TECH TALK: Moving Light Magic!

Another Mike Graham Tech Talk — on moving lights!

MIKE-GRAHAM

Many of today’s moving heads have some pretty amazing capabilities that are not always listed in the feature sets on the spec sheets.  In order to find your lights inner magic, it is important to spend some quality time with them.

CHAUVET is launching a new line of moving heads called ROGUE.  In this line, we are offering two spots and two beams.  I would like to tell you all a little about each one and what they can all do, and none of these things are on the features list in the spec.

The ROGUE R1 Spot is a 140W LED powered work horse.  This fixture is designed with the small to mid- size production or installation in mind.  Because of a killer optical system, this fixture excels in gobo morphing, iris pulse, and other weird optical effects.  So, give this a shot….  Pick two gobos, one static, and one rotating.  Drop them in to the optical path.  Get a hard focus on one of the gobos. Save that as a cue.  Now move the focus to the other gobo.  Make that a hard focus.  Make the cross fade time between these two cues about 10 seconds.  Now play back the cue a few times.  Watch the image shift from one gobo to the other.  Check out how the images change between the two.  There are so many different looks that are available for you in that 10 second change that you can pull from for a show.  Now go back and add in some slow rotation into the rotating gobo.  Run that same cue again with the rotation.  You will now see something completely different.  Keep in mind that you have several gobo combinations to check out, and we haven’t even looked at split colors or the prism yet.  By adding in the colors and the gobos, you have hundreds of different looks that can be achieved by these mixes.  Now, let’s check out the iris.  By using the iris on its own, yep, you can shrink down the beam angle.  When combined with the prism, you can create some really cool beam effects.  Using the built in iris macros, you can create iris pulse effects with rotation from the prism.  Again, try the dots gobo and some slow color changes and now you have some really cool looks that will amp up your show.

The ROGUE R2 Spot has a 240W light engine that will blow your doors off.  Designed to work with the mid to larger sized production or installation, this light has all of the features of the R1 Spot, but also has a second color wheel and frost flag.  This means that not only can you create all of the effects that the R1 Spot can produce, the R2 Spot can also create stunning color combinations that are designed to produce great effects.  While the frost effect is designed primarily to give you a wash effect, it can be much more.  If you put the frost in with the prism, it will give you a wide wash effect.  By adding in prism rotation, and changing the focus, you will start to see edges appear in the beam path.  These edges can be further accented by adding in gobos and creating textures.  These different textures are great for adding a bit of movement in your wash beam path.  This is great for giving your show something a bit out of the ordinary.

The ROGUE R1 Beam is powered by the OSRAM 132 Sirius Reflector lamp.  Utilizing a unique optical path, this fixture is equipped with a color wheel, gobo wheel, and two prisms that are designed to overlap each other.  Because of its small size, the head of this light has whiplash fast movement to go along with its stunning output and effects.  Because of its unique ability to overlap the prisms, you can get some effects that are normally reserved for lighting fixtures that are many times the R1 Beam’s cost.  When you get this fixture in your hands, the first thing you are going to want to do is to fill up the room with haze.  Once that is done, check out the gobo patterns on their own.  There are some very cool beam reducer gobos, and there are also some neat patterns that stand up on their own as well.  Now that you have had the chance to check out the patterns and aerial effects without the prisms, lets do the same thing with the first prism in.  With the first prism being a 5 facet effect, you will notice that the focus is hard on the outer edges or in the middle.  You can’t focus the entire beam at once.  This is because the prism is bending the light out at an angle and the focal length of the center of the prism and the outer edges are different.  This is actually to your advantage.  By having the ability to focus on one side or the other, this gives you some very cool textures in the air.   I really like the beam reducers in combination with the 5 facet prism.  Adding in a slow rotation to this and maybe even some gobo shake gives designers the ability to create some really interesting effects.  You might even want to add in a slow focus chase to play with the focal length of the prism.  Now check out the 8 facet prism.  Roll through the gobos again.  With this prism wheel, I like the break up effects in haze.  This gives me some great beam effects.  By adding in some split colors, I can get even more effects.  Now lastly, let’s try using both prisms at once.  For this, I would suggest using the beam reducers to start so that you can get used to the effect.  Try rotating the prisms in opposite directions.  This will give you a very interesting effect that is pretty unique to this fixture.  Try moving the focus in and out to do a kind of prism morphing effect.  By the time you are done playing with all of these effects, I am sure that you will be impressed.

