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Here we go again! (Soundlight's Latest Creation)

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by soundlight, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I took over the theatre for 2 weeks yet again to do another light show. I'll go ahead and copy the info in the description box from youtube right here:
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    The light show for the 2008 Bucknell Theatre Dept. Fall Open House. Programmed on an ETC Obsession 750 using the internal SMPTE clock at 30 frames per second. I am fortunate enough to have one of the Moving Light Designer's Remotes, but programming movers with an Obsession is always interesting at best, even with the ML extension. I am happy with most of the programming, but not all of it. There are a few slight timing issues where the console just didn't want to be on time (not as bad as the end of the Love and Memories show, but still...). I tried to compensate some in the SMPTE code, but this thing has a mind of it's own. If all goes well, next year's show will be programmed on an ETC ION or EOS, which will actually be able to handle the full show and not burp at me.

    Fixture count:
    6x Intellabeam 700HX
    2x Martin Roboscan Pro 518
    8x Source Four Par NSP lens
    29x Source Four Par ACL lens
    13x Apollo SmartColor 7.5 Scroller
    6x Source Four 19 degree
    18x Source Four 26 degree
    2x Source Four 36 degree
    2x Apollo SmartMove DMX Rotators
    10x PAR46 - 200W NSP
    10x 30W Pinspot
    1x DF-50 hazer
    1x Hazer Box Fan

    I really like the rig design for this show, except for the part where the Intellabeams can't swing up far enough. The gobos that you see in the upper left and right corners partway through the show are projected on to two small grey projection screens that were hung from a linset downstage of the rig.

    The reason that you see so few of the colors on the Intellabeams' color wheels is that we don't exactly have the money to replace all of the lamps for my little open house show, so most of the fixtures can't really do the more saturated red, blue, dk green, and so forth colors well at all - but the light pink, med. blue, orange, lt. green, and yellow come out really well - so that's what I used most of the time. Oh, and the green cones look so much better when you're seeing the show live - the camera really didn't capture them well at all. Yes, I could have done more with the 518s, but they would've been washed out a lot. Hope you enjoy Soundlight's latest monster, and don't forget to go check out my other 2 light shows if you haven't already!
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    Known issues - timing around 0:35-0:38, camera tries to autobalance during gobos on the back screen, green cones aren't nearly as visible in the video as they were live, the yellow/green/blue with dots sequence goes on for ever and ever.

    Discuss, tell me what you like, what you don't like, what I could have done better, tell me that I'm wasting my life, etc.

    Shameless plug: check out the other shows:
    YouTube - Light Show - Love & Memories - OAR
    YouTube - Light Show - Tank - The Seatbelts
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    First off great work. I'm going to offer a few pieces of constructive criticism, I'm not trying to shred up your work. I find as a designer it's really interesting to hear the reaction of other designers. It's art so there is no way to say one thing is better than another... without the addition of a few Romanian judges and a complex scoring system. ;)

    First off I like it much better than the last one. I liked getting rid of the screen and returning to working in the haze more. I think this is my favorite of the three, although Tank really set the bar high. In Tank you had the majority of your movers on the floor where this one you had the majority in the air. I think that opened up a lot more options for you artistically and the results are a little better over all.

    To get really picky...

    There is a musical interlude that starts around 1:25. The music sort of strips down and then slowly builds back up over the next 30 seconds. You start that interlude with colorless rotating gobos pointing at the floor. I really liked that move, and it really reflected the shift in the music. From there you chose to go with a pulsing look that reflected the beat and finally you switch to a bunch of green circles that builds into the next part of the song. Your choices reflect the music nicely, but you built in different directions. I would have liked to have seen you stay with that established rotating gobo on the floor motif and build off of it through the whole interlude (slowly adding more instruments, more colors, moved off the floor into the air, around the stage... etc). I realize that it might not be possible with your limited rig but that was my reaction.

