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 kick off our series on a Guide to Pixels, LED Tape, and Custom LED’s. We dive in by exploring the difference in LED’s and Pixels as well as what is needed to drive these. How do I get started with LED tape and pixels? 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. Also, if you have been listening for a while I would sincerely appreciate if you would take a moment to rate the Podcast and be sure to share what you’ve learned from the show! Rate/Review on iTunes Main Segment (3:46) Normally, in any type of show or production, you will most likely see LED’s or any type of configuration being used. Whether it’s watching a show live on TV or finding some inspiration from websites such as https://www.churchstagedesignideas.com. For most, there is nothing more fun and challenging than bringing to life your own idea and building something that is custom. It has never been easier than it is today to create custom LED designs, and be able to control them with incredible detail! Starting with the Basics When you’re building a custom LED design, you generally are making something where people look directly at the LED’s, and you are able to change colors, add movement, etc. With most LED’s it is generally facing the audience so the viewer is watching the effects. The reason why this is the case because LED’s require a lot of cooling. So, to be able to build something custom you may have to go with a lower powered LED. Types of LEDs In most custom built LEDs RGB Tape is used. RGB Tape is (CV tape, “Dumb” tape) is good to work with and very common to use. Since this is a Tape you will not be able to control each individual LED. For example, one strip will only be able to have one color. Pixel Tape is the opposite of RGB Tape and you do have control over each individual LED. With Pixel Tape you need to be able to have a constant power source and a data saver. Pixels are available in a few different forms such as Tape, Node, Dot, etc. A great reference on getting started with LEDs and Pizel Tape is our article: How do I get started with LED tape and pixels? What do I need to “drive” these, or make them work? Once you have your LED Tape or Pixels, how do you make it work? You will need a Decoder or Driver when working with RGB Tape. Along with a decoder or driver you will need Power Supplies (sometimes both are together), your console or media server. When working with Pixels you will need a Pixel Driver or Pixel Controller. Whether you work with the Driver or Controller it will convert the network DMX to the type of signal for the microchip. As long as the Driver and Pixel are “speaking” the same language, you will be fine. The big difference between RGB Tape and Pixels is how they get the power and data. I do recommend going with 12 Volt as much as possible. Do I need to run these off direct, “regular” DMX, or networked DMX (preferred)? When purchasing a Driver, Controller, or Decoder you’re going to be buying one that runs off of either regular DMX or networked DMX. With Pixels, it is highly recommended to go with Networked DMX. What about cost? Working with Pixels you are going to have much more control and effects options than you will the RGB Tape. Most would say that Pixels are more expensive and it’s more cost effective to g...
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my thought process. The sponsor of this Podcast is Learn Stage Lighting Labs. Inside Learn Stage Lighting Labs you will have access to step by step tutorials, personalized assistance from experts, and ways to set up your lights for different venues and shows. Learn More Here! Learn Stage Lighting Labs Mailbag (2:20) Hugo (2:22) I would really like to see how you do a live performance when you don’t know what songs are going to be playing. I would like a video on a performance done by just a console and no software, how you chose colors and effects live with the music! I have a couple of resources for you to check out. First, on Youtube I have a video where I talk about working lights for a live performance. How to Run Lights Live to Music In Learn Stage Lighting Labs we do have a series of Running Lights Live and on the Fly that goes over many different scenarios. It’s a great resource for the information you are looking for. Guy (4:04) We have a stage lighting set up of about 8 old school par cans. The pastor was saying that they are too bright on his eyes and he has to squint when he’s preaching. So he wanted me to change them out to LEDs, to help with that issue. So I bought 8 LED par 36 can lights to replace our old ones. But now it seems like they cannot make the right warm natural white color that I want on stage while he’s preaching. I read online that you can put one or two of the old school can lights on his face to achieve the normal color light, and have the color LEDs for worship? How do I upgrade our lighting system, but still have a normal color white, but also not blind the pastor? Thank you! Something that I’ve learned over the years is that Brightness doesn’t care what type of light you are working with. It is the same for any type of light. There can be a few contributing factors for the “lighting is to bright”. First, your light really could be to bright. Or perhaps the audience could be to dark. It’s all a matter of contrast. Lastly, you may want to consider the angles of your front stage lights. I discuss this more in detail in this video: How to Create an Awesome Even Wash of Light Video Eric (11:49) Hi! This may be more of a video question but it does pertain to lighting. I work as a worship leader for a church and that usually entails lighting and sound and video. We video every service and our pastor has a tv on stage to refer to his teaching slides. We have spot lights on him and it looks great when you’re in the service but on the video his face and skin tone seems washed out. It seems to happen most when there is a black screen on the tv. It’s like the camera is constantly trying to adjust to the different light since there is more light when the tv is on. Any ideas on getting consistent good lighting for video? This is a great question as using a TV on stage has become increasingly popular. The first suggestion I have is to check if your camera has a setting for Auto/Manual Exposure. If it does try setting it to Manual. If you are not able to set the camera from auto to manual I would then recommend instead of going to a Blank Slide use a Logo or graphic to fill the tv screen. This would prevent the camera from shifting it’s exposure. Jeff (15:57) I’m wanting to construct a DIY light bar to imitate something like the Chauvet pro strikesaber. The process would involve connecting 10 LED PAR16 bulbs at 7 watts (60 W equivalent) together in parallel to create one fixture.
