December 10


Learn Stage Lighting Podcast Episode # 85

This week on the podcast we are diving into a very Christmas-y Q&A as we have officially arrived in the holiday season! We have some great questions for this episode so let’s dive in!

This year we have displayed our usual Christmas tree but we’ve also added some lighting outdoors. I’ve launched a separate site for Learn Christmas Lighting where we have some how to’s and getting started. If that’s right up your alley be sure to check it out!

If you are new here and haven’t checked it out yet be sure to check out the Lighting Quiz. This quiz is designed to answer a few questions that will match you up with a free personalized guide on how to get started with lighting. If you haven’t had a chance yet be sure to check it out!

Lighting News (2:14)

In the US, one of the largest tradeshows is the LDI Tradeshow. Over the years I’ve seen the show focus mostly on lighting but it’s also branching out to audio and video. It’s amazing to watch and see how video and media are being used with lighting now.

There are always new products, new innovations, improvements and so on. But something I have noticed is that there isn’t anything that is ground-breaking in lighting which is good if you’ve recently bought lighting equipment.

Main Segment (6:57)

Questions are submitted through the contact form on Learn Stage Lighting. If you have a question you would like to share be sure to submit it here, Contact Form.

If you have been listening for a while or perhaps you use videos from our Youtube channel please consider joining on the Learn Stage Lighting Patreon.

The patreon is a great way for others to pitch in and help work towards producing more in-depth content for the podcast as well as tutorial videos. It does have different tiers starting at $3 a month and with each tier brings different benefits. If you’re interested be sure to check it out!

Stan (8:41): Hello! We have purchased D-Pro and the ENTTEC USB MKII with dual universe and I must say we are pretty impressed after struggling with sunlite suite III. We have almost the first universe filled. I have a couple of questions if I could ask please and thank you in advance for your help!

1. The amazing training videos by David show an amazing (as I have learned through digging) side program called Capture to aid in the 3D visualization. What do I need to get a copy of it? There seems to be many options…also seems to be listed in EUR not CAD. Looking for the best way to get it and does it just recognize the DPro or do you need to do something with settings.

2. As mentioned we have almost used the entire first universe. Lighting fixtures being what they are only address to 512. In a forum I read that universe 2 is 513 to 1024 which makes sense. DPro makes it look easy to patch to the second universe from 1-512. I’ve tried this but I get no lights. I have the DMX cable coming from the DMX 1 on the larger splitter from the back of the mkII with DMX1 and about 5 other ends. Do I need to run another cable to the lights on the second universe? I can’t seem to figure it out. The lights are known working on universe 1.

I have two more question related to DPro. We have some fixtures that I have downloaded some of the online drivers for that work great but the buttons have different labels on them (probably to suit the fixture that the original person had). My question since I have seen some with some “interesting” labels or descriptions of Gobos for example, is how do I change the name of the button….for example one has a label of Colour but actually on our fixture controls the Gobos.

Do you have a Youtube video or instruction set on how to make your own driver? I think I have read somewhere that the online database allows you to make your own driver…..just curious as we have some fixture/driver combos that are “iffy”….meaning we don’t quite get all of the desired effects but enough that it will work. Just for something to look at over the “down time”.

For the Capture Visualizer, go to, it licensed and sold by the amount of DMX Universes you will use. In your case, you may want to start with a license for 1 universe but you may want to consider a license for 2 universes. So just go to the site and you can purchase which one will be best for you. The checkout does convert the pricing to USD.

Once you have Capture downloaded you can then use it with D-Pro. I have tutorial videos on how to do this inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs if you are interested. You will just need to set up an Art-net output, send it to a local network or set up a fake network, and it’ll just loop back into D-Pro.

In the past, they did set up universes this way and it does keep things simple. But in the long run, it is confusing. The way to do this with your output you will have 2 outputs and 2 cables. The universes get wired for DMX separately. For the fixtures, you are using on the 2nd universe you will take that 2nd universe out of the ENTTEC box and plug it into the light that you have on the second universe. You’ll address this, in the same manner, you addressed it inside of D-Pro. Then it should be good to go. Be sure to enable the universe inside of the D-Pro settings.

