Arts Festival 1 – Stage Team

The Arts Festival, otherwise known as HE Festival has begun, starting with us working on the stage team. The first three shows have all taken place, one after the other. To assist with the scene changes, I created a running sheet that details all of the changes and gives a layout of everything. The show has three acts, with intervals between each.

Act 1

Arts Fest 1 - Act 1 Stage Plan
The first act, was also the most complex. It consisted of a full living room set. The set was designed to be run down as it is owned by a blind man who is incapable of looking after himself. As shown in the plan above, this is also the show that was using the lamp post, stage practical. As you can see this is set Stage Left, in front of the down stage tabs. This was only used briefly with the majority of the act taking place stage right.

Act 2

Arts Fest 1 - Act 2 Stage Plan
The second act was simpler than the first consisting of a centre stage kitchen. The kitchen had a oven in the centre, which the theatre already had. Either side of that was a piece of stackable rostra (2 High). Stage Left of the oven was a special rostra construction that housed a sink. On the rostra was a microwave and kettle. Finally there was a table and chair set, was covered and had four cups set on it.

Act 3

Arts Fest 1 - Act 3
The final act was the simplest, consisting only of rostra placed around the stage, which were moved through out the performance by the actors.

To assist with all of the changes, I created a running sheet with all of the changes that need to take place between the acts. This is pictured below.

Arts Fest 1 - Stage Running Order

Hall of the Mountain King Lighting Video

As proof of our ability to program a show, we produced a light show to the music “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. Below is the video of the show I produced for this task, however, we were not the operators, which resulted in the show being out from the music in several areas as the operators had never seen our piece.

Using Capture Argo and Capture Polar with a prebuilt model of the theatre, we pre-visualised the show and programmed it into Nomad. This allows us to transfer the file to the venue’s Ion for playback. After creating the show, we moved onto the venue’s lighting rig to fine tune the show for things such as focusing moving lights, this was important as all of the movers were backwards in Capture. It also allowed us to test some effects that we couldn’t test in Capture due to computer speeds. Below is the video evidence of the show being operated by another student.

Below you can download all of the file produced for this task, including the show file, data exports, Capture model and the Cue timings for the song.

TEDx Leicester – Rigging

Today was the technical’s for this years TEDx Leicester Conference. We started by dropping several lighting bar’s in to working height from the deck.

The rig is mainly Fresnels and PC’s hung above the conference section where there are tables set out. Most of the bars didn’t have enough ways on the IWB so this meant running several Soca runs to the bars, where there was a breakout hung on the bar. From this breakout we run TRS to above the fixture, allowing us to replace the fixture easily if we need to.

There was also a Source 4 wash of the stage with a special and a gobo breakup wash. The breakup wash was over the conference seating area, provided by four Source 4 zooms, two in front and two rear. The wash was provided by four Source 4 zooms all of which were FOH, with the fifth providing a special for the TEDx sign. Above the stage was three 2K Fresnels, all of which had a scrollers and barndoors on the front. This however required removing a set of barndoors from one fixture and attaching it to another using a Torx screwdriver as there are no clips on the front of the scroller.

Finally, we flashed through the rig, patched the channels and focused the rig. Unfortunately the Android remote wasn’t working which resulted in one person having to remain at the desk whilst another worked on there own in the auditorium. This slowed progress so, shortly before we finished the day, we put all of the fresnels on and sped through them.

New Rig, New Patch: Part 1

Before starting the busiest section of the year, the annual HE Festival (Higher Education Festival), the Sue Townsend Theatre under goes a bit of maintenance. Part of that is time for the second year students (Who act as the designers for the shows) to request changes to the lighting rig. This year there were only a few changes that needed to be made, mainly adding a three colour Cyc wash, moving a few Mac 700 Profiles and refocusing. However, whilst all of this was taking place, the theatres patch was cleared, organised and re-done.