This week on the podcast we’re diving in for the second half of our series on Planning Your Big Event. We’ll review the beginning and final steps of how to step up and run a smooth event. 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! (1:43) I had discovered a new Trade Magazine that I was not aware of yet. It’s Worship AVL and they are based out of the UK but ship to the US. What I’ve noticed about this Magazine is that it was very Gear focused. There were also some great articles about Choosing and Placing a Subwoofer which isn’t just used at churches. These articles definitely have a unique view in the audio and lighting industry so be sure to check it out! Main Segment (4:42) If you missed the first part of this series: Planning Your Big Event (Pt 1) you’ll want to tune in and listen to that episode before getting started. In the first part of this series we covered Steps 1 – 3: 1 – Production 2 – Preparation 3 – Setup This week, we will focus on the final 4 steps to ensure that your event will go as smoothly as possible. Rehearsal Some events you may not have the chance to have a rehearsal and that’s okay, we’ll come back to that in a moment. But if you do have a Rehearsal this is a great time to get things together and everything programmed. Rehearsals can be a wide variety of certain events. It could as simple as just the tech team going through the cues, a dress rehearsal, or even a full show preview. Regardless, a rehearsal is a vital time to make sure that everything is in place for your big event. Depending on your type of show, this is a time to use the pre-programmed groups, presets and possibly cues that you already have to build your final cues. As rehearsals move on, tweak and finalize cues and cue order for the show. Mark up your cue sheet (whatever form that may be) with the cues you need to hit. But if you do not have a cue sheet you just want to make sure you are ready for anything. I have some great articles on how to prep and what to do when your show is more on the fly. Interview with Nook Schoenfeld What to Do When the Show Runs Off it’s Tracks If the “big event” has the potential to not follow the cue sheet 100%, keep that in mind in your programming! Show/Service If you prepared well, this will be easy, even if the event’s organizers did not prepare well. There are some events that are sadly not prepared well. Regardless, what will separate you from the others is the ability to be ready to go and to be able to adjust when something goes a different direction or even goes wrong. To be able to adjust the lights so the audience will never know something went wrong. This is what will separate you from others and get you those callbacks to work other events. Load Out Once the show is over it’s time for the Load Out or the Tear Down. Just like the setup, tear down (or load out) is important to keep organized. Not preparing for the “out” is a big budget-damager that I have seen so many times. Be safe, be organized. When you put things away well on tear down, it keeps wear and tear down on your gear. If you rent your gear, returning it in the same condition OR better than you got it shows the folks you rented it from that you are a good client,
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my thought process. 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 (3:15) Mike (3:21) Can I set up the new Onyx software to be controlled from my iPad? Some bars have no place for a console so I have to be portable. I can set the laptop backstage but need to be able to run it from a tablet because of limited space. If it can, How would I set this up? There are a couple of options on how to do this. The Onyx Remote which is a Free iOS App. You can check out the video here: How to Use the Onyx Remote. You also have the Touch OSC which you can use with an App on Android or iOS App. Learn more here: Using Touch OSC with Onyx David (5:00) Can I use M-Touch with a Mac to control through LightKey? I have 6 Chauvet QSpot 260 with a color wheel. Is there any way I can warm the white on the color wheel? Using the M-Touch and a Mac through LightKey will not work, unfortunately. But, LightKey can use Midi Controllers. For this Chauvet unit and since they are older you won’t be able to warm the white on these. Now, you can try to use and Gel (color filters) and tape it over the light to make it a little more orange. 1/2 CTO 24×21″ Gel Filter Sheet Rhea (9:15) I am an Architecture Lighting Designer from India and spend my time at work simultaneously learning about DMX through your forum and other videos on YouTube. I am an aspiring Light Street Artist, and DMX will really help me create temporary installations/ shows. I am not a DJ but would like to work with DJs and bands to provide lighting for their live shows as a hobby. Learning DMX has given me a whole new purpose to project myself as an artist, and I thank you for helping me. I would also like to know what would serve my purpose better – a console or a software? As a beginner what should be the complete set of equipment to purchase? When starting out it definitely makes sense to get a Console. The software has a come a long way as well. Onyx is one of the best consoles I’ve seen. It’s a big investment for someone starting out but it can really meal all of your needs. How Do I Choose My First Console? How Do I Begin with Onyx? Nic (11:54) I’m looking at purchasing a new 15″ MacBook Pro to use in university for lighting design. Whilst I’ve listened to the podcast about which computer to use, I’ve tried using Windows and I much prefer the mac interface and would be happy to boot camp the mac to use such software if I needed to. I was wondering if you had any specific advice for software etc based on your experiences as a mac user that might help me? I am looking at using Vectorworks instead of AutoCAD due to the interface of AutoCAD being different on Mac to that of windows. On the Console side, there are a lot of fewer options for Macs. If you are open to bootcamping will work. Vectorworks reigns supreme for Concert and Corporate Events. AutoCAD is a good program for design and architectural perspective. For more information on what you can work with using a Mac be sure to check out this article,
This week on the Podcast we are going to review the steps of Planning Your Big Event. While this will reflect on Lighting you can also apply these steps for Audio, Video, or Set Design. Lighting News! (1:38) For the ENTTEC and DMXIS users, there has been a new Software Release of the DMXIS Platinum. What is interesting about this software is that it appears to be an upgraded version of DMXIS. It comes with Video and some Pixel Mapping. You can read additional information and even Download the Demo here: DMXIS Platinum The LDI Conference that takes place in the US was a big hit this year. I took a unique approach by reviewing the new product lines and discussing how these products can improve Lighting. My goal was to provide more than the features of the new products and give an honest overlook of how these products could benefit your Lighting strategy. You can check out my videos on the Learn Stage Lighting YouTube Channel LDI 2018 and let me know what you think! Lastly, The Learn Stage Lighting Podcast is now available on Spotify! If you use Spotify be sure to Subscribe to listen to the latest episodes: Learn Stage Lighting Podcast Main Segment (5:50) While working in many shows and in different areas I’ve been able to see various types of Productions. While doing this I’ve seen some great events as well as some events that didn’t go as smoothly as they could have. There are 7 Steps that I’ve put together to help you plan your Next Big Event. In this episode, we’re going to cover the first 3 steps. In the next Main Segment, 2 weeks from now, we will go over the last 4 steps. PreProduction All shows or projects simply start with an Idea. Once there is an idea you can go into the Dreaming Phase. By finding inspiration with previous events or looking online you can begin by gathering ideas and figuring out what you want the show to look like. The next phase is Budgeting. You’re not only considering the costs and volunteer scheduling. You also should take inventory or what assets are available to you. Then you can focus on the Artistic Design. Realistically, you will be working with a budget. So between your visions for the event and what you have to work within the budget needs to have a fine balance. Lastly, you can focus on the Technical Design. When doing this you can focus on the equipment, cables, and gear that you will need. A great tool I have used in the past is Draw.IO where you can lay out the design and figure how much gear and cables you will need. You can download the Tool Here. Preparation Once you have the design and know what you want are in place you are ready to move on to the Preparation step. Now, you can focus on getting all of the gear together and sourced. A great way to help keep the stress to a minimum is scheduling to get the equipment to the location a Day before or if it’s an evening event have it together by the morning of the event. The next phase, Label, loom and pre-plan, is a good way to help avoid unnecessary stress of putting together a big event. Getting a head start is pre-addressing the lights. Begin by labeling the light’s addresses and what the Light Number is. Another idea is setting up and hanging the lights up before getting the power to them. Getting these lights prepped and ready beforehand will help you with stress and save time. Lastly, I’ll keep the cables, jumpers, and the lights together. Because when you’re setting up and the equipment is together it makes it so much easier to set up.
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my thought process. If you have been listening for a while I would sincerely appreciate if you would take a moment to rate the Podcast and be sure to share what you’ve learned from the show! Rate/Review on iTunes Lighting News! (0:25) I’ve recently returned from the LDI Trade Show which is considered to be the biggest in the country for stage lighting. This year I tried something different and wanted to take a different approach. I checked out some brand new products but kept in mind how can this make stage lighting better? Instead of the usual approach, I wanted to help my listeners decide if the product would be a good fit for their needs. Be sure to check out my videos from the Tradeshow here: Learn Stage Lighting Youtube Mailbag (2:40) Vetteman (3:03) Building a little rig in my shop to play with as a hobby. Mostly going to be used with dance music, party stuff. Already purchased 2 ‘s, a blizzard memorizer, and a . Likely going to add 2-4 moving spots, and a few other moving heads. I want to keep everything simple and easy as I have very little spare time to learn this stuff and get easily frustrated. Was thinking of using the adj airstream bridge and my iPad to keep it simple. I don’t think it’ll ever leave my shop. Sound good? It’s really all about how much control you want over your equipment. I would recommend checking out the App to try to get a feel of what you will be able to do. Also, ADJ does have videos that you can check it out and see what to expect. If you are perhaps looking for more control I would suggest checking out my post, How Do I Choose My First Lighting Console? This will help get you pointed in the right direction if you’re looking for more features and control. Taz (6:49) What are your thoughts on setting up audience blinders for small to medium-sized band setups. E.g. purchasing options, optimal ways to program in Onyx, and positioning recommendations? A Blinder is an Audience Light that is normally in front of or behind the band. Or at times it’s placed on a Truss. The light is used to bring impact or attention to the audience. When working with a smaller band I would recommend getting an LED Strip or a Par and set it up behind the Band. You can use it as a lower light and when you need a brighter light you can just turn it up. I would use Onyx and program the way you would with anything else. For the position of the lights, I like setting the lights behind the band. Having the lights pointed towards the audience at hip level or above creates a great set up. Dave (11:00) How much overlap should the fields of adjacent lights be to have relatively even light? How much light is the right amount (300lx, 1000lx or ?) for stage lighting? Do you know the same answer for auditorium lighting? The answer to your first question is really tough because it really depends on the type of light you are working with. Start by taking a single light just point it at a blank space or wall and see where it points. Normally, the center is the brightest and it fades out. Set up another light and line it up it until the lights are even. You can use the light meter in the City Theatrical DMXCat App, which is available on Android only.
In this week’s Episode we discuss the Basic Overview of creating a Show Network. I’ll go over the basics of networking and what you need to get started. If you have been listening for a while I would sincerely appreciate if you would take a moment to rate the Podcast and be sure to share what you’ve learned from the show! Rate/Review on iTunes Lighting News! (1:45) Last week I was attending the LDI Conference is considered the “Big One” of the Year in Las Vegas. In the future, I am excited to announce that I will be creating videos showing the new products, interviews, and so much more. With that, be sure to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for the latest videos. Main Segment (3:00) Two Episode’s ago we discussed using a computer for Lighting. In general, a Windows PC will be used for any lighting software. In case you missed this Episode be sure to check it out. Episode 37 – What Computer Do I Need for Lighting? Why Even Use Networking in Lighting? You may want to consider using Networking for a couple of reasons in Lighting. One of the main reasons to use networking is to set up a Back-Up Console that follows what your Main Console does. In any unforeseen circumstances, you may never know what may happen. Another reason for using Networking is for networked DMX. As technology and functions become more complex the need for Network and cables are becoming more standard. If you plan on working in Lighting, Audio, or Video you may want to seriously consider working with networking because it’s becoming a very necessary skill. What Do I Need to Network? Since you’ll be working with Consoles, you may quickly realize you will need to Network it. Output Hardware (“nodes”), Pixel Controllers, and Even Lights