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Last Minute Lighting Disaster

Discussion in 'Safety' started by TupeloTechie, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    I posted this as a reply to a previous topic, but I thought I would repost it...

    one time, I was stuck running lights for our local show-choir, there a really big deal here, as they won in a nation competition, we were sold-out (we have a large theater, I'm not sure, but about 1500 seats I think.)

    We were running the show from our normal lighting plot, except for one special where there are 3 different spots, and a few different colored gelled pars for a couple of songs.

    Well they had this tradition where all the cast and crew get in a circle behind the curtian and share stories, etc. then pray. I knew one of the ellipsoidals used for the 3 spots special was out the day before, so I asked the janitor to replace the bulb (he is the only one that has the bulbs,) I checked to make sure it was working, it was, but as soon as we started to pray, I hear that fizzling crack, look up and just as I thought, its out, the light that starts out the whole show is blown, 3min before showtime. GREAT!!! Sometimes I do think god hates us, lol.

    We start the show with me running up a ladder to use the follow spot to light the soloist, GREAT, its geled blue! and I'm like 4 feet off (I've never actually ran this follow spot before, I just moved to this school over the summer) so after that terrible cue I run down the ladder in time for the next cue, a basic blue wash on the cyc, and standard full stage wash.

    We use what are called "STAR PAR's" if you don't know they are stubnose lights that use a standard bulb (well the kind the ellipsoisals use) and a par lens, we have them for a basic stage wash, and we have 9 along the 4th electric to wash the cyc, 3 in blue, 3 in red, and 3 in green.

    WELL, I notice the blue is getting paler and paler, along with (later in the show) the other colors as well, until by the last song they were pretty much just putting white light on the cyc. After the show I run down to she what the heck has happened and all the gels were melted, all that was left was the part in the holder attached to the brads. I didn't know what the world would have caused this so I went to get replacement gels. WE RAN OUT, as we had just ordered more, but they had not come it yet, so I rummaged around and found some mis-matched colors and put them in and ran the next night with these pars at a lower level, still by the end of the show they were gone. I spent about 3 hours that night trying to figure out what was wrong, as 2 of the 9 were not burning out, eventually I found out that the janitor had replaced the bulbs with a different kind of bulb, I'm still new to this, so I'm not sure exactly what was different, but I ended up replacing the "wrong" bulbs with the right ones, because the janitor's door was unlocked (luckily!) But, I then had to pay $15 a gel at a music store to get the colors matched along the whole cyc, I had it fixed, finally by the third night, which was the most important, as this was the night the mayor, and many of the patrons who give money for the event attended.

    Unfortunately, that wasn't the only problem, for one of the songs, Thriller, I had to bump some different subs as the stage crew filled the stage with fog (we recently re-formated and updated the software on our console and haven't had time to write new effect sequences) this new software was different from the old, and when I bumped a submaster it stayed on, not the effect we were looking for, the stage crew was completly visable, GREAT!!!

    Well, thats my story, since then I've stuck to my good friend, the sound mixer!
     
  2. SocksOnly

    SocksOnly Member

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    It's shows like that when my stage manager (who's also my neighbor) and I go share a tub of cookiedough icecream at one of our houses afterwards. It's a good thing it all turned out alright in the end- you learned from your (or other people's) mistakes.
     
  3. CHScrew

    CHScrew Active Member

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    If I ate a tub of Cookiedough Icecream every time something in my high school theatre went wrong... I'd be dead by now of a sugar overdose.


    and you can quote me on that.
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that the person who replaced the lamp in the ellipsoidal put their oily fingers on it!!
     
  5. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    Thats what I thought too, but actually they were bad lamps, he ordered a whole case of them, half were broken where the glass meets the (whatever its called) that plugs into the socket, we broke like 4 of them installing them, and the ones that did get installed blew out almost instantly, he said he e-mailed the company and there was some kinda recall on those lamps, so we got our money back.
     
  6. SocksOnly

    SocksOnly Member

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    That's only for the terrible shows, where the mics all cut out for no reason at all or something of the sort. I always prepare myself for minor mistakes, as they're usually unavoidable (and numerous). And thanks I think I will quote that :grin:
     
  7. cue1go

    cue1go Member

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    Am I seeing a trend here? I also go out for cookie dough ice cream after a long/hard show. My last minute lighting disaster: I was ME/ALD on a production of Fiddler on the Roof this past summer. The board op, a friend of mine, was running a HOG iPC the LD had programmed. Neither of us knew the board well. During intermission, some lights started randomly going on and off. We eventually figured out that the recording techs in the spot booth had accidentally flipped a capture switch a couple times. When he made it back to the board to return to the show, the entire display layout was messed up. We panicked, and had to shut down and restart the whole system so we could continue. The show still restarted on time though.
     
