Tech Topics

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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Tech Topic: Theater Builders of Tomorrow – Listen Up!

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

by Chris Lose

While touring the world, I have spent far too many hours sitting at FOH, wondering who in the world designs some of these venues. I decided that I should put my two cents in writing instead of stewing in my own disgust of poor forethought. Here are a few remarks that I would like to make to anyone who is considering designing an entertainment venue.

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Tech Topic: Build Your Own Fixture Library

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

By Brad Schiller

Automated lighting consoles are extremely powerful tools with very complex software. No matter how many features a console provides, one of the most essential elements is its fixture library. The library contains unique profile information about fixtures used within our industry. This information becomes the interface between the programmer and the instructions for the light (or other devices). Without proper libraries, most desks will not communicate with fixtures and devices. In some cases, it is important for a programmer to understand the process to create new or modify existing libraries. The method of creating or editing fixture libraries differs greatly between console systems, but all require a basic understanding of how a fixture library functions.

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Tech Topic: Ten Top Priorities when Building a Punt Show

Posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

punt fadersBy Chris Lose

Having completed years as a house lighting designer and working at several festivals around the globe, I have become streamlined when building punt shows. Rock ‘n’ Roll rarely sticks to a cue stack, so I decided to put together my 10 top priorities for a punt show.

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