wish lists time of the year

Chaos is Born

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Ok, so its the time of year when we need to put in our equipment needs, wants, and fantasy wants...

i'm fairly good on what we need but what gadgets do you think are a decent thing to put on the "wants" list?

Automated lights aren't out of the question, but not a large amount of them. We are well stocked enough on lights and some extra barrels for our fixtures are already on the list.
 

Sean

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Ok, so its the time of year when we need to put in our equipment needs, wants, and fantasy wants...
i'm fairly good on what we need but what gadgets do you think are a decent thing to put on the "wants" list?
Automated lights aren't out of the question, but not a large amount of them. We are well stocked enough on lights and some extra barrels for our fixtures are already on the list.
I think you need to give us a bit more context before you'll get much in the way of useful responses to this question.

For example, this year I asked for money for:

30 lekos
~20 multicables
2 1-ton chain motors w/control cables, etc and roadbox
More feeder cable

Though this list would be useful for me, it might not prove that useful to you.

--Sean
 

gafftaper

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Agreeing with Sean...

First priority: How are you set for infrastructure issues? Do you have good lighting positions, more dimmers, better console, has your rigging system been inspected in the last 5 years and if no one in the building can remember when the ropes were last replaced they are unsafe and should be replaced before they fail and kill someone. (Let me hear an Amen from brother WhatRigger?)

Second, give us an idea of what is in your basic lighting inventory. Do you ever run out of lights and wish you had a couple more for a special? What are your shows like? Do you just try to wash the stage with a couple specials or do you have multiple color washes that change?

What is already in your "toy collection" (scrollers, I-cues, I-pro, rotators, fogger... etc).



Without specific information I'll go back to some of my old standby advice: You need good infrastructure first (dimmers, console, working circuits, good lighting positions, safe rigging, etc). It's hard and expensive (sometimes impossible) to rent infrastructure. You need a good FULL inventory of conventional equipment second. It gets expensive to rent conventional gear for every show, and it's frustrating not being able to complete the look you want. You need small toys third (lets say things that cost under $1000). You need big cool moving toys last. It's not that big of deal to rent a few toys on the rare occasions that you actually need them.
 
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Sean

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It's not that big of deal to rent a few toys on the rare occasions that you actually need them.
Well, it very much can be when your runs are 8-10 weeks or longer. It actually makes a big impact on my show budgets. If it is likely I'll use X at least once more in the next couple years, it often makes more sense to purchase vs. rent.

Just another perspective on "rent vs. buy"....

--Sean
 

Chaos is Born

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Ok, quick overview of the current setup:

Dimmers: 192 dimmers, basically one placed where ever you could hang a light, or within a 10 foot run on the side of the stage. (so no problems there)

Hanging Positions, more than you could ask for. (no problems there)

Building is only 2 years old, rigging is still good, done overview and inspections myself and with my boss and we agree its in great condition. (only have had to replace one hand-line)

Fixtures: All ETC Stock, More than needed strip lights, Asked for a few extra S4 barrels just for the rare times that 36 36degrees, 36 26degrees, 24 19degrees, and 24 50degrees, and 24 S4Pars with every lens isn't enough.

should have 10 scrollers (6 are out on repair for the last 5-6 months)

We have no other form of automation in our theatre.

We are requesting 2 Roll drops, and DMX control of our Grand Drape.

Over all, we were fairly well stocked in the begining lighting and sound wise for general wash with small color changes with scrollers.

Oh, also running a Strand 300 console that crashes about 50% of the time (keeping a record of it since they say they won't replace it unless they see proof)

I want to get 2 automated lights this year, new or used and good condition.

Sound we are well stocked on and just build inventory through the year as we need items usually.
 

gafftaper

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I guess thought number one is what good are the movers if you've got a board that can't stay conscious? There's nothing wrong with a 300 but if it's having problems fixing or replacing it should be at the top of your list.

