Your go-tos

What are the automatic basics that you build when creating a new show file. I'm relatively new and I've been going through manuals both digital and physical, listening to and watching YouTube and other instructional videos. While it's nice to know what everything a console can do, I'm curious to some of the tips and techniques from the community here. I'm having fun playing around with the possibilities for different shows and everything but most of it is busking and completely pulling something out of thin Air. But what're some must haves basics for lighting. General go-tos and should haves. In terms of programming, physical fixture positions.

I'm working in a theater venue. What I would consider mid-size as I've got 3LX pipes above stage(16 channels each plus LX2 & LX1 have two lustr series two with fresnel lenses in DMX). My Front of House has 18 channels(two currently not operational) with two lustr's with zoom lenses. I have 2 pocket alcoves lower and further back than front of house lights. 2 channels in each alcove. Approximately 10 channels in floor pockets on the stage itself. Needless to say I feel like a kid again when I was given a Lite Brite. I'm really loving the environment and hoping this could turn into a full time position. Thanks for any feedback!
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Well, I'm but a baby LD, but what I've stolen from others was...

97 work lights for setup
98 walkin lights
99 house half
N00 blackout
N01 first cue
... and so on, and you can break up that first digit by act, or by scene (I did Beehive, and I had cues through 2613)
N97 end-of-scene blackout
N98 house full (if needed)
N99 house half

And you can repeat 97 at the end or just Goto Cue it manually.

And you can program submasters/faders/bumps for specific things, or to program; when I did Beehive, I had
18 faders for the 6 segments of our MR16 top and bottom cycs, and then a big batch of other ones for every white light in the right, so I could program a manual chase -- those two sets were on other pages from the ones usually visible.

You always want house and works on faders too, if you can manage it.

This is the category of stuff you're looking for?

Look through older shows already programmed on the desk, and step through them, to see what happens...
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
First and foremost, It is good to have a primary hang that covers your major stage areas that DOESNT CHANGE in a major way.

I'm talking from the school/community theater world. You won't have the time to re hang and re patch the basics every time, but unless there is some policy in place you will have some nerd come in and try to re invent the wheel, chan ge everything, costing you hours of time. The geometry of your stage doesn't change, you need to cover the same areas, cyc, downwash etc.

Our primary hang (large wide and deep stage) 3 instruments on the FOH on each of 5 primary downstage areas ... used to be source four warm/neutral/cool Now lucky enought that they are 2 lustrs and 1 phoenix LED for each area. First electric has similar 5 areas 3 instruments each.. Still souce fours gelled warm and cool with a Color changing Propar V12 as the center. Downlights in 3 rows are 12 opti tri par LED (would like to have more) Cyc is 8 Toughstick RGBAW. 2 cheap chinese movers on each the FOH and the first electric. Mix of old fresnels and ETC parnels for side lighting hanging from the electrics.. our side stage is too crowded for side trees. Finally an arsenal of old altman elipses, Etc source fours various lenses, ancient fresnels, some random led par fixtures for specials and times we have to have a true 3rd row of areas depending on scenery and blocking. If we do a 3rd row it's usually 4 areas of 2 instruments.. whatever is left in the inventory. We still use footlights to fill problem areas since we have a very low proscenium and severe cutoff on set pieces and drops otherwise.

I can't say enough about how much better actors look when you use multiple lights from differing angles and color to give depth.


We have a policy in place at at least 2 theaters I have worked with. Leave it alone, or document and return it to what it was.

Sure you can hang specials.. sure you can re aim to cover elevations. But why in the world waste the time and effort to re address LED's or repatch everything to each individuals taste. You won't have a crew of electricians to call down orders to from the booth.

I work primarily on the ETC ion, and I have become a great lover of the magic sheet graphic of our hang. We used to have similar functionality with the myriad of faders on the old ETC 96.. could set them so they sort of logically represented the physical hang. Artists tape on the bottom of the fader row with labeling is still easier for me to read than the display on the ion fader wing.

