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Innovator issues....

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by bhallerm, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. bhallerm

    bhallerm Member

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    We have a Colortran Innovator 48/96 as our lighting control at work. It's been around for a couple years and after reading here and hearing others is a annoyingly quirky board. If ours keeps it's attitude's moving toward paperweight status real quick.

    Anyway, we occasionally relocate it outside our auditorium for different events. Every time we have moved it this year, we have either lost programming from submasters to actual channels or they have been altered in some way. I shouldn't even get started on our movers. Our saved groups for our VariLites never come back true. Crazy zoom settings, frames settings, etc. Has anybody else experienced this?? or is it time to move on from this crazy thing??

    I've already planted the seed with administration for next fiscal year and a new board. I just have to decide what to recommend when they come asking how much money I need. Not being super deep in the lighting industry, three main players seem to be High End, MA and ETC. The Ion has certainly received it's fair share of discussion here and seems a good bang/buck board. The idea of adding fader wings for a more "manual" control is appealing from a teaching standpoint to have a more concrete example. Maybe that's off base. I'm continuing to read more on here, but other suggestions are always welcome.

  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Seattle, Washington
    The short answer:
    Ion is a great for conventional theatrical lighting with some moving lights. Hog and MA are great for movers with some conventional lights.

    Yes you can do both on all three consoles and there will be people who follow up and say, "I run huge conventional rigs with my MA". But that's not what it's designed to do best. If you do a lot of moving lights you'll appreciate the way the Hog/MA handle them. If you do a lot of conventionals you'll prefer the way Ion handles them. Finally the learning curve is a little steeper on a Hog/MA for newbies.

    Tell us more about what you do and dream of doing with your new console. We can help you figure out which best fits your specific needs.
    Here are a few questions that would be helpful to answer:
    How many dimmers and conventionals do you use?
    You mention Vari-lites. How many movers do you have? How do you use them typically?
    What about smaller dmx toys?
    Is there the potential to expand to even more DMX gear in the future or is your current rig likely to be it?
    Do you rent additional DMX gear for special shows?
  3. bhallerm

    bhallerm Member

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    Good point. I should know to provide the pertinent info up front Sorry for being vague. :oops:

    Right now we mostly use conventional fixtures. Our 2 VL1000's do get a lot of use however, since many times they cover for our conventionals when we are re-focused for a production of some type. They may also get thrown in for production uses too. Basically, they are our most flexible fixture and we use that fact.

    I currently have 12 six channel dimmers plus a couple permanent balcony dimmers, roughly 35 Colortran Lekos, 6 S4's of varying degrees, 20 6" Fresnels, 16-18 pars, birdies a plenty, and a couple random DJ style FX lights. For conventionals I guess a few more S4's would be nice to have around, but we've done OK with conventionals. We currently have 4 dedicated electric lines, catwalk and box booms for hanging positions. I can put up every fixture I have and have room left over, that's for sure.

    Future plans: We get into a chicken/egg situation here. Would we like some more movers?? sure. But I don't see the value of them without having a console that can fully control them. I know they have rented more DMX toys in the past for shows (Singin' in the Rain) and probably will for the future. Seems that each time we rent stuff, people like the effects so it helps grease the wheels a bit when it comes time for new toys. "Remember how cool XYZ looked??? Yeah...we could do that all the time if..." ;)

    Buying for future expansion and not just to cover an immediate need is the way things are approached. There has been a turn over of staff at my position and the theater director so things have become stagnant. I was hired (and extended) this year and we're hiring for the Theater Director at the end of this year, so I see a team working together to push things forward in a very professional manner. At the same time we have to balance the ever present educational environment as well.

    I hope this sheds a bit more light on things. I'm sure I'll be battling this thing all spring so, any good guides to pros and cons from more experienced people would be great in case I get the OK to drop 8-10K or more on a console. Or have to convince the powers that be to let me do that.

    Three solutions that have been tossed around are Hog 3 PC, the Ion and Congo Jr.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    I will be doing a show with VL1000TS units on an Innovator (which I've never used) soon. Any tips and tricks? Will I have to write my own personality or download one? How does Innovator handle a "multi-part" fixture? I really have to start looking at the User Manual.:(
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    New Ulm, Minnesota, United States
    HA HA HA!!!

    Good Luck! :lol::twisted::boohoo:

    If you look at the User's Manual, it tells which profiles are loaded on the machine already. From recollection, there aren't a whole lot.
  6. Mrmartyr

    Mrmartyr Member

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    Georgetown, TX (near Austin)
    To derekleffew.

    I just started plying with my first lighting console in Oct. 08. And it is an Innovator 48/96.
    On leviton's web site they support this console, you download the latest firmware, get a User's Guide that improves on the hard copy we had and a .pdf file so it is searchable.
    They also have device definition files (.ddl) for a large number of devices. I was able download .ddl's close enough to the make/models I needed and tweek them to fit my devices.
    Edit them using a simple text editor but be very careful with syntax and format and BACK-UP your board to a clean floppy before loading them on the board. If try to load and use a bad ddl file you will lock that puppy down... hard. Only a Hard Reset will get you back up and running and ALL config will be lost.

    This my first foray in lighting boards so I have zero reference points but this board is at best a finicky mistress.

    Good luck
  7. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    I had an issue with my Innovator swaping cues and subamsters. Called tech support and was told that I had old "outdated" software, but it was listed as the current version on thier website! I was given by direct e-mail the "latest version" that was something like 4 versions up from what was available on the website. After loading the new software my problems still existed, but was told then that my "base file" that I load into the board had been corrupted and that was why even with the new software update my problems still existed. I had to re-make my base patch file for my theater and have not had a problem since.

    You might have the same problem. It took awhile to figure out that the base file I was using to create every new show had a corrupt data problem.

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