A two-scene lighting console is a great way to learn the basics of stage lighting- it’s just you, a handful of conventional lights, and a small console.
Surprisingly, however, a basic lighting console like this is actually quite complex, and has quite a few different features and capabilities that you may not have known of.
You can make a very interesting lighting show, with some pretty complex looks using one of these consoles.
Once you’ve learned one two-scene console, any other console of this type will be easy to pick up.
The first thing you see when you look at a two-scene lighting console is 2 rows of individual faders, then 2 scene masters and 1 grand master all the way on the right. Under the individual faders lie flash buttons, and perhaps there is a small light above the fader to indicate intensity.
You may also have buttons for different modes, such as the run and record modes on a Leprecon console. Other consoles may have other features, such as a cue stack or chase function, but for today, we’re just going to cover the basics.
If you walk up to the console and all the faders are down, bringing up any 1 fader will not do anything productive. The first thing is to check for a power switch if the console is off, which will probably be located on the back of the console, on the right side if you are standing in front of the console.
Next, you’ll want to bring up the grand master fader. This is the fader which can reduce the total level of all of the faders at once. Bring it up to up all the way to 100%, which is usually also notated by a 10 on the fader. Take note of the other level markings on the faders that can be helpful in bringing lights consistently to the same levels.
Next, you’ll want to go over to the scene masters. They’re typically to the right of the grand master.
Looking at them, you may notice that the first scene master, for the “X” scene, is labeled for intensity the same as the grand master, but the “Y”, or second scene master, is labeled opposite. This is important for utilizing the 2-scene mode. For now, bring the “X” scene up all of the way, but keep the “Y” scene at the bottom of the fader- it’s already at 100%.
Now you’re ready to turn on some lights! Bring up a look you like on the top set of faders, and then bring down the “X” scene master, watching the lights fade out. Next, bring up a different scene on the bottom set of faders.
Now, notice that the 2 scene masters are at the same place- this is their design. You can now grab them both with your hand, and take them up, watching your 2 scenes switch places. If you have a really complicated show, you can prep another scene from notes on your bottom faders, and switch again, and again, and again- all night long! This is versatile, and you can change lighting scenes up all night.
The alternative way to use the 2 scenes, perhaps for a music show is a little different.
Bring up your main, basic scene on the top faders, and leave the bottom open for specials you want to bring up, or multiple lights you want for a different song.
Then, you can bring lights up in your free time and fade in smoothly with the scene master, or flash them if it’s a rock show.
The other feature that a 2 scene lighting desk may have is the ability to flash the lights and program scenes- which both use the bump buttons.
The bump buttons make the light instantly jump to 100% intensity, just by hitting the button under the fader. Test out your bump buttons to see if they are affected by the grand master- some console’s are and some aren’t.
Programming the submasters is a way to also get a bunch of looks out of your console. These looks are all pre-programmed, and can’t be changed on the fly, but you can bring them all up at once, or any combination and at any intensity each.
T0 program a scene, all you need to do is first, put the console into the right mode. You may need to consult a manual or a guide that may be printed on the bottom of your console. Note that putting your console into submaster mode defeats 2 scene mode, though your scene masters may still work.
Bring up the look you want on the top row of faders, and turn on the record mode(again, check the bottom of the console). Press the flash button of the fader you want to program to, and then bring up that fader. Then proceed to bring down the scene master or individual faders to check that the scene programmed correctly. You may want to label the fader at this point on your console tape.
As you have learned, your two-scene lighting console probably has more features than you thought. A small powerful console has the ability to create a bit of a complex show, and may be all that you need for your application.