I may program lots of subs for setup and aim (and smoke and haze) and building the show, but during a show I rarely page through to use anything but the first page on the fader list. In the end most of my shows just run cue to cue.. with the occasional hand triggered lightning (because the pain of creating the effect was just not worth it)

I agree on having the house lights on a fader you can just reach for almost blindly.

Sorry if this is long winded.. and don't want to appear to be talking down, not knowing your experience level. I have just sort of learned and "made it up as I go along" for years now. I have still barely scratched the surface of the board's capabilities, but I have my toolkit of go to tricks, and go to the manual when I want to do something out of the ordinary for me.

As to cue numbers... I use the page number system.. every cue corresponds to the page in the script with multiples on a page using decimals. Pretty easy to fall asleep at the wheel or lose your place if there is some emergency/disaster/tech problem/someone talking to you about something of importance to them/self inflicted lighting wound. If I lose my place, a quick glance at either the script or the display tells me immediately how to coordinate the two.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
First and foremost, It is good to have a primary hang that covers your major stage areas that DOESNT CHANGE in a major way.

I'm talking from the school/community theater world. You won't have the time to re hang and re patch the basics every time, but unless there is some policy in place you will have some nerd come in and try to re invent the wheel, chan ge everything, costing you hours of time. The geometry of your stage doesn't change, you need to cover the same areas, cyc, downwash etc.

Our primary hang (large wide and deep stage) 3 instruments on the FOH on each of 5 primary downstage areas ... used to be source four warm/neutral/cool Now lucky enought that they are 2 lustrs and 1 phoenix LED for each area. First electric has similar 5 areas 3 instruments each.. Still souce fours gelled warm and cool with a Color changing Propar V12 as the center. Downlights in 3 rows are 12 opti tri par LED (would like to have more) Cyc is 8 Toughstick RGBAW. 2 cheap chinese movers on each the FOH and the first electric. Mix of old fresnels and ETC parnels for side lighting hanging from the electrics.. our side stage is too crowded for side trees. Finally an arsenal of old altman elipses, Etc source fours various lenses, ancient fresnels, some random led par fixtures for specials and times we have to have a true 3rd row of areas depending on scenery and blocking. If we do a 3rd row it's usually 4 areas of 2 instruments.. whatever is left in the inventory. We still use footlights to fill problem areas since we have a very low proscenium and severe cutoff on set pieces and drops otherwise.

I can't say enough about how much better actors look when you use multiple lights from differing angles and color to give depth.


We have a policy in place at at least 2 theaters I have worked with. Leave it alone, or document and return it to what it was.

Sure you can hang specials.. sure you can re aim to cover elevations. But why in the world waste the time and effort to re address LED's or repatch everything to each individuals taste. You won't have a crew of electricians to call down orders to from the booth.

I work primarily on the ETC ion, and I have become a great lover of the magic sheet graphic of our hang. We used to have similar functionality with the myriad of faders on the old ETC 96.. could set them so they sort of logically represented the physical hang. Artists tape on the bottom of the fader row with labeling is still easier for me to read than the display on the ion fader wing.

I may program lots of subs for setup and aim (and smoke and haze) and building the show, but during a show I rarely page through to use anything but the first page on the fader list. In the end most of my shows just run cue to cue.. with the occasional hand triggered lightning (because the pain of creating the effect was just not worth it)

I agree on having the house lights on a fader you can just reach for almost blindly.

Sorry if this is long winded.. and don't want to appear to be talking down, not knowing your experience level. I have just sort of learned and "made it up as I go along" for years now. I have still barely scratched the surface of the board's capabilities, but I have my toolkit of go to tricks, and go to the manual when I want to do something out of the ordinary for me.

