Author Topic: COMS: technology (headsets and touchscreens)  (Read 2794 times)

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COMS: technology (headsets and touchscreens)
« on: Jan 29, 2006, 11:21 pm »
My theatres com system is in the process of a complete and long overdue overhaull. We had a meeting with the people hired do do the changes so that the system could be taylored to the stage management staff and our needs when calling a show. Which I feel is a very nice of them to do.
That being said several of the ideas they mentioned seem ridicolous to me.
They want to replace our current pendants with a touch screen meaning that all our buttons, cue lights and paging would be on a flatscreen. We as a group hated the idea and insisted that the cue lights remain on toggles. and comprimised on the rest saying that the other buttons could be on "softkeys" with leds to indicate on or off.
Am I too old fashioned? has anyone ever tried this? I just feel that it would be hard to watch the stage and a computer screen at the same time.

On the good side the old wired/wireless system will now be all wireless on both our stages with low profile ear headsets allowing our ops to keep them on during shifits and the god mic and backstage paging will be put on buttons to allow us to use them via our headset mic, which will be great.
So really what do you guys feel about the idea of touch screens and loss of those big light up buttons that let you "feel" what your doing? Is this were we are heading and I should just learn ?
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:03 pm by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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« Reply #1 on: Jan 30, 2006, 12:06 am »
I have built, and used a computerised touch screen cue system. Provided you use a decent touch screen, they are great. The thing is the screen needs to be mounted in the correct position. What I did, and it worked well, was also made a hardware interface as well. It had certain advantages. Because the place I designed and built it for did not do conventional shows and a lot were based on timing, we decided it was the best way to go. The interface basically had 2 buttons. Cue Standby, and Cue Go along with a keypad to advance cues etc. Each cue contained a list which lights needed lighting and a delay number for staggering cues. The hardware interface was just straigh toggle switches.

I have also seen one systems that were basically analagous to a cue light system. That defeats the entire purpose of a digital system.

A properly designed digital system, where there is a need for one, can be a life saver. Things like placing control of other systems within the prompt desk can make life so much easier - they are not there to clutter things up, but in an emergency you can bring them up. For example when I have speced venues, we have always put a simple control in for the lights Sure, lighting control may be hidden away (under the program I wrote, System>Lighting>On Stage System) but when it is needed, it is there).

I suppose the question is, when they do it, will they do it properly.