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 .
In this week’s Episode, we’re doing something a little different. As the Podcast gets bigger I am getting more and more questions about lighting. So, two weeks out of the month I want to focus on answering questions and helping my listeners. If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz. Mailbag! (2:06) Adrian (2:10) I’ve been a user of elation compushow for about two years, it’s great but it’s not really friendly for RGBAW/UV fixtures. Do you have a software you would recommend that is smooth to patch and program these kinds of fixtures? I’m not completely familiar with Comushow but I do think I know what is going on. They have you select colors from the Color Picker but when you get to the Amber, White, and UV it doesn’t even use the colors that you’ve selected. From my understanding, there is a Patent that ETC has that makes it where other consoles cannot use more than RGB or CM and Y in a color picker. It’s only the ETC Consoles that can factor in the Amber, White, and UV. Part of that is when you get to the Amber, White, and UV can look different with certain fixtures and consoles. To avoid this I use the Encoder Wheels to set my colors and make all of the fixtures match. To answer your question, if it’s not killing you then I would suggest sticking to what you have. If you want to make an upgrade I would recommend Elation’s Onyx software. It’s a professional grade console but as you do more complex things you’ll want to get a console that can do that for you. It is a learning curve but we do have videos and support to get you started. Kristi (6:27) I am interested in stage lighting for the high school setting. Do you have a resource for us? At this time I do not offer a resource for stage lighting for the High School Setting because there are some great resources already out there. http://www.stagelightingprimer.com/ This is stage lighting for students that is based on Theater Stage Lighting and focuses on helping students with a theatrical setting. Taz (7:25) I have a question about what your thought process is for setting up Cues and Cuelists in M-PC. My dilemma is I want to use a midi controller (APC40) with my laptop live and busk my lighting show. Should I or can I program multiple cues per playback button on my console or should I keep it simple and limit myself to one cue per Cuelist and map that cue to one button? MP-C is now Onyx and you can upgrade to the Latest version here: http://www.obsidiancontrol.com/ You can do multiple cues per Playback Button or you could one cue. It can go either way. What I like to do is if I’m working with colors I will use multiple cues per button. But if I am working with positions, gobos, etc I only assign one cue per button. For mapping, there are 2 ways you can do this with M-PC. The first way is using a companion program such as ShowCockpit. This allows you to be able to map the midi controller. Using ShowCockpit is easier to use and when you want to make changes it won’t be an issue. But this is a service you would pay for. ShowCockpit The second way you can do this is by going into the Software and set up the Midi Macros. This will assign a specific cue list to a specific button to the APC40. This is easy to set up and I have a link to the instructions below. The only hurdle would be is if down the road if you want to make changes. Midi Macros
In this week’s episode, we have some special guests from ENTTEC: Crystal and James. We break down the basics in Pixels, what you need, and how to use it. Main Segment (1:08) On this week’s Episode, we have special guests from Enttec: Chrystal and James. We’re going to cover the basics of how to get started with LED Tape and Pixels. If you haven’t yet, I would recommend checking out www.churchstagedesignideas.com where different church stage ideas are shared almost daily. This site is great for those working on a budget but wants to design a great stage. One of the key tools is using LED Tape which we will dive into in this episode. What is LED Tape? James: LED Tape is exactly what it sounds like. It is a strip of tape that has a bunch of diodes on it. It can be as sophisticated and simple as you want it to be. You can normally create different colors with LED Tape. Just like an LED Fixture you can create and use different colors. You can use different combinations of green, blue, white, etc. What gear do I need? LED Tape or Pixel Tape doesn’t have a DMX you can just plug in. You’ll need a box that can communicate the “language”. Crystal: There are a few different boxes that you can use. The best way to start is to know what “language” your Pixel or LED Tape speaks. This information should be available with the documentation. For Pixel Tape you may want to use a box that would be called a Driver or Encoder. This box basically acts as an encoder that can speak the equipment language. This box would handle your tape’s data, LED, effects, etc. Constant Voltage Tape (RGB Tape) also needs a box or driver but its main focus is on Power because the “language” is Electricity. What types of LED tape are there? James: There are two very basic types of tape: RGB (Constant Voltage) Tape and the Pixel Tape. The RGB Tape or the Constant Voltage Tape you have a green, red, blue, and neutral to connect to the box. For the Pixel Tape will have three instead of four connections: Power, Voltage, Common, and Data. Each LED has its own processor. What is pixel tape, and other pixel products? There are other kinds of LEDs that you can use other than Tape. Crystal: There are diodes, dots, Christmas light style, circle, etc. These can take any form factor and the sky really is the limit. As far as shapes you can do just about anything. How do you make this stuff work? We covered the types of Boxes but how does it work? James: With Pixel Tape it can get really big, really fast. But to keep it simple you can use DMX without losing any signals. The signal remains strong. But with Tape the longer it is the more the tape would fade out. You can visually see the color variation. In the industry, the length of the Pixel Tape and keeping the connection strong seems to be an area that people struggle with. The rule of thumb is that every 4 – 5 feet of Pixel Tape you want to set up a new connection to keep the colors strong. Crystal: What James is referring to is known as Voltage Drop. You can Google Voltage Drop Calculator to help prevent this issue. Most Tapes are 5, 12, or 24 Volt. So, if you have a choice to use less power the 12 Volt is actually your best option. Software – can you use a regular lighting console? Now, how can you control these? Will a Standard Lighting Console work? James: Yes, you can use a lighting console. Any DMX Console can technically control any DMX Light. One of the ways we look at Pixels is how many Pixels per meter are you working with? Some companies have 30, 40, sometimes more per Meter. Super high density will fill up your DMX Channels in less than 3 feet. So you want to utilize your equipment and software to the best ...
