The Learn Stage Lighting Podcast
Summary: The Learn Stage Lighting podcast is an educational and informative look into the world of stage lighting. Starting with the basics, we choose a topic to cover each week, followed by a few listener questions. Our host is David Henry, a lighting designer and educator from https://www.learnstagelighting.com .
This week, we’re going to dive in to “how bright does your light actually need to be?” But first: Lighting News This week in lighting news: Grand MA3 has announced their new Executer Knob feature that will be coming out soon. The Executer Knob is located above each Fader. This gives you the ability to have a second control to your fader. Even if you aren’t a Grand MA user, Check out the latest Youtube video for more information and some examples with this feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfmw3sLYRy4 Main Segment This week I want to dive in on how much light do you need and how bright it needs to be. With many different types of stages and setups, there really is no one blanket suggestion to cover this. Whether you already have lights or you’re in the process of purchasing lights here are some tips on brightness and lighting. How Much Ambient Light is There in Your Room Lighting is all about Contrast. Something to consider is if there is a lot of existing light in your room you may not need as much or such bright lights. If your doing lights for a band in a dark venue you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with extremely bright lights. For more info on the brightness of certain lighting check out the article here: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/footcandles-lumens-lux/ What Else is on the Stage Another factor to consider is checking to see if there are existing lights on the stage. Possible there are lights that do not turn off or house lights? Be sure to test lighting to see what adjustments you may need to make. With projection screens, you normally want to keep your lighting the same as the brightness of the projector. One way to test this is to take a picture of the screen. Is your stage overpowering the projection or vice versa? Depending on what you’re looking for just adjust the lights and brightness as needed. What Does the Room and Cameras Need Years ago, cameras needed a lot more light than they do now. Typically, if you’re shooting in a short distance you won’t need as much light. If you’re shooting a farther distance you may need more light. More important than brightness is keeping your lights even. For example, if you have some dark and light spots on your stage it may appear darker than what you are hoping for. Keeping your lights even will prevent this effect on your stage. Here’s a great resource on how to even your lighting: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/how-do-i-create-an-even-wash-of-stage-light/ Mailbag Nicole: I work in a Small Community Theater and our small stage needs a new lighting system. It has an analog lighting board, lights, and 15 dimmers. Our lighting board is failing so now we are looking into new options. Is there a way to switch to a new Digital Board and keep the analog lights? Based on the information provided I would say Yes. My first suggestion is to check eBay to see if there are any systems that may be able to meet your theater’s needs. On keeping the dimmer boxes, analog lights and getting a digital board I want to recommend checking out this link below to see if there is a system that may be able to do this for you: http://www.dfd.com/ If you’re not able to find an adaptor box or an analog console you can still keep your lights and just replace your dimmer packs and digital board. Here is more info on how you can do this:
Lighting News This week I don’t have any recent news that caught my attention. But I do want to share with you a few websites that I like to check out for the latest in the Lighting Industry. Check out the industry magazines below: https://www.churchproduction.com/ http://plsn.com/ http://www.lightingandsoundamerica.com/ These are some great magazines to subscribe to if you’re looking for more information on Lighting. Main Segment This week I want to share with you how to set the atmosphere and when you should use certain fog or haze atmospheres. In most concerts, theater productions, or special church events there is normally some sort of atmosphere to set the stage. Using a fog or haze atmosphere can be a great way to get more out of your lighting. Fire Alarms An area I want to discuss is Fire Alarms and what to expect when putting on a show. One thing to note is to never ever turn off Fire Alarms. This is a big Do Not Ever Do! Types of Fire Alarms Ionizing Fire Alarms are usually home-based and looks for actual fire and smoke. Haze and Fog will most likely not set these off. Optical Detectors are often used in a hotel or commercial building. They allow the very quickest notification of fire, but with the downside that anything which crosses their path will trip them. The best suggestion is to work with the Fire Alarm Company and your Local Fire Department to see if you can set the alarms in Silent Mode. With Silent Mode you will be able to see the alarm trip on the Control Panel without the