The ROGUE R2 Beam is the powerhouse of the series.  Lamped with the OSRAM 230 Sirius Reflector light source, this fixture has unmatched output for its class.  Because of this output, it can smash right through the brightest of video effects to make big visual impacts on your show.  This fixture offers brilliant colors, specially selected gobos, 8 facet prism with zoom, frost, and focus.  Again, check out all of the gobos on their own.  Since this fixture has the output to light a stadium show, we wanted to include not only the beam reducer gobos, but some interesting break up gobos that would create some huge looks as well.  Now drop in the prism and let’s go to work.  As you start to check out the prism and gobo combinations, run the zoom in and out as well as the focus. You will start to see some very unusual textures that can be used as show stopping effects.  Now let’s try the frost.  With the frost effect, you can get a very nicely diffused beam of light that can double as a narrow wash effect.  Try putting in the prism with one of the beam reducers.  Now add in the prism in a slow rotation, the 3200K color correction, and the middle beam reducer with gobo shake.  This effect reminds me of the old time movie look.  If you work the gobos a little more, it can give you a halogen flicker effect that is really cool.  This is something to play with.  Try different gobos, different gobo bounce speeds, and colors to create some really interesting textures with the frost.  I am sure that you will be inspired.

Since moving lights have been around for years and video effects seem to be taking the industry by storm, it is more and more important that we try to make our moving lights preform tricks that will make the audience take notice.  We need to be more creative than ever.  Bigger and more pronounced looks are the name of the game.  In order to make that happen, we need the power of output.  ROGUE will give you that power and more.  We added in the feature sets, now you need to throw in your imagination.

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TECH TALK, Special LDI 2013 Edition – NEW TOYS!

We here at CHAUVET Professional have been working hard to bring you new toys to check out at LDI.  While some things were previewed at PLASA last month in England, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a little teaser to what you will see at our booth, #1141.

This year at LDI, CHAUVET is bringing you some very cool new items.  Two new LEGEND™ lights that will blow your mind, two strobe lights called STRIKE that will be sure to hypnotize you, a new Q-Wash™ that has not only huge output, but an awesome zoom range as well, and a long awaited addition to the OVATION™ line that will make your cyc glow with your favorite colors. Oh, but wait, there is more…. We are also introducing the COLORdashHEX fixtures as well as two new additions to the NEXUS™ series, we are even beefing up our tried and tested COLORado™ series.  We are even introducing a new hazer.  Indeed, toys galore.

Legend 412 ZOOM RIGHT

First off, the LEGEND 412Z will be making its US debut after being a major hit at PLASA in the UK a few weeks ago.  Offering blazing fast pan and tilt speed, twelve 10 W quad color LEDs with quadrant control, and a zoom range that will make your eyes explode, this light is destined to make designers smile from ear to ear.   Applications for this light will range from eye candy effects to the most subtle wash coverage applications.  A truly versatile light.

Legend 330SR Spot - FRONT

Next up is the LEGEND 330SR Spot.  This fixture is making its first appearance at LDI this year.  Utilizing the Osram Sirius 330 lamp, this light is designed to have massive output appeal.  CMY color mixing that can create anything from a stunning red, to a grass green, to a deep blue, it will make even the most discerning of lighting designers happy.  Combining that with a fantastic zoom angle and two gobo wheels, a color wheel, iris, and frost, the looks that can be created are only limited by your imagination.  Very responsive pan and tilt movement will make sure that you hit the mark even when your talent can’t.

