# Technical Disaster Inspires Strict Letter

#### ukilledthecat

##### Member
Tonight was amazing fun. Our drama club decided to put on a club-like Comedy Night in our new senior caf. Everything panned out pretty good, with a few minor difficulties. The percussion ensemble was pissed at us because they thought they would be able to have food for their event in the same caf as we were performing in, the woman, however was not aware that there was a difference between the 2 cafs and had signed up for the old one on the master schedule. So they got screwed, but luckily they were out of there before the performance because we needed a "backstage". (The two cafs are connected, out "stage" on the wall adjacent to the old caf.

I am the master lighting tech for our school as of current, so I rigged up a couple pars on trees in the caf, ran them to a dimmer pack and from that straight to the board we took down from the booth. I hooked up everything and everything was golden. So, being that I was performing in the show, I scurried off to get ready for our skit. As our skit starts, there are no lights except the evening light from the skylights. So I knew something had gone wrong and the person I set in charge of the board was unable to fix it. Then, in the middle, the caf lights come up. The switches are in a locked snack shack accessible only from the main hall by a master key. So after my scene, I went to figure out what went up. I find that the dimmer pack overheated and the circuit was cut. After letting the whole thing cool, we were able to reset everything and get the lights back up. So we go an turn out the caf lights. And 5 minutes later, the pack blows again. And after a few minutes, again. So we gave up and finished the show with the lights up. Boo to that.

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
sounds to me like you're just using the wrong dimmer packs. they may not necessarily be crappy - just not intended for heavy use. 'DJ' dimmer packs usually cannot handle a constant theatrical lighting load.

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
as far as it being hot, that doesnt sound right at all. you would think it should keep blowing fuses if there is a short or overloading situation.

#### DJErik07

##### Active Member
If the extension cords powering the dimmer are hot then you are pulling too puch power from the dimmers. Make sure to check to see what the max power you can pull per pack. My school borrowed some that allowed only 2400w per pack and 400w per channel. On the other hand our installed NSI Dimmers can handle 2400w per channel.

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
Lester said:
sounds to me like you're just using the wrong dimmer packs. they may not necessarily be crappy - just not intended for heavy use. 'DJ' dimmer packs usually cannot handle a constant theatrical lighting load.

I beg to differ, we use American DJ dimmers in our theatre and they work without fail.

#### Minion

##### Member
Gah that just now was me, I forgot to login.

#### AVGuyAndy

##### Active Member
We have to do a lot of our tech under the table,

Sadly, that's the same here. Originally after the BOE cut the AV position, which controlled the auditorium, the principal said I couldn't be on the catwalk. This is after 30 years of students doing everything on the catwalk. He wanted me to direct maintenance people from the ground, telling them how to focus, aim, etc. So thankfully the musical director told him that was not possible and now I'm allowed to go up there. Honestly, if I had to direct the maintenance crew to aim lights, I'd probably have quit. lol

sorry - thats me

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
We are running par cans, ellipsoidals, huge floods, strips and source fours

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
you must be using one of the few models that supports that heavy of a load.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
AVGuyAndy said:
We have to do a lot of our tech under the table,

Sadly, that's the same here. Originally after the BOE cut the AV position, which controlled the auditorium, the principal said I couldn't be on the catwalk. This is after 30 years of students doing everything on the catwalk. He wanted me to direct maintenance people from the ground, telling them how to focus, aim, etc. So thankfully the musical director told him that was not possible and now I'm allowed to go up there. Honestly, if I had to direct the maintenance crew to aim lights, I'd probably have quit. lol

Directing the maintinence crew from the stage in the focus of your lights would be great experience in dealing with other unions or non/union relations in getting the show up in running. If the floor sweepers want to play lighting tech person, than I'm all for the extra crew members. Just be sure to get them a show/production shirt for each show they helped with. You never know, they might get into it instead of being grouchy about having to hang lights instead of plunge a toilet. Hmm, plunge toilet or have a designer on stage either looking at the light beam or looking at his shadow in focusing the light. That's how the pro's do it. The designer don't climb the truss. Much less, if that Par shocks the maintinence person while spinning the bottle, if it's their responsibility as it would no doubt seem to be to repair such things, you bet you are either going to get working gear or new gear.

While it's something better learned in college and pro-world while in high school one is better off learning how to focus in the first place, if the program is not large enough in development for a principle to have this role in how you do stuff, than take the extra crew you are given and run with it. There is no glory in focusing a light. If the maintinence staff don't do what you want, than you complain to the person that is sending them to work under your direction and their boss. Mission statement is still art, but if safety is in question, and extra help is given by the staff, instead of thinking "I can do this" think, that's what it's like in the real world where you wont get to touch your gear, and instead you have extra staff you need to work on your personal skills to inspire into getting done what you need done. Or at least settling with what you can live with.

Learn how to focus from the stage. Between the two techniques, both are superior than you being on the catwalk in focusing upon your design. If not designing, sure these extra crew members are shorting you of experience, that's something in a large program to fight. Otherwise, never pass up extra man-power when mandated to you. Art is one thing, making it be also art even if you are not physically adjusting the equipment is part of being in school and dealing with the real world.

Such direction in getting what you could do but can't, than still getting what you want takes practice thus it's not all that bad of a thing.