alarms going off and having people evacuate. Theatrical Effects will set off the Optical Detectors. For more information please check out the related articles below: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/hazers-oil-or-water-based https://www.learnstagelighting.com/ultimate-guide-to-fog/ Types of Atmosphere Buying a machine will do one of the following: Haze, Fog, or Low Fog. All are different in how they work and each unit has a specific purpose. I highly suggest not trying to make a machine do what it is not supposed to do. You may also see “Fazers” on the market, but I really don’t recommend those becuase they don’t do fog or haze well! Haze Haze is a thin mist like atmosphere that will hang in the air. This is a great effect of showing off the beams in the air. Haze can really highlight the beams, patterns, and gobos. It is often used in a Concert setting and not usually seen in a corporate event. Water Based Hazers will dissipate quicker. The particles are bigger and have more of a smokey effect and will rise quickly. Oil Based Hazers tend to be louder to run so please keep this in mind if your show is a quieter setting. Oil-based haze will not rise as quickly as the water-based will and will hang in the air longer. The downfall with Oil based is that you will need to do some maintenance and cleaning because the gunk will build up over time. HVAC When setting up always make sure you know where the air is going. Obviously, you do not want to set up the machine right below the air intake. Be sure to set up on the opposite side of the room so that the air will float across. Check out my full article on haze here! Fog Fog is exactly what it is which is a thick cloud. This is great when you’re looking for an explosion kind of effect.
Lighting News! This week we have no updates as the NAB and Pro Light and Sound Trade Shows ended last week and took all the thunder! Main Segment Moving Lights are often referred as “Automated Lights” which is a light that you are able to remotely control with a DMX. Along with the ability to move, these lights also have features such as color mixing, color wheel, shutters, gobos, frost, focus, zoom, and anything that you would want could be packed into a moving light. Do You Need Moving Lights? Moving lights can be a great feature in your lighting, but do you actually need them? If you’re looking for an active light on you stage then this would be an obvious yes! However, these lights can also be used if you need a light that is not moving, but changes colors, gobos, or needs to be in multiple positions over the course of a show or service. The Cons of Moving Lights While moving lights are great to have there are some things you should consider. If you have a DMX Controller that isn’t able to handle the functions of a moving light then you may want to upgrade your controller. Personally, I recommend checking to see if your controller was designed to work with moving lights in mind. If you’re not sure I would recommend checking on Learn Stage Lighting, YouTube, or check forums to see what others may be saying. The Cost Aspect of Moving Lights Originally, most moving lights were discharge moving lights. A discharge moving light has a lot of great features but the downside is the discharge lamp. The discharge lamps have a limited life (often 750, 1000, or 1500 hours) and will need to be replaced as they hit their hours. These lamps are also quite expensive (generally $100-$300). Many newer moving lights have LED sources. If you’re purchasing a new moving light I highly recommend getting a LED fixture. With the exemption of the brightest needs, most are going with LED. LED spot fixtures still carry a slightly higher price than their discharge counterparts, but over the long haul, it’s worth it. The benefit of LED is a long life on the light engine, which will significantly outlast your lamp. Another benefit is that the LED actually runs a lot cooler. Heat can really cause stress to your equipment. LEDs do cost more up front BUT long term they will help save you money. Moving Lights Will Break Every moving light will break at some point. They do have moving parts that will eventually need maintenance. With a lot of use, the moving lights over time need to be repaired so this is something to keep in mind before investing in these types of lights. Fan Noise Lastly, something to keep in mind is the fan noise. For some, the less expensive lights are the way to go but do expect louder fans. If the environment is a church, theater, or any quiet setting it is important to consider the fan noise. The more expensive fans are generally much quieter and the same would go for the motors. Moving lights can be a great addition to your stage but the most important piece of advice I can recommend is really considering the cost. I found a great article that helps you with what to expect cost wise: https://www.churchproduction.com/education/full-disclosure-what-every-church-needs-to-know-before-investing-in-moving/ Mailbag: If you’re new to lighting and looking to learn quickly about what you can do with lights be sure to check out the link below. You’ll get access to step by step videos as well as access to forums where you can work with others who are do...
