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LightBoard for Just a Few Moving Instruments

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by drawstuf99, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. drawstuf99

    drawstuf99 Active Member

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    Hi,
    This may have asked deep in some topic somewhere, but I wanted to ask this...

    I'm about to start working on a community theatre production of "High School Musical" (yes...) and, needless to say, this community theatre's lighting system is less than up-to-par.

    Currently, there's an OLD Strand GBX "Genius" Console. It's crap; however, it works for what they've been doing up to this point w/ conventionals.

    I'm hoping to, if budget allows, rent a few moving heads or a few scanners (most likely scanners because they seem a bit more compact and cheaper for the price of community theatre). Having not been able to use moving instruments personally, I'm kindof in a odd position. I realize that if I get anything, I'll have to end up renting a light board to run the stuff from in addition to the conventionals.

    My question is this: For using maybe, four moving instruments (scanner or moving heads) in addition to maybe 4 color scrollers, would it be more wise to get a cheaper board to rent (ie: ETC Express/Expression which I've used before) or something more complex like a Hog. I'm a bit concerned about the learning curve of something like a Hog board and our short load-in/program/tech time. I know you can run moving instruments w an ETC Express or Expression, its just maybe sometimes more tricky. These instruments wouldn't be doing too many complex movements, so...yeah.

    Any ideas? I'm not sure of my budget just yet, I'm just checking out options. I know renting boards can be a bit pricey, as I've looked at rental companies in my area.

    Thanks for the help in advance.
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If there's a chance that you could permanently augment the theater's inventory, 've heard that the American DJ DMX Operator Pro is a very nice mini-console that'll work for a community musical in a pinch. It's one of those "Made by Elation for AMDJ" consoles that is under the Elation bar so they refuse to sell it under their name, but it will work just fine for a musical.

    But, if you want to rent, an Expression 3 (has encoders) or a Hog 250 or Hog 500 should work. As others have said in the thread that I posted, the manual is actually pretty readable after you get in to it (I read it for a while last night and messed around with Hog PC, and it's rather nice). But remember that neither the Hog 250 nor the Hog 500 have touch screens, and the Hog 250 is the older Jands model, same with some Hog 500's.
     
  3. beltsvillecrucib

    beltsvillecrucib Member

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    Hey there,

    First off I would check to see how many channels the strand is licensed for (btw is it a GSX or LBX?). The GSX we have at school is only a 50ch version. That could render a decision on whether or not you need to rent real fast.

    That being said, it is possible to plot with scrollers/DMX devices on a GSX/LBX, however it is a huge huge pain. Right now I am running 8 Wybron CXI's off of our GSX and cue-ing the show was no fun. It takes a lot of time to create mark cues. I could imagine it would be slightly easier on the LBX where you have more faders to use as "encoders". Also, the "effects engine" and the way in which effects are set up is awful. You can't program effects into cues unless you manually create a chase using link,wait, and loop. You start and run effects on a seperate little section of the board. You can only have 3 and they must run at full or off. This could get really, really messy with live moves. My recommendation is if you have the budget by all means rent an intel console. I know a Hog 500 normally runs around 300 per week and a 250 for less than that.

    An express(ion) console may work, however, I've never had to use one without the emphasis server when programming movers. From what I've read the interface isn't great.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    If you're going to rent, an Express is definitely not the way to go. You can do moving lights on it but it is not the least bit friendly to moving lights. Your learning curve will be much easier if you get a console that is designed to run movers. Renting a small Hog's or GrandMA are great options. What about purchasing the new ETC Smartfade ML... I hear it's not too expensive and is designed for small mover setups. Also any of the new strand Palette consoles will cover all your conventional needs and be much friendlier to movers than what you have now.
     
  5. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    expression and express are both fine for movers. not the best but if you are only doing 4 fixtures and mostly static looks it should be fine.
     
  6. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    On the low end for movers, elation Show Designer I gets recommended a lot
    Sharyn
     
  7. KaR356i

    KaR356i Member

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    I have used an express console with 7 scanners. the two martin 918's had the most attributes and therefore took up the most channels. At the time, I was in college, had no experience with movers or a console designed for movers. It was not difficult to do on an express. a few years later I took a training course on the Whole Hog. In my experience, I think the learning curve is about the same, if not higher on an ml console. But that's just my opinion.

    If you end up using an express console, I'd be happy to give you the tips I learned. That's all we had in college, so I spent 4 years on that board combining ml's and conventionals.

    Good luck!
     
  8. CLEFFEL

    CLEFFEL Member

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    Not sure when the production is, but a SmartFade ML might be right up your alley. It's compact, two universes of DMX and you can run it along side your conventional console. From what I hear it's got loads of features and has a good price point.

    I don't believe they're going to ship until June, so if you can wait, this might be the best way to go if you're only dealing with a handful of movers.

    Good luck!

    -Chris
     
  9. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    A good board that is due out sometime late 2007, early 2008 is the ETC Smart Fade ML. How ever, a good moving light board for you that isn't that hard would be the ETC Express with Emphasis, it is one of the easiest systems to learn. How ever, I would recommend the ETC Insight 3 with Emphasis for ML, since it has 6 encoders and if you know the express syntax, then programming will be very easy
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Member

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    My people, MARTIN FREEKIE. Now that's an awesome little desk!
     
