Taylor, who has "been there" as a guest LD at dance festivals where companies
perform in quick succession, has noted the constraints and compromises often
imposed on visiting lighting designers. For the Fall for Dance festival at New
York City Center, by contrast, "we have done whatever we can to say ‘Yes' and
to answer the companies' needs for seven years. We hung some companies'
specific light plots. We put up huge sets - like a full trampoline set for
Elizabeth Streb in 2004 - and we pulled down these sets during a pause. We put
up trapeze rigs; took away all the masking. We want the audience to see the
real vision of the companies. So to accomplish this, the light plot is
necessarily large. We have nearly 40 moving lights and nearly 60 scrollers on
various kinds of units so that we can do a lot of color changing and different
focusing. If the moving lights cannot cover what the company needs for special
focuses, we hang additional lights wherever they are needed. For instance, this
year, for one 10-minute solo by Emanuel Gat, we hang 37 lights. In the past, we
rented 10K lights or different kinds of moving lights like Martin 2Ks when
somebody needed them for specific reasons. Russell Maliphant Company did a
beautiful piece in the festival this year. Lighting for the piece was done with
a 20,000-lumen projector hung facing straight down over the stage, and
everything else was taken away. The projection was timed to the dancer, who
followed the projection. We rented the Catalyst system and the projector for
Taylor, interviewed by Tuce Yasak for "PLSN Interview," April 2011
an automated lighting programmer is actually a lot like being a contestant on a
game show...In the popular Minute to Win It
show, for example, contestants are given one minute
to complete a task using common household items. The more rounds they complete,
the more money they win. An automated lighting programmer usually has to work
under extreme time constraints to complete the programming of a show. For
instance, you might have to program 20 songs for a tour in just a few days. In
many cases, the LD will describe the task at hand (a particular chase for
instance) and expect it to be programmed in the next few minutes using the
tools within your desk. If you cannot complete the programming to his
expectations, then you will lose the round and likely not work with this LD
again. However, if you complete all the programming tasks in the allotted time,
then you become a champion and will get to move on to further rounds and
possible continued employment.
Schiller, from "Feeding the Machines," PLSN, April 2011
It is quite
strange to me when a large quantity of devices in shows are used just in a
minimal way because the budget does not allow the proper programming time. So
why spend a lot of resources to feed the machines? I'm not against the huge
show - far from it. It is again a question of balance between the creative
forces and the physical forces required.
Aldo Visentin, as quoted by Debi Moen, PLSN Interview, March 2011
One of the
major hurdles for supporting the visuals for Colin Quinn: Long Story Short
on Broadway was the time it took to
create and render the images, according to David Gallo, scenic and visual
designer for the production. He says that for a modest project in the Helen
Hayes Theatre, there was a tremendous amount of computer power that went into
it, and the rendering time was one of the things that made it so difficult.
"You would come up with an idea and want to make a change, then it would take
24 hours or more to see what it was you were coming up with. We've gotten into
a culture of immediacy with computers that people don't realize that when
you're doing stuff on this massive a scale, it really takes some serious time
to put into it."
Reesman, from "Inside Theatre," PLSN, March 2011
today involve combining multiple layers of video content, either on a single
display screen or across multiple screens of various resolutions. When you're
working with a media server, there are some tricks that you can take advantage
of to set up the scale, aspect ratio, and X & Y position palettes to reduce
the need to resize your content ahead of time...Since media servers are so
flexible, they allow previously-rendered content to be quickly and cleanly
resized to match almost any type of pixel configuration of a display device.
The alignment rectangle feature of the Mbox EXtreme v3 greatly simplifies the
process of mapping out the pixels within the raster of a display device. Give
this feature a try the next time you are mapping content to a display if it
requires sizing and scaling, and you'll free up more brain-time to dream up
creative visuals for the stage.
Claiborne, from "Video Digerati," PLSN, Marc 2011
Production Resource Group (PRG), acquired New York-based AV post facility Pow!
Pix. This marks PRG's entry into the rental of post-production equipment and
services sector, enabling it to offer on-site editing for live event and other
broadcasts, as well as traditional post-production services in its seven video
editing suites and two mix rooms. The Pow! Pix acquisition forms the basis of
the company's new PRG Media Services division, which will be headed by PRG vice
president Mike Perrone and Pow! Pix's former principal Bob Barzyk...[The
acquisition] lays the groundwork for PRG to add streaming those same events to
its menu card. "Streaming is going to have to look more like broadcast; it's going
to have to offer the same kinds of high production values that people have
become used to in broadcast, like [high definition] video," says Perrone. "This
is a sector that we've been eyeing for some time."