Lighting News! This week we have a few updates in the Lighting industry that I wanted to share with you. I’ve had the opportunity to work with LightShark and this past week they have announced their latest product the LS Wing. The LS Wing console expander unit adds 20 backlit buttons, 10 Playbacks, 3 extra Ethernet ports, and a pair of USB connectors to charge tablets or mobile. For more information check out the article below: https://www.workpro.es/article.php?idArticle=262 ETC has announced they have extended their warranty to 10 years. ETC is known for their warranties and customer support. After some testing on their fixtures, they found that their units lasted longer than expected. For more information check out the link below! http://www.etcconnect.com/LEDwarranty/ Global Truss has introduced a Truss Silencer that helps the process of assembling their units. Most users have noticed how obnoxious it is to assemble a Global Truss Unit. So, those who that have tested this new product were grateful for the Silencers! http://plsn.com/featured/global-truss-releases-silencers-at-pls/ If your looking for a larger moving light, Elation has announced their Artiste Picasso that delivers over 20,000 total lumens! This light has some amazing features. http://www.elationlighting.com/artiste-picasso Main Segment How to Shape the Light! Depending on the type of light you have there are many ways you can shape your light. Gel With conventional lights, you can use gels which is a colored film that you can put in front of the light. Over time the Gel does fade and needs to be replaced. These are not as popular but are still used to this day on white-source fixtures. Change Lenses Changing the lenses depends on the type of light that you have. In a Conventional Par, you would just change the Lamp. The LED Pars or ETC Pars you would change the Lens. Elation Lighting has created an LSF Filter for LEDs that can help shape your lighting. These filters are designed to smooth out your beam spread and really makes the lighting look good. You can see the examples below: LED’s: Diffusion Lenses: http://www.elationlighting.com/lsf-filters Wash Lights: Barn Doors Wash lights do not have a lot of options for shaping your light but they do have the Barn Doors. Barn Doors are a set of 4 flaps that you can insert into the Gel Frame Slot. If it is an LED you may not have the frame slot but be sure to check with the manufacturer to see if they have a Barn Door Assembly for your model. Spot/Beam Lights: Gobos, Shutters, With most Spot Lights you have shutters. With shutters, you can really define where you want your light to go. Another feature is being able to use Gobos. Gobos are inserts with a pattern and once you insert the light the pattern will reflect on the stage. Normally with a spotlight, you can focus the pattern on one area. But what I like to do is to take it out of focus and see what the pattern looks like out of focus. Mailbag: Brad: What fixtures do I actually need for a church stage? Brad is doing Live Streaming work and wants a simple set up with good lighting for a 16 foot by 27 foot wide stage. LEDs don’t always make great front lights. I recommend either conventional Par 56’s or an LED fixture with Amber or White chips. I would also suggest that you create 8 x 10 Zones with 2 lights per zone. Each light should be 90 degrees from each other and 45 degrees from the center. There is an in-depth course about setting up church lighting that I offer which may help you...
This week, we’re continuing our series on lighting fixtures by talking about spot fixtures and beam fixtures. Listen in to learn about the different types of lighting fixtures, and how you can use them in your show! Rate this podcast: Rate on iTunes Rate on Google Play Rate on Stitcher Lighting News! The Latest in Lighting News The latest in Lighting in News is the annual Pro Light and Sound Conference happening in Germany! One of the highlights I would like to mention is the introduction of the Grand MA3 which is supposedly the new latest and greatest for Lighting Consoles which you can check out in the link below. https://www.grandma3.com/ ENTTEC has also introduced Weather Rated Outdoor products for Pixels. I’ll be sure to share more on that as we get the latest information! Main Segment Benefits of Spot Fixtures Spot fixtures in lighting are lights that we use to get a hard edge light on the stage. There are two things that a hard edge light will get us: It can be very easy to keep the defined light on or off a certain part of the stage. But, it can be harsh on the skin and can cast hard shadows on people. You are able to use Gobos or Patterns in the light. You can use the pattern on the stage and look really good on the stage. For a more in-depth look at Spot Fixtures please refer to our Post: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/what-fixtures-are-common-in-stage-lighting-spot-fixtures/ Types of Spot Fixtures Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight (Also known as a Lekos) This would be the most popular type of spotlight in the lighting industry next to the moving spotlight. There are many different names and types for the ellipsoidal light but the most common would be the . Not only does the Lekos have the Hard Edge it also has the changeable barrels which allow you to add the different lens sizes for the different distances that you need to shoot.The Lekos also have shutters in it which enables you to crop certain lights on or off the stage. These are most popular lights that are used on various types of stages because of the flexibility of being able to highlight certain parts of the stage. Follow Spot The Follow Spot is used for exactly what it is named for, it follows. This is used in many theaters or arena shows and usually manually operated to “Follow” a person on the stage. These are similar to Lekos but often do not have any Shutters. They do have the Hard Edge and Patterns. Moving Head Spot The moving head spot lights are very similar to other spot lights except they move. The moving head has similar features such as the Gobos, Shutters, Color Fixtures, and so much more. Pin Spot The Pin Spot is more of a Beam Light which can be considered a subsidiary of spotlights. The Pin spotlight is good for when you have a haze in the room. But it is also good for when you do not have a haze. This beam light is great with or without haze because it can really cut through the atmosphere and look really good in the setting.