    Another picky one. At about 0:33 and 0:38 you pause everything and have a redish orange gobo look while you wait for some lyrics. No problem there. At 0:44 you have a similar lyric hold with a bunch of green and blue gobos piercing through the haze. I would like to have seen all three of these looks be consistent. One reoccurring theme that you go back to for these three lyrical holds.

    The section from 1:00-1:16 is a little repetitive (I think this is what you were talking about the "yellow/green/blue with dots sequence") . I would have liked to see it build or change somehow the second time around starting about 1:09... keep the same pattern but add some other stuff to make it grow.

    The hold look around 1:23 is REALLY cool. I love it because its got this really interesting quantity of fog that sort of hides the fact that it's a bunch of instruments. IF you freeze the frame it looks like some sort of crazy transformer is coming at you out of the mist of the swamp... ok that's a little crazy of a way to describe it, but it just looks different than other points in the show because of the fog level. It's a nice way to get a different look with the same number of instruments

    I love the way you end it. Those pulses to the beat with everything on in sections at about 2:25 are great.

    Again, nice work my friend. :dance: I understand that you were working with a limited rig and limited time in the space... it may be that some things just were not possible. If you wish to debate and discuss why you made your choices that could be an interesting exercise but it's not necessary, you don't need to defend your choices. It's art. My opinion is only my opinion, it is neither right or wrong. Please don't take offense or feel that I'm ripping on your hard work, it's very good.

    Will there be another show or was this your last one?
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the analysis! That is what I'm looking for.

    In retrospect, there are a few things that I would have changed (I realized most of these while watching the video for the 3rd or 4th time):

    -I could've switched out the gels in the center S4s (the ones with the green/blue/purple gels) to match the other static gobo looks, but I guess I was just trying to go for more variety at the time, which was probably not a good thing. I did want to switch to a different set of fixtures for that cue, because it was a new set (4,5,6 instead of 1,2,3 in terms of lyrics), so I wanted to change it up a bit, but I should've kept the same colors. Changing it to the other set of fixtures was enough.

    -I did want to spice up the yellow/green/blue dots look from about 1:07 until it finished, but didn't really have time to go back and do that. I realized this after I'd boxed this follow structure in with other cues and didn't really have the time to go back and fix it. I did see other cues that I could've added places (pop in a few gobo shakes here and there, etc, to make the show alot mroe complete), but with the Obsession's SMPTE clock, you get screwed over in a hurry. Try inserting a step or changing the time on a step, and it basically reaches up and punches you in the jaw, then goes back to lagging. Remember that this was programmed on a four-eighty-six based console. Next year the show will be entirely cued from Q-Lab's MSC functions, so no Timecode issues and I will be using Hog PC for all of the mover stuff if we don't have an EOS or ION by then (one or the other is on the list for purchase, basically whatever we can afford - this Obsession's given us enough grief!). So I'll be spending a lot of time learning Qlab MSC stuff and Hog this year.

    -I really don't like the color combo of the S4 pars with the projected gobos (on the mini screens) after the rotating N/C gobo look, but I would have kept the pulsing gobos on the screens, used my other gobos that from the pyramid on the back wall (that were projected diagonally up the screens), and done some intensity movements with the rotating gobos. But I did want to add those projected gobos there.

    The rotating gobo motif would've been seen as continuing with the green cones thing except that the 518s aren't really bright enough to show you that there were rotating gobos going on with them...they were rotating in the second pulse section and in the green cones section - but 518s can't punch like N/C S4s. I'd have loved to have something like a pair of MAC250 Entours on the floor - that would've done the trick perfectly.

    Now you gave me a really cool idea which I wish that I'd used - I could have put the 2 i-cues on those n/c rotating gobo units and used those to move the gobos around! If only, if only.

