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Thread: Speeding up the dreaded setup take down process

  1. #1
    ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Default Speeding up the dreaded setup take down process

    Trying to make myself a little less work on the day, my old setup was taking a good 45 mins to an hour to setup and 30-45 mins to get out... and the new one is taking a smidgin longer
    Any words of wisdom appreciated, unless your words of wisdom consist of "mine only takes 15 mins, here's a picture", your picture will be the new centrepiece of my metaphorical dartboard should you post something along those lines.

    So:

    Transport:
    I've got the rock n roller trolley, all good there. It normally take a couple of trips due to things like a table & screens not really fitting on it very well. it Does need straps for full loads though.

    Screens:
    Toby mentioned using a bike bag instead of the supplied bags (which are a little tight), would this be quicker prehaps? I've yet to try this gaffa 2 panels together trick which I think was Justin's idea? I'm getting the hang of those stupid hinges now though anyway so it may not be neccesary.

    Speakers:
    2 tripods with scrims and a subwoofer.

    Lighting:
    Currently my lighting bar is pre-wired with an IEC connector, DMX in & out meaning this is likely the only thing that's been fully time-optimised.
    I do also use 4 up lights 2 behind the scrims, 2 behind the screen... I've thought about wireless DMX but as I'm already plugging in the power and it's all near my other kit would that really save time for me personally?

    Playout:

    Using a Traktor s5, a couple of laptops and a mixer... I'm thinking this is where my biggest time saver could lie, but I'm yet to figure out how... I leave the laptop stands made up so I'm thinking I cannot really prewire the laptops, their usb connections chargers etc which do take a little time.

    Cables:

    I've got a big case with sections for cables, I always coil XLR's and power cables after each event... hmmm I'm not sure what to do to improve that.

    The video below was 43 minutes long and it took just under 10 mins to load in from the van.



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    Dorset DJ - Dorset based DJ service
    11:11 EVENTS LTD - 11:11 EVENTS LTD

  2. #2
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Following with interest as it's something I myself am trying to achieve.

    I can if I want to be up in 30 mins and down in about the same amount of time if I use what I term as my standard rig (Gorilla booth, two tops, one/two subs, 2 Inimidator 305s and either 1 or 2 Power Partybars. It's normally closer to 45 mins going up and I've reduced that from an hour.

    My Micron rig can be up in 15 mins because I pre-wired the overhead bar. It's not my favourite rig to work on but if I know space is going to be tight or if I know I'm going to be in a hurry......

    Just so you can throw darts at them....here's what I'm talking about (it'll help to see what I'm talking about as well)

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    (The Micron setup)

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    (What I term as my standard booth)

    The difference between the two setups? I never use the overhead on the Gorilla booth so there's additional lighting stands to set up.....and that makes a HUGE difference

    The Rock n Roller R12 is a big help and I've got a way of loading that in such a way now that I can get everything on one load (although it's probably way overloaded). It also helps that I brought a flight case to hold 2 Wizard (which rarely go out now), so the Intimidators are stored in there along with all the cables I'll need for the gig.

    What takes time to set up for me personally?

    DMX cables for a start. I started going the wireless DMX route but was getting dropouts and haven't gone any further with that....yet. I may invest in some of the rechargeable dongle things for next year because that really would shave about 10 mins off of the setup (and a lot of trailing cable to tape down).

    The other big one for me is the playout system. Now...I've cut this down considerably thankfully. I treated myself to a slightly larger flight case this year which allows me to keep the mixer, mic receiver, some short audio/XLR cables and a 5 gang extension in it (all pre-wired). So, it's technically a case of connecting speakers to the two XLRs, dropping the cable from the 5 gang and away you go....except it isn't. I've now got so that I also connect a little external mixer into the mix so that I can connect an iPad/second laptop and I'm thinking I'm probably over-sweating things there. The idea being that the iPad can be cued within seconds of something going belly up with the main playout system whilst I hot-swap the backup lappy into the rig. In reality I'd probably be better off just having the second lappy on warm standby and apologising for the 10 seconds it would take to move the USB cable from one to the other.

    Other than that, I think I need to possibly get fitter instead of fatter

  3. #3
    Ezekiel 25:17 funkymook's Avatar
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    As Scotty would say Ďyou cannae change the law of physicsí - you might have reached your optimum set-up time for that rig.

    But if you wanted to invest some money things to save time and effort then an Evox 8 or FBT Vertus or CS1000 (or similar) is quicker than separate speakers, speaker stands and a bass bin (I know this from experience).

    Is there room in your controller case to keep the power supply, usb and speaker cables permanently plugged in and stored?, this saves a lot of time (and if there isnít itís worth looking gat a larger case, perhaps with a sliding laptop shelf to save taking the stands as well).

    My Liteconsole xprs Go is up in less than a minute and the Tom Carter booth Iíve got in the For Sale section is even quicker - so something like that may shave some time off your table and screens.

    For some events would a simple powerbar be enough? (or even the gigbar) - Iíve done plenty where the my powerbar and itís own foot controller has been ample, colour wash early on and s2l later gives enough movement.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkymook View Post
    As Scotty would say Ďyou cannae change the law of physicsí - you might have reached your optimum set-up time for that rig.