This week on Episode 30 we dive in on what you can with lights on stage. While you’re working with a live band or programming the show ahead of time what should you do with the lights? In this Episode, we’ll help guide you on how to approach certain songs and what to do with your lighting. If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz. Lighting News (0:30) The Latest in Lighting News this week is that Elation has announced the new name of their console and software: ONYX by Obsidian. Everyone that is working with Elation is really excited for the updates and new features that the team wants to implement. Be sure to stay tuned! Main Segment (2:30) This week we’re going to talk about what to do next with your lights. Whether you’re programming a show ahead of time or working with your lights Live. How Do You Decide What to do with the Lights next? If you’re running lights Live you’re most likely thinking “What can I do to make the lights unique or interesting?” Last week we covered what Dynamic Range is for the stage. To learn more on this topic and how you can use it for your stage be sure to check out Last Week’s Episode. Episode 29 – What is Dynamic Range in Stage Lighting? How Do You Decide What is the Best to do for a Song? One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to try to get a Set List or song list before the show starts. Or if you’ve worked with the Band in the past or just taking a moment to get there suggestions. However, you decide to approach this you can prepare yourself ahead of time for each song. For fast songs, you normally want the stage to bright. When a slower song, or part of the song, come on you’ll want to have the stage darker. Using more subtle colors such as Blue, Purple or Pinks would be ideal. What is Easy? Solos would be easier because you can just focus the lights on them. Highlighting the singer or any main event on stage would be done with white lights. What is NOT Easy! One of the tougher challenges in lighting is working with mid-tempo songs and choosing colors. When you have a band that is playing 3 – 4 mid-tempo songs you want to do is to make the colors look different as well as limiting it to 2 color looks per song. Color is so powerful on stage and you don’t want to overuse it. When working with 2 colors per song, you can change the position, pattern, etc. Then, when the next song comes on you can use different colors. Sometimes, listening to the meaning of the song you can relate the lyrics and cues that may relate to a certain color. Working with IFCB Normally, when I am looking to make a change in my lighting I refer to IFCB, my four-letter formula that I use: IFCB – Intensity, Focus, Color, and Beam. This topic was covered in a previous episode, you can see the show here: Episode 21 – The 4 Letter Formula I Use to Make Great Lighting Design We just covered color but I like to use Intensity. Depending on your console and setup you can have the Intensity options set up so that you can use Intensity to match what the Band is doing. You can also use Focus to your advantage. Whether it’s on the stage or even on the audience. Some ways to keep it fresh on your stage is to use different lights. Keeping certain ones off and others on, then switching it when a new song comes on. Beam is another great tool. For some songs,
This week on Episode 29 we dive into what is Dynamic Range and how you can use this on your stage. Plus! We have some great questions in our Mailbag that we will go over, you won’t want to miss this episode! If you learned something today or on a previous episode be sure to leave a review at https://learnstagelighting.com/itunes Lighting News (2:17) This week in Lighting News there was a new product announcement for the Chauvet Intimidator Spot 260 that retails for $599. For those who are not sure what this new product is. It’s a small LED Moving Head designed for DJ’s or Bands. It’s got an impressive set of features, and is a great choice for folks who need a basic mover and don’t mind it being loud! Main Segment (5:44) What do you think of when you hear Dynamic Range? Normally, my mind goes to audio or photography. In Audio, dynamic range is the softest and loudest part of the song. Photography is similar. It’s the darkest and brightest parts of the photo or video. In Stage Lighting it is very similar you have the dark and bright parts of the show. How Can You Use Dynamic Range in Lighting? Some ways that you can start using dynamic range in your lighting is by shutting off some of your lights. Whether you 30 lights to work or just 4 lights you can use this method. For example, You start off using 50% of the lighting. Then, you hit a big part of the show and go Full in the lights. Later, as needed, you take the lights back down to 50%. The point is, turn your lights off sometimes! No matter the size of your show be mindful in your lighting and the impact of using your lights. The Nuts and