Cat in the Hat audio manual
Setting up QLab - the screenshots here are from QLab v2.
QLab v3 has some cosmetic changes to what you see below, but otherwise these instructions hold true.
Once QLab has opened
- Open the Workspace Preferences. You can do this by clicking on QLab in the top left of your screen (just right of the Apple icon) and select Workspace Preferences. Or clck this icon on the QLab toolbar:
- Then click on the Audio tab on the left hand side. You will see a box with the title Audio Device Assignment appear, and below it “Patch 1” to “Patch 8” on the left of a series of holes, and the available sound outputs of your computer. In QLab v3 there is a dropdown menu next to Patch 1 where you can select your sound card instead of the following method.
If you are using the 8 speaker version:
- Click on the hole to the right of Patch 1 and drag to the right to draw a yellow line to the name of your sound card, for example, “Motu 828”.
- If your sound-card name is not visible here, check that it is connected and that you have installed the right software drivers for it, then restart your Mac, then open QLab.
If you are using the 2 speaker version:
- Click on the hole to the right of Patch 1 and drag to the right to draw a yellow line to the sound output called “Built-In Output”, “Line output” or “Headphone output” as appropriate for your computer.
- Now click Done in the bottom right of the window. All the red crosses should have disappeared.
If you still have red crosses then you may have an additional problem! Check the Troubleshooting page here for help diagnosing the issue.
You can now select cues and click the Go button (or press Space) and you should hear sounds. You can press the Escape key on your keyboard to stop all sounds. A lot of these keyboard shortcuts are customisable - have a look at Workspace Preferences > Key Map to see what they are.
For further information on using QLab, you can click on Help in the menus at the top of your screen. There are some excellent video tutorials that will guide you through the basic use of QLab.
If you have not used your Mac to run sound for a show before:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Sound.
- Click on the “Sound Effects” tab and turn the Alert Volume to Off
- Turn “user interface sound effects”, “feedback when volume is changed” Off
- Click on Show All to see all System Preferences
- Click on the Energy Saver icon
- Set Computer Sleep to never
(This stops the computer from going to sleep when it’s not used, for example, during the pre-show music!)
- Turn “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible” off
(This stops the hard disk from spinning down between cues which can cause lags when you press the Go button)
- Click on Show All to see all System Preferences
- Click on the Network icon
- Click WiFi
- Turn “Ask to join new networks” off
(This stops the computer from asking you if you would like to join the “Free-Public-Wi-Fi” network that suddenly appears mid show!)
- Click on the Bluetooth icon
- Turn Bluetooth off
(This means people can’t try and send you files over Bluetooth during the show!)
- Click on Date and Time and make sure the Time is set correctly
- Click on the Software Update icon, and turn “check for updates” off
- Click on the Time Machine icon, and turn Time Machine off
- Only run QLab on it during the show. Other programs will slow down QLab and will cause audio glitches and slow QLab’s reaction to the Go button being pressed.
- Make sure it is disconnected from all computer networks during the show.
Setting up your sound system for the 8 speaker version
All the sound effects and music cues have set levels in the show already. You will need to turn up or down the volume controls on your speakers. Use the Balancing section of the show to set the levels of your speakers (either using the volume controls on the amplifiers, the speakers themselves if they are self-powered or on your mixing desk). You want the music in the balancing section to be quiet enough so that the Cat can be heard over it without shouting! There are loud and quiet sections to the music, and the quiet sections are where the Cat talks. You can also use the Motorbike sound effect sequence to set the volume of your flown speakers: Run the sequence and turn the flown speakers up or down so that the sound doesn’t get noticeably louder or quieter as it pans from the onstage speakers to the flown speakers.
Setting up your sound system for the 2 speaker version
All the sound effects and music cues have set levels in the show already. You will need to turn up or down the volume controls on your speakers. Use the Balancing section of the show to set the levels of your speakers (either using the volume controls on the amplifiers, the speakers themselves if they are self-powered or on your mixing desk). You want the music in the balancing section to be quiet enough so that the Cat can be heard over it without shouting! There are loud and quiet sections to the music, and the quiet sections are where the Cat talks.
