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Soundlight's Latest Creation

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by soundlight, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    So I'm doing another light show. You may remember my first light show back at the beginning of this year. That was kind of a standalone deal, done for the department open house. This show that I just finished programming will be included in the Dance Company Fall Concert, the first time that this had happened in a very, very long time, apparently. With this in mind, I used almost intelligents, as I couldn't put anything in audience view like I did for the previous show, and we actually ran out of instruments doing our dance concert rig, and had to bring some of them over from the studio theatre to complete the rig. We also used up all of our socapex cable, so I wasn't able to set up a lineset that could be flown in that had more units on. (This dance show already has 9 onstage electrics in a house that usually only has 5).

    That being said, I had a very nice set of tools for this light show. 6 Intellabeams, 4 VL3000 spots (rented), and 2 I-Cues, and one special - a 10 degree source four from the balc rail with a heart gobo in it and R26. Sadly, I'm still programming on an original obsession 600 (upgraded to 750 channels) with the ML DRC, so things go really slowly.

    I'm using the internal SMPTE clock, and this is where the latency of the 486 processor starts to show. We've put the newer OS on it, so it's running as much information as a Pentium II handles through a 486...so every now and then, the cues are horribly latent, and I have to start over again. However, this didn't happen tonite on the actual dress rehearsal of the show, which was good.

    I'm also having problems with one of the VL3000 spots. About 50% of the time that I run the show, it resets itself. Always on the same cue. The fixture is recieving the exact same data for all channels except pan and tilt as one of the other units, and the control channel on all fixtures is parked at 35% (a dead value in control channel commands). I switched the patching for fixtures one and two, and when fixture two was recieving fixture one's patching, it STLL died - so it's definitely a fixture problem, or a really whack board issue (I also checked all of the individual channel patching, not just ML patching, to see if the channels were all patched properly). But luckily, this is the only major issue that has come up besides the latency of the board on the internal SMPTE clock.

    I am also designing two pieces in the dance concert, rare for someone who is only a sophomore, so I'm really happy about that. The light show is to a shortened (about 1:53) version of OAR's Love and Memories, and I got the timecode by putting the time display of Cool Edit Pro in to SMPTE 30fps and recorded all of the timecode values in to the console manually. If anyone's in the central PA area, the show is this Friday (tomorrow) and Saturday at 8pm on both days.

    There will, of course, be a video of the show up as soon as I have some time to go in, haze the place up really well, and record it without the timecode flipping out on me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  2. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Soundlight-

    -First off, bravo. Nice to hear you are moving ahead with your career.

    -About the VL3000 reset...does it simply reset or does it lamp down first then reset? I had a similar issue with 2 different VL2500s for a show last spring. There were NO commands in the console's cue stack for lamp off or fixture reset (this was on an ETC Expression 3) so I was rather flustered as you can imagine. Finally thought it had to be bad ballasts, made the rental company drive up and give me two more spares...had the same issue, same two fixtures, same place, every night. I thought it was some sort of duty cycle nonsense but that didn't make any sense either. To this day, I still don't know what went wrong, so my heart goes out to you.

    -Whose call was it to use OAR? One of my favorite bands ever, had the pleasure of doing a light show for the famous (or infamous) 18 minute version of Poker a few months ago (LOTS of down time on one of my stages with 6 VL2500s -- only took about 8hrs to rough it in). Would love to see some pictures or the video as soon as it become available. Good luck.
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    My choice to use OAR - one of my all time favorite bands. I chose Love and Memories out of their songs because it had loads of imagery in it that I could use to impress the dance profs and have them include my show in their concert. Yeah, I've watched the youtube version of the (in)famous 18min version of Crazy Game of Poker, it's pretty sweet. My favorite song of theirs might have to be Hey Girl, with the MSG intro.

    The VL3000 in question would lamp down, reset, and then the lamp would hot-restrike within five minutes. Luckily it didn't happen during any of the shows, but it had me worried. I changed the fixture patch on the board so that the two fixtures that were on opposite ends of the pipe were swapped, and the one fixture still reset itself - so it was definitely the fixture taking the data wrong, because the other fixture didn't screw up when it got the bad fixture's data, and the bad fixture screwed up when it go the good fixture's data. But weirdly, it was always in the exact same cue - so it was some snippit of data in that cue that was being sent to all fixtures but only the one fixture freaked out about.