Daley, from "The Biz," PLSN, Mar. 2011
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that computers would double in power
approximately every two years. His prediction became known as Moore's law.
Later on, Intel CEO Andy Grove coined his own law, with his tongue planted
firmly in cheek, predicting that networking speed would double every 100 years.
Grove was lamenting the fact that, at the time, networking speed had not kept
up with computer power. That was then. Today, computer network technology has
improved to the point where we are able to transport huge amounts of data over
copper, wire, and fiber. That's why we can stream videos to our laptops using
Netflix and Hulu, and why new televisions can connect to the Internet. It's
also why the live event production industry is being inundated with network
technology. You can hardly swing a disconnect switch by its feeder tails
without hitting a network-connected console, media server or computer. If we're
going to be in this business for long, we had better get comfy with the
Cadena, from "Focus on Fundamentals," PLSN, Mar. 2011
first thing a programmer should do when learning about a one-off concert is to
ask for a copy of the music and a set list. As the concert is based on the music, this is of utmost
importance...Once I have the music, I listen to each song and create a chart for
each...After building my palettes/presets, I will usually dive right in and start
creating cues from my notes for each song. I do not worry about the nuances and instead build big
chunks of looks to correspond with each cue. As with any concert, I create a page per song, with a master
cuelist for each song. I label
everything as I go so that I know the song and cue with which I am working.
Once all this is done, I create a number of additional playbacks to intermix
with any of the cues at any time.
In most cases, these will live on a template page so that they are
available for all playbacks. These
live manipulation playbacks include color bumps or fades, ballyhoos, audience
blinders, flyouts and strobe cues.
By combining these live with the basic pre-recorded cues, I can create
an exciting and energetic concert during the event.
Schiller, from "Feeding the Machines," PLSN, Mar. 2011
Drive-Ins, San Rafael, CA, started refurbishing their drive-ins about four years
ago. At one location in Concord, CA, the projection stats at the Concord
"digital" drive-in are impressive.
At your average walk-in, the distance between rows is 43 inches, screen
width (for a typical 300 seat multiplex) is around 36 feet, and the "throw"
distance from projector to screen is approximately 60 feet. At the Concord drive-in, the distance
between rows is measured in car lengths, screen width is a huge 75 feet, and
the throw is a remarkable 465 feet.
This throw required the biggest digital cinema projector that Barco
makes, the liquid-cooled DP2K-32B, with an output of 33,000 lumens...Drive-ins
were dormant for years, but with a little enterprise in a family-friendly
atmosphere and new digital projection technology, this has the makings of a
delightful old (yet very new) way to spend an evening. Perhaps the trend will
be continue and come to a digital drive-in theater near you.
Berliner, from "Video World," PLSN, Feb. 2011
lighting programmers are responsible for more than just mastering their console
of choice. A programmer must also understand the capabilities and functions of
the fixtures under their command. Quite often, an LD will specify a fixture
type without knowing all the capabilities, or a lighting company may substitute
one fixture type for another. In addition, fixtures contain various modes that
can greatly affect the abilities of the fixture. Automated lighting programmers
need to be aware of the fixtures they are programming and educate themselves
about the details of each unit. Recently, I received the plot for an upcoming
production, and I noticed that it had a new type of wash fixture that I had
never used before. I had just seen these in action at LDI a few months before.
So the first thing I did was to go to the manufacturer's website and read the
specifications on the unit. This gave me a basic understanding of the features
set and various configuration modes. I also downloaded the user manual and DMX
protocol. The next step was to locate a fixture library for my console. Since I
knew this was a brand new fixture, I assumed that the library was not in the
current software for my fixture. However, I went to the console website to
double check. After confirming it was not in the software, I headed to their
online forum to look for a download of the library. Sure enough, it was right
there waiting for me; so I downloaded it and loaded it into my show file. Had
it not been available, I had plenty of time to request one before my gig.
Schiller, from "Feeding the Machines," PLSN, Feb. 2011