themselves! Just getting started with Networking you only need a Network Cable to connect the devices, set up the IP Address, and Subnet Mask to set the range. What Kind of Networking Gear Do I Need? Getting started you only need a few items to get started. At the basic level, all you need is an “unmanaged switch”. For what we do in the lighting world this is really what you need. You have an optional “access point” for wireless control. Ideally, it’s very ideal to have this option. A consumer “router” combines both of these with “routing”, which basically connects smaller networks to bigger networks. If you are starting small I would recommend using a Router and hook up all of your equipment through there. What Type of Networking Signal Should I Use? The two most common are Art-net and sACN. My personal preference is using sACN because it is easier to configure and set up. Art-net = No internet or other protocols sACN = Other protocols can run on the same line Console Nets = varies, but required for backup console tracking functionality. But the best way to get started is to review your equipment and find the best preference it prefers to work with. Closing (20:17) This is a very Basic Overview of Networking but if you would like to dive deeper I would recommend checking out Learn Stage Lighting Labs for our Action Plan: Networking for the Lighting Person. I do recommend checking out my YouTube Video What are Art-Net and sCAN? Be sure to tune In next week as I tackle questions from Listeners just like you. If you have a question be sure to
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my through my thought process. 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 (1:35) Matthew (1:38) I am setting up a DMX lighting system for the church. We have converted all the pendant lights over to dimmable LEDs and now I want to add a dimmer pack where the switches currently are. All the switches are on switch loops up to the pendants. Are there any DMX dimmers out there that can support a switch loop? I am not an electrician but you always want to talk to someone who is familiar with it. As far as I know, there isn’t a way to do this. But I would recommend is taking the switch loop and disconnecting it from the light. If you’re not able to reach the wiring you can just wire the switch loop together, as if the switch is always on. The put a cover plate over it and then add the dimmer pack in. Lucien (3:23) I am working on a building to install over 4 floors and 13 universes. (lots of pixel tape). I have been working out the network drawing the basic layout is 2 universe per split level for the upper floors and 5 universes on the ground level. The question I have is do you distributor the universes via DMX and isolated splitters or do you distribute with art net/ snet? I would go with Art-Net or sACN for many reasons. Each floor only needs 1 network cable to it from your Network Controller. This will save you a lot of frustration, network cable, and so much time. In the future, if you need to add more or make changes, it won’t be difficult. Matthew (5:20) We have a church that uses a very basic lighting setup with about 20 LED lights total. Ideally, we want to set up 5 or 6 scenes (e.g. 3 different ones for worship, one for when the MC stands up, one for the preaching slot), then have our unskilled operators press the ‘scene’ button at the appropriate time. The only problem with that is that our current desk instantly changes to that scene. It doesn’t seem possible to have it fade to the next scene. I checked a few other desks out and they all seem the same. Perhaps we could use software with a dongle to control the lights? Our budget would be about $400-700USD (though we are in New Zealand) to solve this problem. Any ideas? I would definitely recommend the software route. You do have a couple of options and I do recommend going with a Software-based controller. My recommendation would be the which you can get for about $300 USD. You get the output box and the software comes free with it. You would just patch in your lights and I do have some great tutorials on how to do that: How to Program With DMXIS. Armando (8:42) I know that there are many different types of moving heads available on the market, but does anyone actually demonstrate what’s new and available. I hear a lot of names, but I don’t know what a Viper does, how do I learn what to buy for what effect? There are a few ways to check out new gear. The best option would be is to check out videos on YouTube. If you follow the manufacturers you will be able to see the new products. Also, the manufacturer’s website to see the latest features. Chad (11:37) Looking for a computer program that can be ‘pre-programmed’ … with multiple programs stored… each stored program is the length of a song being played, that follows and is sync to the song… example: when the song says “ everyone to the left, to the left” all the moving head lights will move to the lef...
