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History of Filene [email protected] Trap Lighting Control

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by dramatech, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    In 1976, I worked on the Metropolitan Opera production of "Aida" (or how ever it is spelled) at the "Wolf trap farm park" in Northern Virginia. The theater had a SkKirpan system that used CRT displays. There was a permanent focus remote backstage that you could bring up the channels using a light stylus and touching that channel on the CRT. When I mentioned that I had never seen one before, The Met crew acted like I was from Mars, and that there were many of them on Broadway. For the time it appeared to be just about the most advanced system I had ever seen. The theater burned down a few years later and when rebuilt, It used a totally different system. ( I don't remember what it was).
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Re: Some fun things on Ebay

    I hope it will make you feel better, 32 years later, that you were in the right and "the Met crew" was wrong. You saw the only major, and highest profile, installation of the Skirpan AutoCue system. I don't think it was ever used on a Broadway show, as only a few were ever built or sold, though they were advertised heavily in the trade mags at the time. When Filene Center was rebuilt after the 1982 fire, a Strand-Century Light Palette was installed.
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Re: Some fun things on Ebay

    And now houses a networked, full-size GMA.

    Article here.

    They had been renting GMAs for the past year or two from the company that I work for now if the need a console with the power of the GMA.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Re: Some fun things on Ebay

    Okay, since it was brought up. Some guessing/speculation involved.

    1971- opens with Ward-Leonard 10 scene preset console
    1973?-Thorn/Kliegl Q-File
    1975-Skirpan AutoCue installed
    1982-building destroyed by fire
    1985-Filene Center II opens with Strand Light Palette II/III?
    1992?-ETC Obsession installed
    2008-MA Lighting grandMA installed
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If any sound people happen through here, the Filene Center has a Digico SD7. Lighting and sound upgrades were made at basically the same time.
     
  6. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    Excellent thread! I live about 15 minutes from Wolf Trap, so this is cool info. I went on their backstage tour a few years ago, which included the follow spot booth and a quick peek of the backstage part of the lighting system (not FOH, unfortunately).
     
  7. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    At the time that they had the Skirpan lighting board, they had two Malachie sound boards, One mixed the under roof sound and the other one mixed the back lawn sound. The main audioman was a personal friend and and got me on work calls a few times. My spelling of Malachie might be way off, as I only heard the name and never saw it spelled out. I personally had never heard of it, but at that time Theater was not my main job, just an occasional gig.
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    The Skirpan Auto-Cue was copied by Electronics Diversified, who branded it as the LS-8.

    It was this console that was used on Broadway on A Chorus Line. I believe this was the only show that used the LS8, as EDI was promptly sued by Skirpan, with EDI losing, thus the LS-8 was taken off the market.

    That pretty much opend a big door for Strand and the Multi-Q became a big hit. beoing followed in '79 by Light Palette.

    Steve B.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    This is contradictory to Gordon Pearlman's account of the the evolution of the LS-8, as it appears in Linda Essig's book, The Speed of Light; as well as on this neato PDF poster. (Ten points to the first who can identify the CB member. ALL employees of ETC, other lighting manufacturers, and SteveB, are ineligible.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  10. beltsvillecrucib

    beltsvillecrucib Member

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    Somewhere after 92, however, they must have tossed the Obsessions and got a trio of 550i's. The last time I was there was probably 2004 and they still had them. Must have just recently switched over to the MA. Does their rep now have movers? Last time I was there it was all conventional with some scrollers on the high sides and booms.
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Consider the source. The Amazon link only asks if I want to buy the book. Do you have more info. ?, Gordons thoughts would be interesting.

    This subject came up here : http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/5579-brand-familiarity-5.html

    Steve T. did not correct me, so I've always assumed the info. as I remember is correct.

