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Automated Fixtures New to Intelligent lights

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by echellis, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. echellis

    echellis Member

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    We are using intelligent lights for the first time in our fall musical. We have 1 Intellabeam that we use once in a while just to play around with, but have never really used it in shows. So I don't have any real design experience with intelligent lights. So since we had extra money in the design budget this year I figured it was time to learn them. So we are renting 4 Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPE 575. So I guess what I would like to know is how does one approach designing a show with intelligent lights and does any have any pointers?
     
  2. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    The only difference in the design process with moving lights is you need to keep track of where they are and allow enough time to make sure they can move from one position to the next with out being seen unless that is desired.

    How are you controlling them?

    By the way- welcome to the booth be sure and introduce yourself.
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Wow, thats a big move up! My only advice. avoid flash and trash. Just because the lights can move doesn't mean they have to. Play with the gobos and the colors you have available, they will help add some movement and some distribution to your show. You have some pretty powerful lights, they should be able to do anything you can throw at them.
     
  4. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    My little suggestion is to triple the time you allow for plotting, with so many parameters to adjust it will take a long time to plot.Keep things as basic as possible to get through your basic plot, then go back and use your spare time to "polish up" the fancy moves and changes, it's quite easy to spend 2-3 hours on 1 song and then run out of time.Another tip, put most effort into 1st number, last number before interval and last number of show, these are the most remembered bits and try to do something special for any "hit' songs in the show.Do not spend most of your time on act 1 so that you have to rush through all the other cues, always leave one of your best effects till the last number.Do not over use them or you will lose the impact, if they're just wandering around with no clear purpose they distract and annoy.Good luck, they're great toys.
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I think one of the things that you have to keep in mind is that it is theatre and not a rock show. So, as was said, you want to try to avoid "flash and trash." What do we mean by that? Well, you don't want to just use the MLs because you can, most shows don't need lights swinging around stage changing colors and such. It's cool, but sometimes just seeing a light track from one position to another while it is on is really distracting.

    I think that you don't want to approach the show any differently than any other show. Think of your moving lights as glorified follow spots or moving specials. Consider that now you have the ability to put almost anyone on stage in a tight, bright special, so when the main character sings the big love ballad that everyone knows you can put him in a pretty pink special and not have to hang any extra lights for it. You also have the ability to add gobo textures anywhere on stage or maybe have an animated fire or water effect.

    The biggest piece of advice is to create focus points. Most of the time I will lay out focus points that match every lighting area on the plot and then any specials that the LD wants. I also create focus points for any specific colors the LD wants mixed with the CMY in the MLs or for looks with gobos and animation. This helps save tons of time because instead of trying to rebuild a look from scratch every time it is needed the LD can say "we need position 100, color 103, and beam & shape 105."

    Think of moving lights as just another tool in your bag. Know what the fixture can do before you start teching the show so that when you or the director say "can we do a little something effect over here?" you know how to do it. So don't get bogged down with the technical, just think of MLs as regular lights that just happen to do almost anything you want.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Forgive my rant here, echellis, but...

    There's no such thing as "intelligent" lights. Call them Automated or Moving lights. In the words of LD/programmer Benny Kirkham (and the linked article has some valid advice, previously echoed here), "I don't want intelligent lights, I want obedient lights. I'll do the thinking; all they have to do is do what I, via the console, tell them."
     
  7. VegasLites

    VegasLites Member

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    Aww, now derekleffew be nice....they are new to echellis and a lot more intelligent than a Fresnel. Moving light, Intelligent light, wiggle light..... we know what you mean.
    First I would suggest that you enter the moving light world by using them as specials. Anything you want to bring out of the back ground. Especially since it is the fall musical. It has the ability to give it a spectacular bump in emotion. As the others have mentioned I would avoid the flash and trash. It has it's place, but maybe not here.
    The alpha spot comes with alot of patterns so you will have a lot of choices. Sit down before programing and think it through. Choose which will be best for which scene, then you are not stuck wasting your time, when you get that precious dark time.
    But you want to get the bang for your buck. So use it!
    I also wanted to say go for your school to give you guys a chance to work with the item that has become ever present even in the theater world.
     
  8. echellis

    echellis Member

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    Thanks everyone for some good starting ideas for me to dive into the world of intelligent lighting, sorry moving lights! =) I can wait to start playing with them in a few days when they come.
     

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