1st Edition

Scenic Automation Handbook

By Gareth Conner Copyright 2018
    558 Pages
    by Routledge

    558 Pages
    by Routledge

    Scenic automation has earned a reputation of being complicated and cantankerous, a craft best left to the elite of our industry. Not sure of the difference between a VFD, PLC, or PID? If you have dreamed of choreographing scene changes with computerized machinery, but get lost in the technical jargon the Scenic Automation Handbook will guide you along the road to elegant automation.

    Adopting a pragmatic approach, this book breaks down any automation system into five points, known as the Pentagon of Power. Breaking down a dauntingly complex system into bite- size pieces makes it easy to understand how components function, connect, and communicate to form a complete system.

    Presenting the fundamental behaviors and functions of Machinery, Feedback Sensors, Amplifiers, Controls, and Operator Interfaces, the Scenic Automation Handbook demystifies automation, reinforcing each concept with practical examples that can be used for experimentation. Automation is accessible – come along and learn how!

    1. Moving Stuff on Stage
    2. Pentagon of Power: Breaking up Automation into 5 Parts
    3. Meet the Machines - A Survey of Common Theatrical Machines
    4. Motivating a Machine
    5. Powering Motors and Actuators
    6. Sensing and Measuring Motion
    7. Simple Control
    8. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC's)
    9. Motion Control with a PID Loop
    10. Safety
    11. Operator Interface
    12. Networks
    13. Integrating with other Systems
    14. Implementation
    15. Resource for Learning More


    Gareth has been in the business of making scenery move for more than 20 years, but theatrical automation hasn’t always been his passion. At age 3, after loving encouragement from his parents to be anything he wanted, he decided he wanted to be a whale. Whales are really neat. By age 5, he had recovered from that obvious disappointment and excitedly asked for a set of "real" tools for Christmas. The heartbreak at receiving plastic "toy" tools served only to inspire. Luckily, Gareth eventually got his hands on real tools, dove into theatre and became hooked on automation.

    Years later, Gareth had acquired experience automating scenery using a range of mechanical and electronic techniques (some of which are better left forgotten) for clients from regional theatres to automation giants including Disney and Universal. After working with budgets ranging from dozens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he was convinced he could create a system of automation components that would reduce the cost and complexity of scenic automation. That conviction inspired Gareth to found his own company Creative Conners, Inc., and it’s been the most fun job yet. Even better than being a whale.