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  • Episode 29 – What is Dynamic Range in Stage Lighting?

 August 14

by LearnStageLighting.com

This week on Episode 29 we dive into what is Dynamic Range and how you can use this on your stage. Plus! We have some great questions in our Mailbag that we will go over, you won’t want to miss this episode!

If you learned something today or on a previous episode be sure to leave a review at https://learnstagelighting.com/itunes

Lighting News (2:17)

This week in Lighting News there was a new product announcement for the Chauvet Intimidator Spot 260 that retails for $599.

For those who are not sure what this new product is. It’s a small LED Moving Head designed for DJ’s or Bands.  It’s got an impressive set of features, and is a great choice for folks who need a basic mover and don’t mind it being loud!

Main Segment (5:44)

What do you think of when you hear Dynamic Range?

Normally, my mind goes to audio or photography.

In Audio, dynamic range is the softest and loudest part of the song.

Photography is similar. It’s the darkest and brightest parts of the photo or video.

In Stage Lighting it is very similar you have the dark and bright parts of the show.

How Can You Use Dynamic Range in Lighting?

Some ways that you can start using dynamic range in your lighting is by shutting off some of your lights. Whether you 30 lights to work or just 4 lights you can use this method.

For example, You start off using 50% of the lighting. Then, you hit a big part of the show and go Full in the lights. Later, as needed, you take the lights back down to 50%.

The point is, turn your lights off sometimes! No matter the size of your show be mindful in your lighting and the impact of using your lights.

The Nuts and Bolts

Let’s transition to how to make it happen. In your console, do you have a way to control the Intensity of your lights separate from your overall looks?

When programming your console, if you are able, I recommend setting up your console a certain way.

Depending on your console’s capability, I recommend recording color for every light, in every scene. Then, use the Faders for the Intensity to help bring down the lights and Intensity on the stage.

To read more on Dynamic Range check out the full article here: Dynamic Range Light

If you’re interested in learning more about programming lights live and on the fly be sure to check out Learn Stage Lighting Labs for personalized support, tutorials, and so much more!

Mailbag (14:04)

The mailbag part of the show is where folks send in their questions. If you’d like to send your question in just follow this link and complete the form: Contact Page

Darren (15:00): We are going from fluorescent to LED house lights at our church. The switches are on the back wall of the sanctuary. Is there a system so we can use to control these lights without having to rewire? If so, can they be dimmable?

There’s a lot going on here. When switching from fluorescent to LED you are either changing the bulbs or the fixtures altogether.

For the lights to be dimmable you will need a Dimmer Switch. I’m not an expert in this area but you do want to go with a commercial dimmer instead of a house dimmer. The other option is to get an LED Fixture that is remote Dimmer from DMX.

Joe K (19:55): I am looking for examples of concert photos with backlighting and silhouettes and tips on how I can get such shots.. Do you have any?

I would recommend searching Google Images: Concert Photos With Backlighting

For the photography side of this question, it’s all about exposure. The easiest way is there is little or no light on the person and a lot of light behind.

Another way is leaving little on the person and manually adjusting the exposure. Do some test shots and adjust the settings as needed.

Shiva (22:16): My dilemma in lighting design is that I want to control LEDs using madmapper don’t know how to start or which piece of hardware to buy. I came across a lot of articles and videos on the internet but none of them explains it that how to do it from scratch.

It seems ENTTEC hardware and dmx led dimmer is the best suitable hardware to do that but again without any tutorials on the internet about how to connect all that piece of hardware to the application I am a bit skeptical in spending money over it. please help and let me know which hardware is suitable for a medium level led setup where I control 25-30 led strips using madmapper and how much its going to cost. 

First, you want to use Pixel Tape. Here’s my Full Article on Pixel Design to help you get started. It’s going to talk a certain Protocol and be driven by an LED Driver, which you can get from ENTTEC. Then, you would need a box which is the Pixel Driver. This will allow you to map it.

Here are the items I recommend:
ENTTEC Pixelator Mini
ENTTEC PLink Injector
ENTTEC’s ELM Software

Ken P (31:52): I want to change all these lights to LED movers and washes. I have power to them but they are plugged into a Chauvet dimmer and then to a DMX controller near FOH board.

Where should I start? Its all the parcans on the outside of the stage.

Looks like I won’t have to worry about how to power each one of these Park Hands in the pictures have a power source to itself. Also, could you recommend a software to show my team what it should look like when done? I can show light placement with sketchup but I can’t show illumination. 

Changing conventional to LED, you just pull the dimmer out and plug it in. Then you need to get DMX to your stage using a DMX Cable.  I would refer to this article: DMX over Cat5e or Cat6

For the Visualizer, I would recommend reading this article to explore your options. Visualizer Info

Donald (35:02): I saw your videos and I have a LightShark and I can’t seem to get my Capture to work with the LightShark LS1. Any Ideas?

What I’ve found using Lightshark and Capture are two things. It may be a network issue. There is more information in the user manual as well as some resources below about LightShark and setting up the Network.

How Do I Begin with Networking in Lighting?
How Do I Begin with the LightShark
More info on the LightShark

Kimberly (38:53): Can you tell me how to purchase projectors and do computer Mapping?

This topic is normally not one of my areas of expertise so I am going to point you to an article from my friends at Triple Wide Media: What is Environmental Projection?


If you learned something today or on a previous episode be sure to leave a review at https://learnstagelighting.com/itunes

Next week’s show is How do I decide what to do with the lights at any moment in the show/service? Be sure to tune in!

If you’re new here, I have a Quiz that will help me send you a customized Guide on getting started with Lighting: FREE Guide @ LearnStageLighting.com/quiz.

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