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New Theatre Gear

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by DaveySimps, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    We are opening a new theatre in the next few years and are in the design / planning phase. I thought it would be fun (and valuable to me) to get your suggestions as to what gear / amenities we should include in the space. I certainly have my opinions as production Manager of the project, but input from other professionals (designers / technicians, etc) would be valuable since we will be looking to hire outside designers on a regular basis. Below is a bit of info so you have a bit of context to work with.

    It will be a professional theatre (AEA SPT contract most likely). It will be a proscenuim space with an extended apron and orchestra pit that will seat roughly 400 patrons. We already have a the building that we will be renovating (an old restraunt / brewery). We are 99% sure we will be going with a tension grid since local restrictions will not allow us to have a fly loft (the building would be too tall). The budget for the renovation is $10 million. We will be producing two smaller musicals a year, and at least 4 non musicals. We are currently looking for a shop space off site. We are really looking to put in place a space that will make producing shows user friendly, so technology will be huge in our planning. I look forward to hearing all of your ideas.
     
  2. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Artnet ready. Chances are, it will be required by the time the doors open.

    Don't be afraid to lay in a couple extra dmx universes, because they'll get used, even with an Artnet system.

    Electricity and more electricity. Both 220v and 110v. Lots of adapters for rental stuff coming in.

    Good quality work lights, and lots of them.

    House light control from the booth.

    A good clear-com system with plenty of access points.

    Go over and above whatever the ADA requirements are. Patrons will thank you.
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I second EVERYTHING that Len said. Go digital with sound, if possible use a Yamaha Everything System (that's what I call it) - Yamaha M7CL-48, Yamaha DME Satellite units for processing outputs and providing line-level inputs, Cobranet distributed everywhere you might need audio inputs, and your choice of Cobranet Stage Box solution. Basically, you want to run 6 networks in the building when you do the install: Basic internet/building Ethernet infrastructure, which is going to be what you can hook your computer up to get on the internet or access other computers via remote desktop; Cobranet Primary and Secondary networks, a Yamaha product control network (this allows you to access all of your Yamaha digital products online and edit them via your computer); Artnet for lighting; and one for the control network of your choice lighting console (for remote video interfaces, designers' station points, and tech table points. This is vital these days. We're adding a fourth network distribution to our theatre, and wishing that we had more networks. Run 4 DMX universes to the boxes.

    All of your network gear should be on a UPS.

    Get Selador LED fixtures for your cyc lighting, if you can afford it. It will probably cost about sixty grand, but it's amazing. You will thank yourself in the long run when you don't have to replace lamps.

    You will want to have a good moving light package (say 12 profiles and 8 washes) from Martin or Vari-Lite. 700W or 1200W arc source. You'll also want to go with Seachangers instead of color scrollers - your LD's will thank you.

    You want to have some sort of FOH mix position that will have some analog audio sends and returns, as well as all of the networks.

    Basically, you want this place to run on ethernet - with all Ethercon connectors! (You will thank yourself for this when the number of crushed connectors is tiny.)

    You'll want top-quality Mac and PC computers in the booth, so that you can use Qlab or SFX, along with a distinct computer used for control of the Yamaha gear. You'll also want a worksite-quality wireless-enabled tablet computer to use with the Yamaha gear.

    Now all of this is just my opinion, but these are things that I think will be almost necessary by the time that your space opens.
     
  4. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    You asked for it, so here we go:
    This is for small touring shows and regionals mostly.
    Usable truck dock and/or ramps
    at the very least a 400 amp company switch with cams
    plenty of stringers
    a place to put my amp racks near power (on or under the stage)
    installed ClearCom, or just hardwired lines
    (6 or 8) 2 or 3 ton points in the ceiling for chain motors if there is no fly system
    no stairs to FOH
    A transformer putting out a clean, stable 120 would be awesome
    a floor trough or wall cavity to run cables through
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I would say at least 2 400 amp switches, as well as at least 200 for sound that is squeaky clean power.

    Also... run plenty of extra conduit that you can pull cable through later. Don't let the installers give you a "turnkey" this is the way it is and can only be this type of installation. Make sure to have drop boxes SL/SR that you can drop to electrics, if you can, winched electrics are your friend. Don't forget storage for everything.

    As far as gear goes, pull cat5e to everywhere, including electrics. Run them all to a central location/patch room and you can patch whatever network in you need to, instead of running a dedicated run for each purpose.
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    At least 4 inch EMT for the conduit.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Agreed!!!!
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hire a good theater consultant! I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the theater consultant for help. His help has been critical in our new theater construction. Before he was involved there were so many poor ideas coming from the architect. Also get a good acoustic engineer in on the project. I'm so amazed at the acoustics of our facility. It's going to be amazing.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    True point, most architects have a "theatre list" that basically states everything they think should put in... and somehow there is alway a HVAC duct going through the fly space.
     
  10. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    BRILLIANT!

    Would you believe I couldn't find any images of the Guinness characters to stick in here?
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    or... more often then not sprinkler pipes.
     
  12. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Do not buy Selador or any other led units as cyc lights.You need real cyc lights as standard.If you can buy leds for effects thats great but this type of hype selling leds as theatre cyc lights is getting beyond a joke.They are not, and in the foreseeable future will not be any led cyc units at any price.
     
  13. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Again, speculating on things that you can not possibly know to be true.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Wow dude you've got a serious issue with the LED's...

    If you have a LOT of money to spend then I suggest you do look at LED's. Especially since you are a year or two away from your project completion. I think we will all be amazed at the price and intensity of the next generation of LED products that come out in that time.