Bolts Let’s transition to how to make it happen. In your console, do you have a way to control the Intensity of your lights separate from your overall looks? When programming your console, if you are able, I recommend setting up your console a certain way. Depending on your console’s capability, I recommend recording color for every light, in every scene. Then, use the Faders for the Intensity to help bring down the lights and Intensity on the stage. To read more on Dynamic Range check out the full article here: Dynamic Range Light If you’re interested in learning more about programming lights live and on the fly be sure to check out Learn Stage Lighting Labs for personalized support, tutorials, and so much more! Mailbag (14:04) The mailbag part of the show is where folks send in their questions. If you’d like to send your question in just follow this link and complete the form: Contact Page Darren (15:00): We are going from fluorescent to LED house lights at our church. The switches are on the back wall of the sanctuary. Is there a system so we can use to control these lights without having to rewire? If so, can they be dimmable? There’s a lot going on here. When switching from fluorescent to LED you are either changing the bulbs or the fixtures altogether. For the lights to be dimmable you will need a Dimmer Switch. I’m not an expert in this area but you do want to go with a commercial dimmer instead of a house dimmer. The other option is to get an LED Fixture that is remote Dimmer from DMX. Joe K (19:55): I am looking for examples of concert photos with backlighting and silhouettes and tips on how I can get such shots.. Do you have any? I would recommend searching Google Images:
This week on Episode 28 we dive in on how to set up and program the Faders and Buttons on your Console. I’ll help you get started with some great tips on how to program your console. If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz. Main Segment (2:37) This week’s podcast we are going to review if you should program your faders and buttons of your lighting console. When I first started in lighting this was something I struggled with. So, I want to go over this to help you get started. Defining Your Console Before getting started you want to define what faders and buttons you have available on your console. Whether it’s on paper or in your head, you want to figure out how many faders you have, can you add more? Does your console have the ability to have MIDI Controllers? Can you get MIDI Faders or MIDI Buttons? You can read more on How to Use MIDI Controllers in Lighting. You also want to consider Touch OSC which is great for playback and programming. Here’s more info on How to Use Touch OSC in Lighting. Check with your console and see what you have and what you may be able to use with it so you can figure out what you have available to you. Start with Faders First Once you know what you have available you can start laying things out. My personal preference is to start with Faders first because Faders are more powerful. With a Button, you press it, and something happens. But with a Fader, you can do much more. In most consoles, you can also configure your Fader to adjust other parameters such as color, effect speeds, gobo rotation, tilt, etc. This is what makes using Faders more powerful. Setting Up Your Faders This is just a brief overview but for starters, I like to set up Faders for Intensity. Take a moment to consider parts of the stage that you would want to adjust the Intensity for. Then, I start building effects. You want to be able to have a few Faders that can do Intensity, Focus, Color, and Beam. We covered this in a previous Podcast Episode: The 4 Letter Formula I Use to Make Great Lighting Design. Faders are primarily for Effects. However, others like to use faders for positions. While I do steer away from that method, it really just depends on your preferences and what you have available to you. Programming Buttons When programming Buttons I like to have 2 cue on it. Depending on the parameters programmed, the Button is usually set up to switch something back and forth. For example, the first cue may be Red/Blue and the second cue would be Blue/Red. You can do half and half but there are times I set it up as Unbalanced. Meaning, If you have 50 lights setting 30 lights to Blue and 20 to Red. Then, the second cue is switching 30 to Red and 20 to Blue. Setting Positions Next, I set up Positions and then setting up Combinations. Again, I set up the buttons to have 2 cue. There is an article on How Do I Focus Moving Lights to help you with the setup of positions. There was an interview I had with Nook Schoenfeld that we go over how to set up positions and combinations for your lighting that you can check out here: Interview with Nook Schoenfeld. Then I add Gobos, Prisms, and anything else I like to have programmed. Closing If you come in with a plan and then build on it as ...
