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I am in year 7 and am in charage of all things technichal in Key stage 3's got talent. We have an 21 channel lighting rig with two pulsar 18 channel desks. We have an 18 channel sound desk 2 radio mics, an oil light, a pyro system and a followspot. Please could you give me some advice on how to make voting system to trigger a sound. Also please tell me how to make the mosst of our rig.



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I'm really, really sorry - but we can't help.


Nobody here knows your venue.

Nobody here knows what equipment and expertise you have access to.


Therefore, nobody here can do a design for you.

Many us of do this to make a living, and thus can't afford to do things for free either.


However, I can give you a few tips:


1) Talk to your teachers and technicians. Chances are that some of them have knowledge and experience in related areas.

2) There's no need for something to automatically trigger a sound. It can be done manually!

- Almost all professional shows use manually-triggered sound and light effects, where the light/sound technician watches/listens for the cue and hits Go/Play or a MIDI keyboard at the right moment.

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Hi Sam and welcome to the Blue Room.



I am in year 7 and am in charage of all things technichal ..... <snip>

We have ... <snip> ... a pyro system



Sorry, but if you scan through some of the older topics here, you'll find that as a year 7, we (that is the majority of the BR experience) will likely tell you that at just 13 (?) you should NOT be de facto in charge of anything technical. Despite whether your teachers, TA's etc have any or no knowledge of the subject - if they don't have any experience themselves, then they should be going outside the school to find people with real experience, and not devolving the responsibility to a pupil.


That's not to say you can't get involved - I doubt anyone here will discourage you from doing that - but it's just not practical for a youngster like yourself to have that kind of responsibility.


But one thing is for sure - you should NOT in any way be anywhere near any responsibility for pyro AT ALL. That's for adults, and experienced adults at that. Something else that's well discussed in here!



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Year 7's 11-12 years old Ynot :lock:


However firstly welcome to the blue room. I'm doing my GCSE's and so am slightly older, but it was around year 6/7 that I got into technical theatre and at that time I was always under supervision. Please remember that you are dealing with stuff that could kill you. Also, I agree with all the other points above but remember, if you get loads of stick, dont take it personally. I once posted a VERY stupid question on blueroom, an elementrary mistake that got me loads of stick and I left blue room for a good few months, but dont take it personally, you'll only get stick if it's for your own good :lock:


My personal reccomendation is that you get two members of staff, one to operate lighting, one to operate sound. Remember, if you cant go up ladders then you will need to let the members of staff focus the lights. Then, you operate the follow spot. This would let you experiment with gels (the different colours), dimming e.c.t. Also, being a GOOD followspot is something that takes practice, so keep on practiceing... :lock:


Keep interested and most of all enjoy your self


P.S. Just to remind you again, you are dealing with mains electricity, hot objects and possibly height. The first and last can KILL, the middle ones just gunna hurt for a while :P

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I agree with everyone else, I'm 14 but I've learnt you just gotta wait, as soon as you enter secondary school you want to do everything with technical e.t.c!


but it is really too dangerous! help out deffo but never be in charge from research I did last year it is actually illegal for you to be in charge. It HAS to be someone over 18. Isn't there any teachers that do lighting?

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My personal reccomendation is that you get two members of staff, one to operate lighting, one to operate sound.
There is absolutely no reason that you can't operate the sound or lights.


The problem areas are; working at height, taking responsibility for electrical (and general H&S), 'public' safety (even if it is only pupils involved), working with tools (inc. knives) outside of a traditional classroom setting and 'crowd control. That last bit is YOU!


I am fond of saying that I would trust MOST of our pupils on a one-to-one basis, but two or three of them? Never!


You need some COMPETENT staff to supervise design and rigging/focusing/gelling of the lighting and setting up sound equipment. Whether your school is any better equipped in this respect than most, I don't know. :lock:

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The whole issue of Health and Safety in schools is an extremley big topic on the Blue Room. If you want a lot of information, please use the search button and take a look around, it's pointless repeating things here. You need older, competant people to keep an eye on you. Not being horrible, but you're young. We all were once.


I'm 18 now but I first got involved around your age. Getting into this industry at such a young age is extremley hard, but once you're in and you have a passion for it, keep on at it! You have to wait a long time to be able to do the more demanding, responsible stuff...obviously! Once you're there though it's good experience and awesome fun.


Anyway, back to the matter in hand. What kind of "voting system" do you have? How is it controlled and processed etc?


How big is your stage? (l x w x h) Do you have any bars or anything overhead, or just FOH? What lanterns do you have access to?




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When I was in middle school, I know that students were allowed to operate the lighting / sound for the end of year show (as Andrew C mentioned), but we were never let to actually rig anything, so the main tech guy rigged up the lights on the bars in the hall. I also got confused at how to tear gaffa as I'd never seen it before, but thats beside the point!



As the show is called 'KS3's got talent', could you add two more to that two, and get the fact that they might be looking for something along the lines of the well known show of a similar name, where a judge pressing a buzzer will trigger a sound / light to come on? :-p. Although I hope the majority of people on this forum have more taste than to watch that show! :lock:


And I'm fairly sure that the guys who do the tech on "britain's got talent" don't (or at least I hope they don't!) manually trigger the lights to come on above the stage when the judge gets fed up of the ... 'performer' on stage at the time.


For a show I did earlier this year, we had an end of round 'buzzer' for an improv show. Basically, my laptop was sending out a serial stream down a DMX cable (I, don't laugh, had a couple of XLRs in my bag, and I didnt have a 9 way d-type!), and could detect when a switch was pressed through it. A piece of software detected this, and then played the appropriate buzzer sound, as well as triggering lighting via a MIDI interface, and outputting video too. All worked fine and with no problems.


