The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Why are things opposite?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by len, May 10, 2009.

  1. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,709
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    In my early years in the production end of the business, I was always told that dimmers/lighting distro, etc., are kept stage right, and monitor mixers are always stage left. And thinking back that seems to be true of every concert I ever saw, even back to 1975, before I started really paying attention. The only notable exception is Willie Nelson, who likes his monitor engineer to be stage right, or so I'm told.

    However, the theaters built for plays etc., seem to have it set up the opposite. Anyone know the reason why music does it one way and acting the other?
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    1,808
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Most theatres don't have a monitor engineer or for that matter dimmers onstage. Most tours I have worked put the SM on whatever side the fly rail is on and dimmer beach on the opposite side of the fly rail. Personally I prefer the flyrail SR setup, and I really don't know why. I just do.
     
  3. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    562
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    And sometimes it is purely a result of the building itself as in where can they put certain parts of the structure or other building elements when designing the building or where is the company switch or the loading dock. For example, the amphitheatre I worked at had the amp room and cabling access from FOH located stage right and the electrical room, dimmer room and loading dock stage left and that was due purely to how the building had to lay out on the site and where the utilities were coming from (no sense to run all the electrical under the entire building or across the building to get from there to the dimmer room).
     
  4. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,329
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Yea, for theate it really depends on how the theatre is built. The roadhouse where I work just got renovated last year, but before that their company switch was on SR, the same side as the fly rail. Because of limited space in the wing, the flymen had only about a foot or two of space between the fly rail and the dimmer racks to squeeze through (this was before they put in a fly gallery), and the feeder had to run up and over a doorway and back to the upstage wall to get to the company switch. The SM was also on SR, which made everything very crowded over there. In the renovation, they put the company switch on SL instead, where there is much more room offstage, so now the dimmer racks all live on SL and the SM and fly rail is on SR. But I know that some of the other roadhouses around here are completely opposite of that.
     
  5. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

    Messages:
    451
    Likes Received:
    86
    Location:
    Midwest US
    Most of the theater tours I've worked as a local hand for seem to have the electrics looms laid out starting from the center, so that the cable can easily run either direction.

    Now that you've mentioned it, I've seen more concerts with sound left, dimmers right than the other way around, but I always just assumed that was because the power tended to be located to the right of the houses I've been in, and it was therefore a shorter feeder run to the dimmers.
     
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    149
    Location:
    Southern California
    At my venue, the main stage has the dimmers, audio racks and fly rail all stage left. The reason for this is one of geography. All power comes into the building from stage left and the loading door for the building is stage right, so the fly rail can't go there.
     
  7. epimetheus

    epimetheus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    853
    Likes Received:
    106
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The only theater I've worked at had the fly rail SL and 400A service SL and SR. Traveling shows generally setup dimmers SL and sound SR. SM could really go on either side. House dimmers are in the basement.
     
  8. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,709
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I meant that the show's touring dimmers are usually stage left, near the rail. Every theater I've been in is designed this way, but by your comments I'm assuming there are some that the flyrail is SR.
     
  9. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    The funny thing is that every outdoor show I've worked where power is from a portable genny and the stage is modular dimmer beach has still been SR and monitor world SL...old habits die hard I guess!

    In my HS theatre our flys were SR, and although we didn't have an actual company switch there was a heafty sub-panel SR as well. Most road shows would use house dimmers but a few brought amp racks for additional sound and tied in SR. There was a panel across the service hallway within 15' of the SL wing but it crosses a major traffic pattern AND the green room so it never was tied into.
     
  10. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Iowa
    Just wondering here, if lights and sound being separate goes back to the days of lighting equipment being electronically "noisy", and lots of older, unbalanced sound equipment being susceptible to RF and EM interference, and having them on opposite sides of the stage to reduce the chances for that interference. Modern shielding and balancing has eliminated the issue but I still have people stare at me like I'm crazy when I put stage power and mic lines under the same piece of tape.:rolleyes:
    Thinking back, most venues that I can remember working in had the flyrail to SR. Power was six of one half dozen of the other, and dimmers went wherever there was room. Monitor land went to the same side of the stage as the head of the main snake so that the short monitor trunk could reach. Seems like most shows I remember doing monitors for we were SL, but usually that was a decision based on logistics and the geography of the venue. I guess I don't have a preference.
     
  11. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I've read that the monitor position is SL because pianists face stage left. Of course most close the lid, and many of them face SR. ??
     
  12. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    My auditorium's dimmers are in fact---backstage right in the corner between the plaster line and the SR wall. Our sound rack----which has close to nothing in it, is located SL hidden around a corner.
     
  13. Grommet

    Grommet Member

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    At the Moore theater, built in 1907, SR and SL each have a little closet/cave.

    All the dimmers are in the SR cave most of the sound gear is in the SL cave.

    The fly rail is SR at the top of the 20' ladder.

    Why its like that? who knows.

    I can't see why the two can't be switched other then it would be an annoyance to do right now with cable runs already placed.
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

    Messages:
    6,098
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Illinois
    While a number or touring shows might have had similar theaters traveled to, I know of quite a few stages with pinrail on left or right if not on a balcany rail, different houses having electrics and stage manager often on the opposed side of the stage or the same side of the stage, and video/sound where ever they were put if not into a box in the audience or in the audience.

    Might be some sort of tradition and or hand signals given but I don't think it matters much these days. Put dimmers on the side that has more room and often perhaps the fly person on the opposing side of the stage so as to act as an assistant stage manager for the opposing side of the stage. Be about the only good reason I could think of beyond more room and power hook up or doors to do so than on the other side. Though I do note a preference of stage managers on the right which after that perhaps follows other things dependant on the house.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice