The Automated Lighting Demonstration was
created in 1996 and now in 2006 celebrates its 10 year anniversary
as ALDemo 6.3 before soon being retired. The technology on which
this show was built is growing obsolete. The original ETC Obsession
on which the show runs is now 16 years old! It's x486 33mhz processor
wasn't quite able to keep up with the show as originally programmed
and as a result there have only been limited improvements made
over the years. The Status Cue software used as the show controller
was originally written for Win3.1 and will only run under 3.1
or win98. As a result I have to keep an old win98 laptop around
to run the show.
The addition of 4 Cyberlights and a Studio Color fixture in 1999
upped the anti visually making the trackspot units (the former
stars) look quite small and dim by comparison. Trying to program
Cyberlights with 25 control channels on a console with no moving
light functions is time-consuming to say the least. All of these
factors have led to a show that is unable to be revised substantially.
Unfortunately it is unlikely that I will have time to rebuild
the demonstration from scratch on one of our newer consoles and
so this may be the end of a time-honored institution in the Department
A few facts about the Automated Lighting Demonstration:
- The show began as a 3-minute classroom demonstration done
for a class called Drama 111 Intro to Technical Theatre with
audio played back on a cassette recorder and manually run from
a remote snaking into the booth across the hall from the classroom,
with the dmx line to 4 Trackspot units snaking back.
- The show developed into a 6 minute presentation run manually
in the Culbreth theatre by 1995.
- In 1996 I spent about 100 hours creating the sound track and
programming the show and documenting it on this site.
- The show was presented each semester around mid-term from
- In Spring of 1999 about 20 hours of additional programming
time was spent adding 4 Cyberlights and a Studio Color unit
to augment the existing program. The show was presented as part
of a student-driven Sound/Light/Live Music/Special Effects show
entitled "Mad Light Extravaganza" with an 8pm and
midnight showing. About 400 people came to see the shows at
$4 or $5 a ticket. The plot for this show included about 50
additional units specific to the "Shades of the Trigon"
portion of the show where the lighting ran alternately on SMPTE
to a video source and then on live MIDI from a live band.
- In Fall of 2000 the show was revived as part of a Light Show
that ended the USITT Fall Masterclass hosted by the UVA Dept.
of Drama. Also presented was a new light show created by graduate
students Michael Ciok and Laura Prim that ran on the Horizon
Gold controller as well as several other undergraduate light
show projects. The light plot for this show had about 80 additional
units. Unfortunately due to several technological problems and
operator error (LOAD ALL Michael not LOAD SHOW) the show started
very late after many participants had left.
- In Spring of 2002 I let the students convince me to organize
another midnight light show event similar to the "Mad Light
Extravaganza." Enough time had elapsed since the first
one that I had forgotten all the reasons why I said: never again.
At this show ALDemo (then 6.2) was revived yet again along with
too too many student projects. It was light shows until you
puke--after a while it is all just a lot of flashing lights
and noise. The plot for this show ballooned to the largest yet.
- In 2003 the show had it's most recent one-time revival as
part of a multi-format production that I have now forgotten.
- In 2006 the show was revived mid-semester as a demonstration
for USEM 180 Art of Rock concert lighting. The plot in its original
reduced form was then used for student projects controlled via
the Horizon Gold software and a custom MIDI keyboard and web-page
point and click interface.