Technical Help, please!

heznewman

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Location
Kenora, Ontario, Canada
Hello everyone!
So, I'm a high school teacher with a previous career in acting, and unfortunately I don't have nearly as much training in stage lighting as I wish I did... At our school, we recently got a new theatre arts room including new lights, new boards, the works, which is completely amazing BUT due to a bunch of things, I haven't gotten training from actual theatre professionals on how to use it. Part of our issue is we live in a remote location. I've been told I will likely get training sometime in the future, but my biggest concern is our large school play goes up at the end of February and I am trying to program the lights for our show, with limited success- I can build a scene with the lights and save it to a cue list, but it's sometimes glitching out and doesn't run properly, and I don't know about programming presets. Does anyone know of any crash courses online that may address some of this? I've tried reading a bunch of articles that just made me more confused, so any course where I could access an instructor would be ideal. Thank you!
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Location
Michigan
There's a lot to unpack here, but can you give us a rundown on what equipment you have? That will let us make some better recommendations on where to look. You're not getting any support from the supplier?
 
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John Palmer

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Location
Cerritos, CA
Yes, you are a bit remote. Christie Lites in Winnepeg is my first thought for help for you. They are a full service company.
As for what we can do to help here...
Equipment list - Lighting console, dimmers (?), lighting fixtures (conventional/LED) with manufacturer and model
Photos- Of the space from a few angles, photos of the console
What play are you doing?
Good luck,
JP
 

jayvee

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Location
MD
Hello everyone!
So, I'm a high school teacher with a previous career in acting, and unfortunately I don't have nearly as much training in stage lighting as I wish I did... At our school, we recently got a new theatre arts room including new lights, new boards, the works, which is completely amazing BUT due to a bunch of things, I haven't gotten training from actual theatre professionals on how to use it. Part of our issue is we live in a remote location. I've been told I will likely get training sometime in the future, but my biggest concern is our large school play goes up at the end of February and I am trying to program the lights for our show, with limited success- I can build a scene with the lights and save it to a cue list, but it's sometimes glitching out and doesn't run properly, and I don't know about programming presets. Does anyone know of any crash courses online that may address some of this? I've tried reading a bunch of articles that just made me more confused, so any course where I could access an instructor would be ideal. Thank you!
Take pics of your new gear and post them here so we can have an idea of how to direct you most efficiently. Pics will bypass the back and forth over proper names and model numbers and get the info correct asap.
 

heznewman

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Location
Kenora, Ontario, Canada
Amazing, thank you everyone so much! Unfortunately, the theatre techs that set this up live a 20 hour drive away in Southern Ontario, and I've looked into Christie Lites but it's tricky as they didn't do the set up, so I've been told it's not likely to get funded. I'll take pictures of the gear and post later today, but I can list some of the new equipment below:
LIGHTS: We have a selection of Selecon PLCYC MKII cyclorama lights, plus some PLPROFILE1 MKII LED lekos, and a bunch of Showline PAR155s that are also LED
LIGHT BOARD: We have a Strand 500ML board, with the lights already programmed in, plus I made a very rough and basic plot of where the lights are, and can upload the picture as well later.
SOUND BOARD: We have a Behringer X32 board. There is also an intercom system with headsets, but I am unsure of the make and model. I'll look that up ASAP.

We're doing the play Peter and the Starcatchers :)

Thank you so much again to everyone!
 

seanandkate

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Aug 29, 2008
Location
Stouffville, Ontario
Strand isn't the greatest for support on their website (or elsewhere :rolleyes:), but there are videos on Youtube that might be able to help you out. Same with your X32 -- it's a really common board. You might also try to touch base with the technical staff at Kenora Opera Theatre ([email protected] ) and see if they have a technician that's a little closer and can drop by. Many technicians I know (me included) will help out someone in need because we've all been there.
 
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John Palmer

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Location
Cerritos, CA
Here is the link to training videos by Bobby Harrell. He is the guru for this console. He also is a member here. @bharrell
I can't help on the console side more than point you toward the youtube videos.
It seems that the fixtures are already focused from the plot that you posted.
Each fixture can be controlled individually with intensity and color. What you are going to want to do is create groups so that you can adjust similar fixtures together when you want. You can always use one of the group to be a "special" by changing the color and intensity individually. You also don' t have to use all the fixtures all of the time. Lighting design is about selective visibilty. You don't have many fixtures to work with, but they can be used flexibly.
If you are comfortable refocusing lights, ie. working on ladders or catwalks, you can refocus the lights as you need.
The play is challenging from a lighting stand point. I would recommend keeping it as simple as you can until your programming gets better. The glitching that you reference is probably conflicts of playing two or more cue lists at the same time that have data for the same fixtures.
For your show, a single cue list is the best option.
Do you have any students that are interested in technical theatre? Enlist their aid. If not, start a tech theatre club. I started in high school because I found it interesting and getting out of a few classes to help with school assemblies wasn't a bad bonus.
Take care,
JP
 

