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.
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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. I’ve heard you say before that normal dimmer pack like the DP-415 won’t work with LED bulbs because the wattage is so low compared to a conventional fixture. If I connected them in parallel to get 70 watts total and plugged this in to one channel on the dimmer pack, would it work well? If not, would there be any other way to make it DMX compatible?
You do have a few options. The first would be using a conventional fixture and plugging it into the Dimmer. Another thing you can do is use an incandescent halogen bulb. These are still available and this would be a great option if this is a light that won’t always be on.
A third option would be constructing something out of LED Tape. I do go more into how to do this in my article: LED Tape and Pixels 101. Then I would suggest going to YouTube and look for those that use LED Tape and Video.
Melissa (20:01) I am a beginner at lighting. Mostly MAC and ProPresentor are my thing. I am the only one at my church that can even begin to figure out this lighting program. BASIC QUESTION: ON CUES can I only program one set of lights per cue? I would like to be able to set the whole stage scene and then click once for that to change? Say for one song the stage is one scene, then the pastor comes up and I click the next Cue for the next set of lights?
Absolutely, in most lighting consoles you should have the option to select certain lights and program them to do exactly what you want them to do. In short, you should be able to select your lights, assign the cues, and record.
Dustin (21:54) Quick question I have 2 venue par 64s LEDS and 2 Chauvet par 56 LEDS could I program them to do the same thing if they are daisy chained to the same DMX controller? Thanks.
Yes and no. Yes, because among similar fixtures you can set the same DMX Addresses and they can do the same thing. So your Venue Pars can do one thing and your Chauvet’s can do another.
Depending on your console, trying to control them all as one thing, is most likely not possible. If the lights have the same DMX Channel Layout you may be able to only assign one IP Address and they can all do the same thing. Since these are different brands and fixtures the colors will not match.
Dave (23:53) I’m looking to upgrade my church lighting console. We currently have a Stairville console which gives us control over 16 fixtures of 16 channels each. We would like to get a console which will give us control of up to 32 16 channel fixtures. The other important feature we need is the ability to fade between scenes. This feature is often missing on cheaper desks as we’ve found to out cost. Please, can you recommend something at the cheaper end of the market (Sub £500 ideally)? We want a desk rather than a computer-based solution.
Sadly, you’re not going to find a decent console for your price range that will do what you want. One console you may want to consider is the LightShark LS Core. This is a desk console that you can run with a PC or Tablet.
When programming a new console it can be very tedious work. With that, I recommend going with a Software such as ENTTEC’s DMXIS. It’very easy to use and will save you a lot of time. You can read more on it here: How to Program With DMXIS
Zion (33:11) Hi, I just wanted to know, about follow spot, how to programme it in the M-PC software, currently am making a person to walk across the stage and programming the pan-tilt manually, but I wanted the software to recognize the movement of the person and light has to move automatically, will there be any options for?
M-PC is now Onyx and you can learn more about there here in my video: What’s New in Onyx?
In short, if you want to be able to track and follow someone with a light it’s not something you can do with just a Lighting Console. Some, program in Onyx, an Override Fader that can go all the way to the right and to the left.
Another option, inside of Show Cockpit, using an app or a joystick to feed Pan-Tilt information and convert it to lights. You can see the function working in this video from RD/Show Cockpit.
A hardware and software called BlackTrax that does tracking and following. You can see their information here: Automate Moving Lights.
Lastly, there is Follow-Me that takes all of the DIY work away and is a great piece of equipment. You can check them out here: Follow-Me Setup.
Steve (37:40) I am spec’ing lighting from scratch for our amateur dramatic group in the village hall.
The current setup is a 6 channel dimmer rack with 2 pairs of stage floods (just behind the prosc. arch), 2 fresnels (one on each wall 2.3m sideways and 2.4m back from the edges of the stage) and two profiles on the wall another 2m behind the fresnels. The control is a simple set of sliders and that is it.
The stage is 8m wide by 3m deep and (generally) has 1.5 to 2.5m apron (which is homemade from four 8′ x 4′ “tables”, so can be varied a little).
I am looking at changing (more likely, just adding on top of the existing) to a DMX controlled LED system. After attending your recent webinar, the DMX control will definitely be Onyx software with (probably) an Enntec Pro adapter. For the moment, no desk.
As we are starting out, I am thinking of getting the hall to install 3 scaffold bars – two front of the stage at 2.4m and 4.2m from the arch and one just inside the arch. Obviously, there will be permanently wired power and DMX (or Cat5e) cable to suit (I was thinking of running the permanent cable for each bar to a wall socket at each end. Initially, I am thinking of just using LED fresnels to provide washes – 4 per bar – just to provide a general wash – 2 lamps per each of 6 areas of the stage and apron.
Do you have any thoughts on this as a general rig? Obviously, I plan on adding more lamps as we can afford them.
The Fresnels I am thinking of buying are Elumen8 MP75 as these appear, to me at least, to be a reasonable value for money without being so cheap as to be total rubbish. What are your thoughts on this lamp?
Finally, what is the best way to daisy chain the lighting bars together? I was thinking of buying a 4-way splitter and then plugging the ENTTEC to the input and each lighting bar gets its own output. Does that make sense? Is there another way to do it?
At a brief overview, this appears to be a great plan for the equipment you have available to you. You won’t need a DMX Splitter if you stay below 16 fixtures. Unless you’re looking to make things flexible for future projects you won’t need a Splitter.
I do have an article I want to share on How to Run DMX Over Ethernet Cable, that should be able to help you with this project.
Mike (41:19) Can you tell me if there is ANY difference between Daslight 4 and MyDMX 3? They look identical in every way! Are the dongle interchangeable between the two software programs. We currently run MyDMX 3 at our church. What is your opinion of ShowXpress? What lighting software do you recommend for a fairly large CHURCH rig?
Daslight is a program that is licensed to numerous companies. Overall, it’s a program that is normally just the same software with a different company name on it. When I look at software consoles such as Daslight and ShowXpress are really good programs. But something you may notice it is can be a very buggy software.
I would recommend is the LightShark LS1 and I share my review here: What is the LightShark?
Onyx is another great option. You can read more about it here: How do I Begin with Onyx?
Jackie (46:00) I’m using D-pro with an ENTTEC DMX USB PRO and I have had it drop out twice and lose all my patches, fixtures, cues, and groups. Does it save this information somewhere on the computer or do I have start all over again from scratch?
If you’re getting crashes in D-Pro, you’ll want to go and post your issue here: DMXIS & ShowBuddy Forum. Crashes are not normal and D-Pro can get buggy at times.
If you’re not saving your shows then it’s not being saved. So, when you do start a new show make sure to save it. What I like to do is to save my shows and use the date as part of the File Name. Make sure you are saving and save it often.
Jeff (49:02) Do you know of any light simulating software where one could build a show and get a visual sense of it?
The answer is Yes! There are some good visualizers on the market and a great piece of equipment to have. I have an article about different Visualizers: So You Want a Light Visualizer
I also cover what equipment you will need if you decide to get a Visualizer.
As I have mentioned throughout the show, Learn Stage Lighting Labs, is a great resource if you want to help save yourself time and money when it comes to lighting. Included with this membership are very detailed tutorials & videos, action plans, and personalized assistance. Be sure to check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.
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.
Be sure to tune-In next week as we kick off a new series as we dive in and go deep with Pixels. We’ll see you here next week!