Strike Panel-LEFT Strike Par-RIGHT

Onward, we will be offering two new strobe lights in a whole new category for CHAUVET called STRIKE.  In the STRIKE line we have the STRIKE 324, an LED par style strobe offering eight rings of individual control as well as the STRIKE 882, an LED panel offering six zones of control. Both of these fixtures have one major thing in common, they are blazingly bright.  If you don’t believe me, stop by the booth and I will be happy to show you.  I strongly suggest sunglasses. Q Wash 419Z LEFT

Although this light has been shipping for a few weeks, the Q-Wash 419Z is making its first appearance at LDI after hitting the stage at PLASA.  The Q-Wash 419Z offers nineteen 15 W LEDs with segment control and zoom.  Designed with the stage and studio world in mind, not only is this fixture quiet, but also offers 16 bit dimming of both the master dimmer, as well each individual color.  Overall, this light is a great addition to the already very successful Q-Series of products.

Ovation-E190WW-RIGHT Ovation F-95WW-RIGHT NEW Ovation F-165-RIGHT

We launched OVATION at LDI last year and have had a stunning year of success with it so far.  The OVATION E-190WW LED ellipsoidal won the New Product Award for Technology at WFX this year against some very stiff competition and the F-165WW as well as the F-95WW have also been successful in their own rights.  At INFOCOMM this year, we premiered the OVATION C-640FC. This five colored LED cyc light leaves the competition in the dust.  Offering two independently adjustable heads and a virtual color wheel (VCW) that includes many of your favorite gel colors pre-calibrated based on a 3200K degree light source, this fixture is sure to please.  Compact in size and huge on output, this fixture will make the LED skeptics heads turn.

COLORdash Batten Hex 8 - RIGHT COLORdash Par Hex 12-FRONT

Bringing in even more innovation, we have the COLORdash Hex fixtures.  Starting off, the COLORdash Par Hex 12 – not only is it bright, but offers something different from other LED par fixtures on the market.  Red, green, blue, white, amber, and, wait for it….UV!  Trust me when I tell you, having UV light in combination with any one color will give you mind blowing results, (you have to see red and UV combined, it is breath taking) but seeing multi-color combinations will leave you speechless.  Combine all of this with 16 bit dimming control and fan free operation and you have a hit on your hands.  Complementing the par. We are also launching the COLORdash Batten Hex 8.  The batten offers all of the coolness that we packed into the par, but in a linear format.  And what would a batten be without individual pixel control?  How about if we added in 16 bit dimming into individual pixel control?  Wonder no more, because you can see it in person at our booth.

Nexus 4x1-FRONT Nexus 2x2 LEFT

Last year at LDI, we introduced the 2013 Parnelli Award nominated NEXUS 4×4 and tipped the industry on its ear.  Since then, we have launched the NEXUS 4×1 and NEXUS 2×2.  This year, we intend to outdo ourselves by introducing two more NEXUS products, the NEXUS AQ 5×5 and the NEXUS AW 7×7.  The NEXUS AQ 5×5 is a matrix of 25 quad color RGBW LEDs that are controllable with DMX, ArtNet, and KlingNet.  The NEXUS AW 7×7 is a matrix of 49 warm white LEDS, that again, are controllable by the same triple threat as the rest of the NEXUS series.  Both of these new products also feature load rated coffin locks for vertical linking, and very cool horizontal linking system for easy pixel alignment.

COLORado 2 Quad ZOOM TOUR-LEFT

The COLORado series is gaining two new members of the family.  The COLORado 2 Quad Zoom Tour and COLORado 2 Quad Zoom VW Tour.  The COLORado 2 Quad Zoom Tour offers fourteen 15 W quad color RGBW LEDs and a huge zoom range as well as an even field of light distribution, the COLORado 2 Quad Zoom VW Tour offers fourteen 15W Variable White LEDS that can be tuned from 2,700 K to 10,000 K and offers the same zoom and light distribution as the RGBW version.  Both fixtures also offer 16 bit dimming and the signature COLORado tough body that this series is known for.

