Musical Theatre – Swing/Understudy workflow

Forums Forums dLive Forums dLive General Discussions Musical Theatre – Swing/Understudy workflow

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of msteel msteel 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #106203
    Profile photo of Ana
    Ana
    Participant

    Hi all, COVID has posed a not-so-new but more pertinent challenge to the theatre community and missing cast members. Now, companies in lower tiers of theatre are planning shows with swings and understudies and for me, this raises a question – how do I effectively swap in another actor for a lead role on short notice whilst maintaining their processing?

    At the moment, this involves using the source selector to switch an input channel to a different radio system (or this could be hard patched) and manually copying in the replacement actors’ processing (Including Dyn8 separately) into the original actor’s channel. The original actors’ processing is stored by either saving in the library or copying to a spare input (Channel and Dyn8 separately).
    Another solution could be to program a spare channel into every DCA alongside the main characters’ channel – thus preventing having to copy processing over the top of the original performer’s channel. I have commonly used this idea when multi-micing actors so that I can have separate processing according to mic positioning.

    This issue becomes increasingly complex when a less important character is missing and several one-liners might be picked up by a different ensemble member alongside their usual role. At this point, DCA assignments would need to be reprogrammed in preparation for a show.

    Has anyone worked through this issue and found any tricks or solutions?

    Digico has an eloquent solution to this issue in their T model software and I assume this is a big part of why they dominate in the professional theatre world where such substitutions are commonplace.

    Is it time for a feature request for “actor character input channel mapping” similar to Digico? Although, given the cost of this software upgrade and the common parent company, this is highly unlikely!

    TIA

    #106205
    Profile photo of Scott
    Scott
    Participant

    how do I effectively swap in another actor for a lead role on short notice whilst maintaining their processing?

    I don’t to theatre shows, but have you looked at the ABCD input options. This would be perfectly suited for that. You can even assign softkeys to switch these inputs. This would allow you to maintain your current processing etc, since it would be using the exact same channel. This can be enabled in the “preamp” tab of the channel processing.

    #106209
    Profile photo of Ana
    Ana
    Participant

    Hey Scott, thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I have considered this but the main goal is to easily maintain the actor’s processing settings – which just using ABCD won’t help with. I can swap the replacement actor’s radio into the original actor’s channel strip using ABCD – but I then need to save the original actor’s settings and copy in the new actor’s settings to this channel also.

    In other words, I don’t want to maintain the processing of the channel – but instead, maintain the processing of the actor that is using that channel. In Theatre – the input channels are assigned to DCAs as required throughout the show to bring them in and out.

    With Digico – there is another layer. Actors are assigned to characters or roles that are in turn assigned to DCAs. So you can map actors to roles quickly and easily if they shift around and the console takes care of the rest. So if somebody is missing – you can simply reassign actors to roles and it essentially automatically ‘reassigns’ DCA assignment across the entire show (usually 100’s of scenes or snapshots).

    It’s not so bad on dlive having to copy settings around as I have stated above, but it is impossible to handle a scenario where a role usually played by a single actor is covered by multiple other actors whilst maintaining their processing.

    #106219
    Profile photo of Scott
    Scott
    Participant

    ABCD changes only the input socket feeding a channel, so that channel’s DCA, Mix, Mute Group memberships would all remain in tact.

    #106263
    Profile photo of Ana
    Ana
    Participant

    Hi Scott, thanks again for the reply.

    I am well aware, but as stated above, in theatrical mixing we want the actor’s processing (preamp settings, filter, eq, exp, compressor, ins, delay) to remain with them as their radio system is patched to a new input channel that is programmed for the show for a different role. We do not want to retain the processing that is already in the channel as this is intended for the original actor that now has COVID and is missing from the show 😛

    I am not sure you quite understand the issue…

    Essentially, I am searching for any tricks that people have come up with to help with the process but I think I have exhausted all options and will have to copy and paste.

    Digico T software was designed for this exact issue – just now the issue is more pertinent to theatre shows that do not have the budget for a console of this cost and where dLive is a much more cost-effective option.

    #106277
    Profile photo of Dave
    Dave
    Participant

    How many channels are we talking about here? If you have enough spares, you could have each actors come into an “actor” channel where you do all their processing, then use the direct outs to send those to however many “character” channels, which are in turn assigned to DCAs however you want. Make the “actor” channels, as well as how their direct outs get routed, recall-safe, and you can change which actor gets assigned to which character without having to update your scenes or copy/paste anything. Of course, it does mean burning a an extra channel for every actor, and it also buries the processing behind a layer of indirection (although it also gives you character-specific processing options, too, like if an actor is playing multiple characters and one of them is supposed to sound nasally or something).

    Alternatively, if you don’t have enough channels for that but you do have plenty of spare busses, you could have each character be a subgroup, and make input processing and group membership recall safe.

    I have a vague notion that something else might be possible by using the B insert (the one that’s post-processing) to bounce everything through tie-lines and creating a “2nd-tier” patch bay, but a) I’m not sure if it’ll work (well, not without having a spare card laying around to route everything through), and b) the system isn’t setup with that level of abject routing abuse in mind, so it’d be a logistical nightmare having to keep track of how one channel’s processing affects another channel.

    #106278
    Profile photo of Ana
    Ana
    Participant

    Hi Dave – you might be onto something! thankyou!. This process could be in place for lead roles rather than everyone so that the vocal channel count isn’t doubled.

    And you are right about accessing actor processing – I routinely use spills for this and it is a great way to check who is in ensemble sections for example.

    I will have to check the following:
    Will virtual sound check still function when direct outs are set to the end of the channel strip?

    Will investigate…

    #106577
    Profile photo of Dave
    Dave
    Participant

    Did you figure something out?

    #109189
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    Could you not save the actors settings in the library and then recall the library for the actor playing the role

    #109576
    Profile photo of msteel
    msteel
    Participant

    On occasion we have had an actor simply wear two mics if that person is unexpectedly playing two roles.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.