This week on Episode 27 we dive in on how to program Moving Lights. So much has changed since I started working with moving lights and I want to share with you what I learned from the pros as well as some personal trial and error! If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz. Lighting News! (0:27) This week in Lighting News, I ran across a Press Release for a new app, ShadowMagic, in the trade magazine Lighting and Sound America. ShadowMagic is available on iOS only and is a visualizer for the Theater. It’s only $15 and it helps you see how the lights look, shadows, etc. To check it out Read More Here. Main Segment (3:08) Back when I began with lighting, moving Lights were not the “norm” they were the exception. But today because of LED it has changed so much in the Lighting Industry. The first thing I learned about moving lights is that they are very challenging to program and set up. With great power comes great responsibility. This week I want to share what I’ve learned over the years. What is Striking and Dousing? If you are working with arc Lamps (discharge lamp) Moving Lights there is something called striking and dousing. As LED’s will eventually take over there are some that still use the non-LED moving lights. Striking and Dousing is simply turning on and off the lamp. This is common for the older and bigger moving lights. I always recommend doing this manually. Always, Tilt First! When you’re moving the light, the first thing that you want to do is turn it on so that you can see where it is pointing. Then, you want to grab Tilt (Pan/Tilt) first. This is important because if you Tilt first so you can point the light exactly where you want it to. Most (Sensible) Consoles Default the Fixture to 50/50 Most consoles default to 50% Pan and 50% Tilt. If you’re looking to light a show you can change where the fixtures default too. This is good to use if you wipe out position or release everything you can have your lights focus on the stage or wherever you want them to default too. Focus them from the center of the room or stage! When using the moving lights you want to make sure you focus it on the center of the room or stage. This way everything will line up and be symmetrical. Use Touch OSC or a console remote on a PC if you have to! Use your console’s groups and fan function to keep things symmetrical. If you try to set up the lights individually you may get every one of them to line up symmetrically. But this is going to take you a long time to get your lights set up that way. This is why I highly recommend using the Group and Fan function to save you time and keep it symmetrical. Use symmetrical looks unless you don’t want to! Remember, there are no rules in lighting, except “Be Safe”. Programming Positions Keep in mind the “path” between different positions – there are often 2 ways to get the same position with pan/tilt combinations! Other Parameters – how will you change gobos and fixed colors? You always want to have a smooth transition when using gobos or fixed colors. The easiest way to do this is to turn off the light, make the change, and turn the light back on. Gobo morph! With Gobos, you may have multiple wheels. There is a more advanced method called Gobo Morph. Let’s say you have a Gobo Wheel 1 and a Gobo Wheel 2. What happens is if you have Gobo Wheel 1 in focus and you can change the Gobo Wheel 2 and shift the focus. I would test and play with this Gobo Morph method to see if how it looks on stage. Now,
This week’s Podcast we dive into how to set up and create effects in your lighting! This basic framework will get you on your way whether you just started in lighting or you’ve done it for a while. If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz. Lighting News! (1:40) Last week we shared the announcement of M-Series’s upcoming re-naming. Part of the buyout deal is that there will be a new name. Elation has just announced that they will begin creating their own consoles: Obsidian The official Launch Date will be August 15th, 2018. Main Segment (3:15) Last week we finished the series of reviewing ways to change your lighting. I = Intensity F = Focus C = Color B = Beam This week we are going to go over the Effects in Lighting which is a whole other set of Levers to work with for changing your lighting. With FX, you can show movement on your stage but you don’t have to have Moving Lights to accomplish this. You just need a console that the basic effects functionality. You don’t have to have an expensive console to do this. There are a lot of more basic consoles that you can get the basic effects functionality such as ENTTECS DMXis, D-Pro, Show Express, etc. Using and Creating Your First FX At their core, lighting FX are similar in every console, because we’re all using the same light! While different consoles vary in the exact way they create FX, this basic framework will teach you how to translate ideas you have in your mind to actual lighting. Step 1 – Parameter First, you select your parameter. A piece of the light whether it’s Intensity, Focus, Color, or Beam. You have the console move that value. Step 2 – Apply “Swing” or “Size” Next, you apply the swing or size of that value. It’s the amount off the base point the effect travels. Step 3 – Speed Now, you want to set how fast do you want it to move. It may express this in percentage or BPM. Step 4 – Shape Setting a Shape, Mode, or Type. You’ll be setting how it gets from the Base Point to it’s Maximum. Step 5 – Offset At this point, all of the lights are doing the same thing. If you want to mix it up then you’ll want to set up the offset. Then, the real magic happens when you combine multiple FX attributes together. For more resources on how to use Effects in Your Lighting: Professional Lighting Console Basics – Your First FX (Learn Stage Lighting Labs) Advanced D-Pro – FX (Learn Stage Lighting Labs) Advanced M-Series: Going Deep with FX (Learn Stage Lighting Labs) Puntastical (Learn Stage Lighting Labs) From Zero to Lighting Hero – Module 5 (Learn Stage Lighting Labs)