  11. cue1go

    cue1go Member

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    Unless you have any experience with Hog, I would reccomend against trying to learn it in a production environment. The syntax of your strand board probably mirrors an etc. If you just have a few intelligent devices and you're not doing too many effect cues, an ETC Expression 3 or ETC Insight are both great options. I prefer the Insight because it has more subs.
     
  12. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    At my church in the ministry for 5th and 6th graders we have a DMX Operator Pro. I'm really happy with it. You can't beat the price and it would be a great console for your community theater. Also, if you are going to have moving fixtures, the joystick is a really nice addition that you don't find much on most low-budget consoles. :mrgreen:
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    If you are already familiar with strand, just go rent a Strand 300 or 500. That will give you all the ML functionality you need for as many moving light your theatre might use.
     
  14. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I know a school that is selling their strand 300. It is in good condition (private catholic girls school). Its being replaced with an ETC 24/48. But they have to sell the strand first. They want something that is more user friendly.
     
  15. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Who in their right mind downgrades from a Strand 300 to (and I assume you mean) Express 24/48? Could be just me, but I never found the Express/Expression line more user friendly than the 300. I think that if they are looking for something more user friendly they probably just don't know enough about what they are doing. An Express is not really any easier to use than a 300.

    Ok, I am done now. I just have never understood why people love to get rid of nice things in favor of inferior products (in general).
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I think a express 24/48 is much easier than a Strand 300. I think the whole syntax is much easier. Plus its so easy to record cues and sub groups on an ETC over a strand. Plus this is a small school, where they only have 96 channels of dimming and half of them are house lights.
     
  17. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    Here are a few ideas for Moving light consoles, disregard the EOS and the Congo

    then here is how it goes:

    The ETC Express Series starting with:
    ETC Express 24-48: capable of controlling at most 96 channels on 48 channels, it can become a very crowded board when you are programming because the submasters (24 of them 10 page capacity) take up the bottom row of channel faders and you only have 48 channel faders.
    ETC Express 48-96: Capable of 192 channel capacity. 96 total channel faders and 24 seperate submaster faders. Good sized board for your theater if you do not need to control moving lights but like to have flexible patching lay outs on channel faders and 24 submasters (10 page memory so technically 240 subs).
    ETC Express 72-144: Identical in layout of submasters and channel faders, except there are 144 channel faders on the board and I believe maximum number of controllable channels is 240.
    ETC Express 125-250: same size board as Express 24-48, Maximum controllable number of dimmers is 500(?) and it relies on only 24 submasters to control all of the channels (either 125 or 250)\
    All of the above have a mximum dimmer control of 1024 dimmers

    If you need moving light capabilities but you are on a budget take a look at these two Expression family boards:

    ETC Expression 3: has 24 submasters on 10 pages of memory, 6 moving light encoders and an option of channel capacity from the following ranges 400/800/ or 1200 channels. The maximum number of controllable dimmers is 1024

    ETC Insight 3: Has 108 dual capability faders (they can be either used as subs or channel faders) and has a 10 page memory capacity. Again there are 6 moving light encoders on this board.

    For all of the expression family boards above you may choose to run ETCs Emphasis system on the board which allows for previsualization of the the show in WYSIWYG console addition. The channel capacities are set in these versions from any where between 2500 channels to 5000 channels.

    Now if you have the money these two new boards are worth a look at:

    ETC Congo: good board for moving lights but you need to learn a new programming syntax.

    ETC EOS: This board is made to control moving lights scrollers and conventional fixtures with ease. there are two built in LCD touch screen monitors for encoders and other functions and two external LCD monitors for Displays. There are 10 motorized faders with 24 pages of memory for storing submasters or other effects.
     
  18. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    Hi. I am not sure whether this is going to help, but i'll put my two cents in.
    I was in the same boat as you for a few shows. The theatre's where I worked were old, and only had a few conventionals with an old analog board. For most of these shows, I needed to run an additional 4 - 6 moving heads (I was initially planing to use scrollers, but decided to go for an extra couple of movers rather than have a hassle). Anyway, there was originally a Jands ETC II 48 in there, which did the job fine when using conventionals.
    But I, like you, needed a different source of control. I had worked extensively with Expressions etc before, but I decided that to make my life easier, I would try a Hog 1000 as I had heard from friends that it was an incredibly user friendly board. I was a bit skeptical at first (this was a while ago mind you, Hog is now my board of choice), so looked into the AMDJ small lighting console range, as well as even a small Behringer console. But eventually I just decided to go with the Hog and see how we went. I put in my hire order, and then got a manual from the company a week before we bumped in. I read it over, did some work on Hog iPC, and just studied and planned out what I was going to do. When we bumped in, I hooked everything up, switched on the board, followed the 6 instructions that I had to do to address, and I was set. The rest was a breeze!
    The show worked perfectly, and i am so glad that I did go for a Hog 1K. It is so user friendly, and easier to use. It should suit your needs perfectly. Check it out anyway.
    Cheers
    Daniel
     
  19. ee61re

    ee61re Member

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    Zero88 Fat Frog?
     
  20. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    1 thru 12 on
    sub 1 record

    Man thats tough.

    1 thru 18 @ 5 *
    1 record *

    even tougher.

    Strands displays don't look nearly as friendly then ETC, that I know, but the reason for that is they are giving you much more info on one screen. The fact you can delete channels that you aren't using, you have a better moving light package (not great, but better), and a host of other things....
     

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