Make sure the volume of your Mac is set consistently for each show. I normally turn it up to full using the keyboard volume buttons, then turn it down 3 button presses.
Operating the show
The sound operator needs to have a really good view of the stage so they can react to the performers actions. We have always placed the sound operator just behind the back row of the audience so they can see everything.
Have a look at the sound script provided to you by MTI. Look through the show in QLab and you shall see the corresponsing cues.
For the National Theatre production, the sound operator took 90% of the cues themself, rather than being cued by a DSM. The exception to this was the Voice-Over cues, for which the sound operator had a seperate cue list and Go button, and they were all cued by the DSM, allowing the sound operator to focus on the visual cues. If you are using a performer offstage to provide the voice-overs, you may wish to find a way to leave their microphone turned on (perhaps giving them a microphone that has an on-off switch built into it), though you will find moments when you need to bump their volume up.
All Left and Right directions are from the view of the sound operator in the auditorium, not from onstage. If it says Left in the Cue List, it means Stage Right! It makes sense for the sound operator looking at it and for the wiring of sound systems which conventionally are wired left-right from the auditorium perspective.
In the show you will see references to hot-keys. These are buttons on your QWERTY keyboard that when pressed will always make a certain sound regardless of where you are in the cue list. These are the number keys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0 along the top of your keyboard, not the keys on the numeric keypad of your keyboard. You may want to mark your keyboard with these sounds as it’s easy to lose track in the heat of the moment! Watch the DVD to see how we used them. (Hot-keys do not work on the free version of QLab, you need the Basic Audio license to activate them)
1 - SMALL BALL 1
2 - BIG BALL
3 - SMALL BALL 2
4 - BIG BALL SHORT
5 - DRUM ROLL 1 ON
6 - DRUM ROLL 1 CYMBAL
7 - DRUM ROLL 2 ON
8 - DRUM ROLL 2 CYMBAL
9 - SWISH L
0 - SWISH R
The Cat in the Hat is a REALLY difficult show to operate - there are a lot of cues very close together. Our operator was in rehearsals full-time from Day 1 of rehearsals, and this is pretty much the only way they’ll be able to get good enough at it. The best way to learn how to operate the show is to practice alongside the Wide-Shot DVD. However when this was filmed Angus, the actor playing the Cat, had a knee injury so Sound Q’s 87 and 88 were skipped to accomodate for those performances. Normally the Cat would do a long run-up (drum roll), jump on to the box (cymbal), overshoot into the wings (the crash), then return onstage making karate chop actions at the chickens clucking in the wings!
The DVD made for commercial release has many cuts, additional sound effects and pieces of music that make it unsuitable for practicing.
Many of the music cues can be cued in time with the music, for example Sound Q’s 56 - 65 in the Balancing sequence. The music sounds best if the operator presses “Go’ on the beat in sequences like this; it keeps the illusion of a continuous live band.
Pre-show and Post-show music
This is the list of music we used and that is supplied. You should obtain copyright clearance for them as necessary. If you cannot do so, then you should use pieces of music that you can obtain copyright clearance for. We chose music that kept the children entertained and often dancing through the pre-show.
1 Dy-Na-Mi-Tee - Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
2 Teenage Kicks - Nouvelle Vague
3 Spice Up Your Life - The Spice Girls
4 Heart of Glass - The Puppini Sisters
5 My Heart Stood Still - Stephane Grappelli
6 Mambo No.8 - Pérez Prado
7 Chihuahua - Luis Oliveira
8 James Bond Theme - Fanfare Ciocarlia
9 Hora Andalusia - Fanfare Ciocarlia
10 Hawaii Five-O - Robert Delgado
11 Jump In The Line - Harry Belafonte
12 Lucky Lucky Lucky Me - Evelyn Knight
13 Iko-Iko - Zap Mama
14 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Puppini Sisters
15 In the Mood - The Puppini Sisters
16 Life Goes to a Party - Benny Goodman
Dr. Seuss text, characters and images TM and © 2009 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P
For more information, please contact your MTI customer representative at (212) 541-4684, or visit our website at www.mtishows.com.