Hello from Central Mass

ndp

Fun Director
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Location
Worcester, MA
Hi all. Known about the site for some time, figured it was time to jump in.

I'm a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. I study Mechanical Engineering, but I'm also the Technical Director of WPI Lens and Lights, our campus event production club. Happy to see the default theme here fits our color scheme quite well.

Lens and Lights (LNL) is entirely student ran, and provides lighting, sound, and projection services to the University campus and on occasion beyond into the local community. While many universities have very cool dedicated technical theatre programs, WPI is entirely engineering and LNL is something we all do for fun. As far as we're aware, there's not much like it around. We (the students) are doing everything - rigging, power, lighting, sound, projection, interacting with clients, billing and sending invoices, purchasing equipment, etc. The club essentially operates as a business, and event proceeds are used to fund equipment repairs and annual purchases of new and better equipment. My job as the TD is to make sure everyone is appropriately trained and safe, equipment functions properly, and everyone has fun.

The stuff we get to do is very dynamic - one week it's a simple light on a stick or powered speakers, the next it's an arena-style rock concert or a large robotics competition. The work is very rewarding, and the group of students is really awesome. It's tremendous fun. Here's a link too to check out some of the kit we've got: https://lnl.wpi.edu/equipment.html

Hope to spread some knowledge, and gain it too.

Here's some pics of some events, I'll let them do the rest of the talking :)

- Nick

1614584304663.png
1614584468852.png
IMG_20191108_1139096.png
IMG_1199.jpg
 
Last edited:

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Location
Michigan
Keep up the good work! I came from a very similar situation with Sound and Light Services at Michigan Tech. We operated the same way.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
PPT.
Welcome to the 'Booth, Nick.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ndp

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Very not uncommon and an excellent resource for the school and community. Some of my best colleagues and students have been non performing arts majors who were simply interested in the work. Keep up the great work. Looks like fun!
 

brucek

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Location
Western Massachusetts
Hey Nick,
I was TD of Lens and Lights back in 1985. You are keeping up an almost 53 year old tradition. Quite a few of us former L&L'ers have ended up spending our lives backstage. I got my first gig at the DCU (the Centrum back then) because I knew how to run a carbon arc spot (L&L had Strong Trouperetts) Back in 1985 I was convincing folks to trust DMX when we purchased our first DMX board - A Leprecon LP1000. We had 48 channels of portable dimming (Leprecon LD2400's) plus lots of custom built relays. I purchased L&L's first lighting truss (40' of Universal 18" triangle) For Audio we upgraded our Soundcraft S1 with a 400B. We ran a 4-way system with EAW lows, mids, JBL horns and JBL tweets. Crown DC300s powered most of it, and a AB amp for the subs. At the time L&L provided production for all theatre and music on campus, including projectionists for the movies in Alden Hall (Simplex Arc 35mm projectors), concerts in the pub (back when beers were $0.50/each) every weekend, large shows in the gym 4 times a year, outdoor shows on the quad (Spree day), weekly coffee houses in the Wedge, events off campus (first few years of Worcester Jazz)., etc etc.

I do got stories...and I might even be able to find the photos to prove it!

Good luck....and dont forget to do your school work! L&L TD's have a very long tradition of not graduating......
Bruce
 

ndp

Fun Director
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Location
Worcester, MA
Thanks all for the warm welcomes. Happy to be here.

Bruce - small world. Love to hear those stories. Be happy to talk further if you'd like. The history of the club is so so important. I've been working very hard to preserve it while I've been here.

We still have some of those things you refer to. Not sure what happened to that LP1000, but we do have an LP2000/48 Cue Plus that gets used several times a year. We still have a LD2400 dimmer rack - it's in a small rack case with an ETC Response box in it, although it may meet it's end this year as some of the packs do not work any longer. The Simplex projectors have seen renewed interest - we have DP70s in our projection booth now, but some students (myself included) have been working on repairing the Simplexes and accompanying carbon arc lamphouses for outdoor 35mm films. The triangle truss was still around until five or six years ago - we've got a few hundred feet of 12' and 20.5' box now. Alden has had permanent points for some time, and we just did them in Harrington last year.

The office in the Alden Sub still holds all our lighting kit (and my main workbench). I bet quite a few of the Altman Par64s and fresnels on the rack down there have been around since you were here, same with the scoops. We gave the Riley office up circa 2009 - our main business office is in the Campus Center which was built in 2000, plus most of our sound gear is there. The pub is no more and hasn't been for some time - now the space is a pipe-grid blackbox theatre where Masque stages all their productions. The NSI dimmer is still in the closet in Riley Commons, but the pipe rigging and such was removed about ten years ago.