Second thought is that maybe you should consider a variety of smaller toys before getting the two movers. You're looking at $10k-$30k for two good ones. How many scrollers/seachangers, I-cues/Right Arms, rotators, I-pros, infinity animators, etc... could you buy for that price. As usual I'm all for moving light gear, I just preach buying a full stock of the smaller effects you are more likely to use the most first.
 

Sean

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should have 10 scrollers (6 are out on repair for the last 5-6 months)

Over all, we were fairly well stocked in the begining lighting and sound wise for general wash with small color changes with scrollers.
Oh, also running a Strand 300 console that crashes about 50% of the time (keeping a record of it since they say they won't replace it unless they see proof)
Honestly, I'd get a new desk. Why do you have a Strand board and all ETC otherwise?

If your lighting dealer is taking 5 MONTHS to get gear back to you, you need to find somewhere else to do business.

--Sean
 
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Chaos is Born

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Yeah i know we need to find a new place to do business... our Apollo scrollers being sent back to the manufacturer and not returning isn't very nice...

What do you suggest being the first items on the smaller toys list? While I wouldn’t mind having more scrollers, I would like to have something different to show these people here… (some of the people here still go “ooh, ahh” to gobos)

The main reason I want some movers is cause of the lack of operators for shows and the number of people that request a “spot light”. As well as the number of bands that come through it would just be nice to have something fun to play with the background with.
 

Footer

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Personaly, I would look at the sea changers or enough scrollers to build a basic system first. As far as replacing your console, with as much shownet that you have in your space, you would be shooting yourself in the foot if you went with an ETC console or any other manufactuers enless you buy a few nodes change everything into shownet on the input side. Strand consoles run s4's just as well as anything else. Any movers you get at this point are not going to be all that useful because you simply won't have enough to do something besides the random special here or there. Look at the seachangers, maybe pick up an icue or a right arm to pick up those random spotlight things. You don't want to use something that costs a lot to repair and buy new lamps for to light a podium for a meeting night after night. I would really look at the right arm, get a DMX iris for it and throw a scroller that you allready have in stock on the front. At least then you have a time saving thing as in setup an parts that are usable in other locations.
 

gafftaper

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So is your facility a "road house" where it's travel lecture friday, Jazz Group on Tour Saturday, and elementary school musical all next week?

Also you might check with "Kelite" Keith about the status of you scrollers. He might be able to help you out.

For a Road house I would focus on things that give you as much variety bang for the buck so Scrollers are great. Right Arm/I-cue give you the ability to quickly reposition specials either for a single song or for a show. Put an instrument on a Right Arm with a scroller/seachanger and a remote DMX Iris and you've got quite a tool for specials. True you are getting up there into the price of a VL1000 or Revolution, but the benefit of doing it this way is you've got HPL lamp life and the versatility of four separate units (a color changing device, a repositioning device, an iris, and an instrument). You can use them all together for one show and you can use them in separate locations for the next show... you can't do that with a mover. That's why I'm such a fan of getting a good full collection of small toys before moving into the big ones. If you don't have the budget, you can buy a lot more versatility by investing in a variety of small toys.

How about a thousand bucks to fill up your gobo collection?

Have you seen those Gam SX4 devices. The multi gobo tray's would give you a lot of bang for your buck.

You might also want to look at some VL1000's or S4 Revolutions (there are MANY threads about the these two products). They'll get you some moving tricks without a lot of cash output and they'll match the color temperature of the rest of your rig.

Beyond that it starts to get very expensive.

But before all that get your console fixed or replaced first. See the many threads about the new strand consoles, Ion, EOS and Congo. My vote would be for a Congo... Jr for about $13k or preferably full size for about $23K (again search for many opinions). While there was nothing wrong with the Strand 300 it's old technology and it's not working right... ouch bad combo.

EDIT
While I was posting Footer said much of what I said. The only thing I would add is that you can buy one strand node (List about $700) and use it to input the ETC console into the shownet system and then leave the rest of the system alone. Also want to point out that I'm getting a Strand console for my new theater. There's nothing wrong with the Strand consoles except their poor customer service repuation and the fact you have to spend over $30,000 to get one with encoder wheels on the console.
 
