Instructional Resources


Active Member
Hello everyone, before I left for college this past summer I created a variety of instructional resources for my community theater and high school. I have made those resources available on my website, many of them do not necessarily apply specifically to the locations for which they were created so I thought I would offer them to everyone in the ControlBooth.

You can find these resources at and or download them directly:

They consist of the following:

Express Lighting Board Guide
(Instructional guides for the ETC Express control console)

Express Blank Channel List
(A blank channel list already custom tailored to the ETC Express)

Express Troubleshooting
(A list of possible culprits to check into if the ETC Express is behaving unexpectadly)

Fly Rail Sign
(A danger sign for the rail along the fly brakes alerting people not to operate the fly system without proper training)

Idea Lighting Board Guide
(An instructional guide for the ETC Idea control console)

Idea Blank Channel List
(A blank channel list custom tailored to the ETC Idea)
Thank you for sharing these.
Those are awsome! It was great to see them... about a month ago I was asked to re-wire the sound system and write out a guide/maunal to it and I had no clue where to start with that part, but now I do! But, I did have one problem with the rigging... their rope locks, not brakes. Using them as brakes is a bad idea... It will kill your rope and the lock.
they are sometimes called brakes
The rigging guide is definitely the one that is most inaccurate with regards to established terminology and official procedure. I created it to provide instructional material for a system that did not have any official instructional documentation whatsoever or a any rigging specialist of any kind to operate and service it (which seems to be a common situation in high school settings). Any comments or suggestions in that regard from anyone with actual rigging qualifications would be helpful. It is intended to be as practical a guide as possible, to provide a basic knowledge of how the rigging works, and, at the very least, to provide a sense of how dangerous the rigging system actually is. Again any professional suggestions would be helpful as well as any offical references or instructional materials. Thank you!
I found something slightly disturbing in the sound guide, The first step in turning on the system according to your guide is to turn on the amplifiers!
I was taught never to do this as the "popping" noise it creates is actually shortening the life of the speaker
No, that is absolutely correct. The amps should be the first part on and the last part off, or so I was always told.
Foxinabox10 said:
No, that is absolutely correct. The amps should be the first part on and the last part off, or so I was always told.
Sure, if you want to blow up your speakers.
board and rack then amps. the board and rack should be the first thing on and the last thing off.
I wonder why I've always been told to turn off the board before plugging any speakers in...
you should bring the main mix down before installing new speakers, but there is no need to turn off the mixer.
i learned through my directors mistake. you diffently want the board/rack on before the amps. that was a really loud pop....
Well done and nice to share resources with others. There is a down side though, which in my opinion really sucks. That is the potential legal risks of writing such manuals or guides.

People have been sued because the posted something into the public domain and the information was either incorrect or contrary to established best practice guidelines.

There are ways around this however and they include the following – reference your material and where ever possible, ensure that you are following recognised guidelines or regulations. If there is an accredited body that governs the content of a topic that you are exploring, make sure that what you are saying is congruent with what they recommend. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task and in some situations none may exist. For example, I an sure that there are documented rules and regulations when it comes to rigging, so it should be fairly easy to ensure that your rigging guides are up to spec. However, I doubt that there is a national society for the turning on and off of amplifiers.

The amplifier discussion raised here is quite a good example to play with for this purpose. We all know that turning an amp on/off is not going to cause any lives to be lost, should you have stated the wrong thing to do, unlike if it were a rigging mistake.

Sadly, you could still be sued because someone followed your guide and turned the amp on first, resulting in him blowing a speaker. He would claim damages and loss of income etc etc.

Now I am sure that if you look at existing sites they will have such information, as would books, magazines and equipment manuals. Quote the information in these and not only will you have references to back up what you have written (otherwise it will be viewed as ‘your’ work) and you will be in a more credible position and legally protected – from what I understand. Corporations spend millions on lawyers to ensure that material they release into the public domain is not going to result in getting them sued. You too need to take some steps to cover yourself.

Also – most disclaimers are worth nothing when it comes to the law, unless written in a specific manner and usually by a lawyer. It is like the beware of the dog sign you might buy and stick to your gate. Should someone break into your house and get bitten by your dog, they can sue you.

Also – the guys are right in stating that the amp should be last one switched on and the first one switched off. I always tell people to begun turning things on at the start of the signal chain and then turn them off in the opposite order.

Hope this helps.
Mayhem said:
I always tell people to begin turning things on at the start of the signal chain and then turn them off in the opposite order.
That makes an incredible amount of sense, it explains why I never thought of it!
Here's my theory on all this...
Look, people need to be taught this stuff in person. Having a little guide at hand to remind them of for instance, the correct order to turn on sound equipment, is a must most of the time, but only to serve as a reminder. You can't learn from manuals alone.
ricc0luke, I have to disagree with you on that one. At some point, with new equipment, someone has to learn from a manual. For things like sound system components, manuals are fine. For things like rigging and electrical, hands on face to face training is a must, however.
You are very right Mayhem, there is a down side and it does really suck. I'm finding quite often that I try to do things with good intentions, intentions with a greater purpose than we typically take time to bother with, but some legal risk or official threat cuts it down and makes it impractical or even wrong. I have tried to make it clear on each of these instructional guides that they are based primarily on personal experience and personal knowledge. Those that used official instructinal manuals say specifically that they do so. Unfortunately it seems that even making this clarification is not enough, which is really a very unsatisfying feeling.

As far as the comments about the correct order for turning on the amplifiers and the sound board I understand the sound board should be first to prevent damage to the speakers. I did not intend to actually specify the order in the sound system guide but rather to indicate that both needed to take place in order to continue. I will make the correction tomorrow. I think that ricc0luke and Foxinabox10 are both correct. When you are first learning how to do something you do need to carefully read instructional material or manuals, as well as gain hands on experience, but once you have learned these things the instructional guide becomes more of a reminder. Eitherway you cannot learn from instructional guides alone and you probably should not learn from experience alone either.
Both ricc0luke and Foxinabox10 have valid points and this is my advice to people that intend to teach.

Knowledge and theory that underpins practice can be taught effectively from text/audiovisual means.

Practical skills are best taught in context and in person.

For example, you can write a summary of how to replace a lamp base in a PAR can and this will be a very good way for the person to gain an understanding of why it is that you use hi temp cables or why you unplug the can first etc. However, to ensure that the person is doing it safely and correctly, supervision is required.

Splitting the teaching into two components achieves several things:

1. It reduces the time taken to teach the person and therefore give the teacher more time to either teach more topics or do other things (note that I use the tern teacher in the liberal sense of someone instructing another).

2. It allows the student to learn the theory in their own time and at their own pace. They can revisit and read around the topic if they wish to.

3. It better prepares the student for the practical teaching as they know the steps and the reasoning from them

So in my opinion, these sorts of manuals are a valuable adjunct to practical teaching but should not be used in isolation.

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