Tech Topics

Tech Topic: Lighting Console and Media Server Convergence

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

0-USE THIS ONE ChamSys Pixel Map Image 1By Vickie Claiborne

As media servers continue to develop features geared toward working with LED fixtures, lighting consoles are beginning to add in tools that address the unique challenges that programmers encounter while programming both lighting and video. As this convergence of lighting and video continues to evolve, the toolsets continue to evolve as well. Here’s a look at some of those tools……

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Tech Topic: The Matrix is Now: Four Tips to Help Wash Down That Red Pill

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2016

By Chris Lose

In science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s famed “Three Laws,” written in Profiles of the Future, a book-length collection of essays that was first published in 1962, the third law stated: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

He must have foreseen today’s dizzying array of live event gear advancements, because the lighting rigs that I have been working on as of late have been reinforcing this law on a daily basis. We have entered the days of fully immersive lighting environments, 200-plus universe rigs, wireless DMX, instant downloads and truss spots that aren’t on the truss. We have clearly taken the red pill and fallen down the rabbit hole of technology. Like Neo, we need to embrace this world and prepare for the next level.

Here are four tips to making yourself at home in today’s lighting design matrix.

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Tech Topic: Spinning in Circles

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

By Brad Schiller

The automated lighting industry has seen a new trend in lighting products over the last few years. We now have many creative LED products that are making use of continuous rotation of pan and tilt. This type of movement opens up some exciting new possibilities and designers are placing the fixtures all over their plots. The technology to endlessly rotate fixtures is not new, and in fact was used quite some time ago with standard discharge fixtures. However, the concept never really took off until it was applied to an LED panel. Now programmers and designers have many different tools that take advantage of continuously rotating pan and tilt.

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“Dear Mr. LD:” A Spotlight Operator Pens an Open Memo to Lighting Designers

Posted on Friday, June 10th, 2016

1-That's me in the cornerby Bob Ursdevenicz

To: All Lighting Designers
From: Your local spotlight operator
Re: Calling the spotlights at a large arena show

Hi, I’m your local spotlight operator. You might not know my name, but I’d like to request that you please don’t use profane language if things don’t go exactly as planned during your performance. We try our best, honest. We want to make your act shine. So I’d like to take a minute to explain a few things from our side of the intercom line if you got a sec.

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Tech Topic: To Timecode, or Not To Timecode?

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2016

By Chris Lose

Whether “Tis Nobler” Is Not the Question. Here’s a Roundtable Discussion of When It’s the Answer.

For some, timecode is the auto tune of lighting designers — a lazy choice. Others insist that timecode is doing the job of the operator, freeing him or her up from being chained to just punching the “go” button for each and every cue. But the truth is that when properly implemented, it can be used for a show’s greater good.

I recently had the pleasure of working on two major rock tours that were large and required precision cueing. The major difference between the two was timecode. I manually executed 600 cues each night on a Fleetwood Mac tour. Later, I filled in for LD Matt Mills for a week on Mötley Crüe; where 97 percent of the cues were fired by timecode. This allowed me to focus on tending to four buttons, two faders, and call spots (plus make sure that Tommy Lee and his drums were bathed in a smoky haze thick enough to make Shanghai call the air pollution hotline).

I assembled a virtual roundtable of some of the best designers in the business — Mark Butts (Shania Twain), Baz Halpin (Katy Perry), Nick Whitehouse (Justin Timberlake) and Rob Sinclair (Queen with Adam Lambert) to discuss the pros and cons of timecoding.

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Rules for Free Labor: Okay vs. Not Okay

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2016

Written by Chris Lose

Your boss heard that you really love the theater and would appreciate some extra hours on show site, so he offers you the chance of a lifetime to come and work on his next show for no money, as an intern of sorts. You jump at the chance to gain experience. The next gig comes along, and he asks you do it for no money again. Now you realize that you have no way to get to the show site because your gas tank is empty.


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Seven Rules of a Successful Touring Lighting Director

Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

By Chris Lose

Q: What’s the difference between a Lighting Designer and a Lighting Director?

A: About $20,000…

As a touring lighting director, I get asked this a lot — and the reality is few people outside the industry really understand it. The roles are similar, but the responsibilities are vastly different. The lighting designer is responsible for pitching, selling, and securing their visual concept for the show to their client. The lighting director is responsible for implementing the design and making sure its vision remains intact for the duration of the tour.

We all know what it takes to be a successful lighting designer — imaginative brilliance and business savvy. But what does it take to be a successful — and always working — touring lighting director? I have outlined my seven most successful tips below.

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