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Chaos is Born

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Ok, in addition to the whole console thing, we already have 15 or so nodes placed around the theatre where ever you would want to plug something dmx in. All built into the architecture. So nodes arn't an issue. I forgot to include those into the index of basic idea of what we have.

So far this has been really helpful, since i don't get to be informed of how much our budget is... since i'm not in a position to know. I am just in a position to help my boss figure out what we should be looking at for the theatre and he makes the decisions on what we request, he just wants to make sure he isn't leaving anything out.
 

gafftaper

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The other point about getting a new console is that while the old console will do moving lights it isn't nearly as user friendly as one of the new ones would be. That means saving money on programing time. If you seriously go into movers a couple at a time in the future you'll be really glad to have a more mover friendly console. I don't know if EOS/ION has it but Congo's effects generator is really cool. It can create all kinds of simple moving light tricks almost instantly making quick reprogramming a breeze for you.
 

ship

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A cattle prod to inspire my crew & Larger work area.
 
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What Rigger?

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Hey Gaff:

AMEN!

Indeed, get your rigging inspected annually. Yep, I said annually. It's just the best way to go. But within the last 5 years is good/common, too. You'd be suprised how much nicer life is after your system gets a 'tune up'.
 

Footer

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There is always the DMX shock collar.

You might also want to throw 2 to 4 chain motors on that list. Never know when you might want to hang a truss US/DS in the wings or hang a truss out in the house. Or... you have that piece that it is impractical to get it off the deck even with multiple bull lines and all that good stuff.
 

icewolf08

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The other point about getting a new console is that while the old console will do moving lights it isn't nearly as user friendly as one of the new ones would be. That means saving money on programing time. If you seriously go into movers a couple at a time in the future you'll be really glad to have a more mover friendly console. I don't know if EOS/ION has it but Congo's effects generator is really cool. It can create all kinds of simple moving light tricks almost instantly making quick reprogramming a breeze for you.
Strand consoles, including the 300 series have a pretty good set of built in effects for intelligent lighting. You just have to tell it to patch the shape channels when you patch the fixtures and then you have direct access to pre-programmed ideas like circles, squares, triangles, etc. I have not worked directly with Congo, but before the Congo, EOS and ION, Strand, IMO had a much better ML package than ETC.

If you are using a strand 300 now, you are probably in the target market for the ION. On the other hand, if you don't want to deal with the strand to ETC infrastructure change, the Strand Palette series may be worth looking into. I suppose the real question I have in terms of infrastructure, is are your DMX drops just drops or are they nodes like the SN110 or SN103? Because if they are just drops it is real easy to upgrade.

I was able to get a lot of things that were on my wish list last season. I did get a couple big toys, MLs. We use them on a regular basis. But I would still love to have smaller things like SEAChangers which I didn't get last year. And chances are, given what we spent on lighting last season, I won't get much more than my budget this season, so I save every penny I can and buy whatever I can at the end of the year. I suppose the point of that little story is that sometimes the big things are nice, but the small stuff would be great.
 

Chaos is Born

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Ok, After checking the stock of what we have in our theatre and realizing that it is in fact not our Apollo Scrollers that are out on repair, but our Wybron Scrollers that are out on repair, i would like to apologize for the mix-up and clarify that we haven't had any problems with our apollo scrollers since we have had them.
 

Kelite

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<should have 10 scrollers (6 are out on repair for the last 5-6 months)>

Wow Chaos, that seems like a REALLY long time. When scrollers get sick or get dropped off the truss, we diagnose/repair and return them in a few days.

This reminds me of the Grinch, when confronted by Cindy Ly Who, stating "There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side. So I'm taking it home to my work shop, my dear. I'll fix it up there, then I'll bring it back here. "

Yeah right.


Where exactly are these color scrollers?
 

gafftaper

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Hey Keith did you see the message Chaos posted presumably while you were writing your message? It's all Wybron gear, not Apollo.