Need to buy or build a rolling "tech booth"

Stuart R

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2017
Location
Miami FL
Greetings all -

Scene: School "cafetorium" with no booth, and no ability build/install anything permanent (i.e. it's a working cafeteria!)

Need: A rolling "tech booth" that can accommodate our lighting and sound ops and their equipment. I'm imagining a table on locking casters, with 50% of the table space taken up by our ETC Element board and its monitors, with the board op behind. The other 50% would have workspace for two other ops using laptops or iPads and running sound (wireless mics and playback) remotely. The SM would be next to the table, calling the show with her script on a music stand. Everyone, including two backstage ASMs, would be on headset.

All we'd have to do would be to roll the table out and connect it to power, plus DMX for the light board, all of which could either be taped to the floor or even drop down from above. There would be no need to hard-connect the sound ops' laptops or iPads back to the mixer et al since all of those elements will be connected wirelessly. At the end of each rehearsal or performance, we could unplug and roll the whole thing into a safe area outside the reach of children.

Table design ideas: Ideally, the table would have a closed front and sides (handsomely stained birch ply panels with end veneer) extending up a bit past the table surface to hide the board and other stuff lurking there. [Ok, ok, the monitors would stick out a bit.] The open side would have kneeholes for the ops so they can slide their chairs up to the table. It would REALLY be great if there could be some kind of doghouse or hinged top that could cover up the goodies and lock when the table is not in use. I could see there being a shelf or two underneath, built-in power strips, and maybe built-in gooseneck type lights for the ops. Then again, maybe we could forego having it be closed all around in order to save space when it's being stored away, by making the main unit (holding the light board) only 48" wide, and have a 30" hinged flip up table extension on each side (like a gate leg table) for the sound ops, who can take their laptops/iPads with them between shows or perhaps store them in a drawer under the table somewhere.

So my questions are, does anything like this exist in a pre-made version? If not, I'd love your clever ideas on how to build and equip the table myself (must be all wood - I don't weld). Built-in or fold out script racks? Headset hooks? Maybe use a custom black velour or Duvey table skirt that fits and hangs around the whole thing, extensions and all? Locking drawer?

What are your thoughts and ideas? Thanks!
 

JonCarter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
Stuart,
Your description is a pretty good preliminary design. Now talk to your sound and lighting people and the SM to make sure you've included everything necessary. Then enlarge everybody's space by 20%. Now talk to a designer and have it drafted up, write up some specs and take the plans & specs and get some cost estimates from a cabinet shop (or your tech department, if they can build things like this.)

But before you go too far and spend your budget (you do have a budget, don't you?) keep in mind that this thing is going to be 4' high, 8' (minimum) long and 3' (minimum) front-to-back and will probably weigh around 250# with equipment installed. Do you have a secure place to store it? And is the route from where you plan to use it to the place you plan to store it capable of moving it back & forth? (Think of steps, ramps, doorway widths, etc.) You may need to adjust your plans.

(And if you were near Boise, Idaho, I'd consider building it for you.)
 

Stuart R

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2017
Location
Miami FL
Stuart,
Your description is a pretty good preliminary design. Now talk to your sound and lighting people and the SM to make sure you've included everything necessary. Then enlarge everybody's space by 20%. Now talk to a designer and have it drafted up, write up some specs and take the plans & specs and get some cost estimates from a cabinet shop (or your tech department, if they can build things like this.)

But before you go too far and spend your budget (you do have a budget, don't you?) keep in mind that this thing is going to be 4' high, 8' (minimum) long and 3' (minimum) front-to-back and will probably weigh around 250# with equipment installed. Do you have a secure place to store it? And is the route from where you plan to use it to the place you plan to store it capable of moving it back & forth? (Think of steps, ramps, doorway widths, etc.) You may need to adjust your plans.

(And if you were near Boise, Idaho, I'd consider building it for you.)
Thanks - all good advice. There's actually a perfect spot for me to park it in, with no hallways/turns/doorways/threshholds, etc.) That said, I'm afraid it's going to be me building it, and without a proper shop (have circular saw, will travel).