    A video will be up later next week after I finish my lengthy Vectorworks portfolio for my CAD for the Stage class, I'll re-post the link to my website which will hopefully have embedded versions of both of my light shows as well as my VW portfolio downloadable as a .ppt file. The website should also have shots from all of the pieces that I designed for the fall showcase and my two pieces from the actual Dance Company fall concert.

    And I've got my next two light shows "storyboarded" in my head (as to what the basic light movements are going to be, color ideas, gobo ideas, and fixture placement, because I won't be restricted by the placement of the dance concert rig next time). I can't wait. This is probably my favorite thing about the program here - if you want to do it, and you're **** good at it, they'll let you do it! I know of very few other liberal arts colleges that would consider allowing a high-energy light show in to an official Dance Company dance concert.
     
  4. lightbyfire

    lightbyfire Member

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    That is really great, and really fortunate that you have such an understanding community to value the work of the lighting and technical staff. What we do is art too!
    I have been slowly massaging my program to similar end since i saw the video of your first show. I had some great ideas, and I want to use the DL2s. most importantly i want the show to start with one DL2 pointing from center stage at the audience from a tail down and a red glow coming from the lens (a la HAL), anything else from there is just gravey. I doubt we will get the time, we have a packed season this year and I'm one of only three lighting technicians.
    I really look forward to a video of your work.
    Questions about your VL3000 prob, can you step through cues and have it still happen? in other words, does it only happen durring the show, after all cues have been run full length or is it quickly reproducable from the desk under work light? I still don't understand how repatching wouldnt fix it if it is the board. What is the light supposed to do durring that cue? is everything inside moving at once?
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Oooooh - a light show with DL2's - put two rather large projection screens in the corners of the stage, angled down, and hung in the air. I'll render it later in WYG or VW and put a shot up for ya - it's the same idea that I'm gonna use with my light show at the beginning of next year. I'm probably gonna get some of the Apollo Blue Pony collections for that deal. I'm also hoping to be able to borrow two nice moving heads form somewhere for a week (fat chance, I know, but it's worth a shot!)

    The VL3000 problem would occur about 50% of the time whether I was stepping through cues slowly or whether I was running the full out SMPTE super-fast sequence. However, it did not once mess up when I had run the whole show up to that point and then ran the light show. This one still has me vexed, and we already sent the fixtures back.
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Here it is!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZPwnE6t6OwA

    The heart gobo was a gag - a direct quote from our production of urinetown, where it was projected on the wall during the beating heart scene. It got laughs both nights of the dance concert.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    That was fun, and you use OAR for your music!
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sorry soundlight. I liked your first effort much better. I realize the limitations you were under with this one, but the other was so much more impressive. Was your disobedient VL3K DSL or was there a haze distribution issue (no beamage on SL)?

    Looking forward to your next creation.:) Nine electrics for a college Dance Show? Post a plot! Also you said you tried to use mostly conventionals, but I didn't see any, other than the red heart gobo.
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Unlike Mr. Negative, post 8, I found your work to be very impressive. I really enjoyed that piece.

    ~Charlie
     
  10. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I must have gotten flipped when I made that original post - it's mostly intelligents, and I changed my original post to that effect. I did like my first attempt better too - for this one, I was very, very limited. I could not light the audience, lights had to stay focused on stage, cyc, or pointing off into the wings. Also, since this was a dance concert, there were borders in the way overhead that severely limited my range of motion with the intellabeams. I also was discouraged from flash and trash and told to go more towards "choreagraphy that reflects the song" with this one, as it was included in a dance production, not just an open house. However, one thing that I did take out of this was PROJECTION SCREENS. I'm planning on trying to get a pair of MAC700's or something to shoot on to two small projection screens built into my rig next year as well as two of our projectors to do digital gobos on the screens. The MAC700's would be able to hit the screens and do cool effects on the floor and thorugh the air.

    But as you mentioned, there was a haze deficiency SL.

    Attached is a PDF of our killer awesome plot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Nice plot. I particularly like how the unit's outline represents the color. Why do the channel numbers on the SL HOUSE 3RD BEAM seem backwards? And it IS the Ch# at the rear of the fixture, right? (Key says "cir.") I hope you know I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings in "post#8," right?

    Please post some pix of full stage dances, if you have any. It would be good for others to learn from.
     
  12. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Well, while we are critiquing about the plot (please don't take this the wrong way), if that was a plot that was handed over to me me to hang, I would probably be on the phone with you asking enough questions that would probably prompt a reprinting.

