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Hello Everyone!

Another Open House down, and this year was a big one! 25+ Vendors in attendance, a 20’x20’ Demo Zone for presentations, almost 50 moving-head fixtures, 1000’s of feet of cable, 100’s of feet of truss and 10 Source 4 minis. This year was one for the books, and through drafting, engineering, programming to load-in and to the eventual end of day, lets go behind the design with the TLS Productions, Inc. Fourth Annual Open House & New Product Showcase. This year we quickly realized that we needed more room than our usual one showroom, and expanding into other areas of our shop was going to be necessary.

Once the Vendors we’re placed and I received the power, rigging and furniture needs of each booth, I began the process of figuring out just how many fixtures I was going to need to light them properly, but also any set pieces and ambient light for pathways & general decoration. I decided on the Martin Mac 301 fixtures for booth lighting, because they allow me to not only not worry about getting up and focusing a static fixture, but the ability to change the color when needed, and the size of the beam of light. For ambiance, Elation Platinum FLX moving heads, giving me full ability to throw texture, color and movements onto any surface I needed, with very few fixtures.

Scenic, 36º Source 4 Minis we’re the perfect choice because of their relative brightness to the rest of the event as well as the ability to “set and forget” when it came to lighting the food & beverage tables. We also used Chauvet Freedom Pars to uplight all of our highboy cocktail tables to create a “glow” effect. For audio I went with the tried and true QSC K12 cabinets, because not only would we be providing music for our attendees to enjoy, but periodic announcements that needed a good balance between full range sound, and voice specific options.

Once I decided on the fixtures & cabinets, I began the process of fitting not only my rig that I built in Vectorworks 2018 (which by the way is a very nice improvement in the software and I’ll be going over it’s changes in the workshop on October 7th at noon) but all of the booth power needs of the vendors and their products on to a 3PH 408v 400A service. I knew I wouldn’t be breaking that threshold with what we had, but it’s always a good idea to balance things out as much as possible on the front end, to allow for adjustments in the field.

 Then the tedious, yet surprisingly therapeutic, process of addressing and circuiting the rig began…

For data backbone I used the new Whirlwind CATdusa to send two universes of DMX, one line of Audio and a spare channel down a single line of Cat6. After I got things placed in my drawing, I added in the appropriate heights, space and relative 3D geometry to make programming in Vision a bit more accurate.

I programmed the show on an ETC® Ion 2000 with the latest software, v2.6.1 and made a Magic Sheet to aid in the process.

Within the Magic Sheet, I linked object fill color with the channel’s intensity and output color to better visualize what the fixture was doing at any given time.  Buttons of “@ 100%,” “@ 75%” and so forth, we’re simple macros entering “[@] 100 [Enter]” & “[@] 75 [Enter}” respectively. Initial programming occurred with Palettes & Presets to allow for quick updating of just the associated parameter that were being adjusted (Intensity, Focus, Color or Beam).

At this point, the shop had begun installation of the Open House and it was quite the process…

Once I was done programming in Vision, I packed up the desk and moved down to the Shop to touch up focus and get some other looks built out onto faders and into presets. It was a bit of a late night for me finishing things up with programming and audio setup, but I was done hours earlier than last year’s timeline due to Vision and the amazing time it can save.

Finally, it was time to show our attendees the fruits of our labor, and all the amazing new products our vendors had brought with them.

As the rig comes down today I can’t help but feel incredibly proud of the work we did at TLSP to put on this year’s show. It took a lot from all of us to get this thing up, and I can’t thank everyone enough for accomplishing things this year as fast and as efficiently as they did. Here’s to another successful Open House, and to many successful events to come at TLS Productions, Inc.!

Please feel free to Contact Dustin D. Miller and send over your questions for next month’s entry, comments on this month’s entry and any and all follows ups on my tutorials, overviews and answers.

Design & Conquer My Friends,


– Photos courtesy of Christopher Maassen & Emily Ann Jugowicz

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