This week’s Podcast we will be tying up the 4 Week Series on the IFCB Concept. We will dive in on the B = Beam and how you can use this to change your stage lighting. Lighting News! (1:20) This week in Lighting News: The cat is out of the bag! M-PC, which was previously bought by Elation will be re-branding and has announced a Countdown for the new name! To check out the latest developments you can visit their Facebook Page Here. ChromaQ Vista V3 beta has been released and you can download the beta version here: Vista Software Sign up. This is a good software but it’s not very cost effective. The output is sold separately and you would have to invest in the hardware to even be able to use the software. Vista is a great software but I struggle to recommend it because of the cost of the software. American DJ has released some New Products that I’m excited to try out: Laptop Stand that gets your laptop off the table to help save you space: Accu-Case UNI LT2 For the Blue and Green powerCON: ADJ Pow-R Bar Link Utility Power Block: ADJ Pow-R Bar65 Main Segment (17:13) Over the last four weeks, we have been covering the use of I, F, C, and B to change up your lighting. The B stands for Beam. This week we will explore how to use Beams in your lighting and recap the IFCB that we covered the past few weeks. How to Use Beam in Your Lighting Beam is more an abstract use of Lighting. When I think beams my mind goes to Gobos. Gobos are more patterns that you can put in the lights to shine onto the stage. Gobos, gobos, gobos oh my! Gobos are a great tool to use to help had some appeal to your stage. When I look to switch it up on the stage there will be a song when I won’t use the gobos. Then, I’ll use gobos for half or all of the lights for a song. Of course with LED wash fixtures, you won’t be able to use gobos. Beams of light thru the air (focus) When you have haze or an atmosphere I like to use Zoom to have it really wide with not as bright light. Or you can keep it narrow to keep the light very bright. Whether the stage or room is really dark or bright you can adjust the zoom or focus to adjust the lights and see what looks like. Gobos in haze vs gobos projected on things With gobos, you can make crosses, fans, effects, etc. I created a video a while back about this and I highly recommend checking it out! Moving Light Patterns video How I use I, F, C, and B, all Together As I mentioned before I started this series I use the IFCB concept to make changes on the stage. I = Intensity F = Focus C = Color B = Beam These are great levers to use for inspiration and changing up the stage. Next week we will talk about using effects. We will elaborate on creating effects and tying it in with the IFCB Concept. Be sure to tune in! Mailbag (24:40) If you’re looking for more In-Depth Training then I would highly recommend checking out Learn Stage Lighting Labs. We have a great group of professionals and individuals that are willing to assist and guide you in your Lighting Journey. We have a very active Forum, Tutorials, and Videos to get you started. Aedyn: How to make lighting look good “in the round”? For those who don’t know a Black Box Theaters is basically a blank room where you can set up a stage anywhere. I have a video of
Main Segment This week’s Podcast we’re at Sweetwater’s GearFest in central Indiana and we have two special guests from ENTTEC. We’re going to dive in and talk about what colors to use in our lighting. I always enjoy talking to those who work with the manufacturer’s because they have great insight and information to share. Let’s welcome Crystal, New Business Manager, and James who is the Technical Support and Warehouse Guy. Why Do You Not Like the Color Green in Lighting? James: At a young age and later found to be true, I was told that when you use the color green in your front stage lighting that it makes your band members look sickly. Crystal: Green is a great color to use in your side lights, backlights, etc. It can also be used in the front light in certain situations. Green in the lighting industry can include a wide variety of greens. David: Green and Purple are one of my favorites to use together because they look awesome. How do I figure out what colors to use in a song? James: I like to listen to the songs a couple of times and imagine the colors that go with the song. I also like to note that to consider Intensity as well. I use to like to have all the lights on at full force but over time found the Intensity of the lights to be a great tool. Crystal: I agree with James approach on this. When we feel a certain emotion we can sometimes trigger red for anger or blue for sad, etc. When listening to a song you may decide what colors go well but the band or boss may think of different colors. But the audience will follow it. David: As I’ve mentioned in the past that some think that if you’re not using all of the lights they are being wasted. But that’s not the case at all. But leaving some lights off or dimmer can be a great way to make a huge impact on stage when you want it to. Crystal: I would like to add that sometimes more isn’t better. Having contrast as well is important to use in lighting. The contrast is what allows our eyes to see the color, warm and a cool, or a bright and a dark. Gel Books and Resources Go find a Gel Book from a supplier that you can get for free. This is a great way to pick 3 of your favorite greens, pinks, etc. This is a great tool for when you get overwhelmed with the number of colors to choose from. You can reference your own list of favorite go-to colors. Use these calculators with a grain of salt – every LED fixture is different RGB Value to Gel Calculators I also wrote an article on how to get started: When Should I use Color on my Stage? What’s Your Favorite Color to use in Lighting? Crystal: I like the Magenta and Lavender family of colors. Magenta is great for sidelights and covers a wide range of emotions. James: Every fixture is a little different. I’ll bring the red to full and then add the green until I get the firey Amber. That is my favorite color. David: Magenta is my go-to color for almost anything. How do you go about finding a good color for a front light that works with skin tones? Crystal: They do make special Gels that gel a LED that help with skin color. The downfall is that you will have to use that for the rest of the show. David: If you want a quality White LED Wash then buy a white unit only. Incandescent is a good quality light. Every skin tone handles color differently. Lighting Ghosts and Mannequins Crystal: In the theatrical stage we won’t normally see the people in the show until the day of. So, we use mannequins or “lighting ghosts” which is a ladder or chairs and a sheet to see the effects of the lightings.
