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Who Programs the Board?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Dustincoc, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    The Light Board Operator or the Designer. As a designer I work faster if I program the board myself rather than going through a Board Operator. However, My lighting design teacher says that the Lighting Designers Job is to concentrate on the design and Let the Board Operator run the board. It took me 8 hours to program one act using a Board operator, while the next act which I programmed after everyone had left, only took me 2 hours to program.
     
  2. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I know the feeling. Particularly if it's my equipment.
    Basically your teacher is right. You should just concentrate on the design. You shouldn't be up ladders focusing and you shouldn't program. But I do understand that it is sometimes quicker than letting the op do it but remember, if there is a problem during the run when you arent there if the Op programmed the show then he/she should be able to fix the problem quicker.
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Depends where you are. Many places as a designer you physically can not touch the board due to union rules. Also, yes, it is the designers job to look at the whole picture and not at the console. Programmers know their consoles in and out, left and right, backwards and forwards. Its their job to know exacly what every moving light on the rig can do, its their job to know what all the console can do. A good programmer can make or break a show, especially when you get into moving lights of any kind.

    Point blank reasoning ahead:
    The reason you can program a show faster then spouting numbers is because you do not know what you want. Being able to just adjust a sub or a channel quickly without thinking about it and telling it to someone else does make things faster, but at the same time you are doing a dis-service to yourself. When you walk into a space, its your job to make sure that you have all the paperwork you need and its correct, your job is to get that into the console with the aid of the programmer. You should walk in with detailed cue sheets that give rough levels. Get those into the console then go adjust, don't try to create stuff on the fly.

    Now... the board op vs. the programmer debate. A board op is someone that gets paid to sit their and press go. They should know enough about the console to do typical show run things and maybe some troubleshooting. A programmer is someone that usually has a degree and is highly specialized on one or more console. They should know thier console in and out and everything they possible could know about it. They should also have extensive moving light knowledge. They are there to assist the designer in getting their vision onstage in a quick and orderly manor. Usually a programmer comes in for tech and leaves when the show opens (for longer running shows), a board op comes in and pushes go.

    Basically, get used to it if you want to be a real designer. You can't go up on a ladder and focus your own lights, why program the console. Being a designer means the only button you should ever push is the button on your com to change a level.

    oh... and HUGE pet peave... don't speak "board" to the programmer.... just say in plain English 75 at 25, update... none of this 75 at 25, update cue 25, or even worse.. the 00 thing... even though I sometimes do that...
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Update vs. record?
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most consoles, you do not re-record the cue, you update the cue. Basically what I am trying to say is when you are talking to a programmer, don't speak keystrokes, speak what you want to happen. There is nothing more annoying then being told what buttons to press on your board.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Logos and Footer really nailed this one. In smaller community theaters you might be the designer, programmer, and even board op. But in most professional houses that isn't true... And in many cases union contracts prevent you from touching the board or a lighting instrument. In the same way that a director's job is to direct and not run the show... it's your job to have the vision and design how it's going to work. It's someone else's job to make that vision happen by doing what you tell them. And also no offense but Footer's right, the reason it takes longer to have someone else program is that you know approximately what you want, you don't KNOW what you want (also it's likely your programmer isn't a master of the board). But that is what educational theater is for. It takes time and practice.
     
  7. avalentino

    avalentino Active Member Premium Member

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    Most lighting desks use Update as a method to re-record existing cues. Update generally includes only manually set values, and only updates back to the update target the channel parameters that were initially included in that target. This allows you to have multiple cue lists/submasters on stage, make a change to a single cue or submaster, and simply [Update] [target] [Enter]. If you had recorded from this state, the record would include all of the stuff on stage. Does that make sense?

    Generally, if there is only one target active on stage (such as only one cue), when you update, all of the manual values are included.

    Hope that helps!

    Anne
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    And to be even more precise with this, and as a WARNING to those using any ETC Express with 2 scene capability/ channel faders, AND as warning should you be adjusting levels using submasters - Update on the Express WILL NOT grab the changed levels done via channel faders OR submasters !.

    In order for Update to function, you must change those values via the Keypad - I.E. Channel 1 @ 50.

    Good post, BTW from Footer.

    Steve B.
     
  9. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    There's one thing everyone else left out...you're on a collegiate level. You proffesor wants you to learn how to concentrate on designing and not running the board....

    He also wants your board op to learn how to run it.

