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Stage Tech help?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Elias Padilla, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    Hello, I am a 16 year old living in Southern California, and I could really use help. I am planning on either helping direct, or directing a show in a theatre very close to me. The theatre is what some people I know would call, a bare theatre. The theatre is actually an auditorium, and has no lights in the stage at all, like no lights. No DMX lights, front, incandescent lights, spotlights, nothing. They only have work lights up on the ceiling, and I'm not even sure if there's a grid! I am barely getting into all this tech stuff, and so far all I know is what channels, universes, addresses, DMX, etc is. I also know how to use dip switches and similar stuff along those lines. I want to ask for help, before I do anything, or even find out if I can direct/assistant direct there.
    Additionally, I attend an arts school near my house, and they have a class called 'Stage Tech and Design'. I am unable to join it not only because my schedule doesn't allow it, but the class is reserved for people who run shows, and work backstage (stage managers, production assistants, etc) I believe. Also, I am looking for some cheaper lights, I found 10 of those cheaper DMX fixtures (http://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-86-RG...802221?hash=item58b4e18b6d:g:C-QAAOSwQItUClF7) for pretty cheap, and I know that they have four channels (so ch.1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, etc) and I was wondering if the Chalet Obey 40 would work with these, I was told they will, but I wanted to be sure. I have a lot more questions, but ill continue to look online before coming here :) Thanks for the help everyone!
     
  2. coldnorth57

    coldnorth57 Active Member

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    That set of ten lights only has 4 channels. any DMX board will run DMX lights, as long as it has enoungh channels....

    oh yeah welcome to CB
     
  3. coldnorth57

    coldnorth57 Active Member

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    ask more question i hope i can help
     
  4. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    Thank you, I knew the lights had four channels and I'm still looking at light boards that have a decent amount of channels as I plan on having 6 or 9 DMX lights and 5 incandescent lights, including one follow spotlight
     
  5. coldnorth57

    coldnorth57 Active Member

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    take a look at using pc based lighting control it is cheaper and some of the softwear is free
     
  6. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    Don't waste your money on those lights, they are truly awful. Spend a couple extra bucks and get something like these. They're still pretty bad, but 100x better than what you were looking at.
     
  7. dthomas32308

    dthomas32308 Member

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    Occupation:
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    I would not buy those lights as those cheap lights will not look good on human skin and you are very likely to have color shifting from the colors not mixing properly. I love using LEDs and there is a time and place but I recommend having a good conventional rig before looking at LEDs unless you are prepared to spend close way more than that per fixture.
     
  8. AudJ

    AudJ Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    What is the budget? If it is a single show, you are probably better off renting. Houses like the one you describe probably have rental companies that have been there before, and can fill your needs more efficiently that trying to piece together just anything. In addition, you get to acquire practical knowledge on commonly used gear.
     
  9. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    We don't have a set budget, but we are trying to go as cheap as we can, I believe below than $1,500, preferably. Also, this venue has never had a show if I'm not mistaken other than some winter concerts but they just use the work lights above.
     
  10. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    I don't plan on keeping these for a long time, i believe only for this one show, and a lot of times, they will probably not be used on their own. The show I plan on running is very simple and I just need these for support, if that makes any sense. I'm also on a VERY strict budget (actually, its not set yet, but I cannot spend a lot). I am beginning so I apologize if I sound stupid.
     
  11. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    I have actually seen those used for a small acting theatre...thing I went and saw and they produce a very narrow light and are not bright at all. My schools theatre has the light I brought up (they are not using it, my theatre director uses ETC and Chauvet) and I plugged it in for play mode and its brighter than I thought. Sorry if I sound dumb.
     
