Tech Topics

Automated Lighting: The Latest Developments

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Church Production talks to seven leading manufacturers about the latest developments, and what the future may hold.

by Michael S. Eddy

It is hard not to notice that automated lighting is being used more widely these days in a variety of house of worship (HOW) applications. As new and more efficient light source technologies, along with new fixture designs, bring down the size and cost for automated lights, many churches are looking at the versatility of such fixtures. One of the more significant advances is that light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are being paired with fixture designs that offer better throws and output for wash lights and now even for spot light applications. Lamp manufacturers are also making advances in reducing the power draws for more traditional discharge source technology while maintaining—or even improving—output.

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The Rainmaker

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

By Brad Schiller

Very early in my career, I saw a cool effect on a TV show that I just had to emulate.  There were dancers on a stage and a lighting effect that created what looked like large, random raindrops hitting the stage.  The look, created with large number of fixtures, presented a fantastic new look for automated lighting. I felt compelled to figure out how it was made, and to program something similar the next opportunity I had. It was a great example of how, by watching other shows, you can be inspired by the creativity of others while gaining insights into what is possible through programming.

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Merging DMX

Posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

Recently, I took on the task of incorporating DMX merging into my lighting control system. “Why?” you may be asking.  Aside from that question (I asked myself this too, along the way), I also thought of a few other questions that programmers and LDs might ask themselves about merging DMX. For example, “What does DMX merge mean?” “How do you combine two sources of control into one stream?” “Do you get something usable?” “What gear is necessary to set up a system for merging multiple sources of DMX?”

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An LD and His iPad

Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

My wife was concerned that our three-year-old wants to spend all his time with the iPad. Then I mentioned that someone told me the first word spoken by his 18-month-old daughter most mornings is “iPad.” I don’t know right from wrong when it comes to kids and mobile devices. But I do know that if we are playing with a toy and I get an important business call, I can hand my child the iPad and he will stop whining immediately.

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Watch Where You Point That Thing!

Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Automated lighting programmers have many tasks they must perform when programming any type of production.  One of the most common tasks is positioning (or focusing) the fixtures. The exact angle and aim of the fixture must be dialed in to ensure the proper areas of the stage are lit or that the aerial effects look good.  There are many techniques and tools to assist the focusing process and it is important that programmers understand the differences.

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Concert Touring 101

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I have just finished programming another big rock show, and it got me to thinking about the common programming elements that are present in all concert tours.  Even with different musical genres and unique production requirements, there are some essential processes that every automated lighting programmer should be aware of.   The layout of the show, use of flash keys and palette usage are very important parts of the concert touring experience.

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Good Fixtures for Pixel-Mapping

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

So you’ve decided to incorporate a bit of pixel mapping into your show (either that or you’ve bought a media server and just want to know how to use that extra feature tucked away in the advanced menu). Instantly you will ask yourself, “What kind of lighting fixture would be good to use?” And that’s when it starts — the quest to find an LED fixture that lets you map video to each and every pixel on its front panel. How easy is that? Well, let’s take a look.

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