Main Segment The past couple of weeks we have been covering the 4 Letter Formula to Make Great Lighting Design: IFCB. Last week we covered the I = Intensity. If you missed last week’s podcast be sure to check it out: How Do I Use Intensity In My Lighting? F, in the 4 Letter Formula, stands for Focus. Focus is what you are doing to draw the audience’s attention to a certain part of the stage. Focus and Positioning For me, focus isn’t the same as position because it goes deeper than that. You don’t have to have moving lights to create focus. But if you do have moving lights this would be one of the ways to create focus on your stage. Using Intensity If you don’t have moving lights you can use Intensity to help bring focus. You can do this by turning the lights on, off, or even dimming the light. Using Color Highlighting a certain part of the stage is a great way to help bring focus. For example, if you light the stage with a blue, red or darker color you can bring focus to the stage by lack of color or white light. Using Position Using Gobos, Beams, Pan or Tilt to help draw attention where you want people to focus on the stage. Conclusion Whether you have moving lights or not the most important thing to remember is using all of the attributes or tools available to you to make great lighting. Whether you use position, intensity, or color the important piece to remember is where do you want the audience to focus. It’s really not that complex! Just use it! Mailbag Shiva: I’m a Lighting Designer based in India. I just bought a Martin (Now Elation) Interface. He wants to know how to use M-DMX and patch it to his lighting Fixtures. There are a couple of things to get you started. When using a M-PC or M-Series Console they all use the same software. On Youtube, I do have a series of videos to help get you started! M-PC Youtube Videos If your lights are still not coming up we are going to check a setting. * Launch M-PC, go to the Blue Dot in the Upper Left Corner. * Click Menu, then System, and click DMX Setting. * On the bottom, it should say from USB to DMX. * When you click USB to DMX you have the ability to assign the DMX Universe you want to control. Glenn: Is a Magician or Illusionist that does small shows ranging from 6 – 100 People. For shows with a larger gathering (20+), what equipment can he use for lighting, DMX Control, etc? For under $1000 or less, depending if you want the back light, I would recommend getting 2 LED Par Cans. Either Elation, Chauvet, or Blizzard, and then complimenting that with some control thru ENTTEC’s DMXis. Next week we have James and Crystal from ENTTEC join us on the show to talk about colors and how to use it in your lighting. If you haven’t yet, make sure to leave a review of the Podcast and what you learned so far by following the link below to iTunes. Leave a Review
Lighting News! This week we will discuss how to use and adjust Intensity to spice up your stage lighting! 4-Wall Expo: 4Wall Lighting hosted a Roadshow in Nashville, where I was introduced to some new lights and great equipment. 4Wall offers Lighting and Video Rental: https://www.4wall.com/ Elation Pro Lighting has introduced a new Smarty Hybrid that I was able to see in person at the 4Wall Roadshow. I’m really excited about this new product, you can see the details here: Elation Pro Smarty Hybrid. What is cool about this light is that the Smarty’s lamp is able to last 6,000-10,000 hours and it is not an LED. Depending on what you are looking for this may be a great option for you. You can see more info here: Smarty Hybrid. Main Segment Last week, we briefly touched based on the 4 Letter Formula that I use to Make Great Lighting. Through this series, we will break down the 4 Letter Formula: IFCB. So be sure to check out last week’s episode: The 4 Letter Formula I Use To Make Great Lighting Design. The Intensity is the total output control of the light. You have some great options with Intensity such as Full, Half, Out, or at 25%. Let’s explore some ways you can adjust the Intensity and change your lighting approach! Turn on/off lights in Different Areas One way is to turn the lights on or off in different areas of the stage. An example is turning the Intensity to half or 0 during certain parts of the show. When you want to create a big impact during part of the show change the Intensity to Full. Lighting Position on Stage Another way to use Intensity is to change the lighting position on stage. This option in a way falls into the focus category. For example, if you want to highlight the Drummer’s Solo. Using the Intensity to focus on the Drummer instead of leaving the entire stage lit up. Using Effects Creating movement in using Intensity. You can create the movement effect by chases and intensity levels during different times of the show. Next week we will go into how to use Focus and what you can to use it for your stage lighting so be sure to tune in! Mailbag Mike the Network Guy: Has a comment in regards to our last show when we talked about using Tablets and WIFI. Mike is an engineer but also runs lights for his band. He wanted to clarify a few things and we exchanged some emails. One of the topics we covered was Networking. Even when using better technology if the networking isn’t set up correctly your connections may go down. I actually have a course on this available for Learn Stage Lighting Labs Members: Networking for the Lighting Person Another topic we covered was the abilities of . Mike wrote an entire article about X-Air and how to overcome some issues: X Air WiFi FAQ Lastly, Mike did ask if I had any views Lightkey 2. Lightkey is for Macs only and so far it seems to have good reviews. From what I’ve read it is much better than any of it’s earlier version, but I have not used it myself. They do have a Demo available here: Lightkey App. Ezra: Can you learn lighting in a community college? Before I go further into this I want to recommend a great podcast, Light Talk. Be sure to check this first: Light Talk Podcast.
