This week on the Podcast we’re going to discuss ways that you can run lighting from the stage. Sometimes, there may not be a dedicated person to run the lights so I want to share some ways you can work around this.
If you’re new here and you’re not sure how or where to get started with your lighting be sure to take this Quiz and I will send you a Guide based on your answers to help get you pointed in the right direction.
Main Segment (1:13)
Before we dive into ways you can run your lights from the stage you want to take a step back and consider the reasons why you need to your lights from the stage.
Perhaps it’s because your a small band and you don’t have the budget to afford a lighting person but you still want to bring that “wow” factor to your show. As we’ve discussed before working with Sound Active Mode is a no go and can make the show look like it’s done by amateurs.
Another scenario is that maybe you’re a small church that is already tight on volunteers and you just don’t have the manpower for someone to run the lights.
How Do You Do It?
The most important piece to know is that you need is a Trigger, the lights won’t trigger themselves! In order to run lights from the stage and have it automated you don’t necessarily have to have backtracks.
While it is simpler to have backing tracks but some bands like to work on the fly. So, with that you need to have is a Trigger. There are a few options you can work with.
Propresenter – Often used in the Church world is Propresenter or other MIDI capable software that you are using on stage.
Footswitch – Another great option is having a Footswitch that you or another band member can use to trigger the next cue.
Segmented tracks in Ableton Live – Ableton Live can work with backing tracks but still has the ability to work in a Live show and be able to skip certain parts if need be.
Full Backing tracks – As we mentioned in the beginning just having full backing tracks will work as well.
As we’ve mentioned many times a great and simple software is ENTTEC’s DMXIS. This is a great program to use and very easy to learn. DMXIS is very popular with those who are still new to working with Lighting.
What I really like about DMXIS is that it was designed for those who want to run their lights from stage. With DMXIS you have options such as running it with a Footswitch, using a DAW such as Ableton Live, or you can run it with a companion program like ShowBuddy.
To learn more about how to program with DMXIS just check out this article: How to Program With DMXIS.
Advanced: Onyx/MIDI macros (or D-Pro, LightShark)
Perhaps you’re doing bigger shows, have a lighting console already, or you may have to reprogram shows more often. When you’re using a more advance console you’ll have the option to trigger things via MIDI.
With these more intermediate consoles it’s a little more complex to program because they were designed with advanced lighting experts in mind.
I’ve discussed triggering lights with MIDI a few times on the podcast. What you’re able to is use something like a footswitch, Ableton Live, or a program like Propresenter to send MIDI out of the one program and into your lighting program.
Then, your lighting program can receive it and you can either set it up or map the MIDI. The upside of this option is if your working with a lot of lights or you reprogram shows often it’ll make your job much easier. The downside is that it is more complex to set up and you’ll have to keep track of more items.
There’s a great video on about how this band set up their stage and lights using Ableton Live, be sure to check it out!
I have some exciting news coming up and next week’s show we’re going to have our Free Q+A Tuesday segment. Free Q+A Tuesday is where I respond to questions from Listeners just like you! If you have a question you would like to share be sure to submit it here: Contact Form
Beginning in March we’re going to change up the format of our Podcast where we will be interviewing those that are in the trenches just like you. They may be hobbyists and those that are lighting small to mid size shows. I’m really excited for these interviews, so be sure to stay tuned!