Skip to main content

Hey all. Stupid newbie question here. So here is the scoop. I have been using compuware for about 6 months, and it has been perfect for my show. I use the easy show timeline, and have all the lighting sinked perfectly to the music.
So, just for fun, I bought a elation operator pro, just to play with, etc. But I am getting frustated. How the heck do you get it time accurate? do you have to sit there with a calculator, and add up all the hold and fade times, or what? Maybe I am missing the point.

Second question. Live music. Thus far, all the shows I have worked with have been to pre recorded music, and thus I have been able to have complete control of the timing. Now I have to do some work with a band, and I am starting to freak. How do you do it? Do I just program a lot of scenes and flip through them when I feel like it? Or do I do my best with the chase timing? I know there is probably not a "standard way" to do it, but what do the rest of you do when it comes to lighting a concert?

Thanks so much.


P.S. I am going off to school the end of april, and I will have a ton of light gear to sell, and I would be thrilled to give you all a sweet deal, caus this forum has been such a big help to me.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

drew, are you talking about timing the DMX operator pro shows?
If so, yes, you have to time it all with calculators and a bit of calculus!

Regading live shows, you basically have to have a live operator.
That's the way its done in the real world.
You have all your cues (scenes) all stacked up nicely in a show (cycle) in the order your going to play them.
Then for timing you set them to "GO".
"GO" allows the scene to cue up till you hit "GO" again then it take you the the next scene in the show.
so you basically have an operator hitting the "GO" button to a preprogrammed show.

Best regards,
Depends on the show Drew. More complicated shows generally have time to program, and its just like Elation_Pro said, someone hitting 'Go'. Sometimes, it is linked to time code, so no one is even hitting go. Cruise ships are a good example, all the shows run off of time code, and the show starts when the sound guy hits play.

The fun shows are the ones you have no idea what you are getting into. It is even more fun with movers. Running movers on the fly is often called busking. More powerful consoles like the Hog 3 or Grand Ma have full blown effects engines in them to make busking an easier task. They also have unlimited cue lists so you can run many scenes and/or cues at once.

The other big thing is if the console is tracking or cue-only. Makes a huge difference in how you can run your show.

Long story short, there isn't a standard way. Depends on the show, your console, your school of thought, time involved, and a few other things. There are shows in which I can program yet choose to run on the fly for more effect. There are some shows that I program part of the show and run the other part on the fly. Then there are shows in which I program the whole thing. I even did a dance concert in which the show had a 40 minute long dance piece, and I program the console to run itself. Meaning I program follow times in every cue so I only had to hit 'Go' once and that was it. So figure out what works for you and your situation the best and go with it.
One of the other ways that lighting works for bands is the method I had to work with.

Since a lot of bands do not adhere to a set list and like to switch things up and call things on the fly, the lighting director (and sound engineer as well) has to be just as equally flexible.

So, I would have to just program a number of scenes and keep them available on submasters and bump buttons so I could create the appropriate scenes, chases, and punches on the fly.

If I operated off of a cue list, I would have been out of luck when something changed on the fly. So, if you're working with predetermined set lists (that are adhered to), then you can program each song down to the little stuff and be totally safe hitting "GO" each time you need to activate a cue change.

If the bands make changes and call stuff aside from the set list, then you'll just need to program a bunch of scenes and chases that you can keep handy on bump buttons or something to be readily available as needed, so you can make the right selection.

PS - don't forget to program in your blackouts and in-between song lighting, you know, where bands like to talk to the crowd and all.

Out of order isn't as much a problem on cue lists as one may think. As long as you label stuff and are fast, the 'Go to' button is your best friend. I did a dance concert last year with about 500 cues, and it went in a different order each night. So I named each scene and programed in blocks. Like scene one was cues 10 thru 19 with 19 being the blackout, allowing me to record pre-load cues from 19.1-19.9. Worked well. It also gave each number a block of cues that lined up numerically cue wise and scene number wise.

For black outs on the fly, I use the Master fader or black out buttons. This way I can reset and pre-load the next 'scene' without anyone seeing what is going on, then just run the Master back up when we start again. For talking in between, I leave some lights on Independent and mark them with bright tape on the handle, so I can glance and quickly remember what is what for blackouts or light up in a blackout.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.