Here's a few quick tips that made our lighting a little more interesting this weekend. We're currently in a series called I AM, examining the I AM statements of Jesus. This week was "I AM the light of the world." So we contrasted light and darkness. People entered by candlelight only. When our speaker got up to speak, we had only 2 lights on him, the rest of the room was black. However, over the course of his message, we brought up the stage and ambient lighting to a bright wash. We ended up doing a 27 minute fade. However, our ETC light board maxes out a 10:39 fade (why? 999 seconds--go figure).
So we ended up doing a 3 part fade. Part one was a fade from 0 to 33%, in 10:39. Part two went from 33-66% over another 10:39. The final 34% came up in about 7 minutes (I didn't trust the speaker to go a full 30 min; I know, weird). To make sure we wouldn't forget to fire the next part of the fade, I used the "Follow" command. Follow is the time between firing the cue, and the time the board automatically goes to the next one. In this case, I made my follows the same as my up time, so it was one continuous 28 minute fade. Pretty cool.
Well almost. Seems when I programmed the third step, I selected the lights and hit "AT-1-0-ENTER," not "At-1-0-0-Enter." Whoopsie! I knew something was up at the end of step 2 when the lights stopped at 65%. A few seconds into the third step, they dropped to 64%. I immediately hit "Hold," stopping the cue and went into "Blind" mode.
Blind mode lets me look at a cue and modify it, without affecting the stage lights. I pulled up the cue, and sure enough there sat all my lights at 10%. I quickly re-selected them and this time hit "AT-FULL" and re-wrote the cue. Switching back to Stage mode, I re-fired the third step, which restarted the timer and took the lights to full. No one was the wiser.
So there you go, a few tricks for doing long fades.