14 Nov 2012

Wonderworld of electrical surprises in showbiz!

Not being very technical, my lessons about electrics have been of the experimental kind. With a whole arena PA failing due to a breaker at a recent arena gig, I got to thinking again about the delicate balance of power provisioning. Which is why I’ve hired Richard Cadena from the comforts of his Austin HQ to tour Australia for the CX Summer Roadshow and teach us all about show electrics.

Remember the furor about Springsteen’s gig in Sydney (2003) when the generator failed? Or the lighting failure at the end of Live Earth in Sydney in 2007?

Or were you watching the NRL Grand Final in 2002 when Billy Idol was crucified by an earth leakage breaker by the (USA) supplied keyboard rig?

I’ll be killed for suggesting that some (not all) concert power distribution systems have discrete or even secret bypass circuits for the earth leakage breakers, because the thinking is that these essential safety devices can do what they do through setup, production rehearsals, and pre show but cannot be allowed to stop the actual show. Which they can do.

How about the weak neutral, where the three phase power swings over the phases and creates overvoltage? Or the generator sets that rely on the unit itself for grounding? Or the power grid itself, where voltages swing up and down, and a whole installation load of moving lights have cooked power supplies one afternoon while the rest of the system endures the undervoltage?

Provisioning power is an art form, and in my mind is probably the least taught skill set in showbiz.

So that’s why Richard is coming to Australia in February, and that’s why anyone who plans or provisions power really should fork over the ridiculously cheap amount of $87 to do this training. Richard has a pre-class online tutorial that will be released 01 January, so you can do a lot of the theory stuff before the masterclass itself during the Roadshow.

Website, book here. Choose a city, then register, then go to Seminars.

Download Brochure here.


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