Somewhat Random Question


Active Member
I was thinking recently about our theatre and our console and how we have DMX outlets both in the booth and just off the stage. I realize that they are located on the stage also to be used with an RFU or to have the board near by when setting things up but I wasn't sure if there was any reason besides those that you would want to use the console from the stage. Is it remotely common for lights to be run from either side of the stage during a show at any time? Just kind of a random question I didn't really have an answer to..
This is a purely wild guess, and it may have no basis of truth, but maybe depending on what it is, and possibly if a lecture is being given on stage, or there is no use to use the booth... of the lecturer wants to have control over the set-up....

this is just off the top of my head...
Could be tradition. When I was in high school, there was no remote control and no lighting desk as such... for that matter, no booth. The stage was sunk into one wall of the gym. We had seven dimmers - big honkin' autotransformers (variable transformers) operated by levers - in a cage in the stage-right wing. I've seen similar arrangements in other old theaters since then... so maybe it's just tradition.

Same experience for me as DMX said, in my school (6th grade), the stage was at one end of the gym and there was no booth. Just a combo patch panel and dimmer board off to one side. Custodial staff did all the aiming and moving of the lights for us. It wasn't until I was in our towns new high school that we had an actual theater with a control booth and modern equipment.
as for me- in 6th and 7th grade we had a cafeterium
the booth was on the long side away from the stage -which had 5 lines and 2 electrics- and 12 dimmers- for cyc lights we used the white brick on the back wall and dimmable halogens- man- we used dimmable halogens for everything- we didn't even know what gets were because the instructor wouldn't let us touch them
I haven't had the experience of working in a gymnasium or cafeteria with an added theatre or stage, I suppose that would be both interesting yet extremely challenging? I had thought shows were sometimes run from the side of the stage but as was said it seems unlikely for these 'DMX times', I'm sure it is much more advantagous to be able to see the entire stage from the audience's perspective, just to get out of the chaotic and cramped sides of the stage. More importantly thought I figured you need to be able to see the stage completely to know when things don't look the way they are supposed to so you can fix them as quickly as possible.
during some focus and level set sessions, a designer might want the lighting console to be in the house so that they can see it from the audiences perspective and have the light op/head of lx within swatting range. I wouldn't have put it on stage, but it'd work the same just with more line needed.

It's also a very large focus remote :)
I read that on ETC's website, from everything I've read about the Obsession it is crazy, I wish I was working with something like that. 8) I didn't get it, why call it a remote if it is as big and practical as the actual console is? Unless the theatre is absolutely insanely gigantic and you have two booths or something like that, which I can imagine there are places like that, I just can't imagine working in one. 8O
We do something very similar when we are focusing lights/setting cues. They installed a DMX-512 port on the front of the stage, so that we can sit in the audience with the light board on a piece of wood. It is infinitely easier to see the stage from there, you get a better perspective, and that means you dont have to run up and down the the booth, or use walkie talkies. If I could get around to making the DMX-512 tester, then we wouldn't need to bring the baord down at all.
Smatticus said:
I didn't get it, why call it a remote if it is as big and practical as the actual console is?

You plonk it on the tech table during tech days so the designer doesn't have to be telling the op everything to do, they can just do it themselves. Or something. The only theater I'ved worked at with an Obsession II didn't have the DRC, just an RFU.
some remotes are great - like Neph mentioned. They are just keypads with LCD displays on them that have most of the keys on the console on them. Not nearly as big! You plug it into the right plug (that either runs to your dimmers or back to your console) and you remotely control the console. Nifty. Most high end consoles can do this - some even have wireless hotspots to run on PDAs
I had another somewhat random question so I didn't waste opening a new topic, what is the story behind 'theatre' vs 'theater'? Is one only supposed to be used in a certain situation or do they refer to different things, or are they simply just two ways of spelling it? :? 8O :lol:
Smatticus said:
I had another somewhat random question so I didn't waste opening a new topic, what is the story behind 'theatre' vs 'theater'? Is one only supposed to be used in a certain situation or do they refer to different things, or are they simply just two ways of spelling it? :? 8O :lol: I understand it, TheatER is mostly an American-ism of spelling..while TheatRE is the british "traditional" way to spell it. Folks outside the american USA influence tend to spell it with the RE anstead of the ER.
Additionally FWIW, Some folks feel that TheatER refers to a building moreso, while TheatRE refers to the craft/art/show done on stage. But its really just the spelling--as if you check definitions of both they refer to the same thing usually. from a dictionary on the subject: "Americans spell it theater except sometimes in proper names, where, in imitation of the British spelling, theatre can occur in performance. "

The greeks and romans spelled it Theatre...its just us silly yanks that have to do it "our way" like Burger King I guess.. I guess its like the debate about the spelling of Centre vs Center..and Meter vs is us yanks butchering the language to death as always, and the other is the traditional spelling the way it probably should be.

The debate on this is open...but thats the info I know on the subject.

Theatre is way preferred by my crew and i
In response to your initial question, during David Copperfield's tours, after all the lights have been loaded in, the LT hooks the board up on a road case on the stage to check all the lights and update the positions. Being on the stage gives him (or her) the opportunity to walk around and get a real feel for where the light needs to be.

its theatre!!!! the only thing that spells it theater out here is Microsoft Word lol..... but yes, wolf I think it was is right theatre is british, which is where our language is from whilst you yanks tend to spell stuff whack like color, which is just weird! youze cant say route either lol

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