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Lee Colortran Status and Prestige consoles

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Esoteric, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys, I grew up on the Strand GBX and ETC Expression/Obsession consoles. I however found Lee Colortran Status 24/48 and Prestige 3000 consoles at a good price (think $500 for the pair). Is this a good buy? Do these consoles work with a theater stack? How many channels will they handle (I remember the old Express 24/48 would actually handle something like 100 channels, but only had faders for 48)? I would like a link to a manual, but I can't find any.

    I just want to make sure these use a theater stack. Also let me guess, they don't use VGA monitors do they?

    Mike
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Hey, fancy seeing you over on this one too. :)

    If it were me, for $500 for the pair I'd get them, just because. But I'm also the guy who has a bunch of old Strand boards "just because".
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I have a friend who still uses a Colortran Prestige (I think it's a 1000). It's functional and yes You can program a cue stack. His has this wonderful feature called "backup". There is a keyed switch with three positions "on-off-backup" If you turn the switch to backup it erases the memory of the console. Good times.


    I tried looking for information on the Prestige and found this little funny item.
    Check out the first paragraph on Page 2 of this promotional flyer from Loyola University Chicago. The secret prank of a very bitter LD perhaps?
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    OMG that sucks so bad!!! *LOL*

    I just wonder if it can use a VGA monitor.

    Mike
     
  5. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Also, does it "go" button or does it use the sliding faders thing like the Status?

    Oh, also how many channels does the Prestige control I wonder?

    Mike
     
  6. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Hey Wayne, fancy seeing you here. I actually got him down to $200.00 for both.

    Mike
     
  7. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Wow, how old is the Prestige? I can find paperwork out the wazoo for the Status but nothing for the Prestige.

    Mike
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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  9. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I feel so old seeing that! I think even for $100 it is not worth it. I really need to get on a Vista and Ion (I have used the software, but nothing beats the feel of a controller beneath you).

    Mike
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Perhaps "Backup" is used in a different context. Like "Go and get the backup disk because we hosed the memory". Or "Pray that there's a backup disk, because now you'll need it."
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I think it was 100 & 200 channels for the Prestige 1000/2000, or some such, while the 3000 had more. I distinctly remember that the NBC Ave. M Brooklyn TV studios had an early C-Tran Prestige 3000, as it was the only console at the time that could handle 800 channels, as they required that the channel /dimmer patch be set as 1:1 and they had 800 dimmers in this HUGE studio complex.

    The Prestige consoles were designed by David Cunningham, the creator of the original Light Palette operating system (which Prestige used) as well as the Colortran ENR dimmers, the ETC Sensor dimmers and the Source 4 ellipsoidal.

    All the Prestige consoles had the same layout, very much Express 125/250 like (which came some 8 years later) - 24 subs to the left, 2 playback fader pairs with Go buttons, a keypad for data entry, but had a wheel for level/rate override/control (not a trackpad). They were Tracking consoles, BTW. I believe the 1000 & 2000 were single monitor, while the 3000 had dual monitors, all CGA not VGA

    They were also the first console to have Softkeys, where the key function changed depending on what screen you were in. No macros though.

    About the fastest console to program on I have yet to use, with a great button design and ergonomic feel, good layout, and the terrific LP OS.

    They were purchased in large numbers by rental shops, who shortly after discovered that the console wasn't road worthy, as assorted cards and ribbon cables would work loose during transport.

    The RFU was a membrane faced hand held unit that had poor tactile feel but was waterproof and indestructible.

    An purchasable option (possibly included with the 3000) was a Designers Remote that was essentially a stand alone IBM PC AT computer, 512k of RAM, no hard drive, a single 3.5" floppy to which one could attach a monitor, keyboard and a graphics tablet and a printer port. The tablet had a permanent overlay that mimicked the console keypad and had room for a programmable area for an 8.5x11 inch magic sheet or light plot. It was the absolutely coolest toy and if you took the time to program it, was a very fast design tool. I distinctly remember a visiting Romanian LD for a dance company, who spoke no English, using the tablet to cue his entire show off a mini plot that was color coded. Talk about the right tool for the moment !.

    I used the Designers Remote as my desktop computer for many years, one floppy had a program called PC Write on which I did all my word processing. Another single floppy program was called ALD, also known as Assistant Lighting Designer, which went on to become ALD-Pro, then Lightwright 1, then 2, then 3, and now 4. I would pop in the program disk, runt he software, ask to Save, swap to a data disk, Save, then go back to the program disk. Scary to think about it.

    All Prestiges had a reputation for being very buggy, which early models were, most of the OS bugs eventually got worked out and I liked the 2 that we had, having about the same number of OS quirks and bugs that my Express consoles have. Other users reported more serious issues that I never was fortunate to have experienced.