Lighting News! Earlier this week I read a great article by Brad Dureya about running audio with a tablet and the struggle of using wireless control. Wifi is a great tool but the consistency of the connection is not guaranteed. Brad goes into some tips and strategies for using WIFI and ways to prevent a mishap. Here is the article from Church Production: Are You Ready for Tablet Mixing? This month, I’ve been working on my YouTube Series: 30 Days to Become a Lighting Ninja where we dive into some great tips on how to set up and run your lights. Be sure to sign up and take advantage of my guide on 4 Tips to Know Before You Buy Lighting Gear that will help you save you some headaches! Main Segment: When working in the professional Lighting Industry I am often expected to consistently create fresh and new ideas for clients that I work for. There are times that I do run out of ideas. There is a four-letter formula that I use: IFCB – Intensity, Focus, Color, and Beam. So, what does that mean? In a lighting console, you have 4 main functions which are Intensity, Focus, Color, and Beam. Intensity: How Bright is the Light? Focus: Where Does it Make You Move Your Eyes? (or Position) Color: What are the Colors or Lack of? Beam: What are the Patterns, Gobos, Atmosphere, or Beam Type? When I am looking to make a change between songs, speakers, and the show I try to reflect on is what haven’t I changed in a bit. If I’m looking to make a small change I only reflect on one of the letters. If I’m looking to make a big change then I would change all of the letters. Over the next few weeks, we will dive into each parameter on how I use them, effects, and more so be sure to tune in! Mailbag: As the Podcast gets bigger it’s been tougher for me to be able to respond to questions right away. If you’re looking for a shortcut to create great lighting be sure to check out Learn Stage Lighting Labs. This is my membership community with step-by-step tutorials and personalized assistance! Remember to rate and review the podcast as well: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/itunes/ Matko: Starting to do Lighting Band Gigs and recently got some Pars. Has an IPad and iPhones and wants to be able to run his lights using a Tablet instead of a computer. How can he do this? I really don’t recommend running a show completely wireless because of the connection ability using WIFI. If you lose your wireless connection then you have no show but that is up to you if you decide to take that chance. I do recommend DMXis because the program runs well on computers and all you would need is either a pedal or tracks to run the lights. Below is my article on DMXis if you would like more info: How to Program With DMXIS If you still decide that you want to go wireless completely you can use the following programs: Luminair: https://www.synthe-fx.com/products/luminair LightRider: https://www.lightriderapp.com/ Jorge: Would like to know what I think of ShowBuddy and know more about it? Personally, I do really like ShowBuddy because it’s simple and reliable. It does run alongside with DMXis. There is a Free Demo Version Here: ShowBuddy Demo
Lighting News! This week in the I have been working on the 30 Days to Become a Lighting Ninja Series so be sure to check out the videos on our Youtube Channel: Learn Stage Lighting YouTube Channel In Las Vegas, the Infocomm Trade Show is taking place! One of the announcements is the introduction of the Vista by Chroma-Q. This is an exciting product that has a new interface and proves to be a good lighting console. In the past, this hasn’t been my favorite console but with some recent changes within the company, this is looking to be a great addition to the line of products. Be sure to check out the features and information here: Chroma-Q by Vista Console Main Segment One of the most common questions I get is, “What are the rules for lighting?” Well, there are two rules to follow when it comes to lighting. Rule # 1: Be Safe Being safe with lighting is something I mention very often but with good reasons. The equipment, set up, and lighting can be very heavy. Whether you are a Pro or Lighting is a Hobby the most important rule is to be safe. With overhead lights and an audience in mind, it is so important to make sure everything is secured. There is no such thing as cutting corners when it comes to safety. I touch base on this in Episode 15 if you’re doing a show so if you need more info be sure to check out Episode 15 here. Rule # 2: That is the Only Rule There are many different ways to set up a stage, the design, and layout. Technically speaking yes there are some rules but as for ways to do certain things there are no definite rules. I am excited to elaborate more on ways to set up stages, layouts, and designs in future podcast episodes. Be sure to tune in next week as I go over my 4 Letter Formula to Make Great Lighting! Mailbag Christi: She’s a Lady Lighting Programmer and she has been looking into Mi.Mu Gloves that use MIDI or OSC to communicate with software. She’s not familiar with MIDI Software and wants to know how it works. Midi or OSC are two different ways to send control signals and designed mostly for instruments but used for many different things. When you’re controlling lights using MIDI or OSC it doesn’t happen directly. There will be a lighting console and software that will need to be used in between MIDI or OSC and the Mi.Mu Gloves. MI.Mu Gloves: https://mimugloves.com/ Sean: Is in a tight situation in terms of lighting. We have a show where we cannot top mount lights. Our front lights cannot be very strong because it blinds the audience. The highest we can go is no more than a person’s height. What can we do? Basically, there is no easy answer for this. But with the light stands the only option is eye level. Now, if those on stage want to be seen then they will have to compromise with the stage lights being bright. The other option would be to mount the LED’s on the floor and shine the lights upward. This may cast some shadows on those on stage but at least the light won’t be directly in their face. Andrew: What is the best way to try out potential lights and consoles when they are brand new or low cost? (Example: the ADJ Par Z100 or the LightShark) You have a few options on how to try out new products. The first option would be to locate a Local Dealer for the company because they may be able to get you a demo for free or at a small cost. The second option would be is to sign up for the company’s newsletter and see where they m...
