Lions, Tigers, I-Cues, oh my!

Charc

Well-Known Member
Okay excuse the title, I'm trying to keep it light heartened here at CB.

Anyways onto the subject. I have searched, and I know that I-Cues have been pretty extensively covered here before, but I hope you don't mind answering some specific questions.

Well last time I posted (almost this exact same story) this story, someone got jealous, so be forewarned.

I walked into Theatre storage (also his office) to have a chat with the maintenance guy who does a lot of our tech. stuff. All of a sudden, in the middle of the conversation, I have to yell out "WHAT?!", noting (yet another) piece of unused Rosco equipment. Well, being unused, and it moves (unlike my old fleet of lights), I (of course) want to get this thing hooked up and working with it in no time. I find myself at almost a complete loss of how to do this. In fact, I am really frustrated. So from my understanding, you have to connect dmx in a "line" by which I mean. If I want to connect my I-Cue to the board, I'd have to re-route the cable (snaked through the building, two stories down, and 150 feet forward, to the I-Cue, then back down? Is there really no viable way to make this work? Further more, I don't think there are any DMX ports or anything up in the cats (so at this point I'm so disappointed) realizing I'll never get this thing hooked up. To add insult to injury, I notice it has 4 pin XLR connector! Four pins?! My god, I've never seen more then 3 (in person). So now I'm thinking, great another challenge for me. So next I think, hypothetically, once this guy is hooked up, what I'll first do with it. Then I realize I know nothing about working with anything intelligent (strand 300 series). Well, now I've reached a sort of work around. Well during this conversation the maintenance guy pulls out... an intelligent fixture board?!?!?!?! My god, what does no one tell me this exists! (On a tangent, no one told me there was a fridge in technical storage! I honestly believed for 2 months that when my SM and director had ice cold pepsis at every rehearsal, they got them from some sort of iceless cooler!) So now my current thought is have a second board operator in the cats, whose only job is to re position the mirror on the I-Cue. So two separate cue lists. Great! Now this is confusing, but it could work. Then I hit my next hurdle! What on earth am I supposed to use with this instrument? I think our narrowest instrument is 19 degrees. We have a lot of 20 degrees instruments too ( a lot older). I figured I should only really use the 19º S4s with the I-Cue. But the throws I was originally thinking of would have been so impractical! I'm at a loss of what to do with my new (not so) toy. (By the way, is this made for complete straight down light?)
Thanks for another question, Charlie

soundlight

Well-Known Member
That's what I call an amazing day. What kind of intelligent fixture board is it??? Anyshways, my favorite position for our I-Cues is in the center of the proscenium pipe or first electric so that they can hit positions from out on the apron all the way upstage to the cyc. You point the fixture so that it would hit about a dozen rows in to the audience, and pop that I-Cue on. Then you can hit just about anywhere on stage! I generally don't use them for frontlight, but rather as a downlight special. Now, if your moving light board has MIDI, you might be able to trigger it from your Strand 300!!

Charc

Well-Known Member
I've been told it's "bad". I didn't get a chance to get the name / model number of it. I'll try and get it tomorrow.

beltsvillecrucib

Member
A few things Charlie,

I believe the I-Cue's need a power supply. If you don't already have one (which I would imagine you do considering you have the I-Cue itself) you should be able to get one for not too much money from a rental house or used lighting website.

DMX: DMX will go to the power supply unit and from there 4 Pin XLR (scroller type) will run to the I-Cue providing it power and data. I'm guessing the hardwired DMX in the building runs to the dimmers/dimmer room. You oughta be able to daisy chain from the dimmers to the power supply. There should be a port on the Dimmer rack that says DMX Out. Take a DMX line from this and run it up into the catwalk/first electric/wherever the I-cue and PSU will be. This will probably be your most low cost option.

The other option is that since the strand 300 series comes standard with 2 DMX universes (I believe?), so long as your dimmers run from one universe, you could take a line from the other and run that up to the catwalk. In most places however, the run from dimmers to cat is often shorter. A third option if both DMX universes are utilized, you could use an opto-splitter on one and run the line up to the catwalk.

Charc

Well-Known Member
I'll definitely have to look into that two universes! That is a great tip. It looks like either way, I'll end up with DMX running through the house. My dimmer racks are in the basement. I'm hoping they were smart enough to run a dmx line to the cats, but I've so far seen none. If I were to run a dmx line out from the dimmers, I'd have to leave the electrical room, down the hall up stairs, into the lobby, then up more stairs. Across an addition, 100 feet through the house, along the ladder, along the house right cats, through to the main cats, and forward to the forward most slot... Shoot.

gafftaper

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So far a lot of good advice.