As to cue numbers... I use the page number system.. every cue corresponds to the page in the script with multiples on a page using decimals. Pretty easy to fall asleep at the wheel or lose your place if there is some emergency/disaster/tech problem/someone talking to you about something of importance to them/self inflicted lighting wound. If I lose my place, a quick glance at either the script or the display tells me immediately how to coordinate the two.
I have become accustomed to hearing that described as the rep, or repertory, plot, for the lighting of a theater, and it's interesting to me that you didn't use that phrase. Is that just a "come up out of the trenches" thing?
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
I didn't call it a rep plot (though I do at times) because of not fully knowing the audience. Also rep plot sort of suggests that you're doing multiple shows in the same space in rotation over a given period of time. But yeah.. rep plot works for me. or primary hang. or "We will hang you by your thumbs and hunt down your descendants if you...."
 

jonliles

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
As to cue numbers... I use the page number system.. every cue corresponds to the page in the script with multiples on a page using decimals. Pretty easy to fall asleep at the wheel or lose your place if there is some emergency/disaster/tech problem/someone talking to you about something of importance to them/self inflicted lighting wound. If I lose my place, a quick glance at either the script or the display tells me immediately how to coordinate the two.
I really like that! I did cues by acts. LX112. Act 1 cue 12.
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
I didn't call it a rep plot (though I do at times) because of not fully knowing the audience. Also rep plot sort of suggests that you're doing multiple shows in the same space in rotation over a given period of time. But yeah.. rep plot works for me. or primary hang. or "We will hang you by your thumbs and hunt down your descendants if you...."
Another common term is "House Plot", more when talking about a venue that does a lot of rentals and such and has a regular plot that is always returned to. You either use the house plot or pay to change it and restore it.

Go to's? Depends greatly.

My House Plot Showfile is on an ETC ION Xe, and has all of my fixtures patched and I have a nice magic sheet to hand people. I have a few things pre-programmed, including some presets, groups, effects and macros. I haven't bothered building a in-console magicsheet for this venue as I wouldn't really use it much as is anyways. Most touring theatre shows won't be using my showfile or house plot at all. Another venue I sometimes work at has a nice magic sheet built.
Basically, a few things that I know I'll be using again and again that make programming quicker and easier.
I have a few submasters pre-programmed so I can "throw and go" on something like a corporate event or what have you. Nothing too elaborate, I'll program ques with nice looks usually for most anything.
As mentioned I always have any atmospherics set up with submasters... If programmed into the cues I'll have an inhibitive sub to limit or kill atmospherics. I also always have a shielded sub for house lights so it won't get programmed into cues.

My house plot has been developed over the years just to give the general "what most everyone wants", and I can quickly make modifications or add specials as needed to suit any event. The main idea is front light and toplight in every area, and slightly broader side light for some added pop and colour. At least one basic gobo wash that I can quickly swap gobos on, but usually using my "go to" generic is fine is a great thing to incorporate IMO.
Other than that most things are on a "per production" basis. This will of course vary with the scale and scope of the venue and typical uses.
Some spaces I know have a full general "dance plot" including booms as their general house plot (does not work in my space).
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
I love reading these notes and miss all of this. We have one space that we control and it has a Rep Plot. Unfortunately it’s powered by a Strand Light Pallete. So everytime I have to go in the space it’s relearning everything about the console. We do exactly what everyone has mentioned. The hang stays and we adjust a few fixtures for lecterns, bands, and flags. Adding in uplights is a pita but still fun to make fun looks on the drape.
My suggestion to you would be to set up your showfile with your patch and main looks on your subs. Save that and keep it in your pocket for the eventual time someone comes through and erases you plot or just mangles it beyond repair.
 

Crisp image

Well-Known Member
We have a Sq1 rig. It is where it all gets reset back to after anything. It covers a general stage wash with some specials ready focused on lectern positions and DSC. we also have Colour pallets, Focus Pallets and some subs recorded with some "looks". A magic sheet is there and a few effects that have been built for the rig.
Regards
Geoff
 

Lextech

Well-Known Member
I tend to set up a busking console even if I'm lighting a play, opera or dance, it makes it easier for me to program quickly. In this day of LEDS and movers I always have magic sheets set up by position that include the same color pallets buttons on each page. Another trick I like is as I save color pallets I number them by gel number. Since Lee and Rosco generally don't overlap on most colors it works well for me. That way even if it's not on a button, I know that color pallet 181 will be Congo blue.
 

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