First Show w/ Catalyst

z6p6tist6z6p6tist6 Registered User
edited April 2004 in HES Automated Lighting
Hi...my name is Phil...and I'm addicted to Catalyst.

...oops. Wrong forum. Oh well, I guess I might as well share my story while I'm here.

Before we get to the juicy stuff...a little background. I have been programming for almost a decade. Since being introduced to LCD Controllers, Intellabeams, and the Status Cue, I have (hopefully) come a long way in my artistic and technical abilities. I have since gone on to make extensive use of the Whole Hog II and III consoles, as well as at least a half dozen other types of HES fixtures.

Working closely for all this time with a local high school (my alma mater), I have had the incredible opportunity to advance my skills by teaching others. For the past five years, I have gone back each April to work with fifteen to eighteen year old students, instructing them in both the design and programming of the in-house automated lighting system for the annual dance show 'Zenith'.

Each year, some of the students are new to the technology, with some having never touched the console before. Others return from programming in years past, with grand ideas of precisely orchestrated movements mimicking the positions of thirty dancers, and talking of spectacles seen only in a Pink Floyd laser light show.

This year was no different than years past, with the exception of an expanded rig consisting of Cyberlights, Technobeams, Studio Colors, Studio Beams, and X.Spots.

Oh yeah, and the one-time chance to try out the Catalyst v3 media server...

Over the course of the month, I worked one-on-one with over a dozen students, choreographing the lighting to each of thirteen songs. I focus on a variety of topics during these four to five hour programming tutorials, tailoring the design and programming approach to each student's creative vision and technical proficiency. We cover a wide range of topics including basic color theory, maximizing angle of incidence, anchoring songs with a specific lighting element, and many more.

By the time the show goes up, each of these students has designed and programmed an entire dance piece, and has precisely set their cues to time-code to be sure that their individual masterpieces are played back exactly the same way, night after night.

I also design and program at least two pieces myself each year. One of these is a light show, intended to make the audience more aware of the lighting technology being used, as well as changing the pace of the show a little near the end of the second act. This year, with the addition of Catalyst to the mix, I very quickly made the decision to cut a piece of music using only movie soundtracks. With pieces of Terminator, Total Recall, Beetlejuice, The Abyss, and the always enjoyable Sorceror's Apprentice, the light show quickly turned into a fast paced romp through a variety of styles and moods.

Using Catalyst for large screen front projection, Mickey Mouse and his wayward army of brooms came to life as twenty foot tall characters, with musical booms and splashes accentuated by the on-stage Studio Colors, and eventually segueing into the crashing cymbal movements of Hook.

Of course throughout the four and a half minute spectacle the audience never responded more than during the second scene, the all too familiar THX logo and introduction on screen with accompanying indigo tunnels sweeping up through the audience.

Well, you probably get the gist of it anyhow. That's probably much more than you wanted to know.

I have posted a few pics of the show here.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the show or seeing more pictures, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.

At some point I will try to get a post up regarding my first impressions (technical) of Catalyst. Until then, trust me when I say, I think I'm in love.


OK, maybe that was more than you wanted to know.
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