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I'm so happy! I got to play with an Ion!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sony, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    So I'm here at KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival) and it's AWESOME. Having a great time working at the Stratos G. Dukakis Performing Arts Center at the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, learning a lot of great stuff!

    Well the culmination of my week so far was today I got to spend a good total of 6 hours in 2 moving light workshops and a few more hours in between workshops just messing around with the Ion. I learned most of the major stuff on the Ion, everything from patching and writing cues to creating effects and Marking fixtures. I have to say the Ion is an impressive console and I'm already hooked!

    ALPS came and set it up, they had 4 ETC Ion consoles with one 2x10 fader wings and one ETC Eos Console. Then they has 10 Martin MAC 700 fixtures mounted on a truss above each console, one Wash and one Profile fixture for each console. The Eos was setup so it could take over the control of all the fixtures from the Ion's but the Ion's could only control the two fixtures above them.

    So I feel like I have gotten a good feel for the Ion and I really do like it so far. When I get back I'm going to try and get my department to replace our old Express 48/96 with one.

    Soooo fun!
     
  2. beachcombah15

    beachcombah15 Member

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    Was Paul Derocher there by any chance from ALPS? if he was, tell him Sam says hi! haha
     
  3. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    No it was Rui Alves, and Chris Souza might possibly be showing up tomorrow. Also one of the guys from Apollo was there but it wasn't Keith sadly. Then there were also representatives from Rosco and Barbizon.
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Since we're seriously considering getting an ION next year (read: we're getting one if they give us the money), ETC came out and did a demo for us. And left us a demo ION for a good 3 weeks. So I got some time on it back in early December. Here's the results: [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uioparKw-lk&feature=channel_page[/media]

    It was a really easy board to get around once I got over some of the little idiosyncrasies of it, and got myself off of my strong Obsession thought process.

    And now that they're allowing positional control with a trackball when the next software update comes out (or so I read over on the ETC forums), it's definitely the console of choice for our upgrade!
     
  5. beachcombah15

    beachcombah15 Member

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    Oh I see. Yeah, I don't know Rui, but I know Chris and Paul, they set us up with the ion in October and as you said, it is absolutely amazing
     
  6. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    That's looks pretty awesome.

    I don't understand how one goes about programming something like that, like is it 1500 different 'cues' to set a position for the movers? And how'd you get the light to move around so smoothly?

    Obviously I need a complete crash course on how movers work/how they're programmed, possibly in video form?
    I've tried looking it up on Google and YuTube, but found next to nothing.
     
  7. LightingPenguin

    LightingPenguin Active Member

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    Read. This. Website. Do some searches for DMX patching/control. then look up what type of board youre using, and see if you can find some manuals on that. Third, search the forum again for anything that sounds like a moving light. Names including but are not limited to: intelligent, moving, movers, smart, anything that someone can come up with to refer to a mover
     
  8. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Well we use a Strand MX and own No intelligent lights(and have very few plans for any it seems)

    As far as reading this site, most of the posts I've seen thus far are more about specific things, I'm looking for a complete overview of how the process works.
     
  9. LightingPenguin

    LightingPenguin Active Member

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    What process specifically?

    Do you have questions about:
    DMX
    Programming/ Cues
    Setting up movers
    Light boards

    A general process is a bit vague for us to help, but if you specify a little more we can try
     
  10. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Well the most basic question I can come up with would be how the movement is so smooth? I would assume that you'd set it to one place, set a cue/point, set it again? But that would seem choppy, no?
     
