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Quickest Show I've ever Programed

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by zac850, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Hey all, I just wanted to share an entertaining story that happened to me last night.

    I've been working with this group that is doing a dinner theater production of The Honeymooners. Basically, we took three episodes from The Honeymooners, and are recreating them as exactly as possible on stage. Recreating as in we've looked at the tapes, the set and costumes are black and white, it's fairly close.
    This project started last year as a fundraiser for a community theater, in the theater. The producer, who owns a chain of italian restaurants, decided that he wanted to do them as a dinner theater show.

    So, as I was saying, this summer we're doing it at one of his spaces. We've built a stage, and a set, and I'm supplying, designing, and running the lights and sound system.

    In this space, my booth is the corner of the at the side of the room. Not a bad space, its a somewhat limited view, but not that big of a deal. My equipment is a small mixer for audio, my laptop running qlab (since there are around 60 sound fx in the show) and a small NSI lightboard running the 8 lights.

    So, last night, house opened at 7:15, show was to start at around 8:30. So, at 7:00 the bar is being set-up, and they pore the ice into the container. And it spills. All over my equipment.

    So, I rush over, and we all get the ice off, and I take some napkins and get the water off the consoles. No big deal, a little water, everything seems fine, no smoke, whatever.

    At 7:05 I go to load up the preset for the lights. Huh, thats funny, why is that so dim? After a bit of trouble shooting I decide that the Grand Master slider has somehow been damaged, as everything is flickering at around 30 to 40% of normal level.

    So, I decide to run to my old high school and grab their Express 125, just to have in the back of my car if the console doesn't dry out. (Yea, I have the keys.)

    So, jump in my car and rush over to the high school, grab the console and adaptors and monitors, load them in my car, and rush back to the restaurant. Just as I was turning off the highway I get a call from the producer asking where I was, and telling me that the lights were flickering. Huh, well I didn't leave any lights on. I didn't unplug anything, but nothing was on at the console..........

    I pull into the parking lot and rush in, and see the entire rig randomly flashing to full. Hum, well we can't have that, now can we? So, it's now 7:40, and I turn off the dimmers, unplug the dead lighting console, and set up the Express. I then commenced the fastest programing I've ever done. Set up the console for the new show, and wrote all the cues in blind while everyone was eating.

    Wrote my subs in, used those subs to generate cues, checked all the cues, added in my fade times.......

    And at 8:20 I was done, and the show started on time at 8:30.

    Not a very fun experience, I'll tell you that. But, amazingly, all the cues were correct, and it didn't even look that bad!


    Oh, and I don't know what the other console is going to do. I'm hoping that since it was only ice, it will dry up. I opened up the back of the console and didn't see any major damage, need to take the face-panel off and check in the faders, but I am hopeful that I can fix it.
     
  2. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    Well thats good that you were able to get the show running in time!

    I had a show where a light started ghosting in the middle of the show... one of our main wash lights, so we took the light out of every cue from that point on in preview while running the show... i don't think anyone noticed.
     
  3. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm curious why you did that Chaos...maybe we have different views of what ghosting is. Typically if a light its ghosting it's on between 1% and 9% Even if its glowing at 15-20% other lights should over power it to the point it wasn't noticed.
     
  4. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    This was a visible ghosting light, and only when it was on, when we brought it up to its running intensity, it would start flickering between about 15 above to 15 below what it was supposed to be at... when it was off it was off for good.
     
  5. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    ah it was flickering...got it
     
  6. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    yeah, i'm used to the term ghosting being anything that isn't programed in changing intensity of the lights
     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Fair enogh...Just needed personal clarification ;)
     
  8. Jamie

    Jamie Member

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    yea, i had a gig where the director only spoke Latvian and we were supposed to meet with a translator/TD at 1 since the show started at 4. well, that didn't happen until 2:30, and doors opened at 2:30. show i started actually programming at 3, luckily i had done all my palettes beforehand so it only took a half hour for the whole concert. gotta love those sweat sitiations
     
  9. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I've done a few Latvian gigs here in Adelaide, I'm going to get a T shirt printed that says in English and Latvian. "I Don't speak Latvian and will ignore you if you do."
     
  10. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    1.Wow i thought i was the only one who had a show related Latvian incendent.

    2. Why would you not just unpatch the fixture thats not working vs. having to ediit each cue it blind? Would it not take way less time.

    JH
     
  11. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    This was about 6 years ago when i was just starting to get into theatre lighting and didn't know much about patching... at that time the show had been programed with a 1:1 patch... Yes, i agree unpatching would be faster and easier though.
     
  12. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Ok.

    JH
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Another necropost, but I wanted the denouement and resolution to the story.

    So how did the injured board turn out? And what kind was it?

    A lesson for others, I've found it kind of a good idea to know where the closest console identical to yours is when doing any show. Once had a Yamaha PM2000 for no reason decide to not pass signal and had to cancel a show, not fun. SteveB recenty posted about Tom Skelton recreating lost lighting for a ballet during walk-in with the main closed and the FOH breakers turned off. Another designer tells a similar story, except that the "improvised" lighting was better than the original.

    Things happen, plan for a contingency.
     
  14. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Next day I ran the show off of the original console, and it worked perfectly. As it was only water, once it dried up it was fine.

    Very good point through. It is good to have plans B, C, D and E just in case.
     
  15. superdoo

    superdoo Member

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    Me and my buddy did a show one time and I believe I set an unbreakable record!

    We were asked 3 days before the show opened to find all of the lighting gear, design, hang, focus, and program the show. Oh wait I left out the fact that at this rentable space, the incoming show has to uncircuit and strike the theatre owned lights!
    To make things interesting, my buddy and I work other jobs and the theatre was not exactly at our disposal.
    So we were limited to 10 hours total of theatre time in two days! We had 32 dimmers and 40 instruments.
    Long story short... We managed to do all of it in 16 hours total!
    All of that for 2 cases of Grain Belt Premium!:!:
     

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