How to Pre-Wire Your Lights to Save Yourself Time and Frustration… – Learn Stage Lighting .com

How to Pre-Wire Your Lights to Save Yourself Time and Frustration…

By David / a couple of years ago

Pre-wiring has been one of the tricks that professionals have been using for years to cut down setup time.

If you’re in a position where you need to load in and out your lighting often, this is for you!  Not only does pre-wiring your lighting allow you to save time, it also keeps your wiring nice and neat and looking good to your clients.

Check out the video below starting around 6:00 to find out how you can pre-wire your lighting, and then jump below the video for my complete getting started guide:

How to Pre-Wire Your Lighting to Save Time

While getting all of your lighting pre-wired does take a little time, I think you’ll quickly find that doing a neat and tidy job will quickly save the time you spent as you setup and tear down your rig with speed!

You’ll also have the advantage of making a very simple system that helpers can jump in easily and assist you with!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To get started, you need to first gather up all of your cables, fixtures and stands that you are going to pre-wire.

You only want to pre-wire “looms” like this for setups that you always can setup the same way, so that you don’t ever have to tear apart your work!

Then, grab yourself these supplies:

Though in the video Richard mentions using zip ties as well to keep cables together, I try to avoid them at all costs because they really can beat up your hands!

Step 2: Lay Out All Of Your Cables and Fixtures

It’s essential to have your rig set up with all the cables before you begin.

This ensures that you’ll build your looms to the exact specifications that you need!

Step 3: Tape, Tape, Tape + Label

Lighting FixturesNow comes the fun part!

At least, this is the part of the process that I really find the most fun!  Just like in the video, you’ll begin with color-coding all of your lights and the cables that go into them with your electrical tape.

You’ll also want to print out labels on your computer for each fixture with the fixture name and address on it.

If you set up your stands/truss the same way every show, you can also put identical labels on them to make your system foolproof.  Just make sure to lay down a piece of gaff tape first so your label doesn’t get attached to your stands forever.

Wrap these labels with clear tape to keep them permanently attached to your fixtures.

Now you’re reading to bundle all of your cables together in a loom.  As you do this, make sure to leave enough slack on the cables to keep everything looking neat!  Bundle all the way down to the end of the cables where they plug into power and your lighting console to keep everybody nice and tidy.

Tip: Use tie line or long velcro ties to tie up your looms after you wrap them up.

Step 4: Save Time and Money!

Now comes the “other” fun part!  Enjoy all of the time you’re saving as you setup your gigs easier and more quickly than ever before!


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  • John de Vere says:

    Hi, I have been given the job of cataloging all our stage light and sound gear for the North Shore Music Theatre which is amateur musicals.
    There is a ton of dusty lights which need to be cleaned AND LABELED.
    Which is the best labelling method ie painted numbers or the dymo tape labels.
    I am concerned that the tape labels may fall off before I purchase a unit.

    Regards

    • David says:

      Hey John,

      Clean them with water and Windex. Once they are dry, use Dymo or P-Touch industrial labels on any non-textured metal surface to label the lights.

      Here’s a link to the label tape – http://amzn.to/2B1gLmj – using the industrial-grade is important because the adhesive is much better than the standard stuff!

      Thanks!
      -David


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