In Episode 11, David is so excited because he has a few things to talk to you about. He is going to discuss wash in the next two episodes. Lighting News! Something has caught David’s eye: Check it out -> Lighting News: ADJ Wash fixture review in Church Production: Jim Kumorek ADJ Z100 3K on Amazon ADJ Z100 5K on Amazon Main Segment! When should you use the different types of light? Learn what David has to say about wash fixtures –> The Complete Guide to Stage Lighting Wash Fixtures Mailbag! Burt: Is a newbie and wants to change the color of the lights in M-PC. He wants to know the best way to make the lights show like a heartbeat and want to know how to do this. Joe: Is a self-taught DMXer. He has a problem with the lights going off and wants to know if David knows how to help. Check out this article that David wrote about DMX! Andrew: Wants to know how to hook up DMX and get it to trigger – Here is David’s reply! Spead the word about David’s Podcasts Rate this podcast links: Rate on iTunes Rate on Google Play Rate on Stitcher
Today, this podcast is going to be a change in how David does things. He is introducing a new segment on this podcast called Lighting News! In this segment, he will bring you the latest lighting news for the week and share how it can affect you! Check Out Some Of The Latest Products In This News Section: Martin – Elation M-series LightShark – Blizzard Chamsys QuickQ Now to get to the Main Segment! This segment talks about troubleshooting DMX. There are so many things that can go wrong and David wants to share his troubleshooting tips and knowledge with you! Here is the link to this topic on Learn Stage Lighting! – https://www.learnstagelighting.com/troubleshoot-dmx/ DMX Splitter that I use DMXCat Mailbag! Ginger: She attends a worship center that wants to get new lighting good for live streaming on the eye and the camera. The Foundations of Church Lighting on my Products Page Garth: Wants to use LED dimmable lights and wants to know if he can put them on a dimmer? DMX Dimmer Packs Richard: His church is in need of a lighting upgrade and the console is starting to have trouble and they would like new technology and to add some LED’s. He wants to know if it can all be done on one system. Check out this link: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/microplex-to-dmx/ Rate this podcast links: Rate on iTunes Rate on Google Play Rate on Stitcher
This is Episode 9 of Learn Stage Lighting Podcast. Today David is going to examine Art-Net and sACN in a less technical view. You know when you hit 512 channels you run out of space and that is why we have networkable DMX. You can just run 1 Ethernet Cable and solve your problem. Because it is DMX over a network. The benefit to you is you don’t have to run a bunch of DMX lines back to the stage when you’re working with multiple DMX Universes. Interested in what David has to say about this topic? Listen to this informational Episode on Art-Net and sACN. Links: Video on Art-Net and sACN (and links to nodes mentioned) Chauvet DMX-AN review Mailbag! Contact form to send in questions: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/contact/ Membership info: Learn Stage Lighting Labs Igor: What lighting software is best for BPM synching? Chauvet ShowXpress Enttec D-Pro Rekordbox Soundswitch Shaul: The Chinese are flooding the market with cheaper lighting and do you have an opinion on it…. are these inferior.? Elation Lighting Chauvet Lighting Blizzard Lighting ADJ Lighting Rate this podcast links: Rate on iTunes Rate on Google Play Rate on Stitcher