    Which is where I disagree with Footer...if at the begining you say it how it goes into the board it allows the person to learn the board...once they're comftrable with it most definetly stop speaking board...but get them up and running first.
     
  10. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    I find that a lot of what I do is design and program. I then let some one else run the board for shows, as I am working on my next shows or on another job. I don't do much focus work and/or hanging anymore. I just hand over the plot or tell people where things need to go.

    Ultimately, I have found that trying to translate design into programing doesn't work real well with two separate people for both jobs. Stuff gets lost in the translation and people then get frustrated. It either takes to long to translate, or the translation isn't understood.

    Master Electrician work, I pass off to others. I have people that I trust and know well get the job done. So I just hang out on stage, tell focus cuts, and move to the next light. Works very fast and efficient, even better if I have an RFU.

    I guess it comes down to if you have a designer/programmer/board op/master electrician who work together well and often, its a very effective method of doing things. If that is not the case, like union crews, it takes a long, sometimes very long, time.

    I was in I.A.T.S.E. for a period of time. Was not impressed, very inefficient. Some people want to work, some want to do nothing, some just up and disappear. That is a reason why in this area at least, people avoid the local like the plague. I have talk with clients on the phone asking me if we can work certain rooms, and my response is no because its a union house. They then reply to me, how about this across the street. 'That building is fine sir, not a union house.' The next response is that the show will be moved there.
     
  11. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    This thread has been very interesting so far.

    Question 1: How does the designing of a show and the operation of the light board differ in the rock and concern world?

    Question 2: If designers aren't really supposed to program, then why do they have desginers remotes?
     
  12. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Well.... first the designer remote thing. Most designer remotes out there are for monitoring purposes only, instead of having to ask for values for each channel, they can look themselves. Some do allow for some input, but really those "designer remotes" are usually used at a remote onstage. Last place I worked had a 550i in the booth and a 520i onstage to function as a remote. Most designers I know do not want to deal with even thinking about the console. With the speed that things are changing out there, its a full time job just to keep up with the technology. With doing 2 or 3 designs a month in a multitude of venues with a multitude of gear, its simply to hard to keep up with how to program a hog, a 520i, a pallet, a vista, and ion, and a host of other boards. This is one reason why many people who do smaller one offs own a hogPC or something similar to that, so that they can walk in and get the most out of their time there and not have to think about the technology.

    The Designer should focus on the design, not the technology.

    Now... in the R&R world...
    Most designers for smaller shows do program their own board, and for that matter also tour with the show. This is for shows that do not run a standard cue list and the show changes from night to night, venue to venue. The line between electrician, operator, designer, and programmer is pretty skewed in the smaller R&R market. In the big world, many shows carry 2 or 3 consoles, a media console, and a few other random things. In that world, you have a designer and programmers for each console that know their specific gear inside and out.
     
  13. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    An extraordinarily biased opinion. Reading it makes me wonder if perhaps you are not a disciple of the infamous Frank Woods of the UK.

    It flies in the face of the countless numbers of extremely talented and dedicated members of both the IATSE and United Scenic Artists, who are creating art as we speak.

    I would hazard a guess that given the complexity of the designs being done in Las Vegas, as well on the West End, Broadway in NYC as well as countless major Opera companies throughout the world, that the method of working you advocate as being superior - I.E designer AND console operator, would end up being the least efficient method to achieve the desired results. Even that bastion of dual hatted designer/programmer - Rock & Roll sees dedicated programmers as a separate person from the designers. There is simply too much for one person to do at this level. Perhaps at your level it works, but for many it doesn't.

    Thus, as others have stated, learning how to be a designer, and leaving the programming to the experts (or to someone wanting to be an expert) is seemingly the method of choice, which is why colleges teach it.

    FWIW, I design AND program my own stuff.

    Steve Bailey
    Brooklyn College
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Many Designer Remotes are also set-up and configured not so much for programming, but to allow the design assistants to multi-task - I.E. gain access to information in the console they need to see without asking the operator to interrupt what he/she is doing by having to constantly switch screen views. etc... It makes the design process even more efficient if it's available.

    SB
     
  15. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Rock and roll designers are often referd to as LD (Lighting Directors) LD's are also board operators. Its sort of a gray area for the union... Sometimes you might be asked to hire a shadow while your at the board.

    JH
     
  16. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    As a moving light programer its your job to take abstact hand gesures and vague discriptions and turn them into something tanagable.

    A conventional programer just lets the LD focus on what is happening on stage. One of the LDs I work with will program the next cues in blind after he is happy with what is on stage, but he is still able to look at the blocking while I work.

