Tech Topics

Tech Topic: It’s Simply Data Entry

Posted on Monday, July 24th, 2017

By Brad Schiller

Automated lighting programmers must be very skilled at programming for various types of productions and designers. In most cases, there is a great collaborative working relationship that allows the programmer to share in the creative vision along with the LD. However, there are some shows and LDs that require the programmer to simply enter data into the desk without regard to the end result on stage. In many cases this will occur in theatrical environments, but it could also occur as part of a programming session with any production. It is very important for programmers to be ready to switch to a working format that is purely data entry.

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“The Great One” and Stage Lighting

Posted on Friday, June 23rd, 2017

By Chris Lose

A good LD lights where the guitarist is supposed to be. A great LD lights where the guitarist is going to be.

I recently moved from Las Vegas to Canada for a number of reasons. One reason for moving is the current political climate in the U.S. Canada has proven to be very polite and rather pleasant. I moved to a small community where my services as a concert lighting director might not be in high demand. Belle River does not have any casinos, convention centers, ballrooms or arenas. But it does have hockey rinks — lots of them.

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Be Kind to Your Friends in the Shop

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

By Chris Lose

I’m a firm believer that people who have spent time in the shop have a better understanding of the lighting business than those who have not. I am lucky enough to have spent four knuckle-busting years in the shops of Vari*Lite, Morpheus and Cinelease. I was there to receive hand written shop orders, assemble gear, tech lights and repair rain-drenched VL6s and Mac 2Ks that came back from multiple Olympics from around the globe.

The knowledge that came from those years has made me a better programmer and a more patient director. The shop is where theater people and non-theater people alike, work together to compile the necessary tools to make entertainment happen. Sometimes, those people have an idea of what happens to the gear after it leaves the dock, but some do not.

In this article, I would like to impart some knowledge from both sides of the dock door onto you. By reading this dissertation, you will be able to go forth and help the team of hard working, underappreciated men and women in the shop to help you ………..

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Tech Topic: Patching Prestidigitation

Posted on Monday, May 1st, 2017

by Brad Schiller

Anyone who wants to learn about automated lighting programming must study and master one very important task: Patching. Without this ability, the data within the desk will not be able to communicate properly with the connected fixtures and other devices. Patching requires an understanding of a console’s specific methodologies, DMX fundamentals and intimate details of the lighting rig layout. No matter the show or the console, a programmer must properly patch the system to actually control lighting units.

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The Politics of Colour Selection

Posted on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

by Chris Lose

I heard about a tragedy the other day. A designer lost a tour based solely on color selection. A particular band that chooses a different color for each album cover hired this person to do their tour. During a televised promotion for their upcoming tour, the production manager mentioned to the designer/programmer that they would like the color of their album to be in every single song. The designer chose to go against the band’s wishes.

Instead of incorporating white into every song, this individual made the unfortunate decision of choosing pink and green. The designer was not asked back for the tour. The band could never tell the designer that they were fired over something as simple as a color preference, but that’s what happened. They found someone new who could more acceptingly follow their suggestions and paid handsomely for it. Reading this entire article will help you avoid the same fate.

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Light Bytes 1st edition now on sale

Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Wayne Howell, CEO of Artistic Licence and inventor of Art-Net, is pleased to announce the publication of the 1st edition of his book “Light Bytes – Inside Art-Net and sACN”.

The book – a practical reference on the Art-Net and sACN lighting protocols – was launched recently in preview edition at the 2016 PLASA London show. Already enjoying strong sales, the book has now been updated to cover the latest version of sACN (E1.31-2016), and includes a foreword by Iain Ruxton, Design Associate at Speirs + Major.

Given the increasing industry-wide use of ethernet as a means for transporting DMX512, this timely reference manual is a must-have for anyone seeking to increase their knowledge of Art-Net or sACN.

Light Bytes – Inside Art-Net and sACN

While the Art-Net and sACN protocol definition documents are available to all, they do not seek to address real world implementation issues or developer FAQs.

Written with practicality in mind, this book provides the missing link. Starting with a networking primer, it moves onto the detailed packet structures and definitions used in each protocol. Following the theoretical groundwork, readers are led through the problems that are often encountered in real-world applications, with tips on how to avoid them.

The book strives for a balanced approach, comparing and contrasting Art-Net and sACN, while explaining how each protocol is evolving to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. There is a handy chapter on freely available software diagnostics tools, along with useful code examples for both Art-Net and sACN developers.

Purchase here


The Not-So-Lonely Road

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

by Chris Lose

Keeping the Lonesome Road from Dragging You Down

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha… No, I’m not going to read into that Seger song. Karaoke doesn’t start until 8 p.m.

I’m sitting on a bus thinking about my family and loved ones back at home. I’m thinking about how all “puppies and rainbows” it would be if they were out here traipsing the continent by my side. Bringing my four-year-olds twins, wife Sharon and Kala the black lab might be a little cost prohibitive for the tour (if not completely annoying to the guy who cleans the bus). I can only imagine that it helps to ease the pain when you’re ridin’ sixteen hours and there’s nothin’ there to do. I talked to a few couples about their experience of traveling and working with their spouses out there in the spotlight.

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