    Steve B.
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The source WAS Gordon Pearlman. From this site (LiveDesign online magazine, 03/01/1999): "[ Steve] TERRY: 'Sitting next to Tharon [Musser] is Gordon Pearlman. Gordon is currently the president of Rosco/Entertainment Technology, and was the designer of the original computerized lighting system used on Broadway for A Chorus Line, the LS-8, back in 1975.'"

    Of course you want to buy the book! (From the vendor of your choosing. It has become common to simply provide the amazon.com link rather than proper MLA citation, and for that, I apologize.) Essig, Linda. The Speed of Light, Dialogues on Lighting Design and Technological Change. Heinemann, 2002. Pages 13-27 contain discussions by Pearlman, Curt Ostermann, F. Mitchell Dana, Richard Winkler, Steve Terry, and Ken Billington, as told to Ms. Essig.

    You know better than that. <insert shame smiley here> Just because you say something in public and are not corrected don't make it true. (Even when it involves Mr. Terry. :eek:) Now I'm not saying there wasn't a lawsuit between Skirpan and EDI, just saying that I've never seen allegations or proof that the LS-8 was based on the AutoCue. Did Thorn/Kliegl sue the maker(s) of the MegaCue over its similarity to the Q-File? It seems as though more can be learned about the history of lighting hardware by studying the patent law rather than the actual products. Writing a book on lawsuits sounds like a good job for a lawyer, (one who isn't afraid of libel). And downtown Las Vegas did not burn completely to the ground, unlike Filene Center I.
     
  13. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Derek,

    I admit to poor motor skills and sometimes my fingers find the Send button by accident.

    Are you saying that Gordon has stated publicly that Steve Skirpan never sued over the LS-8 ?. That's not my memory, but memories are known to be incorrect.

    Not to knock Gordon's achievements, but I've yet to read that they WERE NOT sued by Skirpan. Thing is, the LS-8 may well have been all from Gordon's brain, but to then have EDI manufacture and market, "possibly" without checking if Skirpan already had a patent for something very similar, was entirely possible and was what I recall. My sometimes hazy memory also recall that there were few, if any additional LS-8's sold commercially, though that may be for many other reasons.

    "Just because you say something in public and are not corrected don't make it true."

    I added the caveat that "I ASSUME" (d) it was true, so blame ST

    "And downtownLas Vegas did not burn completely to the ground"

    Geez, took you long enough...... (grin).

    SB
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I had to wait for an opportune opening about something burning down.;)

    Page 24 of the above referenced book, in Mr. Terry's words: "There was a big panic on Chorus Line because Steve Skirpan, inventor of Autocue, had sued EDI and gotten an injuction against people using the LS-8. It was based on a patent for a memory lighting control with a video display. It was a very weak patent but meanwhile everyone was really scared. Tours were going out." Terry then continues with the development of the Strand Century Multi-Q.

    So, yeah, we're both right, and we're both wrong.

    Tag, SB. You're "it."
     
  15. Darthrob13

    Darthrob13 Active Member

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    Wish I had asked Gordon on Friday when I saw him.

    He'd be interested that this discussion was even going on. I'll link him the thread.
     
  16. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    [QUOTE=derekleffew;99923

    So, yeah, we're both right, and we're both wrong.

    Tag, SB. You're "it."[/QUOTE]

    Nope, I've dug as deep as my memory will go. Maybe Steve Short remembers and I'm guessing Steve Terry may not want to chime in.

    In any event, it's all SO LONG AGO, sigh, that it almost doesn't matter.

    FWIW, the very first memory console I ever used was a Multi-Q. I not-so-fondly remember many, many a road trip to Patterson, NJ and the east coast office of Strand-Century to get assorted cards serviced, as this was back in the days of the console being a desk, which would not go down 5 flights of stairs, much less into the back of my Gremlin.

    Seems the 5 volt section drifted and it needed tweaking prior to every show, which was a PITA.

    The Record To Disk and Load Show buttons were right next to each other, with no "Are You Sure".

    I do not miss the Multi-Q.

    SB
     

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