“Easy learning curve”

DSC Design selects MA Lighting’s dot2 XL-F console for Performing Arts Magnet High School

When a magnet high school for the performing arts in the San Francisco Bay area needed to upgrade its theatre it called on DSC Design of Novato, California to design an upgraded lighting system. DSC Design specified an all-LED lighting design and a new dot2 XL-F lighting console from MA Lighting.

DSC Design handled design and technical management for the high school’s theatre upgrade, as well as programming classes for students and faculty. The theatre is a key component in students’ performing arts studies: It is used for dramatic and musical theatre productions, dance, the orchestra and jazz band.
Part of MA Lighting’s new range of compact dot2 consoles, the dot2 XL-F is durable and lightweight with intuitive operation. It includes a full programming section, master playback section, 14 fader playbacks and 28 individual playback buttons.
“The dot2’s easy learning curve is a really strong selling point for schools,” says Tim P. Miller, principal of DSC Design and a live event designer and technical director. He’s a long-time user of MA Lighting products. “I can get teachers and students up and running rapidly on dot2. They’ll be writing cues and building presets within an hour.”
Miller hails the dot2 line for its ability to support “all the latest fixtures on the market” while offering a “straightforward programming syntax that enables students to learn quickly.” He selected the dot2 XL-F model for its increased capacity in the busy theatre. “The students are able to write cues, submasters, have direct access to stage washes and specials and even run the house lights,” he says.
The console is housed in a control booth, but Miller notes that, “we’re adding a DMX connection at the stage location for programming and teaching.”
Miller took advantage of MA’s 3D visualizer to get the students ready for the upgrade. “I made a 3D CAD drawing of the theatre space and brought it into MA 3D,” he says. “That way the kids are able to work offline, at their own pace, from home or in the theatre. It is a great learning tool for them.”
The theatre upgrade gives students access to more real-world equipment. “They’ve gone from basic white front lighting to colour changing, moving lights that pan and tilt – they now have colour for back and front lighting,” Miller explains. “The dot2 console is another huge step up. Students learn the basic concepts of programming static and moving LED fixtures. And since grandMA2 is the industry standard in practically every segment of the industry, learning dot2 is a tremendous asset to the students in terms of skill sets.”
Miller says that students who “have grown up with computers and technology,” take to dot2 “like a fish to water. They experiment with it, play with it. They intuitively pick it up. It’s a real joy to watch them. They pick up certain design concepts and best practices I wish I learned at that age!” Between the intuitive interface and smart defaults such as “relative” for movement, and starting fixtures in the centre of their zoom range; they were able to grasp the core concepts quickly and move right on to the “fun stuff” like bally-hoos and colour chases. The students were able to learn all the basics in a couple hours: presets, cues, editing. By the third hour they were on to effects, chases and complex concepts.
He gives kudos to MA Lighting for “building on their core concepts in an extremely linear and efficient way” across their product line. “There are no drastic changes from iteration to iteration. The products continue to improve incrementally.”
Miller also hails A.C.T Lighting for its “outstanding level of support. “They’ve been tremendous to me personally over the years. They even updated a fixture profile for this project to make the prism syntax more intuitive and turned it around in an hour. Their series of online tutorials is particularly invaluable for the students. A.C.T Lighting is rock solid – the high school is in good hands.”
A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting products in the USA and Canada.

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