    On bigger shows theres a chain of people between the idea and the keystrokes into the board. The LD says this scene needs more blue front light then the ALD looks at the paper work and sees what the best way to make that happen is.
     
  17. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    Its funny SteveB. I have been on shows with I.A.S.T.E. which the crews are great. I have been on shows which the crews are horrible. Prime example is Live 8 in Philly a few years ago. The crew I was with during the production out did nothing but walk around all night. Wasn't my choice, if I was found just walking around I would have been in it deep, but because I was with A list guys, I was fine.

    Another great example is the convention center here in Philly. It took a local 8 crew 12 hours to get a show up there. The same show at Valley Forge took 6. There was also less guys at Valley Forge. If you could only here some of the things the local is ripped on for.

    As far as corporate land goes, the union is no were in sight unless its a very high profile event. Lowes Hotel in Philly last year as an example. Colin Powell and a few other high up republicans gave a few speeches there. The union's job was to set up the set. Our job was everything AV. They took forever to get 3/4s of a 53' up the fright elevator, we had 3 24's up the tiny service elevator in less time with less guys again. The 24's were loaded, front to back and stack btw.

    Then came the set up part. We were suppose to be done at 6 AM. I was there till 10 AM because the union spent most of the night debating on how to do things, like getting stuff up the elevator. I spent most of that night sitting around doing nothing but look at lighting trees and truss with nothing to focus on.

    Sorry if I come off sounding like I hate the local or I am bias, but these are my experiences with them. If you would like more horror stories, feel free to ask, because there are plenty more. Also, sorry for the off topic rant there.
     
  18. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Did you talk to the steward? Did you file a complaint with the hall? We all have bad union stories, some unions are not nearly as well trained as others. Its all about how much work there is in a given area. If there is enough to keep everyone employed, or at least a good number, you will have better people. If you get the "farmhand" unions where the guys might only get work every other week, quality will go down.
     
  19. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    I work mainly with Local 8 and sometimes Local 1. As far as the steward, there really wasn't one as it was a non union house. Mike Barnes was there, he is president for Local 8 now I believe, was vice president at the time. As far as the hall, they were all A list guys, I knew them from my time in the local. Drew, the call steward for Local 8, wasn't going to listen to a negative word anyone said about that crew.

    Like I said, its not all bad, just mostly bad. Some places we just got things done faster then other. The Tweeter Center, the crew there is always good. Shows always go up faster and down faster then other places. Chuck, the steward for the Tweeter, doesn't mess around and let people who don't want to work in that building. The house guys are all great, work, and extremely helpful. If you ever get a chance to work there, I highly recommend it. Great venue, great crew. Please, no more about union's as I'm sure it wasn't the OP's intension to talk discuss union vs non union and horror stories.
     
  20. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    As I have stated, its been hit or miss with a lot of the things I have done. Also, I pretend not to have done it all, I am only 20 and still in school. I have just been fortunate in my opportunities. So this is just what I have seen in the real world so far and not what is been told/done in the class room.
    There are a lot of different LD's in the world. Everything isn't just rock 'n roll or theatre. A lot of what I do is corporate work. That means set up, program, rehearse sometimes, run the show, tear it down, go to the next show all in one day a most of the time. I don't have the luxury of time to sit down with the client through every 'scene', go over what they want done, tell a programmer and a master electrician what needs to be done, and tweak till its what the client wants. We do a sight survey, go over what they want, get ideas, then its up to me to make it happen.

    Google Hair o the Dog. I designed for '07 at Philly. I met with the client once. All they wanted was the gobos around the room. Don't even get me started on the Delilah's gobo because that was handed to me as the doors were opening. Anyway, load in was 4 PM, weren't allowed downstairs until 5 PM when the place closed to the public. Doors were at 7 or 8, can't remember which. Either way, there was no were near enough time for me to explain to someone else what needed to happen programming wise. Set up was this goes here, that there, focus this here, that color there, etc. Stuff was added, taken away, and changed that day as set up was going on of course. So, because of time, I programed.

    Point being is that not every show, even one's with tons of money floating around, have the luxury of time and rehearsals. It just needs to happen, and it needed to happen 10 minutes ago. So thats why I program most of what I design. Your own situation might be different for your own needs. If you can give out duties, I recommend it actually because it takes stress of others. Trying to do many jobs at once can be too much for one person to handle on larger shows, but sometimes thats not how it pans out.
     

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