Amhaze 2 FRONT-FLAT

But you need a way to see all of these effects in the air.  Not to worry, CHAUVET proudly presents the AmHaze II.  The AmHaze II gives you all of the haze output that would expect in a professional hazer, and will also work with a wide variety of haze fluids.  Compact in size, the AmHaze II can fit into small spaces or be suspended utilizing it’s built in M13 threaded insert (perfect fit for our CLP 15 clamp).  We will be using a few of these hazers in our booth at the show, While you are checking out all of the collective stunningness of the light show, take a moment to appreciate the atmospherics as well.

So, stop by the booth and at the very least say hi.  I will be easy to spot.  I will be the one wearing the grey CHAUVET shirt with a big smile on my face.  Jim Hutchison from JimOnLight.com has also come on board with CHAUVET Professional; he’s leading our Social Media, Blogging, and Customer Outreach.  He and his very bald head will be at the LDI booth, so come by, chat us up, and snap a picture!

mike-jim

I also want to also say thank you to all of you out there who have supported CHAUVET and CHAUVET Professional over the years.  Without all of your feedback and comments, we could not have been able to create all of these new and amazing products, nor would we be where we are today.  As I enter my sixth year at CHAUVET, I thank you all for your continued support.

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TECH TALK October 2013: Sensory Under-Load

Chauvet Professional’s own Mike Graham is back for another issue of TECH TALK!  This time, Mike brings us insights on the pitfalls of convenience with respect to lighting design and programming.  Mike?

MIKE-GRAHAM

SENSORY UNDER-LOAD

Without the ability to make our senses work together, designing a show is impossible.  In today’s fast paced “Information Now” world, it is really easy to let our senses get dulled by superficial glitz provided by the dreaded interwebs.  I think that it is important to unplug and rethink the approach that we take in show design.

In my second semester of college, I took a (please, do not hold this against me) sound designers class.  I wanted to try to have a better understanding of what sound design actually was, and it was a required class as part of my curriculum. In that class, our instructor would give us each a cassette tape with a song on it.  Our job was to learn how to pick out individual sounds from those recordings.  Essentially, to stop listening to the song, and start listening to the sound of the instruments, the hiss on the tape, and any other noises that were present.  This exercise went on for the entire semester.  Every week it was a different tape with a different song.  By the end of the class, the goal was to be able to pick out the smallest details of sounds.  Goal achieved.

The obvious question is how does this apply to lighting design in today’s world?  The truth is that we as a species is becoming much less detail oriented because of the instant gratification of being able to Google an answer to any question.  The fact that we can use software like WISYWIG or Vectorworks to design shows, then use a control platform like the Hog 4 or GrandMa 2 to program and execute the same show is a great thing, but be careful of the pitfalls of convenience.  I am by no means putting down these state of the art technologies, but what I am saying is that they are tools in the same way a good Crescent wrench (spanner for my UK friends) is a tool. Don’t let these tools decide the show for you.   While I do realize that time is a commodity that we are typically very short on, slow down and listen to the show that you are designing.  Just because you can pixel map every LED on your stage, does not mean you have to run pixel effects for every single cue.  Take a deeper look and see if you can program a slight nuance into a look that will spark the imagination of your audience.  Design is not all about hitting your viewers with a sledge hammer.  Sometimes it is about the slow and subtle cue change that takes two  minutes or more to complete.  You don’t need to use the effects generators to create every look.  Take some time and add in some personality to what you are trying to accomplish.

As a test to yourself, try this; Sit outside and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and listen.  Pick out every noise from the birds singing, the breeze blowing, cars in the background, to a dog walking by. Now feel the sunlight on your face and imagine what that scene should all look like.  With some practice, your mind will once again become the best visualizer you have ever used.  By accessing your imagination and linking it to your senses of sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell, you will become a better designer.

Its, funny, but I was just reading Justin Lang’s Blog (http://www.prolightingspace.com/profiles/blog/list?user=3hylm036yw15r)  and came across the below:

smell-the-color-9

While it is totally true, we can’t ever totally understand everyone’s vision, you can absolutely control yours.  By having a better understanding of how your senses work, you will start to associate your senses to colors, effects, and light cues.  It will make designing shows much easier and much faster.

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Our Favorite TECH TALK Articles from Mike Graham!