    Is there room in your controller case to keep the power supply, usb and speaker cables permanently plugged in and stored?, this saves a lot of time (and if there isnít itís worth looking gat a larger case, perhaps with a sliding laptop shelf to save taking the stands as well).
    I am going to agree with that looking at the video, although I think the two trees are not tottaly necessary.

    Having a box with all my power, audio, mics and lighting control all loomed with electrical tape, must save at least 5-10 mins as plugging stuff in can take the longest of time. Also I am going to start using padded slips for my 310'sas the ones i have are great but take a bit of time to pack at the end as they are also tight. I believe i was one of the first number of people to have an equinox screen and gaffer it on the second outing so I can take credit for that. I will be buying a bike bag as I am fed up with fanning about with the gorilla one.

    Limiting trip time to the car is the main thing. If you can do it in one that will save at least 10 mins. That and fiddling about with stuff. You need to make one small adjustment every week and before you know it you have a set up that take minutes to set up. Maker the most of the boring buffet times by analysing what you can improve next. Using the flight case as a booth is also a very handy option. Bit of an old photo, i now use a Yamaha dbr12 to the left.

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    Last edited by yourdj; 21-12-2016 at 08:22 PM.
    Your DJ - Mobile DJ The New Forest, Southampton & Hampshire. Toby
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  5. #5

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    The way I think of it is that I can get music playing in about 20mins after arrival (depending on ease of load in). As long as that's going, I've started. The lighting can then be done more or less at my leisure. As for tear down, I can usually start breaking down some lighting close to the end and save time that way.

  6. #6
    Shakermaker Promotions's Avatar
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    For the past few weeks I have not used the crossbar with the 8 lighting effects. They are all pre-wired and fixed and it's just a case of plugging them into the 8 way controller box but it still means 2 trips back and forth to the van because I can only carry one at a time.
    What I have been doing is using the X Moves and I've just put the uprights on the Ultimax on the highest setting and then fixed the shelves I made for them on top. I doubt if it has saved me much time really as I still need to get the X Moves out of their cases and then connect them up.

    The uplighters behind the Equinox screen give enough flood colour but I've also been using 4 Equinox batterns too (I have 8 of them but 4 at the residency is fine). I have them set to autofade so that various corners of the room are changing colour throughout the evening.

    The Equinox booth itself - Well, firstly....not sure what the problem with them is for some of you? I bought the official Equinox bag for the screens and it is absolutely fine. I always have the 2 middle sections fixed together permanently (gaffer taped? Can you show us what you mean Toby?), and so I just connect the other 2 panels (which isn't always easy).
    For the first time ever, I had someone knock into it quite heavily last weekend (very drunk girl) and as she fell back, she grabbed hold of it and one of the panels came away from the rest. No damage though which was good.

    To be honest, I think I am probably as quick as I can be. Set up is usually 30 minutes max and take down is probably 20 minutes max (that's back in the van too).

  7. #7
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    I am at at odds with this thread as I actually like setting up, giving myself plenty of time and doing it slowly and methodically. I rarely use the same rigg two gigs running and change the combination of speakers and lights, so premiering for me would be a no no.

    Not to say I wouldn't appreciate being packed down and on my way home 10 mins after I finish!

  8. #8
    Nakatomi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJColsie View Post
    I am at at odds with this thread as I actually like setting up, giving myself plenty of time and doing it slowly and methodically. I rarely use the same rigg two gigs running and change the combination of speakers and lights, so premiering for me would be a no no.

    Not to say I wouldn't appreciate being packed down and on my way home 10 mins after I finish!
    How can you say that? Time is money!

    Flightcase your playout. Pre-rig as much as you can. Mark & sort cables according to type & length so you're not spending too much time finding the right cable for the job.

    Don't take more than you need to.

    I did a charity gig yesterday which I was almost late for (thanks wife, thanks traffic!) but using the R&R cart straight from my van in one go, loading in took 5 minutes & I had music playing with lights going after another 10. One Alto top on a tripod, one gigAbar light, mixer, playout, washFX & micron booth

    Look at your video in more detail. There's a lot of to-ing & fro-ing there. Minimising that's gonna save you some time too.

  9. #9
    Ezekiel 25:17 funkymook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJColsie View Post
    I am at at odds with this thread as I actually like setting up, giving myself plenty of time !
    Sometimes youíre not in control of the time - a wedding room turnaround when the speeches have been running late and youíre left with 30 minutes before the 1st dance, late access to a venue as the key holder doesnít turn up until the exact time itís booked from, which is the time the client invited the guests, delayed in traffic etc? Having plenty of time is a luxury you canít always rely on.

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    ukpartydj's Avatar
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    Thanks, I think I'll look into a bigger case for playout, I have had a look around and did let see anything available which seemed the right size but maybe it'll just need to be a custom job if nothing pops up.

    Colour coding cable... Excellent idea, I bet if I had the exact cables I need for a standard setup without all my spares it'd be quicker as well.

    Maybe one little thing at a time will be better rather than trying to take it all on at once!

    Dorset DJ - Dorset based DJ service
    11:11 EVENTS LTD - 11:11 EVENTS LTD

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