The power supplies cost a little over $100 if I remember right... hopefully you have one. Mine looked a lot like the one for my laptop with a DMX line hanging out of it. If I remember right you run 5 pin DMX to the power supply (2 of which aren't acutally used) and then it adds power in along with the 3 useful lines for a total of 4 lines (yeah I know makes lots of sense). Besides searching your catwalks and electrics, I would also search your walls on stage for a 5 pin DMX line. It's not THAT uncommon to have a line there for the LD to plug the console in for focusing. One more complication. If your DMX run is REALLY long you run the risk of needing an amplifier in the line. These of course are very expensive (probably$400+). The good news is you can get an amplifier that splits the line into multiple outputs so you can run to a box near the stage and then split to separate lines to your house and stage positions.

There was a thread not too long ago about using Ethernet cable to make your own DMX lines and save a lot of money. Do a search. I think it was on the question of the day board.

Oh yeah and I haven't used one but I've heard that the Strand 300 isn't a bad console at all for basic intelligent gear... which is exactly what you have.

jmabray

Active Member
You are correct. One DMX universe runs over three wires. Data +, Data - and Common. The powersupply will usually put 24 - 48vdc on the 4th wire, and will use the same common as reference.

The original spec of DMX called for 5 wires to be able to run a second universe down the same wire. It has since been co-opted for various things, none of which are part of the spec of DMX.

The only time he might need an amplifier is if he gets over 1600 feet and/or 32 devices plugged into the line.

zac850

Well-Known Member
As was said, you need a power-supply for your iCue. Also, what 'moving light' board did you find? Theres no reason you couldn't run the iCue off a 300 if you felt light it. I've never used one, but if the console has no encoders just program 2 submasters, one for pan and one for tilt, and use those. Better then hauling up a console and board op just to reposition the mirror for one iCue.

About the iCue its self. It is a re-positionable special, and thats about it. Depending on your grid height, I'd throw it in a fixture to give me about a 7 foot beam diameter, so, again, it could just be a re-positionable special. It won't make anything change colors, drop in gobos, or do any of the other 'flash and trash' that it sounds like your itching to get your hands on.

However, as always, where you put it and what you do with it relies greatly on the show. I mean, you could drop a gobo in the Source4 and run a gobo around the stage if you felt like it.

Also, the bracket for the iCue is a 6.25" for a Source4, I'm not sure what other fixtures you have, or what there gel frame size is, but gut feeling says you'd have to rig something up if you wanted to put them into your older 20' fixtures.

gafftaper

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I ran my I-cues on an Express. It's a bit of a mental exercise to set up but nothing difficult. From what I've heard the 300 is a little easier to set up.

jonhirsh

Active Member
Ok dumb sugestion, but you might want to take the icue down to where your DMX line is alredy to test it. insted of running all that cable to find out it doesnt work or you dont have a power supply.

Just a though.
JH

JD

Well-Known Member
There's a couple of super-cheep (~\$150) DMX controllers out there that are small and handy for debugging things, or just testing out a fixture. One is nothing more than a USB cable that plugs in your laptop and converts the USB out to DMX, I think it is called the Xpress 100 and that's about what it costs. All of these are handy options for firing up a DMX based fixture in your workroom. As for the 4 pin, that's a new one on me. The prior post is probably on the money about using pin 4 for power. Hope this helps.

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Here's the deal on the 4 pin connector: One pin is for the power run. Two pins are for the actual DMX data run. The fourth pin is for the common neutral/ground.

Whenever using four pin power supplies, always run a return cable out of the last accessory that is using the power supply and back to it. So, if you have just one I-Cue, you need a power supply and two short scroller cables (unless you get the tiny wallbox power supply that has two short cables already on it) so that you can have a send and a return run.

Charc

Well-Known Member
Okay okay. I got a way to get DMX up there. I might be able to thread the wire through the wall to the 3rd floor annex, I talked to the maintenance guy, he said he got everything set up for that kind of run (read: a hole in the wall) but the school decided to cut that due to budget. We have no DMX run, besides to the dimmer rack. So, if plan A, through the wall fails. Plan B involves a drill gun, and the roof of the booth . Hold on, hold on! It's not that bad. The booth is just a small box in the corner, so I'll drill into the house, and just throw the cable across the sound tiles, all the way to the cats.

