New lighting guy in Germany

DinoDude

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Location
Germany
Hello all,

I started with lighting in school working my way "up" for 6 years. Learned some basics on manual patch panels and autotransformes, became acquainted with Mr. McCandless. Finished school and haven't touched anything in more than 20 years. That's when the wife got involved with community theater. They were using the house lights and works lights for their production. Their primary space is a classic proscenium but they also use a lot of found spaces. With a bit of work fixing old equipment and a lot of begging they now have:

36 channels of 10A dimmers fixed to the stage hooked up to 125A 3ph service
24 channels of 10A portable dimmers 64A 3ph
12 Altman 360Q's
12 PAR 64's
2 Clay Paky Zoom 1200
All the dimmers are analog but thanks to a pair of demux's I'm able to run them from Obsidian Onyx running on a laptop with an xkeys keypad
They are really flexible and I pretty much have free run of the place. As long as all of my tools say Fluke on them, they and the insurance people are happy.


Due to "how great I was able to make their show look" I got involve with a children's theater the a friend of the wife runs. They are much better funded. It's all Source4's. Ellipsoids, pars, and fresnels, run by an ETC Element (the first one). A very nice bit of kit but they won't even let me climb a ladder. Lamp changes, focus, gels, everything must be done from a genie lift that they don't own and don't like to rent. Pretty much only every other year or so.

As for me I have a degree in electronic engineering and one in computer networking. I've been pretty good at actually making the lights turn on but I'm pretty marginal about making them look good.

I look forward to learning more. I would also like to thank all of you for the help you give. For experts to spend their time helping amateurs for no gain is truly appreciated.

-Danke
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Sounds like you had the theater bug once, got over it and now have a relapse. You’re doomed.

Welcome to CB and a sincere compliment on your English. Hard language to master.
 
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RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Hello all,

I started with lighting in school working my way "up" for 6 years. Learned some basics on manual patch panels and autotransformes, became acquainted with Mr. McCandless. Finished school and haven't touched anything in more than 20 years. That's when the wife got involved with community theater. They were using the house lights and works lights for their production. Their primary space is a classic proscenium but they also use a lot of found spaces. With a bit of work fixing old equipment and a lot of begging they now have:

36 channels of 10A dimmers fixed to the stage hooked up to 125A 3ph service
24 channels of 10A portable dimmers 64A 3ph
12 Altman 360Q's
12 PAR 64's
2 Clay Paky Zoom 1200
All the dimmers are analog but thanks to a pair of demux's I'm able to run them from Obsidian Onyx running on a laptop with an xkeys keypad
They are really flexible and I pretty much have free run of the place. As long as all of my tools say Fluke on them, they and the insurance people are happy.


Due to "how great I was able to make their show look" I got involve with a children's theater the a friend of the wife runs. They are much better funded. It's all Source4's. Ellipsoids, pars, and fresnels, run by an ETC Element (the first one). A very nice bit of kit but they won't even let me climb a ladder. Lamp changes, focus, gels, everything must be done from a genie lift that they don't own and don't like to rent. Pretty much only every other year or so.

As for me I have a degree in electronic engineering and one in computer networking. I've been pretty good at actually making the lights turn on but I'm pretty marginal about making them look good.

I look forward to learning more. I would also like to thank all of you for the help you give. For experts to spend their time helping amateurs for no gain is truly appreciated.

-Danke
Hello @DinoDude . Many of us relate to the concept of "Voluntold", your wife volunteers you and you're TOLD to make it happen.

A reminder to other posters; your lamp filaments are in 230-240 volt land with your 3 phase services obviously higher than many / most North Americans living in 120 / 208 volt three phase Y connected land.
You also dance to the beat of TUV, 'nough said.

Back in 1995, our Canadian scenery and automation shop supplied ALL of the scenery for the Who's Rock opera "Tommy"; 10 pin ball machines, drapes, legs, borders, house curtain, rear screens, 24 axis of computer controlled AC servo automated drives + 3 90 volt variable speed computer controlled DC drives (House curtain and two air craft props for the bomber scene).

We built all of the above in Canada, flew four TUV inspectors over three times putting them up in hotels for two or three nights per visit and had all items, (drapery, electrical, automation, welds, structures and off-gassing of fabrics and finishes) inspected, approved and stamped by TUV prior to loading the production into 8, full size, cargo containers for shipment via ocean freighter to Germany.
There was no point in shipping it to Germany if it wasn't going to pass inspection prior to hitting the stage.

The production was in Offenbach, an adjacent suburb of Frankfurt on Main / Meine in a former Jewish synagogue converted to a cinema screening films to encourage Hitler's youth to join his second World War efforts.

There was something Freudian about spending 16 hour days seven days per week in a refurbished Jewish Synagogue loading in "Tommy".

Three of us, structural, automation and electrical plus our shop's owner lived in Frankfurt for six weeks through load in, rehearsals, previews, press opening and public opening night.

Some months later, two of us flew from Toronto to Frankfurt to Berlin for 24 hours to tour a venue in Berlin where the production's German producer thought he may like to move the production once ticket sales fell off in Offenbach. In the end, Berlin never happened. The producer left the entire production in a Berlin warehouse eventually deciding to cut his losses, stop paying for storage, and leave the storage space's owners with a full bore production of "Tommy" to junk, salvage, turn into land fill.

(Someone would've needed to negotiate the performance rights AND FOOT THE BILL had anyone decided to purchase the show for pennies per pound / Deutchmarks (Sp?) per Kilogram.)
Eventually I was flown from Toronto to Paris to Frankfurt to Berlin for 24 hours to stuff as many of the AC servo motors, drives and proprietary control gear into one, 1/2 size, cargo container and then return by the same Berlin to Frankfurt, to Paris, to Toronto route leaving the rest of the show to rot in a Berlin warehouse.
Such are my memories of six weeks plus another couple days, plus one final day in your country. I was paid well but saw little of your cities during daylight hours. Thanks for the memories of TUV. I got along EXTREMELY well with their electrical specialist but that's another chapter for another day, although I believe I've posted previously about smuggling six bottles of his favorite North American Steak sauce into Offenbach for him and presenting it to him on the day of my final, in situ, electrical inspection.
Smuggling six bottles of AI steak sauce in my carry on luggage was child's play in the pre 911 days of 1995.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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DinoDude

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Location
Germany
Thanks for the greetings.

I can't say I've mastered the English language. I'm a US expat so it's kind of cheating. Currently living by Heinsberg. Great place but having some issues with COVID-19 so we'll see if the two shows I'm working on get delayed. The TUV, fire marshals, and insurance folks aren't all that bad. Their "humor" is a little dry, they follow the rules and are more then happy to help you follow them as well. It actually pretty nice. Ron I would bet that after you're approval state side there were no issues once getting in country. You don't have too many different interpretations with different people wanting different things.

When I first got here I was driving on my US license and was talking to one of my Germany coworkers about having to get my German license. Looking to understand their culture a bit I asked him what were the penalties for driving without a license. He told me that you had to have one. Right but what if you don't? Well then you can't drive. But say you do drive. Nein! You can't drive if you don't have a license. It took 10 minutes for him to understand that someone might break the rules. I learned a bit about Germans that day.

Having the higher voltage is also very nice. It sure gets your attention if you touch it but having 3,000 watts from a normal outlet is nice. Plus it lets you run two 120 fixtures in series. More options is always nice.

-Danke