heznewman

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Location
Kenora, Ontario, Canada
John Palmer, you are amazing!!! Thank you so very much!! Those videos are super useful. I have a few students who are fairly quick to understand technical issues, and they've been looking through the quick start guide. I just don't have the knowledge to bring them further, but this helps in a huge way!
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Yes, you are a bit remote. Christie Lites in Winnepeg is my first thought for help for you. They are a full service company.
As for what we can do to help here...
Equipment list - Lighting console, dimmers (?), lighting fixtures (conventional/LED) with manufacturer and model
Photos- Of the space from a few angles, photos of the console
What play are you doing?
Good luck,
JP
@heznewman Kenora may be a bit remote but it's not above the Arctic Circle; I asked Mr. Google to list Theatres and Performing Arts Centres in Kenora Ontario and, in mere seconds, Mr. Google provided the following list:
Quite possibly you could find a "tame" (yet experienced) stage technician or three reasonably close to your school; possibly a dozen donuts from Tim's, a couple of subs from Subway or a pizza or two could be all it would take to entice she or he to meander over for a visit some evening or Sunday morning before your students have awoke.

I too am posting from north of Donald's walls, I can't recall visiting Kenora but down here below Barrie, I've heard rumors of more than a few IA technicians and / or community college staff who've crawled out of the woodwork for a dozen of Timmy's finest (or a 12 pack of liquid barley).

Consider putting out a few feelers in the right places:
[ If you want to learn about transport trucks, the transport trucking industry and life on the road in an 18 wheeler; visit highway-truck-stops]

Following the same logic: If you learn where the majority of stage hands / stage technicians park their cars and "Real Man" trucks after work, you're likely within 50' of a wealth of experience:
All experiences are valuable; some teach how and what to do while other experiences teach how NOT to do.

Bottom Line: Do a little investigative work, track down a few potential resources, ascertain each "resource" 's potential value, then buy a few extra pizzas for the few who really work out.
Selective networking; put it to work for you.
All the best and
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Amazing, thank you everyone so much! Unfortunately, the theatre techs that set this up live a 20 hour drive away in Southern Ontario, and I've looked into Christie Lites but it's tricky as they didn't do the set up, so I've been told it's not likely to get funded. I'll take pictures of the gear and post later today, but I can list some of the new equipment below:
LIGHTS: We have a selection of Selecon PLCYC MKII cyclorama lights, plus some PLPROFILE1 MKII LED lekos, and a bunch of Showline PAR155s that are also LED
LIGHT BOARD: We have a Strand 500ML board, with the lights already programmed in, plus I made a very rough and basic plot of where the lights are, and can upload the picture as well later.
SOUND BOARD: We have a Behringer X32 board. There is also an intercom system with headsets, but I am unsure of the make and model. I'll look that up ASAP.

We're doing the play Peter and the Starcatchers :)

Thank you so much again to everyone!
Calling @Ron Foley An installation of Strand gear in Kenora, Ontario: Can you suggest anyone nearby who may provide a little 'in person / hands on' help and end user training??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

BillConnerFASTC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
Lenora seems fantastic. Quick access to Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou, and Quetico - to which you could paddle. My idea of a holy place.

I was actually through Kenora 50+years ago on my way to Yellowknife NWT. Afraid I don't recall much.

Good suggestions above.
 
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jayvee

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Location
MD
@heznewman Kenora may be a bit remote but it's not above the Arctic Circle; I asked Mr. Google to list Theatres and Performing Arts Centres in Kenora Ontario and, in mere seconds, Mr. Google provided the following list:
Quite possibly you could find a "tame" (yet experienced) stage technician or three reasonably close to your school; possibly a dozen donuts from Tim's, a couple of subs from Subway or a pizza or two could be all it would take to entice she or he to meander over for a visit some evening or Sunday morning before your students have awoke.

I too am posting from north of Donald's walls, I can't recall visiting Kenora but down here below Barrie, I've heard rumors of more than a few IA technicians and / or community college staff who've crawled out of the woodwork for a dozen of Timmy's finest (or a 12 pack of liquid barley).

Consider putting out a few feelers in the right places:
[ If you want to learn about transport trucks, the transport trucking industry and life on the road in an 18 wheeler; visit highway-truck-stops]

Following the same logic: If you learn where the majority of stage hands / stage technicians park their cars and "Real Man" trucks after work, you're likely within 50' of a wealth of experience:
All experiences are valuable; some teach how and what to do while other experiences teach how NOT to do.

Bottom Line: Do a little investigative work, track down a few potential resources, ascertain each "resource" 's potential value, then buy a few extra pizzas for the few who really work out.
Selective networking; put it to work for you.
All the best and
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
I giggled aloud, alone in my office, at " 'Real men' trucks"
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Doubt I know anyone particularly close to you, as you are a 18-19 hours drive from me here in London (and that's going through the US, longer if I stay in Canada). It'd be more of a flight for me to be able to visit. Have to admit if I had the time I'd love to check out that part of the province someday.
I have to agree that trying to find contacts with techs who live or work in at least some sort of proximity is your best bet. I've helped out many a person such as yourself upwards of over a hour and a half drive away.

Let us know how you make out! and please feel free to poke me in a PM with any questions, etc you might have. I'm sure many of us would be happy to help you out remotely.

Cheers,
Steve.