  8. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Occupation:
    Master Electrician / Rigger
    Location:
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    I don't know about the cookie-dough ice cream trend, my crew and I have a slightly different approach: we all gather after call with a bottle of scotch (I recommend the Glenlivett). Mind you, this is only when one (or more) of us narrowly avoids death. Such as the time when I (forgetting all laws of physics, and safety for that matter) tried flying out an offweight electric (we unloaded the batten...but not the counterweight) and got pulled 10 to 15 feet in the air. Luckily, the pipe was only about 200 pounds off weight (which is only 20 lbs. heavier than me) and I was able to wrap my feet around the two line-sets closest to me and brake myself from going any higher (or through the loading gallery). Yeah, we finished a bottle of scotch that night...
     
  9. SocksOnly

    SocksOnly Member

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    Ah. I dunno about Cue1go, but my crew and I are in highschool. So no scotch for us. I've always had nightmares about flying with an offweighted rope and grabbing a stationary one, and taking all the skin off my brake hand. Then again, I also have nightmares about the time I was moving stuff onstage and a village backdrop nearly knocked me unconscious (my friend alerted me and I moved enough that it clipped my shoulder instead). That would also count as a "cookie dough icecream" show, actually.
     
  10. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    Sheesh I thought it was only me who had these kinds of problems.

    The most recent thing that happened (not my fault), I had my board reset itself in the blinking middle of a stack-programmed scene during our last musical, STAGE IN DARKNESS in the middle of act 1 scene 2!!! Boy I won't be forgetting that anytime soon.

    Still haven't worked out to this day what caused it to reset.
     
  11. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

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    Location:
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    Our lightboard at Junior High last year was plugged into a power strip, plugged into the wall. Once (luckily during a rehearsal) I was cleaning, and bumbed the power strip, and switched it off. All the lights faded out, and I blamed it on the leg of a followspot which happened to be right by it.

    We have also had to restart our board before our show. (at the Junior High with a Strand 300) I was typing on the keyboard, and accidentally hit the macro key. (it was the alphanumetric keyboard, where F5 is Live screen, F6 is Patch, or something like that. I always liked using the keyboard as opposed to the actual console) Anyways, that was back when I did not know how to finish a macro, so every button we pushed just showed up in print on screen instead of executing the command. So, that time I purposely switched the power strip, and then went home and read the manual again.

    The teachers there are convinced the board has a virus, just because the techies never admit their mistakes...
     
  12. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    some of these stories sound like stuff that's happened to me and my buds at my college theater. on our last dance concert (which i have mentioned in previous threads) we had gels burning though like crazy fast (hint: the darker the gel the faster it'll burn-out), our lighting board decided to "take the crack" a couple of times (cue sequences mysteriously deleted, changed or duplicated) (we're going to do a full check-up on the poor misguided thing this spring semester, virus-scans up the na-na). and the weirdest thing: we have four ground row sets with flood lenses (generally colored red, green, blue, empty) and sometimes the lenses on them get moved around (ie, someone focuses the set and doesn't notice that they turned a lens). well one of the intruments in the far stage-right set looked like its lens was off. so, i being the good techie that i am, check on it, the lens is focused just as the other ones were but it was the wrong flood lens...we had just used this set in another production just a month before, and all was well then. we never figured out how the wrong lens could have been in it.
     
  13. harry1989

    harry1989 Member

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    In reply to PhantomDs post.

    Yeah, I know I wrote that quote :)) ), but I was given that info from a friend whos been in lighting for a while, so I thought it would be worth noting.

    Also, that may be the contributing factor to why it cut out, why else do they ban use of cell phones in hospitals? Because it disrupts equipment.
     
  14. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    So that you can't be having a conversation with your stockbroker while they're pulling your kidneys out, duhhh! :rolleyes:
     
  15. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    My favorite by far is when i had my snake get destroyed in the middle of a show....nicly sheard about halfway down the lenth. Let me tell you...irish sound guy after the 5th night of an overly long show that goes from heavy metal to acapella blue grass to a comedy painting act? Not a good sight...some people said i turned green and gained a good 300 pounds for a few minutes there at intermission...
     

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