Tech Topics

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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Tech Topic: 15 Years of Change

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

by Brad Schiller

December 2001 marked the first article I wrote for my “Feeding the Machines” column. As I write this article 15 years later, I am thinking about how much our industry has changed, yet also stayed the same. The most popular console brand back then was different and LEDs were used as indicators, not sources. Many of the programming processes and procedures have not changed, though. I still find myself using much of the same syntax and methodology to create looks as I did long ago. It is amazing to look back and see what has changed and what has remained the same.

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Tech Topic: The Multi-Facets of Prismatic Programming

Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2017

by Brad Schiller

Automated lighting fixtures are filled with many different effects and mechanical abilities. In addition to gobos, colored glass, shutters and irises, many fixtures provide a prism effect. While similar to a gobo, inserting a prism into the optics of an automated light can have many different results. An automated lighting programmer should understand the reactions and controls when using prisms.

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Tech Topic: Dear Festival Lighting Designer

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

By Chris Lose

I am well aware that you are more than capable of designing, operating, teching, programming and facilitating every single show that comes through your fine festival grounds. But today, you are my festival lighting designer. I only need a few things from you and I need them done to the best of your ability. I need a patch, a plot and a functional rig. A smile would be nice, but not necessary. I don’t need your résumé nor do I need your sob story. After checking in with a handful of my favorite programmers and directors, I have come up with a comprehensive list of tips on how to help me help you to make our time together as de-light-ful as possible.

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Tech Topic: From DMX to TCP/IP

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2016

0-net-switchby Michael Graham

A Look at the Growing Complexity of Fixture Functions and Control Systems

Over the years, the complexity of intelligent lighting fixtures has finally gotten to the point where our own intelligence level has to rise up exponentially just to operate the gear we are using. Take a look around at what the shows we see now differ to the shows that we saw just a few years ago. Now take a moment to think about what we will be seeing in a few years from now. That’s right, those are chills running down your spine.

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