In this week’s Episode, we discuss the basics on what to look for when getting a computer for your Lighting needs. I’ll go through my recommendations of what type of computer, software, and hardware you may need. Lighting News! (1:17) I really enjoy reading the PLSN Magazine and read some great highlights from their latest issue. If you want to check it out you can visit their website PLSN.Com and Subscribe. One of the products I saw features was the Mega System’s Circa Scoop LED. Mega System’s is a company that is newer and growing more popular. I personally have had no experience with their lights yet. But what I really like about this Circa Scoop LED is a big light that has a warm light LED source. It also has Amber LEDs that shine differently from the middle. This light has the colored LEDs and 192 RGB LEDs on the outer rim. Be sure to check it out and for the DIYers maybe get some ideas that you can work with. There’s a Product Review section written by Aaron. In this issue, he reviews a couple of ENTTEC’s new items including the Pixel Port. You can check out my review of the Pixel Port here: ENTTEC Pixel Port Lastly, one of my favorites is the LED at Large article is hilarious because it talks about the language of Lighting. As you venture out and meet others in the Lighting Industry you’ll soon realize how everyone has different names and descriptions. Be sure to check it out you can visit their website PLSN.Com and Subscribe to get the latest updates. Main Segment (8:30) Most equipment is run by computers and you may already have a computer running your systems. The most popular computers would be the Mac, PC, or Lennox. PC would be the most popular operating system in the Lighting Industry. Macs are also used in Lighting. You can actually read more about what you can use with Macs here: How Can I Control Lighting From My Mac? Software Personally, I do recommend using a PC to run your Lights and preferably I suggest getting the Windows 10 Pro. Professional offers you the feature updates you can skip or push off to a future date. The Home series is also good but if you have some wiggle room in your budget, just go Pro. Often, I hear a lot of concerns about Windows Updates and some worry about their programs. A couple of things I’ve learned with updates is that if you have a software that is under Active Development will go under a Developer Preview. The Developer Preview allows developers to download and test the update before it gets released to the public. That way the developers know ahead of time what to fix. Hardware Before you decide on Hardware you need to know what type of Software you plan on running and possibly running in the future. Once you have an idea you’ll then want to find info on the Base System Requirements and Recommended System Requirements. If you plan on using this computer for a long time then make sure to exceed those requirements. A few blanket recommendations I have would suggest is that if your computer doesn’t come with a solid state hard drive, then purchase a solid one and install it. It’s not difficult to and will save you in the long run. For the Processor side, I would rather buy a very good processor that may be a few years old as opposed to a new and just ok processor. With the Rams, I go with at least 8Gbs. Normally, I work with 16Gbs but you can put as much as you like. Graphics Card
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my through my thought process. If you’ve been listening to the show I would greatly appreciate if you could review and rate the Podcast: https://www.learnstagelighting.com/itunes/ Mailbag! (1:45) John (1:48) I’m in a band and am trying to upgrade from auto mode. I have 5 Chauvet color strips 3 led pars, 2 UV Flat panels. You suggested as the next step. OK, so I haven’t taken your advice, yet. What I did do was after talking with our sound guy, he uses ShowXpress, I downloaded the since it was free to play with. Here’s where my questions come up. 1. The fixtures that are cheap Chinese stuff. Stage Ape Pars cans (3) and Flat panel UV (2) are not on the list to add to the page. How do you handle addressing lights that are not listed? I figure I might have the same issue with DMXIS. 2. After adding the color strip Mimi’s (3) color strip mini FX (2) to the show I couldn’t get the 3D view to open. An icon would show up in the bottom bar but wouldn’t open. When working with ShowXpress it tends to be glitchy which is why I do recommend DMXIS. For the issues with Chauvet, I am not sure why the 3D View won’t open so you may want to contact them directly. If you’re working with cheaply made fixtures they may not work with ShowXpress. ShowXpress mostly works well with Chauvet brand fixtures a few other models. You have to get a Fixture Light Library Request to try to add to the Library. Unfortunately, I do not know how long it will take for them to respond. With DMXIS you can create your own fixtures at fixtures.dmxis.com and add the fixtures there to your DMXIS. I do recommend checking out DMXIS again with the ShowBuddy Demo as well watching this video to get you started with ENTTEC DMXIS Training. Asaf (6:20) I work with M-Touch. What are the 10 sliders are the most important to record on the M-Touch sliders? It’s hard to provide a basic description on what you should record for your 10 Faders. So the question you need to ask when you’re getting ready to set up is “Do you really need a Fader Control for this option?” Colors may be better for the button control. But Intensity controls would be more ideal for your Faders. I would suggest checking out Learn Stage Lighting Labs to help you get started with setting up. Yuri (10:10) I have a small gear rental company (some light, sound equipment, and truss) We set up our light equipment in different venues, most of it is 6 clones of Robe Pointe, 8 RGBW led pars (18×15 watt) and 2 led COB Blinders. The software are we using is Sunlite suite 2 with Akai MPC 20 controller. So my question is should I move to onyx software using the same Akai controller and Artnet box, or stay on my current setup? What benefit can I get if I move to ONYX solution? Can you also provide some tricks (alternative gear placing)? ONYX is a great platform but you need to find the software that is right for you. ONYX is a more complex system than Sunlite but if you’re happy with it and it works, there’s no need to change the software. If you’re ready to move up to a professional level then ONYX is a great step up. If you have Faders or Knobs you do want to download a program called Show Cockpit for variable control. Carl (15:00) One thing I’ve been trying to find out is how to use the speed function of moving heads.