  12. Thetechmanmac

    Thetechmanmac Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    If you are on a tight budget I would recommend computer based control. QLC+ or something of the sort. It is easy cheap, and you can have a lot more channels than you would on a small board (several universes). Plus, it's expandable. Pick up an Enttec openDMX USB ($80) and your set. As for fixtures, get some larger LEDs. My company buys fixtures directly from china, and our latest purchase were fixtures with 18 LED clusters at 15 watts per cluster. They are definitely put out some light. I bet you can find someone near where you live that you can get cheap china fixtures from.

    Renting is not a bad idea also, buy the Enttec dongle and get some software, and rent the fixtures. Im sure there are many smaller rental companies in southern Cali that you could rent from.

    Good luck and welcome to CB!
     
  13. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    What are clusters? and how would I connect a computer program to lights? Can I run just one DMX wire to the stage and use a splitter there? (did i mention that auditorium does not have a tech room?? at least i don't think)
     
  14. robartsd

    robartsd Active Member

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    One DMX "universe" of up to 512 channels travels on one DMX cable. To split the DMX would require a DMX splitter (the more expensive ones also optically isolate to protect some equipment from faults in other equipment), but DMX can be (and usually is) daisy chained - just run cable from light to light in one continuous line (spec allows 32 DMX devices - though many modern devices use much less than the full allowable load unit, so you might be able to get away with more) with the controller at one end and a terminator at the other (many DMX devices can be set to terminate the chain without an external terminator). Be sure to use the proper type of cable and that termination is set correctly or you may run across intermittent problems with control.
     
  15. Thetechmanmac

    Thetechmanmac Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    See picture. Cluster is just what I call them. There is probably a technical name ;). The way you would connect lights from the computer is as follows.
    Computer running lighting program ---> DMX interface (converts the computers data into DMX data for the lights) ---> one DMX cable to the stage ---> DMX cable to lights.

    Attached is some diagrams if you want to look at that. Note if you do go with an Enttec interface you would need a 5 pin DMX to 3 pin DMX adaptor like this one.
     

    Attached Files:

    Silicon_Knight likes this.
  16. Goatman

    Goatman Active Member

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    Then I would definitely go QLC+ running from a laptop. It will give you the most bang for your buck and the smallest footprint. I ran shows from QLC+ for about a year or two until deciding I needed to have Nomad (which ran to a total of $700 for half a universe). If you think that you may want to expand to having ETCnomad in the future, it may be smart to look for a used or even new ETC Gadget, as that would work with Nomad (ENTTEC USB products don't). I haven't tried hooking up a node to QLC+, but in theory it would work.

    As far as lights go, if you do want to invest in LED lights that you or the company will own, I recommend American DJ Mega Par Profiles. A version of that product was just released with a channel for UV, so you may be able to find some back stock of the older sort that would be cheaper. Even those are nowhere near as good as theatrical name-brands, but at least they're in the same ballpark. Chauvet SlimPars would also not be a terrible way to go.

    Talking to a rental house for instruments is also a way to save money in the short term. If you're going to be doing more shows in there, or the company is, or even if you can convince the venue to invest in some lighting equipment to help them get more theatrical rentals, you would want to look into buying more.
     
  17. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    Where can I buy a DMX interface? And that one cable can be split, right?
     
  18. Goatman

    Goatman Active Member

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    To split, you need an opto-splitter or you risk the signal getting garbled.

    Fullcompass tends to have my vote for price but you can also buy from the ENTTEC website itself.

    http://www.fullcompass.com/search.php?parent=471&search_simple=true&txtAll=enttec+open+usb

    http://www.fullcompass.com/prod/263031-ETC-Elec-Theatre-Controls-Gadget

    https://www.enttec.com/?main_menu=Products&pn=70305

    https://www.enttec.com/?main_menu=Products&pn=70303


    You may be able to find something similar on craigslist or ebay.
     
  19. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    I believe I attached an image and that is a very rough sketch of what the venue looks like and in the bottom right corner is where I plan to have a tech booth, open for recommendations.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Elias Padilla

    Elias Padilla Member

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    Those are all 5-pin? Do they not make 3-pin connectors?
     

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