How Do I Program a Basic Moving Light? – Learn Stage Lighting .com

How Do I Program a Basic Moving Light?

In this video and post, we’re going to help walk you through on how to program a basic moving light using 3 different types of consoles. We will also go over the pros and cons of programming moving lights with different types of consoles.

Once you have the moving light set up, the DMX channels set up, and everything is tested you’re now ready to start programming your moving lights with your console.

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Programming with a Basic Console

If you are using a basic console or controller such as the Chauvet Obey 40, as used in this video, you will have the capability to control a basic moving light. While it may not be ideal it is definitely doable.

Getting Started

Once the DMX addresses are set and you have the ability to control your moving light with your controller, you’re ready to get started. You will want to have the moving light manual handy as you will need it to reference the different channels and functions.

The downside to working with a more basic controller is that it is actually more difficult to program your different scenes and it actually will take longer for you to program.

How to Program a Moving Light

On the controller, you will select “fixture”, then using the faders you will bring up the different channels to set the position and color of your light. Also, be sure to remember to check the second page of channels for additional functions to use.

Once you have set the scene you can record and save it as a preset.

Cons of Programming with a Basic Console

The cons of programming a moving light with a basic console are that overall it does take more time then needed to program your different presets.

Another issue is that you are limited on the functionalities such as programming your lights to move in different positions. While you can set up chases with your controller the transitions won’t be as smooth between each scene.

If you are looking for just basics lights and movements then working with a simple controller may be a good fit for you. However, if you do want more control over your lights, programming, etc then a more advanced console would suit you better.

Programming with Software

Programming with a computer and software will not only give you the capability to build a better lighting show it is also more efficient and easier to be able to program your show using software versus a basic controller

The way I approach this is that if you have invested money in lights do you want to have the fate of your show relying on a $100 controller? Or would you rather purchase one less light but have a computer with a solid software to program your lights with?

One of the programs I use and recommend often is ENTTEC’s DMXis. It’s very easy to use, great to learn with, and it is a very solid program to work with.

How to Program a Moving Light

If you’re working with software such as ENTTEC’s DMXis is very easy to bring in a moving light. Using the fixture library you can locate the brand, the model, and then you have full control of your moving light.

Programming with DMXis is very easy to use. Using the faders on DMXis you can easily set the position of the light and set your colors. Once you have the look you want just go to “Preset Manager” on the top, name the bank, and then name the preset manager. Just like that, you have your first preset saved.

With ENTTEC’s DMXis you also have more control over the movement of your lights. By selecting the pan and tilt faders, go to the top, click “Macros”, and you can select different movement options for your lights. To save this you would take the same steps and save it as a preset.

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The Pros of Programing with a Software

Programming with a computer-based software versus a basic controller is so much easier and will save you a lot of time. The time it takes to program some basic colors and movements is what you spend just programming one scene with a basic controller.

Another benefit of working with software is the control you have over your lights. You can easily create and set movements, colors, and transition times between your presets.

Programming with Professional Consoles

Working with software such as DMXis compared to professional software such as ONYX is a little more complex. When working with a professional console there is definitely a learning curve but the capabilities and control you have available to you are worth it.

How to Program a Moving Light

In this example, we’re going to use ONYX. When you load up the software select “New” and the “New Show”. You can name it and the new show will load up for you.

To patch in the new fixture just click the top left “ONYX” menu, select, “Patch”, then “New Fixture”. Then, you will be able to select the brand and model of the fixture, set the DMX address, and click “Save”. Now, your new light is patched in.

On the main ONYX screen, you will see a menu on the left sidebar. Just click “Fixture Center” and you should see the new light you just patched.

What makes the professional consoles stand out is how easy it is to set your positions and colors. WIth ONYX you have full control over the movement of your lights. For the colors, you simply use a color wheel to set it. Every capability your light has is available to set at your fingertips.

Overall, working with software like DMXis and ONYX it is so much easier and quicker to program even the most basic moving lights. You also have more control over your lights and what you can do with it.


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