For the fixtures, you can check out this video here: How to Create Your Own Fixtures in DMXIS and D-Pro.

Dan (13:21): We’re getting a pretty basic lighting setup for our high school. These lights need to be set up easily in our gym for dinners, assemblies, and drama productions. A local sound/light company is helping me to assemble three bars of four Beamer 6 V2 lights and two ADJ 3Z spots.
I like the idea of using Onyx/Obsidian to control everything, as I understand it is not only powerful, but my students will be trained on something they can apply when they leave high school.
My question is about the best way to run Onyx. Right now my plan is to get a touch-screen laptop (core i7, lots of RAM, etc) and plug into an NX-DMX unit for the DMX signal. Does this make sense?

Absolutely, this is a good setup. I will say for the lights and the size of your setup, you won’t even need that powerful of a laptop. If you do plan on increasing your setup in the future then having a laptop with that much will make sense.

If you are only using a computer for ONYX maybe consider trying a spare computer and see how it does before investing in another laptop.

Mathias (16:15): At our local music and theater school, I control the PA and lighting for small shows and theater productions. We currently have a very advanced lightning console (ADB liberty) which was bought by the previous light technician. This console is way to complex and not user-friendly for controlling digital lights like LED’s and moving heads.
That’s why I’m looking for a replacement.

I have found these 3 options and tested the first 2 of them:
– LSC mantra lite
– Onyx M-touch
– Lightshark

Some of the critical functionalities it must have are:
– being able to control conventional fixtures, LED lights and moving heads
– being able to program a show with multiple cues so that a show with a lot of different cues can be played by the push of a single button
This last one is mainly for shows that I can’t attend, so I can program it in advance and another person can just run the whole show by pushing one main ‘play’ button.

Do you have any recommendations for us? Thanks in advance, your videos on onyx were very useful for me!

Yes, this console does appear to be designed for working with conventional lights instead.

Personally, I’m not a fan LSC Mantra and it doesn’t sound like a good fit for you. I will say that if you like the feel of ONYX then I recommend going with that console. The LightShark is another great console but it’s more for those who want to get started quickly.

I feel like the ONYX being set up on its own PC will be a great fit for you.

Mukisa (19:13): I am happy to be part of your forums. I have just started venturing into stage lighting and I am wondering what mathematics I need to know to correctly connect lights of different types on the same console. I also checked and the M-pc has been discontinued yet it is one software and midi functionality I found very good for my needs. Do you have any recommendations for a digital console that’s not too expensive? What I need in a console is computer connectivity, the ability to smoothly go between scenes, etc Looking forward to hearing from you.

I would say that if you are familiar M-PC that you want to consider taking a look at ONYX. M-PC hasn’t been discontinued but instead is now Obsidian Controls and upgraded to the ONYX console. A great article to get you started with ONYX is, How Do I Begin with Onyx?

Erwin (20:58): Hello, Erwin from Belgium here. First of all, very nice your explanation about lightning gear!! We have a little theatre here, 250 people, and still using the old halogen spots. We will buy some led spots and like to do the controlling with a MacBook. Which DMX software is most useful for theatre? Manually fade the scenes, not just on/off. I know some software, lightkey, dash, mydmx, dmxis,… but some are specially for music. So the most simple and usable software for little theatre plays. 128 channels will be enough I think. Most LEDs we will use are 4 channels. THANKS!!

My recommendation for you is QLab which you can check out at QLab is great for MAC users and those working in theater. There are inexpensive renting options or you can purchase it.

You get video, lighting, and audio options. It is a great option and there is a demo option if you decide you want to try it out.

Johnny (22:41): I’m looking to get a link to a site where I can purchase a starting lighting package that allows automation lighting control based off of TEMPO of the song? Is this possible? Or is there an affordable lighting setup we can buy as one package with a lighting controller and a quick way to learn how to use it? What is the best introductory package of lights and trusses for a small stage setup?