In this week’s episode, we continue with our Lighting for Video Series. If you haven’t already, check out Lighting for Video (Part 1) where I break down the meanings of Color Temperature, Color Quality, and Histograms. Lighting News! (1:05) This week in Lighting news there were a couple of announcements from the Trade Show, PLASA, happening in Europe. Our friends from Obsidian have announced a NX2 Console and NX Wing. The difference from the previous model is that it’s much more powerful. It’s been upgraded without increasing the price. Another announcement was a New LED Designed, TwinkLED. Elation shared a Facebook video to show off the new features of the Fixture. Razor 760 World Premiere Elation News – TwinkLED What caught my attention about these is that they are regular wash fixtures but they have little LEDs that shoot across the light. It creates a nice White twinkle effect. Main Segment (5:12) If you’ve worked with Video in the past you may have noticed a lot of variations. When it comes to working with cameras it’s the least forgiving piece of equipment when it comes to Lighting. The McCandless Method Stanley McCandless was a theater educator and wrote a book about Theater Lighting back in 1930’s. This created the very popular McCandless Method. This is a very popular way to light the stage for a theater. This method states to take 2 Lights for any given Acting area on stage. One light off the Center 45 Degrees off the right and one light off the Center 45 Degrees to the Left. Then, you use a light blue or orange gel for each of your 2 lights. This creates a daylight or evening/night effect to the stage, depending on how you mix them. While the color may not apply outside of a theater stage the concept of two front lights applies to what we do today in lighting. Making Your Lights Even In our previous episode: Lighting for Video (Part 1) we discussed the importance of Color and creating an even wash of light on stage. We want to follow what McCandless says about setting up 2 lights for every zone on stage. Ideally, we would like to add the 3rd light to focus on the person at about head height because this is where the audience will be focusing. If possible, setting up a couple of overhead and backlights would be beneficial for lighting up the rest of the stage. Transitioning Areas What if you have multiple zones onstage to work with? In person and on video the transition areas, the spaces in between will be obvious. So how do you soften the transition? You want to soften the light to help the transition areas. Using a softer color gel such as the or just a softer source light. A few episodes back we discussed different types of lights and when to use them, be sure to check these out. Different Types Of Lights, And When Should I Use Them? Different Types of Lights and When Should I Use Them (Part 2) Depending on the type of lights you are working with you may have some shading in between the areas. Your job as the lighting person is to make the light as even as possible.