MIKE-GRAHAM

Every time we look over at Mike Graham, one of our resident human walking awesomesauce packets, we can’t help but wonder how he fits all of that knowledge into one polo shirt wearing container.  Mike provides great articles for Tech Talk here on the Chauvet Professional Blog, full of insight and hard work from his years in the business.

We decided to look through the last few years of Tech Talk articles and pick our five favorites.  Check them out!

TECH TALK:  How Many languages Do You Speak?
Chauvet-Coachella-1

TECH TALK:  Video in the World of Lighting
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Video-wall-2

TECH TALK:  Keep Your Movers Moving

q-wash-436Z

TECH TALK:  16-Bit Dimming for LEDs

Microsoft Word - Document2

 TECH TALK:  LED Lights, Camera, Action!

LD-class-6-blog

 Stay tuned for more Tech Talk articles and more from the Chauvet Professional Blog!

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TECH TALK September 2013: LOAD OUT!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again — Mike Graham, our Moving Heads Product Manager, has written another excellent Tech Talk article for the Chauvet Professional Blog!  Check it out below, and welcome Mike Graham!

flight-case-road-case

LOAD OUT

One of the happiest times of any show is the completion of load out.  Especially if it is complete before  last call at the nearest bar.  However, load out is also, in my opinion, is often an overlooked event of show planning.  By organizing your load out in the same fashion as your load in, you can be sure that there is a cold beer with your name on it waiting for you.

The best time to start thinking about load out is during your show design.  At the same time you are thinking about how cool your show will look, and how much it is going to cost to load it in, you have to already be thinking about how much it is going to cost to load it out.  Typically, your goal is to make sure that your rig can come down in less than the four hour minimum that you often time have to pay your crew.  So, in the same way you can estimate how long it will take to load in, estimate the load out as well.

During your show pack, keeping track of exactly what goes into what box is really important.  Having a complete and accurate packing list as critical for load out as it is for load in.  Knowing what needs to go back into every box will greatly assist you in keeping your pack time down.  This will also help you to make sure that everything that you brought to the show goes home with you.  It is also a great idea to label each case that you take with you.  On that label, you should have the following listed:

  • Your show name
  • Names of items
  • How many of each item
  • Road case number (of total cases)

When you get to the venue and start setting up, As you empty cases, use the empty cases to store your truss carts.  Make sure that you label the cases your truss carts are in so you can easily find them, but this will keep them all in one place and save you time in looking for them at the beginning of load out.  Making sure that all of your cases are prepped to return in the order that you will need them is also really helpful.  I also suggest that having all of your spare items in its own case so you can easily find them if you need them.

As you get to load out and your cases start showing up, keep them in order.   As you load one up, the next one you need is there for you to use, this will also keep your “case clutter” to a minimum.  Once you load a case, get it moved away from your work space and staged for packing back into your truck, then load the next one.  As to cables, I suggest taking all cables that five feet and under and bundling them in packs of 10.  This will make counting them easy and they can be easily stored.  Typically, the most common lengths of cable are 5ft and under, so you will save tons of time by not rolling them up individually.  As you get to your trussing dollies, set them up and keep them to the side until you need them.  Always load your cases outside of your rig s footprint.  This way, you can keep dropping your rig to the ground without having to move a bunch of half full cases around.

Keeping the process moving is important.  By the time that load out comes, everyone is getting worn out and could be getting a little complacent.  Keep an eye on how your gear is being packed is important, especially if you are working with a local crew that is not going with you to the next show. Firstly, you need to know where your gear is getting packed, but you also have to make sure that they are not just jamming it in a case with no care.  Also, because it is the end of a long day, or in many cases, a long few days, your crew will be tired.  Make sure that they are still following safe practices and not standing on the “OSHA approved chair” for taking lights out of the rig.

Remember that load out is not complete until all of your gear is on the truck and the door is dropped.  It is important that not only is all of your gear in on piece, but so is your crew.  Keep safe and stay organized and you will all make it before last call.

Stay tuned for more Tech Talk articles from Chauvet Professional — we’re here to help you own the road!

