I want to start off by thanking everyone at ETC West for having a great open house this past week. I really enjoyed the few hours I got to spend checking out the variety of ETC boards and other products, in particular the debut of the Ion. The food was also exceptionally good, and there is nothing better than a Wisconsin bratwurst on a roll and a cold beer when you're really hungry. I met a lot of people at the open house and in particular want to thank Tim for walking me through the building and answering a lot of the questions I had. Phil, one of the other interns at the Opera, also stopped by for a bit and we got to sit down and mess around with the Ion for a bit. It's basically a baby Eos, which is pretty accurate description of it. ETC had a virtual stage and lights setup to test out the Ion, and the computer program had really great rendering qualities. Phil and I are both pretty new to the Eos board, so we struggled a bit, but worked our way through the syntax and tried some simple tasks we were interested in. Our main goal was to see how clever the board was. The board provides numerous pre-defined gel colors as well as customizable CMY mixing which you can name and place in your color palette. What we wanted to test out was if we could just type in the command line [Channel Number] [Color Pallete] [Color Name/Number] and see if could convert text to a numeric value. We had some mixed results. We created a Neongreen color, which we labeled appropriately and called it color pallete #555. We were hoping if we type â€˜Neongreen' in the command line it would replace it with â€˜555', which it seemed to actually do, but was then unable to actually change the color of the light. Basically, it would be nice to just type L201 and have it find the correct light blue.
Another thing we worked on was recording submasters. We tried to record submasters on the Ion by the standard method of hitting record followed by the submaster bump button. We were assured that it was fixed or going to be fixed in the Beta software release. I have no concerns about this, but Phil and I sat there for 15 minutes trying to figure out how to do it.
One other quick note I should mention is for anyone in the Los Angeles; ETC provides board ops or really anyone interested the option to book a programming suite, for FREE, with almost any of their current boards to brush up on some skills or pre-program some future shows. It sounds totally worth it, and I hope I'll have some free time to go work on learning the basics to the EOS this Fall.
I haven't had time to look into the cost of the Ion verse the Eos yet, but for smaller theatre companies and universities, this might be an excellent choice. Both the Eos and Ion though are going through constant software updates, so it is only a matter of time before things start running smoothly. The best example of this is that the next day at the Opera, I saw a few of our “ETC friends” from the day before working on a glitch we had with our new EOS setup. The problem seems to have been resolved, which is good, because we have a tight schedule at the Opera.