Lighting News! This week in lighting news there wasn’t much that really caught my attention but I wanted to share with you a project I’ve been working on. On our YouTube Channel, we have a new video series, 30 Days to Become a Lighting Ninja. Be sure to check it out, subscribe, and let us know what you think! http://learnstagelighting.com/youtube Main Segment In most of my videos and tutorials, I use a visualizer to show you in 3D how I do things. Visualizers are a great tool because it allows you to see your lighting without having to set them up. Visualizers aren’t free to develop. In fact, there’s very complex from what I understand! A lot of people want to 3D visualize their lighting – it’s cool! But it’s not free – however, it may be worth it. Free Versions of 3D Visualizer Some consoles may include a Free 3D Visualizer. If your console does come with a Visualizer it may not be the most advanced program but it will do what you need it to. MagicVis – A free version that comes with ChamSys Consoles Capture (student edition) – Comes with some Avolites Consoles. The student edition has a limited fixture library but you’re able to save, move files, and do things in the software. Capture (demo edition) – The Demo edition you are limited to 90 minutes before your work is erased but you can open and manipulate files. You’re also not able to save your work since it is a Demo version. All of these free versions listed above will work with either a Mac or PC system. Purchasing a 3D Visualizer If you need a visualizer it may make much better sense to actually purchase a Visualizer Program. For this, I do recommend Capture. Capture is great because you only have to purchase it once, and right now 1 universe goes for about $420 US. If you purchase Capture you have the option to upgrade for the next 5 years for roughly 20% of the license cost. You have a couple of options for purchasing one, two, four, or unlimited universes. What Hardware You May Need Capture runs great on just about any computer but what about hardware? For starters, you’ll want a good graphics card. A good graphics card will help the program run really well. There are some settings within the Visualizer program that you can reduce the quality to help your computer to keep up with the program. Now, what about performance? What does it take to visualize? Setting up Capture can be complex. Capture has videos and demo shows aimed at professional users, and inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs, I have a guide which will give you all of the step-by-step information you need along with downloadable demo shows. Full post on Capture and the “console” visualizers: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/want-lighting-visualizer/ How to Connect DMXIS with Capture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzGFBGrrqE Mailbag Kevin: Beginning to design a show with synchronized audio and video. Has DMXIS and ShowBuddy. Wants to program the length in ShowBuddy, export the cues for each song as MIDI file, and playback the MIDI File with DMXIS in the Digital Performer (DAW Software). Has some no-name brand lights and to do what he wants he will have about 512 channels. His question is, is there a software lighting console that can handle 2 Universes instead of DMXIS. There’s a couple of options for Kevin. The best recommendation for what he wants to do is go with ENTTEC D-Pro.
Lighting News This week in lighting news we do have a grim story but it needs to be discussed. There were a couple of accidents in China and Brazil where trusses fell down during a live show. Unfortunately, some people were hurt and passed away. What I want to talk about is that if you’re not fully insured or completely confident you should really work with someone who has done this type of work in the past. If you’re hanging lights over people or dealing with high volt electricity bring in someone who is trained and fully insured! Main Segment When I first started in the business about 10 years ago it was unheard of to get a lighting console for under $500. But with technology advances, these products are becoming more available at an affordable price. Last week, we covered how you can get started controlling lights under with $100. These are the basics but it will get you going. Be sure to check out last week’s episode: How Do I get started controlling lights for less than $100? Types of Consoles Chauvet Obey 40 – Starting with the simplest first if you need the most basic functions such as a couple of faders, a few lights, and LEDs I would suggest the Chauvet Obey 40. It’s not a complex console and can handle just a couple of basic functions. How to Begin With The Chauvet Obey 40 ENTTEC DMXIS – The next console I would recommend is the ENTTEC DMXIS. If you already have a computer to work with, ENTTEC’s DMXIS is software based and really easy on computers. They don’t take a lot of space and if you have an old computer the software can handle it. This runs for $290. The interface is very simple and easy to use. Some features you can use are saved presets and creating banks. You can also import DMX as a VST file to work with individual lights or scenes using Ableton or another DAW. How to Program With DMXIS Enttec D-Pro – For a more creative and professional approach I highly recommend the D-Pro. You’ll get 2 universes of output and you’ll need to get an interface to control your lighting. These run on a Mac or Windows The interface is easy to set up and run a more complex show. With the console and software, this will cost about $350 – $400. Buy D-Pro here! How Do I Begin with ENTTEC D-Pro? Elation M-Series Software – This is a professional console that is used in big shows, churches, corporate events and more. It’s reliable and becoming more popular. Even better, the software is able to be downloaded for free, and they offer some of the most competitive How Do I Begin With M-PC? Elation M DMX Box – If you need 2 universes of DMX and retails for under $250. You’ll get the full software functionality. As well as RDM which talks to your fixtures and change menu settings. M-Touch and M-Play – For physical software I recommend the M-Touch or M-Play. These are interfaces that you have playback faders and buttons. The M-Touch has a programming and playback section. With either of these, you can get started under $500.