    The reason that I think that this show really blows the bar in terms of Tank is that there was no insanely long random and pointless conventional chase to a solo in the middle that always makes me want to skip a minute of the song. Neither Tank nor this really compares to the Love and Memories show, becasue that was a completely different concept - it had a story, I couldn't hit the audience, and I couldn't have fixtures visible. So I used the cyc. I also couldn't run the haze for as long. Both tank and this were the tech dept's "flexing of muscles" for the open house. It's really the only time we get to do it for an audience, the rest of the time we just amuse ourselves.

    Oh, and the green cones looked ever-so-much more awesome and punchy live, the video really doesn't do them justice.

    I also had fun blowing people's concepts of how useful and bright regular old twelve-dollar Pinspots can be with this show - that was a lot of fun. The effect was doubted by many until they actually saw it live, and were then blown away.

    I still have next year to do one final big blowout show, and set the bar super-high for the following designers/programmers of the Open House Light Show. I may get another shot at things for the Fall Dance Concert, too, which will be another show a la Love & Memories where I have no audience-viewable fixtures, but a Cyc to work with. If that happens, I'm planning to use more haze and add some static gobo looks as well.

    And I suppose I should share my favorite part of the show, which is 1:50 to 2:00.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I agree that this is my favorite of the three. For the next one, I'd like to see an orchestral, symphonic, or classical piece, without lyrics. Something from Mahler, perhaps, or if you must, Debussy. Aaron Copeland is good, but overdone, and somewhat pedestrian.
     
  5. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    Very cool! I agree that this one is probably the most amazing of the three. I hope to see another one next year (or sometime sooner).

    Plus, I think the idea of having a light show for an open house is a good way to have fun making something cool while pleasing audiences. :grin:
     
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Tank was my favorite of the three, but I really think it had less to do with the lighting than the the fact that I'm an anime fan and recognized the music as the theme from Cowboy Bebop.:mrgreen:

    All told though, I was impressed.
     
  7. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    Not only no, heck no! To steal a line from Winamp, "It really kicks the llama's ____ !"
     
  8. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    Not going to say that, but you do realize there's limited demand for "Sound and Light Shows" these days? (Laserium still hangs around I guess, and the Exploratorium in SF might be a possibility.) Inserting a band in front and putting a followspot on each member would NOT be the same, would it? I'm not saying it's not valuable experience as a programming exercise, just pointing out its lack of real world applications. Lighting Design cannot be done without collaboration, and I don't think you've mentioned that.
     
  9. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't plan on it as an actual practical application directly. As I mentioned, it's really just the tech department flexing our muscles when we otherwise can't in this way. I absolutely love designing lighting for both music events and dance performances, and really enjoy dance performance especially in collaborating with the choreographers to bring their piece to life.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  10. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    I agree about how it'd be different, though it isn't worthless. It's valuable if it's fun for him. (I know It's fun for me to watch.) The programming seems that it would too be great practice. I know I would have learned a lot from working with the SMPTE clock, let alone programming everything else in the show.
    As an exercise, I've had to design to a song before (without accompanying performers), and while I wouldn't duplicate the design for a dance concert to the same piece, I learned things that will assist me in other areas.

    I watched "Bare," and I think it's great that your designs are on the website, and even better that they (the one I saw, at least) are good designs. :grin:
    I didn't get through "Contrapuntal Visions" because I kept getting cuts in the video...
    Re: Bolded Statement I sure hope so. ;)
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I will say that these light shows have made me learn the Obsession inside and out like nothing else.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Although it's true that very few light shows exist these days, this is a fantastically useful exercise. It's the closest thing you can get to doing a full lighting design for a concert tour.

    I like Derek's idea about doing something classical next time... or maybe you can find something with a classical intro that leads into a rock song... that would be an interesting challenge for you.
     
  13. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    I like both ideas.

    When will be your last year at Bucknell? (AKA, will there be a light show next year?)
     
  14. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I'm a junior now. So 1 more open house show plus maybe a show at the dance concert this fall.
     

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