Saturday, March 28, 2015

Light and Form

I had a quick lighting design this week. Quick not because it wasn't an important design, or because it was simple, but quick because we almost lost the venue and only got it confirmed a little over a week before we opened. We had to load in the set and light it in two days, skip tech and go directly into final dress, then previews that same week.

I'm not happy with the lights. But I'm not sure, if I had leisure to plan it all over again, what I would try differently. The director appeared to be asking for a bedroom in an upscale southern home at mid-day, and believed it didn't make sense for anyone to turn on the electric lights. So all the light was motivated as coming through a window -- a window that, alas, is on the fourth wall and not particularly obvious as part of the picture. And many scenes were blocked in the far corners of the room, far away from this putative light source. So I opened up the fronts, increased the levels, reduced the contrast -- so now you can barely tell the light is supposed to be coming from a window, and the scenes elsewhere in the bedroom are still dimly lit (because there is only so far you can push without having to re-hang the plot from scratch).

When I got home, there was a message from Shapeways. My V150 model was apparently breaking (probably off the sprues) often enough that Shapeways finally downgraded it to non-printable. Would have been nice if they told me before selling it to someone. So I spent 10-14 hours -- many frustrating ones wrestling with file conversions and problems in the Shapeways website -- patching and altering the model once again. I've probably put in close to 200 hours on that damned model now. And model sales have netted me maybe forty bucks.

Among the changes I was forced to make this time was to attach the suspension permanently, and as well fix the gun in the turret (no more posing of that part). Apparently sprues are bad, now; Shapeways not only advises against them, they throw up all sorts of clever little road blocks against their users. Their alternative is to print a mesh bag around the model....increasing the price of the print 150% in the process.

Meanwhile the school tour I've been mixing closes this Sunday. Today I'll be finishing up repairs on some of their wireless microphone elements. Then switch over to work on my wireless microphones, because those get rented out next week. And then perhaps work on repairs for the company that hired me for the season then "forgot" to tell me they'd found someone cheaper. Or maybe not. I don't feel I exactly owe them any extra work!

Now that I'm paying monthly for TechShop, I hate the feeling when there's nothing to go into the shop for. But it is all in the brainwork phase now. Mostly software -- finish the Inkscape files for the new holocrons, finish the CAD for the raygun -- but also raw design work.

And if I'm slow at wrestling with 3d models, you should see how long it takes me to problem-solve mechanical arrangements. Or dream up better ways to light a play.

After posting the above, paused in soldering up microphones to try out the Lithium Polymer battery that just arrived on my Cree driver board. The LED lights up nice and bright -- the 3.7 to 4.2 volts of the Lipo is plenty -- but the chip is still resetting. I need to put it on a breadboard and try out a regulated power supply. But it is enough to tell me that battery will work for the raygun.

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