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Case Studies

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Regional Theatre:

Ben Ross, Technical Director, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

Challenge:

“We had a very large turntable, the biggest one we’ve ever done, but there was no place to hide a motor. Having the specs and drawings of the Creative Conners machine helped us build a hidden frame that fit into our trap system for a completely hidden turntable. We also had no idea about how many stops, speeds and directions we needed. But with the Spikemark software, it didn’t matter. This was the first time we used computerized automation and were a little hesitant and green. Needless to say, we never want to go back to the old way!”

Ben’s Take:

“Our experience with Creative Conners was very positive. They were easy to deal with from the beginning. Upfront about everything, even the prices are online for us to see. There were no surprises. Always someone there to answer phone calls when we had questions, and always willing to go the extra mile to help us.

“We have been doing automation for years. It has always been clunky, and inefficient, somewhat unreliable, and very hard to get it working perfectly. From the moment we unpacked the Creative Conners motor, it worked, and even an old school carpenter had no trouble programming and running it. It left us feeling confident and motivated to keep advancing our automation skills. There was never any doubt in the Creative Conners motor and computer software, it just worked perfectly from start to finish. We have a project coming up next season with 5 moving pieces, and we hope to automate the whole thing. This will be a new and very exciting thing for us to have so many devices running off of one button!”

Would you recommend Creative Conners?

“In a heartbeat. It really shows that the staff at Creative Conners still care about customer service, and aim to get everyones’ productions running smoothly. They will go the extra mile and make sure you have what you need. We even had a question late at night (it was 1:00am in RI) and they still answered the phone! Very impressive. Also willing to deal with limited budgets, time restraints, try before you buy, and even rent-to-own incentives.”

Will Leonard, Assistant Technical Director, The Alley Theatre

Challenge:

For our production of Christmas Carol, we have an existing automated clock that needed to be adapted to be controlled by Spikemark.

Solution:

“Gareth worked with us (he even contacted the manufacturer of the AC to DC inverter) to rewire the controller to work with the Creative Conners system, now we can use one controller for all the automation in the production. I appreciated the fact he helped us with someone else’s equipment and came up with a solution that did not cost us anything.”

Will’s Take:

“I would definitely recommend Creative Conners. I was hesitant when we first got their system because we had so much existing automation equipment that needed to be adapted to work with the new controllers. However, the retro-fit was quick and simple & the technical support with the clock ensured that everything went smoothly. The control software was easy to learn, we were up and running very quickly.”
Dan Ramirez, Technical Director, Huntington Theatre Company

Challenge:

Dan needed a turtle unit for a complicated move, but didn’t have that kind of machine or control in his inventory.

Solution:

“For She Loves Me, we needed a turtle to drive a platform US/DS and spin it 180 degrees.  We had used a turtle from another vendor from for a previous show, but that was no longer available to us. So we rented a 5 HP hydraulic turtle unit from Stage Machines and tied it into the Creative Conners control system. Problem solved. The CCI system is very easy to hook up to other machines.”

Dan’s Take:

“Creative Conners has been instrumental in our growth and expansion into more motion control and bigger motion effects during the eight years that I have been at the Huntington Theatre.
I had the advantage of working with Gareth before he started Creative Conners and have always known him to be exceptionally bright, as well as committed and competent in his chosen field and really in any endeavor he undertakes, so it was very easy and natural for me to begin building up an inventory of his winches, software and controllers as the Huntington began to reach beyond the abilities of our previous 4 axis system. We now have 10 controllers from Creative Conners and the ability to tackle just about anything the show requires.”

 

Commercial Scene Shop:

Roger Gray, Owner, Centerline Studios

Challenge:

Needed endless rotation on stage but had less than a 5” height to fit any drives under the platform.

Solution:

While our friction drive is pretty compact, at 8.8” tall it didn’t quite fit Roger’s needs.  However, we weren’t about to let a little height restriction stand in the way.  We worked with the talented folks at Center Line Studios to devise a solution that used a winch and Stagehand positioned offstage with a cable running underneath the 5” high deck to connect to the turntable.

The Result?

“We’re very pleased with your equipment and amazed by your service.  I’ll be counting on the Creative Conners staff and equipment for all of my future automation.  Why reinvent the wheel?”

High School Theatre:

Charles Woods, Performing Arts Center Director & Theatre Department Technical Director, James E. Taylor High School

Challenge:

Needed friction drive for a student-created, 20’diameter turntable and easy-to-learn control software capable of executing over 50 cues spot-on during an upcoming performance of “Into the Woods”  – all on short notice.

Solution:

Friction drives with enough play to forgive the inaccuracies of first-time student designers?  Got it.  Easy-to-use control software that can flawlessly execute precise cues?  Specialty.  Short notice?  Happy to help.  (Luckily, all of the rental equipment Charlie needed was available at the time.) When Charlie first contacted us with his dilemma, we were psyched to get on board.  We make a point of designing software and machines with a user-friendly mentality that’s ideal for students and experts alike.  After discussing all of Charlie’s needs with him, we were able to package and ship his order in time for his students to study the manuals, hookup their equipment and program the cues long before curtain call.

The Result?

“As soon as the show was up and running, I gave the contact information for Creative Conners to the other 5 Theatre Directors in our district with my recommendation for using them… Mr. Conner was extremely helpful and supportive with information on all aspects (mechanical/electrical engineering) required for our project – Nice to work with a business who sees that their future clients will come from those that are studying these skills today and puts the same importance on an educational entity renting their equipment, as they do with a professional theatre/theatre company renting their equipment.  I will be contacting Creative Conners again for any other scenery movement equipment in the future.”

College Theatre:

Loren Schreiber, Technical Director, San Diego State University

Challenge:

Ran into a few questions about hooking his own machines up to Spikemark while working late one night to prepare for a show.  Needed answers ASAP.

Solution:

We promise to be accessible to our clients – this time was no exception.  Even though Loren called around midnight with his questions, Gareth walked through the issues and got everything resolved and rolling right over the phone.  Loren and his team were extremely grateful, not to mention relieved, and the scenic automation for their show went off without a hitch.

The Result?

“I cannot imagine a more pleasant person to work with than Gareth.  He’s congenial, unflappable and really stands behind his products.  I’ve been in the business for years, but I have yet to meet another supplier who is there for you as much as Gareth is for his clients.
 I have recommended Creative Conners to my peers for years.  They offer one of the only systems that you can buy off the shelf and easily use with your own machines.  I’ve been able to train students and young professionals on Spikemark in a matter of minutes, and they love the system.  It’s such an effective and easy to use program; combine that with unparalleled service – I wouldn’t use anyone else.”

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