In this podcast, David is excited to talk about wiring DMX! How do you make it all talk together? The simplest DMX system is wired with a daisy chain. You come out of your lighting console and bring it to your first light and then you do it a 2nd time and on and on up to 32 times. It’s important to always use real DMX cable for this, not microphone cable: Why Can’t I Use Microphone Cables for DMX? You can run DMX up to 3900 ft and if you need more than 32 fixtures or more cable length you can use a DMX splitter. David’s favorite budget DMX splitter is the Enttec D-Split Get the full details and learn more by listening and subscribing to the podcast! Mailbag! John has a hobby in DJ Lighting and is having a problem controlling the lights and finds it very confusing. He wants to know how familiar David is with ShowCad. Find Out what David has to say and what he recommends…. Chauvet ShowXpress Enttec D-Pro Dustin: Is new to lighting and wants to get a DMX controller that works on Mac Book. He wants to know what David recommends…. ShowXpress Enttec D-Pro Chauvet DMX-AN Node for Output Fixtures Or Davide: Has been using DMX’s for awhile and is considering using D-Pro He is wondering if he can combine pallets with other pre-set controls. David has a GREAT answer for him. Want To Learn More About DMX? Check Out David’s Past Podcasts! What Is DMX? Let’s Talk About DMX Addresses! How Do I Solve DMX Problems? Grab your FREE guide to begin with lighting at LearnStageLighting.com! Thanks! -David
Today, David is so excited to talk about DMX Channel Modes If you had been enjoying these Podcasts head over to iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher and leave a review to help us grow the show! In this episode, David talks about Channel Modes because it seems to be a topic that people are starting to talk about. Lighting fixtures can be put into a variety of channel modes and you can control all of the segments or just one segment. There are pros and cons to both. Things to consider: * The console- which one am I using, how many universes, how easy is it to control things. * Programming time * The final result In this episode, David is going to talk about each of these considerations and then give some examples. Links: Links: Podcast – What is a DMX Universe? Color Kinetics ColorBlaze: Chauvet Rogue R2 Wash: Mail Bag! Larry Larry says he has been watching the series and he has a problem with his volunteers using his complicated equipment and he wants a more user-friendly system for them. Suggestion Links: Jands Vista: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/introduction-jands-vista/ Martin M-PC: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/begin-martin-m-pc/ Mike Mike wants to know if he can use LED Strip lights for side lights to wash the stage. He doesn’t have a lot of stage time. Beam angle vs field angle Tayo: Usedlighting.com Rate this podcast links: Rate on iTunes Rate on Google Play Rate on Stitcher Want to learn more, and get step-by-step instructions to take your lighting to 11? Check out my Learn Stage Lighting Labs Community!
This is Episode 6 in the series about Stage Lighting. David is going to talk about Mail – Not mail that you get from the post office but DMX mail! DMX is a broadcast protocol and there is no handshake, it either gets there or it doesn’t. How do you need to tell the lights where the console is and the console where the lights are? One of the ways If you use a basic console you can set the faders to a DMX channel. This method is really slow. The next way is to have a hardware based console that has predefined fixtures or a more advanced professional console that has a patch screen with fixed numbers. In this episode, you’ll learn everything you need to know about DMX addresses. Mailbag! John Marsh – Wants to upgrade to a better system than the Enlighten that he uses. He uses a middle-grade system now. David discusses the pros and cons of the following systems : Enttec LED Mapper Enttec D-Pro LightKey Madrix Finding Your First Lighting Console! Be sure to join us at LearnStageLightingLabs.com See you on the site!
