As the column progresses, I realize that the format needed a quick update. Instead of splitting content into designated sections, I’ll be picking a subject of discussion for each entry and lay things out in a bit more “thru-line” fashion. If questions are sent in, I will bring them up throughout the column as they are related to the subject at hand.
With that in mind, I want to tackle everything I learned & experienced at the ETC™ CUE Conference in Madison, WI last month. Firstly, I realize I’m probably the last person to review their time at CUE…given that it happened the second-to-last weekend in July. But for those who haven’t read any of those…or who want another review…or just enjoy reading my column a whole bunch…here’s my take on the weekend.
The conference is held every two years, and for those who have not kept track, ETC has had quite a few big changes happen since the last conference. Logo, mission & slogan change, acquisition of High End Systems™, a massive boost in their LED luminaire product lines & other new product launches to bridge the gap into retail/corporate & small professional theatre markets.
This year the conference theme was “Summer Camp” and they went all out with it! Merit badges, camp songs, camp counselors & school bus field trips to the ETC Warehouses. I missed out on a few badges (some were region based, some were from specific course tracks) but I’m very proud of the nine I did earn while I was there.
Along with the theme, there held a Tech-cathalon of sorts where you could speed swap an incandescent Source Four with a Source 4WRD base, speed hang and focus a Source Four, Play “Ion Memory” by replacing missing keys on the console from a 30 second peek at the face panel layout diagram, and finally SolaFrame Shootout, where you tested your ability to shutter cut in a time crunch with High End Systems’ moving head.
The Educator Track, Networking for Modern Lighting Systems Track, Building a Theatre Track & the Technician Track provided attendees with a set of designated courses that assist them as an end-user, teacher and/or theatre professional to be the best at what they do. Personally, I took the Networking & Building a Theatre tracks and I am still in awe by the amount of information these classes provided for me not just as an employee of an entertainment company, but as an end-user of ETC products.
Outside of the designated tracks, ETC offered all three levels of Ion training, warehouse tours, LED chip research studies & “Fireside Chats” on specific topics including the mysterious subject of “Live Music Programming on EOS.” We also got a sneak peek of the upcoming ColorSource Cyc fixtures & the brand new Ion XE console to replace the Ion 1K.
The biggest take away of the conference to me was the sense of community within the ETC company and its end-users. No one at the conference felt like they we’re more important than the other, and we all were there for the same reason, and that was to better understand and appreciate the products ETC makes and the services behind them. ETC strive for strong relationships in this community, and this conference is proof that they mean it.
“Sitting in on the classes on my track helped me bridge some gaps between knowing the info and being able to communicate it to others. It’s not just telling people “this is what this is” you have to show the how and sometimes go the extra mile.”
Though I didn’t take this track, I completely agree with this reaction to CUE as a whole. I came into the conference with “gaps” in my methods of not just using ETC products, but explaining the how they function and why they are so versatile and important to our industry.
I cannot wait for the next CUE in 2019, and I hope to see some of you there!
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Design & Conquer My Friends,