    Steve Short at Litetol is the worldwide authority on parts and information, as he inherited a truck full of C-Tran consoles when NSI moved C-Tran out of California to Oregon, thus Steve would be the person to contact for help.

    They would make great door stops, but I would absolutely never rely on one today for professional use.

    Steve B.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I have to agree with SteveB that the Prestige was an excellent console for the time. It is a very easy console to use and program. My friend's has held up well for nearly 25 years. However, it has recently developed a reboot hiccup. He desperately is trying to figure out funding to purchase something else. I have to agree with Steve that your money would be better spent on just about anything else at this point if you are looking to actually use it in a show situation. It belongs in a museum at this point. Not in use.
     
  13. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I have a church set up with MagicQ right now (all they could afford on a $250 console budget) so when he offered me these two consoles for $200 I thought it might be worth it for them to have an actual console (they don't love the PC thing so much) and I remembered using the Status in college on a show and it seemed okay, so I thought it might be an option.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Personally, I would be more comfortable using a slightly inconvenient but functional and reliable MagicQ system than an ancient console that may or may not turn on next week.
     
  15. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Gotcha. I don't know there is just something about the feel of a console under your fingers (yes I know it is only a specific type of human interface device, like a keyboard) that is like nothing else.

    Also I have noticed working with churches that most older consoles (Express, GBX, etc) are full bodied enough to meet needs later on, while being user friendly enough to train volunteers on. So far I have picked up MagicQ pretty fast (but I have an extensive background in lighting in general and in Hog programming in particular), but I am very doubtful that a church volunteer would be able to pick it up at all. Then there are other easier to use packages (Lumidesk, etc) but they really don't have the full body that a full console or a system like MagicQ has.

    So the Express was a perfect solution (and the Prestige, Status, GBX, etc) in the $1k or lower price range (used).

    In other news I found out today that the Vista is acually a two stage computer set up! I was thinking about recommending it to a client in $500-$1000 price range when I saw the USB:DMX cable, but then when I called a supplier, they told me that in addition to that cable you had to have a widget as well. I must say, this is a very tricky way to do things!

    Just some thoughts.

    Mike
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Having used Horizon a few years back I understand the desire to have a desk.

    To me there is a basic minimum price you need to pay to get in the game. If you can't afford a used Express then you don't get to play with a programmable cue stack on a console. If all you have is $500 you need to use a PC based system or something like one of the NSI two scene presets.

    Reliability is too important. Buying something around 25 years old and depending on it regularly is asking for trouble on a regular basis. Heck I would even be very careful about purchasing an early Express. These things don't last forever. I believe the industry goal is about 15 years of life. Beyond that you are playing with fire.
     
  17. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Myself if I am specing out a space I reserve at least $5-$10 grand for a console. But when budgets start getting slashed, guess what the first thing to go is? I try to preach (pun intended) that you build from the infrastructure up. The funny thing? My last install they spent the money it took to get good quality dimmers and get them installed properly. But then cheaped out on control. Went with the computer solution. I gave them the best setup I had that is easy for volunteers to learn and use (I had used it in some club installs), but I really wanted them to get in on the Ion/Eos or pick up a Hog or Express. But does anyone listen to me? Nope.

    Mike
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've ranted about it quite a bit around here about how ETC has ignored the needs of the typical church, school, and community theater. How many spaces are there out there with less than 96 dimmers and no budget to EVER purchase a moving light. They need a reliable console that can run a cue stack, easy to learn, with a few subs. The official ETC position is Smartfade is the answer... but it's not.

    However there are two excellent options I've found.

    First from Strand: The Basic Palette. Priced in the upper 3 grand range. The same software as you find on all the other new Strand consoles, but in a cute little 16 sub/100 channels version (upgradable to 512 if they get ambitious down the road). Perfect for many small spaces that will never buy a moving light but want a good performing modern console.

    I also took a good look at the EDI Bijou (not the Bijou Plus) at LDI and I really like it as an Express replacement option. It's practicly an Express Clone and priced in the mid 2 grand range for the 24/48 model. The software is very familiar looking. Like an Express it's a little obnoxious to deal with any intelligent gear (the Basic Palette is a breeze) but that may not be a problem for your customers. EDI's not the biggest player in the market but they build reliable gear.
     
    Esoteric and (deleted member) like this.
  19. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! :) I will look into that! I hate Strands, but that is just me. Guess I am going to have to get used to buying more of their gear though now.

    Mike
     
  20. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I LOVE the look of the EDI console! I will have to look into that. I do have one question though. I remember even the Express 24/48 even though technically it was only a 48 channel board, you could control like 100+ channels you just had to use they keyboard instead of faders. I wonder if the EDI works the same way?

    Mike
     

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