It can be difficult that will sell you lights and a console from two different manufacturers. My recommendation for you is to check out ENNTEC’S DMXIS, How to Program with DMXIS. DMXIS is designed for working with bands and is a program I recommend very often.

Every band has different needs and it’s not possible to recommend a package that will work for everyone. I will suggest signing up for Learn Stage Lighting Labs we can help you find the right package for your set up and be able to save you more in the long run than what you would pay to be a member of the Labs.

Richard (28:39): I have a unique lighting challenge. I need to light a 6 x6 space for theatrical lighting but at a hotel conference. I called a local AV company they quoted stands and spotlights…long story short its $2000 with setup and delivery. Is there any way I can light it on a budget using LED’s, plastic film, and reflective board? The challenge is this setup has to appear in photos, so it has to look cool!

When you call an AV company that you haven’t worked with before they normally quote even small jobs high. The billing is not designed for small setups.

If it’s a 6 x 6-foot space, go to Amazon and purchase a video light kit, where you can purchase a video lighting kit. These kits have some basic white lights. If you want some colors, Amazon also has color changing lights for these kits.

There are other factors that you want to consider but this will hopefully be a good starting point for you.

Brett (32:15): My name is Brett and I’m new to the lighting world. I really only got into it so I could run lights for my band at small clubs and bars so I’m trying to get a hold on what would work best. I’ve watched a ton of your lighting tutorials on YouTube and decided on the Enttec DMXIS since it seems easy to sync up with our already programmed midi tracks in Ableton for our set.

That being said, I can’t hang anything. I watched your video about what to do when you can’t hang anything and I came to this lineup.

– A few wash lights on the back wall
– A wash light in each front corner for some front lighting.
– Two wash LED Bar lights on two stands (one on either side of the drums) facing the crowd for back lighting

I was wondering your opinion on that setup, if you thought it would suffice. We mostly play small stages so I didn’t seem like we would need a ton of lights to get started with it. Any input you have would be greatly appreciated!!

Yes, I think that’s a great lighting rig for a small setup. I will say getting some stands for the front and help get the lights in the air, that will look great for your stage.

It’s not so much about the number of lights you are working with, it’s what you are able to do with them that makes the show.

Jason (35:00): Love the stuff it has been super helpful to me and my team.

Quick question. Can you use DMX to RJ45 multiple times in the same universe? So DMX to ethernet for a long run, then back to DMX, then back to ethernet for a long run, then back to DMX? I tried it but I’m getting issues and want to see if it is an adapter issue or if it just isn’t possible.

There shouldn’t be an issue when doing it this way but there is a funny thing when it comes to working with network cables. The specs I found are that you should be able to run your network cables for up to 1000 feet at least. So, unless you are going past that distance it may be your adapter.

Marvin (37:25): I’ve got a question, I am working with onyx but I’m having a problem, as soon as I strobe white the fixtures don’t go back to their original color state. I’ve heard something about programming a dummy fixture with the fixture group, is there any way you could explain this? I would love to see a video on your youtube channel, I think you would help a lot of people!

These are the type of tasks I help people with inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs. What happens when you do this setup is that the strobing cue takes over the original cue. What you want to do is set up your previous cue to continue when it’s overridden by the strobing cue. I set this up option on my consoles because it’s something I work with often.

Inside of ONYX you want to go to your cuelist options, and you want to select Stay Live option.

Eduards (40:39): I was wondering if you could help me with some ideas on how to make A Show in magicq pc for songs and extra. I don’t have many fixtures. I have just 2X Adj UB 12H and 2x Fun Generation pot 12x1w.
And If you could suggest some fixtures to buy.

Unfortunately, this is a vague description of what you are wanting to do and by my personal policy, I don’t offer recommendations that I don’t have much information on. The information I look for is the stage size, budget, lights, location, etc.

My best recommendation is learning to work with what you have and make the most of your equipment.

Closing (42:22)

Thank you so much for tuning into, I am so glad to have you here. Be sure to subscribe and see you on the next show!

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