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Tech Talk: Keep Your Movers Moving

Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET® Professional.

Broken lights are a nightmare. Moving lights are more so because they are complex machines that seem to never break down in an easily accessible location. Unless you have a magic wand in your toolbox, you will encounter broken moving heads somewhere in your lighting life.

An ounce of prevention:

Firstly, in order to try to keep lights from breaking, preventative maintenance is a great place to start.  Developing a regular schedule of checking under the covers will help you head off problems before they come up. I typically suggest a quarterly inspection for normal usage, if you are on a tour or in a club situation, then a monthly inspection may be a better plan. A few things to check for are the following:

Check belts. Are all of the belts tight enough and do they look worn at all? Belts should look almost like new all of the time. They should not show any signs of ripping or fraying. To make sure that they are tight enough, you should be able to twist them 90 degrees with a little force, but not much more than that. If the belt won’t turn at all, it is too tight, if it just spins to 180 degrees, it is too loose. This is a good rule to go by.

q-wash-436ZCheck fans. Are the fans clean? If not, you can use an air hose, but make sure that you are not allowing the fans to free spin with the air hose. While it sounds cool, you are causing major damage to the fan and to the driver PCB that the fan is attached to. Free spinning fans causes electrical feedback to the PCB and will damage the brushes inside the fan itself.

Clean optics. Is there any gunk buildup on your colors, prisms, lenses, or gobos? Cleaning your optics is important because you lose a ton of light when your effects are dirty. I strongly suggest using a lint free micro fabric cloth to clean off all of these components. Also, do not spray anything onto the colors or gobos. Spray the cloth. This will help to prevent spots on your optics, and also prevent overspray into the rest of the fixture.

Check connections. Are all of the wire harnesses properly connected? Make sure that everything is plugged in tight and that the cables are not crimped in anything.

Clean the base. Is there any dust build up in the base? This is especially common in night clubs. Fans suck in everything from hair, to smoke, to confetti. This tends to build up on top of the power supply and main PCB. Make sure that you clean all of this garbage out of the base. This will extend the life of your power supply and main PCB greatly. Remember that these items are really expensive to replace out of warranty.

Taking the above steps will really help in extending the life of your investment.

boxes-load-inLoad in check out:

So, it’s 6 a.m. and your coffee has not kicked in yet, but nonetheless, you are at load in. This is when you have your last chance to check your lights before you put them someplace where a problem is going to be harder to deal with. When you take the fixture out of the case, look at it. Make sure that none of the covers look out of place. Make sure that they are also on tight. Give the fixture a little shake and listen for any kind of lose items rattling around inside the fixture. Now hang it on the truss. Plug it in and run it. This is also a good time to make sure that your pan and tilt locks are off. Even if you do not have data run to the light yet, you can check the functionality of the fixture itself. Typically, if the fixture homes properly with no error codes, it is good to go, but I like to take it one step further and make sure that the lamp turns on (if it is a discharge light) and that the shutter blades open. If it is an LED fixture, run the virtual dimmer and shutter to full to make the LED come on. In both situations, you should see a bright white light and no gobos, colors, or prisms in the field. As only as you only see a bright white light, you should be in good shape. If you can add data, this is even better so that you can make sure that you can control everything. I also like to keep checking everything as the rig is going up. A ton of things can happen to your lights during their trip up to trim. Keep an eye on your gear as it moves.

Q-Spot 560-LEFTAnd then, the inevitable happens:

So, something broke. Now what? Typically there are symptoms of problems. For example, let’s say that you have no control from the console to the fixture, but the fixture works fine in test or stand alone mode. It could be a bad cable or a loose connection. It could also be that the fixture is in the wrong personality, the address is wrong. On the controller side, it could be a few things there as well. Did you just update firmware in your console?  In that case, the personality could be wrong in the console. The patch could be messed up, Are you using Art-Net? There could be a problem in a router or your Art-Net to DMX box could be behaving badly. I like to check the micro issues before I check the macro issues.  The above is the order that I would check this kind of problem. Each one is quick in of itself, but depending on your crew, could take a few minutes to check. When you find out what the problem was, write it down. Keep a log of every issue you have. Eventually, you will have a database of problem solving. When I worked on ships, I kept a log of the problems that I had in each showroom. This way, when I moved on to my next ship, the incoming lighting person would have something to start with. An entry might look something like this:

