately want to get a good undergrad degree in technical theatre then go on to get your MFA in Lighting Design. Your undergrad does not need to be in "just lighting", and to be honest I don't know if anybody offers a BA or BFA in theatrical lighting. Many theatre degrees allow you to "emphasize" in a particular area though. My degree was with a technical theatre emphasis. I could never really settle on a single area that I wanted to specialize in so I went on to do it all. That's the best part of being a TD you get to put your fingers on everything. It sounds to me like you have a good idea of what you want to do and I envy that. Keep working on crews and read, read , read. If you want another two cents of mine, learn Theatrical History, a lot of Theatre majors really dread History of the theatre, but I feel it really helps you. You never know when your going to get an inspiration from something someone did 100, 600, or 1000 years ago.
 

soundlight

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Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
@ UIC, THEA 150, 250, and 256 would be good classes for you.

As I said, most (if not all) places have lighting/tech theater programs. Check 'em out.
 

gafftaper

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Although it sounds like you are already excited about lights I want to encourage you to try a bunch of other things especially in high school, but even in College. A great tech needs to know a little about everything... including taking an acting class or two. You'll be amazed how your path in life may take you... I started out a a tech, then went to actor, then I grew interested in directing, and it wasn't until after I got my B.A. that I decided that tech was where I belonged. So don't limit yourself too much just yet. Try to sample as much as you can.

Like Van said, I would think about a more general theater tech degree for your undergrad work. Then if you decide to go on, an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in lighting design would be a great route. You may also find yourself so busy working that you don't need the MFA. There are a lot of people around here with the masters degree with great jobs. There are also a lot of people around here with no theater degree at all and a great job. So you don't HAVE to get the masters degree, at the same time it certainly won't hurt.

The most important things are to work hard, ask a lot of questions, never assume you know it all, and meet as many people as possible. Go volunteer at a community theater as much as you can. Who you know and their impression of you is a critical part of working in theater. Don't ever underestimate how important your connections from college and volunteering in community theater may be some day.
 

Chris15

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I am not sure on the regulations in the States on electricians i.e how long you have to train? can it be done at a college or is it all on the job training?

It wouldn't hurt to either have an electricans registration or an electronics technician qualification. This means that between Lighting designer jobs you have something to fall back on. It also makes you more valuable as a sole charge technician in a smaller venue. It is all about creating options.

Here in New Zealand if you are a paid technician in a theatre and you want to change a plug on a light you need a limited electrical registration. We have two sorts. One is a 230v single phase and only lets you work on equipment that plugs in to a wall socket. The other is for three phase and some basic permanent wiring. The training and tests are fairly easy but then you have to be supervised for 2000 hours. Which is only a 1000 hours short of a what full electrician requires.

I don't know what is the story in the States but it might pay to look into this. Then you might be able to get a summer job with an electrician and get some hours done torards your licence.

It is good you are starting to think about this now so you have time to research it.
And here I was thinking that over the puddle (ok, so it's the Tasman Sea) you guys could do your own electrical work, plumbing and gas fitting, or is that only in homes?

Now I get the impression that the rules are somewhat "looser" in the states, to the point of flexible lead work being able to be done by anyone, could someone confirm or deny this? And it seems that the union structure is much more prevalent and so that may cause problems for people (doing a job that someone else should be being paid to do)... Just food for thought.
 

cutlunch

Active Member
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Jan 12, 2005
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Chris the only plumbing a kiwi can do is change washers. Anything else you need a registered plumber. This is for health and safety reasons. Theorecticaly you could wire a complete house for electricity. But you have to get an electrical inspector to certify it is correct.

The situation changes as soon as you have to do this as part of your paid job. A washing machine repairman needs a limited registration. Here even computer repairman are meant to have limited registration even if they never open up a power supply. I don't know how many actually do have it.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Location
Sunny Cali
I'm in the same boat as you...I started the board in 9th grade and no im the resident lighting designer at my school...I'm applying to DePaul University in chicago which has a specific degree in lighting design. I'm also applying to Syracuse University and Carnegie Mellon...all of these schools have amazing tech degrees and you should really check it out.