Originally, the theatre followed a ‘patch where-ever is free’ system, however, this quickly becomes problematic when using a one to one patch on the desk. As such we took the opportunity to base the patch on the dimmers phasing. This allows us to keep the phase’s separate and easy to see, whilst also giving us a structure to work with. As such, it was necessary to find out exactly how the dimmers phase. This meant digging out manuals for our old dimmers, comprising of three Strand SMT 20 racks, a Permus 24 rack and two ACT 6 dimmers. To accompany this, I referenced the building’s own documentation, some of which dated back to 1994. The most useful of this was the report from Stage Electrics which shows the exact dimmer phasing for the entire system.

Next up was to mark up all of the phasing in a few places, first off we needed to mark it on the dimmers, then we need to mark up the patch panel. Below is a series of photos showing all of the new marking’s ready and waiting to begin patching.

Then, working from a hand drawn plan from the second years and the technical director, I began to patch from the most up stage bar, working down stage. Lights are mostly patched following the simple pattern, stage right to stage left. The only exception is when jumping to another address block was necessary to ensure that the phase remained the same.

Next up was testing, flashing and fixing. We started by glowing the entire rig at a low intensity and moving the moving lights around. This ensured that all of the movers had power and allowed us to easily and visibly see exactly what fixtures were working. Then, we slowly made our way around the rig, fixing broken fixtures and focusing as we go. This involved a few PAR Lamp changes and the odd dimmer fuse changing. This worked until we discovered a fault with one of our dimmers (#25 – B.5) and had to re-patch a single fixture to a different address block.

When we were finished, we were left with a working, mostly neat patch, that followed simple phasing rules. Below is the finalised patch.

As the first image shows, the entire Non Dim patch is labelled with what fixture is on the end of it. This allows for a Non Dim to be easily added or pulled and allows for a tech to make the decision of where to put a new fixture based on whats already on the circuit, for example, adding the fixture to the circuit with the mirror ball would make sense as that circuit will have a lower demand compared to any other circuit.

The patch will always remain a dynamic and fluid part of lighting, however, for now, it is neat and clean. Part 2 will contain all of the paper work for the new rig and details of it in it’s final form, as there are still a few fixture’s to put up.

Building a few practicals

An upcoming show at Sue Townsend Theatre, requires some set practicals. The first of which is simply a house-hold style light dangling from the grid. The theatre has one of these in stock so most of the work was already done, we simply had to find it, and ensure that it works. Unfortunately, it had been dismantled since it was last used. To repair the item, I needed to rewire the lamp socket. Below is a picture of the finished socket, wired and ready for testing.

This was the simple practical. This will be hung from a lighting bar as part of the scenery and patched into the lighting system. The second practical is for the same show, however, is required for the outdoor scene to help create some contrast between the two main scenes. It is again a simple house-hold style lighting fixture, however, will be used with the built into a make-shift lamp-post. The lamp-post has been constructed, with the main structure being made from a steel scaffold pole and a tank-trap. To help create a better lamp-post, the body will be shaped with a cardboard carpet inner tube, which will also be used to create the top reflector. To create this, I found some spare parts (Cable and a 15A plug) and a second year student purchased a lamp socket whilst fetching other supplies for the show. Below is a picture of the finished plug before the outer cover was replaced.

Finally, the lamp post in action during a rehearsal, the lamp post is powered via a dimmer without a load lamp.

Stage Practical - Lamp Post

Curve Studio – Colour Call

As part of my Technical Theatre Course, we produced a Colour Call for the local venue, Curve. Below is the Colour Call and Gobo Call for the Studio Saturation Rig V1.3 and Curve.

Curve Colour Call

This shows each fixture used in the lighting plan down the left side of the table. Along the top of the table, are the colour’s the Gobo and a column for the total number of fixtures used. The first section is the colours, these were taken from the lighting plan so there are a mixture of exact and descriptive colours. The second section is for any Gobos in the lighting plan however, the plan only features a single descriptive gobo, used for a breakup. Lastly is the total number of fixture used.