In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my through my thought process. 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! (2:00) Rika (2:07) I’m looking for a special school at Canada that teaches about stage lighting. Do you know any schools? I currently am not familiar with any schools that do this in Canada. When it comes to learning about this industry I’ve met two different types of people. They either get into this business by starting as a stagehand or volunteer. Or they went to college but it was for an unrelated education. My recommendation to you is to find local production companies that you can start working for or volunteer with local crews, such as churches who are always looking for helping hands. This way you can start gaining on hand experience and see if this industry is a good fit for you. Gregory Hall (5:50) There are many more complex lights out there now and I’m not seeing a lot on how to use and how to program. Seeing more pixel mapped led fixtures (both bars w/ rows of lights and wash w/ combo of elements w/ various mapping.) And then really interesting/crazy stuff like the Elation ZCl bars w/ moving yoke, variable beam, mapped \”heads\”, etc. (or even the small individual heads…showing up now used fairly cheap, maybe from tours w./ multiple units in play, but not generic enough to keep in inventory. See many 1/2 price or less.) Specifically, have seen stuff on using effects across fixtures, but not much on effects “within” a fixture. (may be stuck w/ manual chases, etc.?) These special situations may be too variable to talk about as a group, but if there are any themes, might be an interesting topic. There are a few ways to handle this. The first method is to run your pixels as video. The way you can do this is to hook up ENTTEC’s ELM, Resolume, or MadMapper which is a Pixel Mapping Program. It will allow you to play videos and then arrange your lights. Based on your console and equipment there are a few ways you will be able to set this up. The second method would be inside of the unit. There are built in Chases and Effects. When you get into these fixtures that have a lot of parameters and effects. Once you get to know the program and different features you can set up an amazing show. The last method you can patch them into your console as a regular DMX Fixture. But the downside to this is that building chases can take up a lot of your time. Rags (9:58) I’m a solo acoustic performer and play twice a week on a stage at a local pub. There are two lighting strips on the ceiling with floods that put out very little light. I’d like to add some front lighting to make my appearance stand out more and be more appealing. I perform during the day, so the place overall is very light, but I want some differentiation on the stage and have never worked with lighting before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. To get you started I want to direct you to Learn Stage Lighting and select Band Lighting. This will send you a Free Guide on how to get started with lighting for your needs. This will walk you through a few things and ideas to get you set up. For bands, I like to recommend a couple of Front Lights and the software to control it is DMXis. You can run it from a foot pedal or run it from a DAW. For your particular set up, I would recommend getting just a few of LED Par Fixtures or LED Strip Lights on the floor or around your stage to add some highlight to your stage.
This week’s Episode I’m excited to dive in and discuss Lighting for a Video. I’ll break down the meanings of Color Temperature, Color Quality, and Histograms. Lighting News (1:15) This week in Lighting News, I wanted to share an article I read in the PLSN Magazine. Brad Schiller writes the Feeding the Machine segment and I really enjoy what he writes. This month he wrote about finding the Perfect Position in Lighting. He dives in and shares some great suggestions on Focus, Position, and great tools to use when positioning your lights. Be sure to check it out here: The Perfect Position – PLSN Magazine Main Segment (3:55) This is part 1 of our Lighting for Video series. In this episode, we’re going to discuss Color Temperature, Quality and Histograms. In this day and age, everyone has access to cameras. Whether it’s on someone’s phone or those who own an actual camera. People have the ability to take pictures of your work so in a way it reminds you to always be aware of how things look on camera or video. Kelvin Measurement Kelvin is a type of measurement in lighting. The dictionary definition is: the primary unit of temperature measurement in the physical sciences, but is often used in conjunction with the degree Celsius, which has the same magnitude. What is Color Temperature? When discussing color temperature the basic definition is how yellow or blue our light is. This is expressed in a range of temperatures called, Kelvin. When we’re looking at different lights in Kelvin, we’re looking for something between 2700k to 6500k in general. 6500k is the bluer end and the 2700k is the warmer end. Our eyes generally can adapt to different temperatures in lighting but something to remember is that cameras cannot. Some cameras have the option to dial into a certain color temperature. When you’re lighting for a video you want to try to make sure the color temperature match unless you’re looking to set up a certain effect. Color Quality When working with LED’s and Incandescents really can make or break the color quality for your video. Some Incandescents, even old style, have really great color quality. Whereas some newer LED’s have very poor color quality. When working with a stage you may not consider the fabrics or the way people look in the video but it is important to pay attention to how things look on video as opposed to in person. Color quality is measured as CRI which is ideal for measuring Incandescents. When you do get your lights on a camera you want to make your light levels balanced. This goes for anything that would project light. All of that stuff needs to match in Color Temperature. Histograms Make sure that you have a good quality source for your Front Stage Lights. While looking on the camera you want to make sure you expose everything correctly as well as making sure nothing is over saturated. Looking at a camera and using a reliable video source to make sure everything looks great on Video. Making it Perfect for the Camera or Perfect for the Room It’s very rare that you can find the perfect match for the camera and for the room. The key is finding the balance for it to look good for both. A way to decide is which is more important to you and focus on that. But over time with minor adjustments, you can find a good balance for both. Closing (14:35) If you like listening to the show please be sure to leave a rating and review to let others know what you think of the Podcast. Leave a Review on iTunes Be sure to tune in next week to listen in on our Q & A Session where listeners have the chance to send in their questions.
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 ...