  11. LightingPenguin

    LightingPenguin Active Member

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    Well, many boards have preset "effects". For example, on a Hog3 you can put in a "Circle" effect (not sure if this specific effect exists, but im using it as a bland example) and then edit it. These edits include things like speed of motion, the degree of motion, intensity, gobo/gobo rotation, gel color/rotation, etc. If you program an effect like that, it would in essence just keep repeating itself, so the lights would be constantly moving. However you do have to program when the effect starts and stops. Thats ONE way to keep you're movers moving (excuse the pun).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
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  12. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Oh, Ok, that explains a fair bit, thanks.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    DMX lighting consoles are nothing but fancy, and very fast, calculators. Let's say a channel is at 50% in Q1 and 75% in Q2 Time 5. Once the Q2 GO button is pressed, the console starts doing the math for a 25% change over 5 seconds. It sends out a new value 44 times per second, so a total of 220 values to move 25% in 5 seconds. Because incandescent lamps have thermal mass, and motors in moving lights are moving physical mass, the move appears smooth, even though it is made of 220 little steps. (To the more advanced: I'm intentionally ignoring "M-Speed," and 8-bit vs. 16-bit, for this explanation.) In certain, but rare cases, such as with very low wattage lamps, LEDs, and large, heavy moving lights moving a long distance very slowly, it is possible to witness this "steppiness," but there are solutions for that, too.

    Almost all of the moves in [user]soundlight[/user]'s video are 2 seconds or less, with most being zero or 0.1 seconds. When you tell a moving light to do something in zero time, it does it as fast as it physically can, which is seldom actually zero seconds. (The same is true of incandescent lamps--higher wattage lamps react slower than smaller ones. A "Bump to black" can take up to two seconds before there's total darkness on stage. This phenomenon usually rears its ugly head as we watch performers break character and move out of position while the light is still fading.)

    [user]LightingPenguin[/user]: To create a "circle" effect on any console, (that allows it) apply a sine wave to the pan value and a cosine wave to the tilt value. [This is why you need algebra, trigonometry, and geometry in high school.]
     
  14. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    And this is because a sine or cosine wave is simply the displacement of a circle along one axis of motion.

    I used a lot of circle effects in this show - as well as some infinities. I used the crap out of position palettes, and was frustrated that I didn't really have time to fix the 10 or so issues that I had with different moving lights (one of my gobo rotators wasn't spinning, one of the belts for rotating gobos in the roboscans was slipping a lot at high speeds, one of the Intellabeams had a dowser issue, and well...the list goes on). I cued the show simply with follow times this time because I didn't have the time during finals week to do a complete MIDI timecode to the song.
     
  15. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    The guy from Apollo was Rich Dale, he said he knew Keith. I'm hoping I'll get more time on the Ion later today.

    Very cool lighting show [user]soundlight[/user]! Even though it's only done with follow cues it is very well done!
     
  16. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    We had an entire course at UT where that is what we did. It was awesome to sit in a room with half a million dollars worth of lights/controllers and a piece of music and just go to town. Of course, it was terrifying as well.

    Mike
     
  17. Mike9

    Mike9 Member

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    I have an oportunity to check one out next week I think I'll take it.
     
  18. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    The Ion is a great little console. I have a few oppurtunities to play around with one this year.

    They do so much, and are not all that much different from their older brother, the EOS. The EOS has a couple of really handy features that the ION doesn't. Including a Tabs to swiftly change the data on either of the 2 external screens.

    I would definitely recommend the ION to anyone that has the possibility of using moving lights or scrollers. It isn't bad for theater either, not a perfect replacement for the Express 48/96 but suitable.
     
  19. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    The Ion and the Eos are considered Theatre consoles and not concert consoles. From the experience I got I could do everything with the Ion that I could with the Express 48/96 and waaaaay more. Sure, it doesn't have a release button so you had to hit Go To Cue -> Out -> Enter but other than that everything was incredibly easy.

    The Eos is a great console but cost three to four times as much as the Ion for not all that much more. The Eos has 2 built in Touch Screens and Motorized Faders as well as Encoder Knobs with Force Feedback so that when you turn them they click on each option. They are both great consoles in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  20. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    The EOS is built for much bigger systems than the ION. It has many more outputs available.... So it's built for a different place than the ION is. Not complaining - just pointing out that it does do more for the more money...
     

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