After this mess let me know if you make it down here at some point. Happy to have you around and show you what's going on in the world of LNL...

- Nick
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Thanks all for the warm welcomes. Happy to be here.

Bruce - small world. Love to hear those stories. Be happy to talk further if you'd like. The history of the club is so so important. I've been working very hard to preserve it while I've been here.

We still have some of those things you refer to. Not sure what happened to that LP1000, but we do have an LP2000/48 Cue Plus that gets used several times a year. We still have a LD2400 dimmer rack - it's in a small rack case with an ETC Response box in it, although it may meet it's end this year as some of the packs do not work any longer. The Simplex projectors have seen renewed interest - we have DP70s in our projection booth now, but some students (myself included) have been working on repairing the Simplexes and accompanying carbon arc lamphouses for outdoor 35mm films. The triangle truss was still around until five or six years ago - we've got a few hundred feet of 12' and 20.5' box now. Alden has had permanent points for some time, and we just did them in Harrington last year.

The office in the Alden Sub still holds all our lighting kit (and my main workbench). I bet quite a few of the Altman Par64s and fresnels on the rack down there have been around since you were here, same with the scoops. We gave the Riley office up circa 2009 - our main business office is in the Campus Center which was built in 2000, plus most of our sound gear is there. The pub is no more and hasn't been for some time - now the space is a pipe-grid black box theatre where Masque stages all their productions. The NSI dimmer is still in the closet in Riley Commons, but the pipe rigging and such was removed about ten years ago.

After this mess, let me know if you make it down here at some point. Happy to have you around and show you what's going on in the world of LNL...

- Nick
Sad to read of your pub's demise; I guess wet T-shirt contests left with it?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Location
Michigan
We still have a LD2400 dimmer rack - it's in a small rack case with an ETC Response box in it, although it may meet it's end this year as some of the packs do not work any longer.
Don't let that poor rack down! Give Leprecon a call, they'll help you get it back up to 100%!
 
  • Like
Reactions: ndp and RonHebbard

brucek

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Location
Western Massachusetts
Sadly, I did recently (post pandemic) trash dozens of LD2400 modules that were in need of rebuilding (SCR's, opto's, burnt traces, etc) that I havent touched in at least 10 years. I think I still have SRC for them in stock (the original flat-pack SCRs have to be retrofitted)...and maybe some breakers. Lots and lots of powerpole connectors.....

The loss of the pub (now it is a very cool black box...that was really really really needed on campus) was the loss of live music in a club settings. Drinking age was still 18 then. You really got to learn your chops there. There was no technical theatre instruction on campus. There was (still is) very good extracurricular theatre, and many students projects were related to it, but we really were self taught in L&L. And we were ridiculously under supervised...but I guess it worked because I've been making my living installing, repairing, and running technical gear back stage my entire adult life.

One last "Back in day" old story of under supervised: Lens and Lights got their money from student activities each fall. The school would zero out all accounts at the end of May each year, but we made our equipment purchases over the summer, so we just opened up an off campus bank account and moved the money there so we could spend in in the summer. I still remember biking across Worcester with a friend in the heat of July, about $2000 in cash between the two of us (what's the chance of us both being jumped?...) to go buy a bunch of microphones...and then bike back with bags of mics.

Anyway next time im in wormtown I will stop by....providing its safe again.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
I did a robot battle years ago for high school clubs in Providence that looked VERY much like that set up. And I have to say it was an absolute blast. I've done some really weird shows, some really memorable stuff and some downright bizarre events, but the robots stand out as being a great group of people, and really enjoyable to watch too. 10/10 would do again.

 

ndp

Fun Director
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Location
Worcester, MA
I did a robot battle years ago for high school clubs in Providence that looked VERY much like that set up. And I have to say it was an absolute blast. I've done some really weird shows, some really memorable stuff and some downright bizarre events, but the robots stand out as being a great group of people, and really enjoyable to watch too. 10/10 would do again.
Very cool. I'm assuming if it was in Providence that maybe it looked like this? WPI hosts many high school robotics events that we get to do production for. The fun part at LNL is so many of us, myself included, are program alumni who actually participated in these things in high school, so we have the edge in knowing what works good and what doesn't. Definitely some of our favorite events for the reasons you mention - a lot of fun and we get to pull out all the stops for them most years.

IMG_20190609_140304.jpg

- Nick
 

Users who are viewing this thread