I'd suggest something similar if you had the kit, but as your post mentions, you probably don't have the right stuff to be able to do it nicely how you envisage, or be able to incorporate it into your lighting rig! Might be worth asking one of the teachers in the tech/electronics deparment, as they might be able to make a simple system with some buzzers / lights (although someone did that once at my old school regarding a quiz buzzer system, and the teacher came to me and asked if I could make it! typical!). It's fairly simple electronics to make some form of latch, buzzer, and maybe with a long enough cable, be able to send the buzzer sound through the sound desk.


Hope the show goes well!

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I used PowerPoint for our "Talent" show, projected on to the back wall.


Make eight slides as follows, leaving blank where I've put "-":


Slide 1 --X

Slide 2 -X-

Slide 3 -XX

Slide 4 X--

Slide 5 X-X

Slide 6 XX-

Slide 7 XXX

Slide 8 ---


This is a binary sequence. Piers has value 4, Amanda 2, and Simon 1. Start from Slide 8, blank screen. If Simon buzzes press G 1 ENTER and the screen will show X on the right. If Piers now buzzes press G 5 ENTER and the screen shows X-X. When Amanda buzzes, G 7 ENTER: XXX.


Each slide can have a "buzz" sound file attributed with it.


As I didn't have time to rig wiring I gave each judge a radio mic belt pack and showed them how to turn it on and off. When they voted the "Signal Present" LED came on on the mic receiver, I did the math and jumped PowerPoint to the correct slide.


If I'd had time I would have rigged a circuit using bell-pushes and lamps. Two diodes and an AC supply (Physics lab staples) would enable a single three-core cable to be used for neatness.


Hope this helps.

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Year 7's 11-12 years old Ynot :lock:


OK - I was basing my '13' on the fact that my youngest daughter is a year 6 and will be 12 in September - her year 7 start. Actually gave the 7's an extra year, then...

But that does accentuate the fact that a year 7 is FAR too young to be 'in charge' of anything technical. So I believe is year 11, but that's another topic!


Despite my daughters being dragged brought up around theatres since they were born, I still wouldn't give them full responsibility for any tech, even if they wanted it. Both are good performers for the shows they do (mainly dance) and the eldest (almost 15) is a darned good follow spotter (and has been for a couple of years now) but they do know their limits.....

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Hello Zero! Welcome to the blue room! Very brave of you to ask the question and I think it's important that you at least walk away with a few ideas from this, so........

I'm guessing there may be a few older students in the school who "do" lighting for upper school shows, but like the idea that you're being allowed to have a go already. You could maybe start by asking them what they have done in the past, they will know what your kit is capable of.


Secondly, could you please tell us which lighting desks you have available so we can have an idea what sort of things they will be capable of?


Few ideas for your lighting though; The show will have lots of different types of act. Your followspot sounds good for your soloists, but also prepare some general washes, different coloured ones if you can, but always covering the areas of the stage you require. It's often helpful if you don't know what's coming next in a show to split the stage into 6 sections, 3 along the front, left, centre and middle, and 3 across the back, again, left, centre and middle. Then you can cater for action wherever it is on the stage. If you can program the lighting desk (which might need a lot of reading of the manual assuming it's one that can be programmed) then you can pre-program these beforehand.

If you want to go for wow factor, you could maybe program a few chases where the lights flash in a sequence. Again this depends on the desks you have, but always remember that just because the lights are flashing, doesn't mean you can stop lighting the performers up. Always make sure you can see them first!


As for your buzzers, this could be a project for your DT department! Have a look at "multiplay". It's free audio software for the theatre and allows you to store mp3 files behind different keyboard keys on your pc. Now imagine someone who's good at soldering taking an old pc keyboard and where 3 of the keys are, removing the buttons and soldering a pair of wires to the contacts. Now when these wires are touched together it acts like pressing that key on the keyboard. Wire these to your big switches for the judges to use and hey-presto! When you push each key, you get a different sound.

If they all only want one sound between them it's even easier - get a computer mouse and do the same with the left mouse button. Then plug this into a laptop and use the touch pad on the laptop to position the cursor over the "GO" button in multiplay. Now whenever the switch is pressed, the go button works and the sound plays.


I know I've given you a lot to go through there, and I know there'll be some other blue-roomers along soon to tell me I've told you it all wrong, so I'm going to run off now!


One thing that might be useful is to know roughly where in the world you are. I must say here, please don't tell ANYBODY online where exactly you are. As a rule on the blue room, to make sure you're safe, only tell people the nearest big city to where you are and nothing else. But, if we know that, there may well be a blue roomer nearby, perhaps even an ex-student, who can help you out or tell you the names of nice people to borrow kit from.


Having just re-read your first thread, if there is nobody else in the school (teachers I mean) who knows how to use the pyro kit safely, DON'T USE IT!! I've watched people who supposedly know what they are doing make some terrible mistakes with pyro's and I'm guessing you like your school way too much to be responsible for burning it down! If it isn't locked away then it should be!


Have fun and enjoy the gig!

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Im doing pretty much the same thing at my old school,


KGS3 Arts Show,


As far as lighting goes if you have over stage bars just use as much colour as you can, added with a low level lighting basic white lighting to light people faces.


Or just use the follow spot <_<


oh and get as many people as you can to help out, would make the process a shed load easyer.


Good luck with the show.

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