rig-moving-heads“Aug. 16, 2001 — fixture X needed lamp replacement. When the fixture was opened, not only was the lamp bad, but the base of the lamp had shattered inside of the holder. I removed the base of the lamp and found that the porcelain in the socket was cracked as well. I replaced the lamp socket. As a tip, make sure that the brand of lamp does not change. The bi-pin base of the lamp can change slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.”

Keeping notes like this can be tedious, but can and will save you time in the future. It also helps greatly when you are on the phone to technical support. The person you call for technical support genuinely wants to help you with your problem. They are going to ask you questions such as:

• Where are you located?
• Do you have a phone number and e-mail address to reach you?
• Are you on a show right now?
• Is the fixture still in the rig?
• What kind of controller are you using?
• What kind of power are you using?
• How many fixtures do you have power-linked together?
• How many fixtures do you have data linked together?
• Are you using an opto splitter?
• Are you using Art-Net?

Knowing the answers to the above will be really helpful. Especially if you are either on a show at that moment, or are away from your lights that you are calling about.

ldi-setupSafety first:

If you are having any kind of mechanical problem with a light, you need to unplug it from the rest of your rig immediately. Not only power, but data as well. A bad fixture can cause you data problems up or down the line. If for some odd reason there is a bad enough problem, it is possible to get a voltage spike in the data cable that can cause your opto splitter to fry, and if you don’t have an opto splitter in line, then your console is in danger. (This is why I ALWAYS have each universe of DMX isolated with an opto splitter between the console and the first fixture) If you do have a light that is down and it is 30 feet in the air, leave it there until it is safe to actually get to it. Don’t just go climbing up the truss to replace it. Keep a rope in your road box that is long enough to pull a fixture up and drop it down. I keep a pulley in my case for this as well. If something seems like a bad idea before you do it, most likely it is.

 

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Tech Talk: Know Before You Show

Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Mike Graham comfortable in the spotlight.

Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET® Professional.

Since my son was born 6 years ago, I have had a lot of experience with “some assembly required,” then having to show him how to use the thing that I just spent way too long building. Reading the manual helps a lot with situations like this, and also having some time to play with it first before showing him how to use it. Admittedly, sometimes I have a hard time giving up the new toy and letting him play with it.

I. Read the manual. Reading the manual may not seem like an important thing, but to be honest, it is really important, especially when you are using a fixture you have never used before. The manual will have important information on rigging, operation, power specification and installation. All of this is pretty important when you have your brand new light and you are trying to guess how to hang it, set a DMX channel, or navigate through the menu map. By guessing on how to operate or hang a fixture, you may end up damaging it before you even get to use it. Reading and understanding the specifications of the fixture will also help you to better apply the fixture to a particular situation.

toy-houseII. Check out the light before the show. Playing with your new light before you get to a show is also a great idea. This will prevent you from having to do on-the-job training and not being able to fully utilize the awesomeness of the fixture. There is nothing worse than walking in to program something, looking up and not knowing the gear that is in the rig, or how to utilize it. I love setting up lights in my living room and getting a chance to see how fast it pans tilts, and what colors look best plastering the walls. It is also a good time to work with a new fixture without any distractions. This is also the perfect time to make sure that the fixture profiles are working properly and that you will not have any on-site problems that could have been caught beforehand.

instruction-manual-1This is even more important when using multimedia gear like projectors or video walls. Not knowing the ins and outs will add a lot of time into the programming of your show and could cost you future shows with the same people. It is really apparent when you are trying to figure out something on the fly. The sweat dripping off your forehead is a dead giveaway.

Chauvet provides great documentation including manuals and quick resource guides for all of the products. We also have product videos that show exactly what they can do. This information is available at www.chauvetlighting.com. I highly suggest checking it out, as it is a great resource of information and inspiration for making your show a success.

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