Mercury 2015 – Technical

Mercury, the touring Queen Tribute band, visited The Concordia Theatre recently, bringing in two sell out nights at the venue. I was the lighting designer for the theatres equipment, designing to the bands rider and assisting with their get in. Bellow is a time-lapse video of the second half of the show, operated by the bands touring technician, Ian Sands.

The show toured with the PAR Cans at the back, the raised platform, two smoke machines and the flood lights under the stairs. All other lighting was provided by the venue. Below is the main LX plan, it doesn’t include the Back Pars, they are on a second plan further down.

Mercury 2015 LX Plan


Their are four pipe end Source Four Zooms, these were used to provide a breakup for the stage each being focused across the stage with a leaf breakup gobo. These were the only things on LX 3 being used. They were also effective at providing some top and side light for the drummer sitting on the riser. This was useful for some of the more dramatic scenes.

Throughout, there are a number of specials including, the keyboard player, the drummer, the guitarist, the bass player and a down stage centre spot. To help with general face light, there are six Source Four Zooms on the back roof bridge (FOH 1) focused across the stage to create an even wash.

Finally, there are six sets on four PAR Cans, used to create the classic Queen colour wash, which matches the bands touring PAR Cans. Four of these sets are on the stage Ladders behind the Pros. Arch ad LX 2, while the other two sets are on the FOH ladders. Below is the plan for the bands toured PAR Cans at the back (Directly Behind the raised section).

Mercury 2015 - Back Pars LX Plan

For simplicity, the PARs at the back are being run from the same dimmers that would usually provide the middle section of LX 3 with dimmers, simply removing this section’s Soca cabling and inserting two Soca cables to run LX 4. This allowed us to save the patchable dimmers for use elsewhere and allows for a quicker get in, which was important due to it being put in the same day as the first show. These PAR Cans where attached to short sections of Truss and hung from a fly bar at the back.

The final piece of paperwork is the venue patch plan. This is the final piece of information that would allow us to put the show in again, showing us exactly where all of the lighting are patched, how they are patched and all of the addresses.

Mercury 2015 - LX Patch Sheet

Humpty Dumpty LED Cards

So it’s panto time again, with it brings a magnitude of lighting rarely scene on other shows. With a lighting rig of more than 40 moving lights designed by Pete Watts of Live LX, there is always lots to do. This year, the Pros. Arch was covered in 10 giant playing cards, a major theme throughout the show.

Below is the demo video for these 10 cards, all of which are DMX controlled using the venues ETC Ion.

As you can see, the two bottom cards aren’t working. This was unfortunately due to us waiting for the parts required to make the controllers break out box to be delivered. The system uses three DMX RGB controllers. Each set of RGB data is output at the full 12 volts through 4 pin cable to a break out box. These breakout boxes are behind the cards and use three two-pole speaker terminals. Each one of the connectors output one of the RGB channels.

The cards all feature a single RGB LED strip around the edge of the card. This is hidden by a lip on the card, the light reflecting of the white background of the card. These required one breakout each meaning that in total, 10 breakout boxes were used for the card edges. Each of the cards features number of symbols, for example the bottom left card (Stage Right) feature 5 heart shaped symbols. These symbols use a single colour LED strip, the red suits feature Red LED’s, the black suits feature White LEDS. In total there were 34 symbols each requiring it’s own channel. For simplicity, 12 breakout boxes were used. These left two extra channels in the centre of the Pros. Arch.

The system also allowed us to use a LED strip as a moon box. The backdrop that can be seen in the video features a small moon above the lake. This is now been lit by a simple box hung directly behind with White LED around the edge and a tin foil backing. This lights the moon up giving a fantastic effect during a dark scene in the show.

Server Change

The website is now running on the new dedicated server, however in the process of migrating, much of the old content has been lost. From this point on the site will take a more lighting related post schedule. Featuring a heavy theatre based look at lighting technology.

Look out for the new posts to come soon.