    One of the first that came to mind was: so how do these booms work? You don't give any spacing info, so how would I know how to hang the lights.

    What scale are we in?

    In your key, sometimes you give wattage and sometimes lamp code. It is more important that you give wattage, and that is the commonly accepted standard.

    Your line weights and lack of hatching make it really hard to read. Architecture should be hatched and be the heaviest line weight. Lighting positions should be much lighter line weight so that the instruments "pop." Your softgoods (or whatever the legs are) should probably be dropped back in a grey.

    Lineset schedule? Trim heights?

    This may be a personal thing, but I would rather have to refer to the paperwork then wade through all the text that is color and "focus" on the plot. I think there is a point where plots can become to cluttered with info that it just makes it too hard to find the info you really need.

    I don't mean to seem harsh or anything, but I would never have gotten away with a plot like that in college, especially if it was done in CAD or VW. Now, I really would call a designer if they didn't give me info like trim heights and hanging heights on booms, or if there was no scale listed.

    But, you still get lots of points for OAR!
     
  13. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    That plot is the most standardized and least labeled plot that we own. There is a boom height chart, with heights and layout of the pipes from which the lights hang and the lights themselves. The other version of this plot has just circuits, because it gets circuited a little differently each year, depending on specials and the different systems that we use. It's in no way a plot that is in condition to send out, but everyone here knows how the booms work after one year of working here, and everyone knows about our labeling conventions, and that we don't ever put anything over 575W unless told to by the TD/main LD (same person). Some version of this dance plot has been used for the past 5 or 6 years here. We just keep adding more lights and more electrics. We know aprrox. trim heights based on previous years. Also, since this is a PDF, I really don't care about the scale, I made this PDF so that I could print it on an 8.5"x11" piece of paper to be my designing/programming/ME'ing cheat sheet. I was able to carry a copy around in my pocket during tech week, which was amazingly useful.

    Also, maclux pro is not all that good with line weights - and if it was, I'm not sure that the TD would even care all that much. Everyone here knows all the conventions, that's what we care about. If I do a plot for a project, it gets turned in with proper line weights, proper instrument labeling, and a section view, in scale - but if we're just hanging a plot, no one else needs to know anything except position, instrument, circuit, color, gobo, acessories.
     
  14. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I kind of had a feeling that was the case, that is was an "internal use only" plot. So, like I said, please don't take offense.
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Ignoring the haze issue...

    First nice work. I too liked the previous show more but I'm not going to say it was better or worse, just different. Read on. The positive for this: I really like the work you did with lights on the cyc this time... and not just the heart. You have lot's of interesting things going on there. The negative of the cyc is you lost all those interesting lighting positions you had in the first show. You didn't need a cyc before because of those angles. So it's a trade off, the cyc removes the interesting lighting positions. This felt more like a 80's/90's Rock and Roll show where the band would be on stage with a very orderly simple set. The previous one was more current feeling like you see accompanying a set for the band that's abstract or irregular.

    Clearly each style has it's own place. So in the end, it's hard to say one is better than the other. It's more a matter of taste and style. Again, nice work
     
  16. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    I agree with gaff on this one -- I really liked the things you were able to do on the cyc, some of the full textures played out really well, almost video like.

    I think that your first attempt was timed a little better though -- things seemed more synced the first go around. Did you change your triggering approach (midi v. time code?)
     
  17. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    As this piece had more cues, the processor was overloaded. The cues weren't as tight on the last piece, so it had more time to think. Same cueing approach - used the Obsession's internal SMPTE clock both times - each SMPTE command is just a "go" to the console, because the "go cue #" commands weren't working.
     
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the cyc was my absolute favorite part of this one - as much as it was harder to do given my constraings, I loved being able to cover the cyc in rotating gobos with the reverse 3-facet going full speed. That's something I want to do in my next light show, but I'm going to build screens into my upstage rig (we have some small 6'x8' or so grey RP screens that'll work great).
     
  19. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I know this sounds counter-intuitive based on the repeatability of the problem, but I'll bet it was thermal. The VL3000s seem particularly sensitive to temperature. Had a show with some FR borders really close to the fixtures, and I kept having them reset.

    If your one unit had a thermal sensor that was failing, it may have been more sensitive.

    Just a thought.

    --Sean
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    The smaller RP screens would be great because you would be able to do both the textured cyc work and the interesting lighting positions. Great idea.
     

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