    By the way another really wise thing to do would be to send your best tech person to a big show like LDI or PLASA to get a first hand look at the new technology. The College put up the money to send me last year. I feel so much more confident in ordering equipment for my new space having seen it all in person.
     
  15. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Unlike Soundlight I am not advocating spending $60,000 on a gimmick, presumably at the expense of the basics.No-where on the internet can I find any manufacturer who claims to have even a prototype, the hype continues to run riot, the sales people are having a great time but the product is not there.But once again, link me to any information to prove me wrong.
     
  16. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    To call it a gimmick is a severe understatement. While I have not experienced the technology first-hand, I can tell you that everyone who I have talked to that went to LDI, and those who have had demos has said that Selador LED's are a very viable option in terms of cyc lighting, as long as you use spreader and frost lenses and you use them from the bottom and the top. They also provide color combinations not possible with normal 3 or 4 cell cyc lights. And I'm not just basing this off one or two people.

    The world of theatrical lighting is flying forward with LED's. With the release of the chauvet MINspot, albeit one of the lowest-output fixtures available for the club market, it has been proven that gobo projection with LED's is feasible. And I definitely believe that this year's LDI has much more to come in terms of LED's. Come up here to the us at LDI time, and check things out. Then tell me what you think. The Selador fixtures have greatly expanded the color pallette of LED lighting, and once enough people start purchasing LED fixtures, and LEDs find more applications in entertainment and in other places, the price of LED's will go down.

    If you want to continue the LED conversation, I think that we should start another topic as to not take up this thread just as an LED discussion.
     
  17. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    I appreciate all of the suggestions. We will definately be going with Art Net, as of now I am a leaning toward PathPort. I opened up a new facility three years back, it is has served us well there. Not to sure about the Cobra Net as of yet. We are definately going digital on the sound console. We like the Yamaha LS9-32 and M7Cl due to their flexibility, smaller, footprints, and ease of learning. We will be using 8 channels of SFX as playback.

    Any thoughts on speaker types and quntity of monitor / effect speakers? We are leaning heavily toward the Meyer UPA stuff for mains (LCR set up) because they would be more cost effective to install since we are renovation an existing space. Some people have suggested the Mackie SRM stuff for monitors and stage effects units, but I have not used them enough to know for sure. We definately like the active speaker approach since installing the extra electrical components does not help us strech our budget as far as we would like to.

    Due to the cost, we probably are not leaning toward LEDs unless we see a significant change in pricing and quality. Plus, we do not see many designers in our region using them as a theatrical fixture. I am not wanting to get into the debate over their viability, but as a cost / benefit analysis, I think we are against them at this time.

    Of course, we are still in the planning stage, and nothing is set in stone except for the budget. I appreciate any additional suggestions anyone wishes to provide. Especially concerning rigging sloutions, since we will not have a fly loft. Any thoughts on the quntity of lekos (Source IV), fresnels, and pars?

    ~Dave
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Cobranet is amazing. That's all I've got to say now. I'm working on a report of Cobranet and how it can be utilized and what products play together, and I'll send you a copy of it. It's not for a class or anything, it's just for a resource to others.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey send me that cobranet info to please. I'm going to have it in the new theater.

    As far as how many of what lighting instrument to purchase. The best thing to do is just sit down and do some lighting designs.

    I'm a fan of the Seachanger too (bid price is about $2000 including the Source four it mounts on, and a yoke extension). But one Source four can mix any color of light you want... put a bank of them together and now you've got quite a versatile rig... you don't need as many instruments because they are working overtime. They now make a really cool wash light as well (bid price is about $1950 including Source 4 burner, yoke extension, barn door adapter, and barn doors). I'm getting 8 profile Seachangers for my new theater and hope to add about a dozen wash units later. The Seachanger doesn't cost THAT much more than a scroller but with the CMY mixing you never have to replace gel strings so there's a big advantage.

    "Van" will tell you to take a look at Production Intercom for a good alternative to Clear Com. I haven't used them myself yet but he's been really happy with their equipment. My theater is coming with a Clear Com base system installed but I'm going to purchase P.I. beltpacks and headsets.

    I've been very happy with the Mackie SRM's for monitors in the past. I know others who prefer the JBL's instead so I would try to listen to booth If I were you. For mini-monitors for say a conductor in a pit, a friend's theater has been really happy with the Galaxy Audio Micro Spot they mount on a mic stand have their own volume control and only cost about $70!
     
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Why not post it in the Collaborative Articles area?

    In an ideal world, theatres would have as many 2.4Kw dimmers as they have seats, and just as many fixtures. For a rule of thumb, I would say 40% ERS, 25% Fresnels, 25% PARs, and 10% other: striplights, cyclights, birdies, inkies, UV lights, etc. Don't forget iron and accessories in your budget. Boom bases, sidearms, top hats, half-hats, barndoors, template holders, and donuts all add up. I am probably unanimous in that I don't feel moving lights or fancy color changers are a wise investment. The maintenance is high, and technology changes so quickly that whatever you buy will be soon out of date and out of fashion. More cost-effective to rent these on a per show basis. I'd rather own 25 SourceFours than one MAC700, (even though it's a great light).

    Even though you have no fly system, winched battens will save you time and labor. Also, one of them fancy, driveable Genie Lifts (or JLG) will save you time, labor, and be safer than ladders or scaffolding. Even with a tension grid, you know some idiot Lighting Designer (like me) is going to insist on units tailed down below the grid.

    Others have mentioned wiring infrastructure. The trend right now is to use CAT5e or better for permanently installed DMX lines, with the ability to change the connectors to EtherCon as ACN becomes more prevalent. Consultants have been saying for years: "install lots of empty conduits to everywhere" yet it hardly ever happens.
     

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