In today’s Podcast David talks about DMX or Digital Multi-Plex. It is a digital signal, a serial type signal and runs on the RS485 standard layer and can run up to 512 channels of 8-bit information. Wow, that is a lot of technical information but it is useful to know this information when your learning stage lighting. DMX is a broadcast style of communication. You don’t have to have any sophisticated equipment to run this, it is just there and very simple. Back in time, you had various ways that consoles talked to one another but they were proprietary, they were manufacture specific and they couldn’t talk to one another. Then RDM came and allowed fixtures to talk to the console upon request. You could look at and change information which you could not do before. Here is a post that goes into deeper detail on RDM. DMX is 3 pin or 5 pin cable. Why is that we only use 3 of the pins? They did this because they didn’t want microphones to be plugged into your lighting systems. So if you see a 5 pin plug it is for DMX. You can not use a microphone cable for DMX as you will be asking for problems! Mailbag! Vinylmanipul8r wants to know the differences between programs like Chauvet ShowXpress and the New Pioneer Lighting in Rekordbox and Soundswitch. Jeff wants to know what needs to happen when he changes his Digital Audio Workspace from Cubase to Pro-Tools Check out this link for a better explanation of this question: Forums.DMXIS.com – http://forums.dmxis.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1689&p=8060&hilit=protools#p8060 Also, check out my Learn Stage Lighting Labs Community!
Welcome back to the 4th episode of The Learn Stage Lighting Podcast, we are so happy to have you here. Today, David talks about making your light an even wash across your stage – no matter what kind of show you light! The goal of this Podcast is to show you how to create even stage lighting so there are no bright spots. It’s all in the formula that David is going to teach you today. Consistency is the key to making your stage lighting great every time. David also covers fixtures and what kind to use but in a future Podcast, he will go into that in greater detail. This Podcast is so full of information that you will need to take notes so you don’t miss anything, especially the troubleshooting he talks about. Lighting and creating a wash is really an art that you will be glad you learned. Listen below and subscribe on your favorite platform! Links From This Episode: * Main Post – How to Create an Even Wash of Stage Light * DMXcat App and Review * How to Bench Focus Your Conventional Fixtures Mailbag! Rick- Wants to know can I run Cat5 cable to DMX adapters and will it work with RDM as well? * Link: ETC’s guide to running DMX over Cat5 * () Maria- Is having a problem with her and is looking for help!
In this 3rd Episode, David Henry discusses where to position your stage lights. Most of the time, people have already bought their lights and have no idea where to put them. David will tell you to start with the end goal – your #1 priority for your event. You will learn that it depends on what type of venue you are planning to light. David discusses front lighting, backlighting, set lighting and side lighting and the different reasons you may need or not need each one of these angles of lighting. He feels these are the basic lighting set-ups that you would need for most types of venues. He will go into greater detail in the next podcast about front lighting. You will also learn that there are no set rules and sometimes you need to experiment what is best for you! If you haven’t already checked it out – Learn Stage Lighting Labs: David’s membership community that gives one on one personal help with your stage lighting. Mailbag! Binil – Wants to start a small lighting company and know what is the best console for a beginner. Turner – Is looking to start his own small company for audiovisual right out of high school and doesn’t know the first thing about lighting. He wants to know what lighting to use. Please rate this Podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and share this podcast with your friends and family! Thanks!
Welcome to Learn Stage Lighting Podcast. This is the 2nd Episode by David Henry as he gets you started on the path to looking at the very basics of stage lighting. In this Podcast, he talks about what controls your lighting, the console! If you are just starting out, David knows you may have lots of questions. In this episode of Learn State Lighting Podcast, he discusses why auto programming and sound activation may not be quite right for you. His goal is to get you to invest in a console where you have more control over whoever is on stage and the ability to take their energy and amplify it with the lighting. David understands that when you are new to stage lighting you may have a small budget. That’s why he feels its good to know what console you need for your lighting application needs In this podcast, David get’s into the Pros and Cons of Hardware-based consoles versus PC and software-based consoles. There are so many different consoles and he is great at offering different examples and models. His favorite for beginners is the ENTTEC DMXIS for under $300, and from there he goes into detail for more advanced features and consoles to bring you up to a full-on professional level console with total control. Excited to learn more? Subscribe to the Podcast at the bottom of this post from wherever you get your podcasts! I also invite you to consider Learning Stage Lighting Labs where David can go into greater detail with you and where you have access to a great library of topics about stage lighting. Mailbag! Victor – Is curious about how to use physical faders or buttons through software-based controllers. Links: How to Use MIDI with Lighting Consoles, How to Use TouchOSC with Lighting Consoles Daniel – Is a DJ and he wants to know if he can design in one console and then move his show over to another console. Is it possible?