As this picture shows, the rightmost sound tile set connects flush with the cats, and starts right over the booth, a pretty good idea, not to get cocky or anything:

Bonus trivia question! Can anyone I.D. the instrument in the bottom right of the picture? We have a ton, and I haven't been able to figure out what they are yet! This may be helpful though: The instrument is out of proportion, they used a wide angle lens to make the theater look bigger! (I think, at least.)

So I will definitely look into this DMX business, this has been a lot of help, thanks guys.

gafftaper

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Wow... dude that's not a school it's some sort of futuristic church. It looks cool.

How are the acoustics?

Edit: It reminds me of the old entry and loading area for Space Mountain at Disneyland.

Last edited:

jmabray

Active Member
I believe that is an altman fixture, but I will have to check and make sure..

soundlight

Well-Known Member
It's an Altman 1KL of some degree. Old Boxys.

Charc

Well-Known Member
Wow... dude that's not a school it's some sort of futuristic church. It looks cool.
How are the acoustics?
Edit: It reminds me of the old entry and loading area for Space Mountain at Disneyland.
Ouch! Hey gafftaper, do you have to rub salt in the wounds? The original building was behind the U.S. Wall. (Now it's a green room / rehearsal room / offices / basement.) Then this building was added as an addition later in its life. It was designed as, and functioned as a church for many years. Then, the school bought it (15 years ago?). Until 3 years ago, the acoustics were TERRIBLE. I don't know how much I can accent TERRIBLE. Did I say TERRIBLE? Wait, did I mention TERRIBLE? I'm sorry to sound like an immature broken record. However the sound quality was that bad. Because of the vaulted ceiling, you could be in the third row, and barely here anything, or be in the back balcony, and hear everything. Or someone could be whispering a conversation in the house left column of pews (yes, they were, and still are pews.), and no one in the center column could here you, but everyone in the house right column could. Kind of funny when the teacher that catches you talking is on the opposite side of the house. There were only 2 series of renovations. The ones we did when we got the building, and the newest ones. Our old house-lights consisted of 4 electric chandeliers. Less than classy, or bright. The newest renovations did accomplish some important things, but the primary reason for renovation was to repair the acoustics. The acoustics are tons better now. I've only really noticed a couple of problems. Talking in the booth can be heard all the way down on stage. Talking between the cats and booth can't be heard at all.

P.S.
Current houselights, a patchy system of various pars.

gafftaper

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It's a perfect space to do "Tony and Tina's Wedding" some day

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Not to be repeating much of what has been said, but setting up your Icue should be relatively simple. As was mentioned, you need a power supply, if there ins;t one stashed where the Icue was. Apollo makes very good power supplies. It will run on any 4 pin scroller PSU except the PSU for Wybron ColoRam scrollers (they use a different 4 pin pinout).

Unless you have more than 512 dimmers you should be able to use the second universe on your Strand 300, just make sure you turn it on in the "Console Setup" screen. You can probably get the manual for the Icue on Rosco's website which will tell you how many DMX channels it needs and what each one does. You may even find on either Rosco or Strand's website the fixture profile for the Icue. The easiest way to operate the Icue is with your Strand 300. If you plug in a trackball mouse (like a Logitech Marble Mouse) to the PS/2 connector on the back of the 300 you can use the tracball to position the mirror (you need to turn the mouse on in the "User Setup" screen).

Good Luck.

Charc

Well-Known Member
Alright. I've done some research on my console, in hopes of getting this connected before the end of the school year.

Here is what I dug up. This seems to be the only relevant information by the way:

This graphic redirects me to the Operator's Manual, and shows the 4 DMX outputs.

This is a screenshot of the console setup page (some of these options are for the 500 series)

This is the text accompanying the screen shot, in regards to DMX out.
DMX 1 - 4
This configures the DMX outputs (DMX1, DMX2, DMX3 and DMX4 connectors on the rear panel).

Note: The number of DMX connectors available depends on the type of console.

Each connector can be set for up to 512 outputs. The last available DMX connector (DMX 2, DMX3 or DMX4, depending on the type of console) can optionally input 512 signals if it is not outputting signals.

DMX1 through DMX4 (default is DMX OUT for DMX1 and OFF for the others). This sets the output to OFF or DMX OUT. (DMX3 can also be set to DMX IN with the CommuniquéPro software

Start and End (default is 1, 512 / 513, 1024 / 1025, 1536). The range of output numbers from the Patch that is mapped to the connector from 1 to 4096. The maximum between each Start and End is 512 outputs.