December 18


Learn Stage Lighting PodcastIn this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my thought process.

The sponsor of this Podcast is Learn Stage Lighting Labs. Inside Learn Stage Lighting Labs you will have access to step by step tutorials, personalized assistance from experts, and ways to set up your lights for different venues and shows.

Learn More Here! Learn Stage Lighting Labs

Mailbag (2:20)

Troy (2:41) Is there a 3D visualizer other that MSD you recommend for use with Onyx that is more cost effective for the beginner but easy to use with Onyx? 

I do have some recommendations for a 3D Visualizer and one that I really do like is Capture. Onyx does have a demo file available so be sure to download and see if it is a good fit for you.

I also have an article on what to consider when you want to get a Visualizer: So You Want a Lighting Visualize

Wes (6:02) Ltp Controller M2go, the fastest way to make sure all the pan tilt effects color effects gobo effects dimmer effects, don’t follow through to the next Cue, should I be using clear, I don’t know? Takes forever to go in manually and shut them off! I have saved my FX in the presets, pan and tilt to fax, saved and pan and tilt preset, Dimers fx saved in intensity presets, should I have saved these all as overrides instead.

Plus, in timecode when I ride a Mac route to trigger a chase, it does not follow through to the next Cue, Why?, I didn’t turn it off yet.

Basically, this is a tracking based console.

With most consoles when you turn on a certain attribute it will stay on until you turn it off.

In your console, you have an Effects Macro section where you will have 4 Presets available that will be able to turn off the programmed effects.

I do not suggest clicking Clear to remove the attribute but instead use the presets found in the Effects Macro to turn OFF the attribute.

You’ll want to check this page about Timecode on Obsidian’s website where you may be able to find more information.

Xavier (10:12) I have DMXIS. Can I control more than next/previous scene with an external midi controller? 

Yes, you can do this and I would recommend checking the user manual as it would specific instructions on how to do this. Your external Midi Controller would need to be programmed to specify the commands.

There may be situations where this won’t be possible. If that’s the case you can get a MIDI Translator such as on from Bome that can do it for you. You can read more information here: MIDI Translator Pro.

William (12:15) I have a question about a console. If I was going to install a lighting console into a small theatre should I go for more channels than I need in case a bigger show comes or a smaller console like a Chauvet Obey 40 for the perfect number of channels I need?

When looking for a new console you want to consider how many channels you need. You want to consider the functionality of that console and what it can do.

You can read more about How to Choose Your Next Lighting Console and consider which console would be best for you.

Jeff (16:37) Wondering if you can talk a bit about job prospects in the LD field? I can see the utility of DMXis for lighting up a show from a performer’s perspective or even for other bands – but what about the field of Light Design for concerts/theatre as a job option? Would you say it’s mostly freelance work or a mix of freelance and some in-house employed positions out there, too? How hard is it to break into this field and what do you think are the main things to be proficient with when looking to run lighting for concerts at either local venues or with a touring act? 

Light Design is a full-time career, however, depending on where you are located you may not have the option to work as a full-time light designer. In some cases, you may have the opportunity to work as a Freelancer.

The best way to break into the field is to get to know those in your area. See what the needs are and what equipment they work with. Volunteer or even shadow someone who does this full time. You can learn a lot by working hands on.

The best way to make a great impression is to show up on time, have a great attitude, and ask questions.

Aaron (26:08) I am looking to buy some lights at our church. Our Church seats about 600 people and lights will be permanently added ( I would not need to set up and tear down weekly). I would like to buy something easy to set up, has good dynamic colors to add some depth of color to the stage. They do not need to move but just need to give the stage some color and is not an arm and a leg. Right now we use can lights with gels so we are way behind and need to upgrade. What light would you recommend? 

When it comes to churches there are a lot of factors to consider. For starters, I would suggest keeping your old can lights in white for your front light wash.

Adding color would be next on the list and getting some good LED’s that will be a good fit for your stage. I would recommend looking in the wash light section with any brand such as Chauvet, Blizzard, etc.


Chauvet EVE P-130

Marshall (33:11) A cheaper version of an Avolites or Grand MA or Dot2 that is not the Lightshark and is not a software-based controller. Hardware controller under $5000ish that can do professional features?

The PC market in the past 5 years has really grown because there is so much that you can do with a PC. This has brought the entry-level and stand-alone consoles are in the $5000 range.

If you take a PC that is strictly dedicated to working as the console you will have a unit that is cheaper than a standalone console and can do everything that you need it to do.

The one option that I can recommend is MagicQ MQ40N Compact Console. I am hesitant to recommend this one because you are somewhat limited on what you can do with it compared to their PC version or other consoles.

Due to its limitations, I’ve seen most either go with a PC Based console or go with a model such as the Lightshark or the Chamsys MQ40N because you can get more value for your investment.

Nathan T (40:42) How should catwalk lights be angled? Should the furthest fixtures point to the furthest points on stage? What if I want to have the left side of the actors faces a slightly cooler color than the right side?

The most important start is to know that you want to make everything an even wash. I go more into this with my article, What Angles are Best for Stage Lighting, that also has a video to help you get started.

Also, I would assume this is a theater setting so you want to search on Google, the McCandless Method, which is pertained to theater lighting only. Be sure to check it out and see if it will work for you.

Ryan (43:03) I just bought my first set of movers. They are Stage Beam 30 from Monoprice (innospot knockoff.) I see movers mounted either hanging from the base or sitting on the base. I’m thinking I would prefer to hang them so I can project gobos on the stage floor, but I’m interested in hearing your thought process on which way to mount them. I am lighting bands with a mobile rig. If I did hang them, they would be from a T-bar and not trussing. 

When working with any type of light you can either set them up on the floor or the better option of hanging the lights. Ideally, keeping the lights in the air helps save space and great for lighting.

If the atmosphere is in a bar or in the haze you won’t have a lot of options for lighting set up on the ground. Having your lights mounted in the air is great because you will have so many more options.

Izzy (46:14) So I know how to program macros and turn the macros into cues & cue list but during playback going between scenes & cues how can you smoothly transition in between scenes without dimming everything before going to the next scene. I’m currently programming on Grand Ma on PC. 

When working with a professional console the term “Macro” is a keyboard shortcut. In other consoles, Macros can refer to effects.

With any console, when you want to transition in between scenes, it depends on the type of lights you are working with. If you have a Gobo with a color wheel it’s almost impossible to have a smooth transition. So your best option would be to turn the Gobo off.

If you’re working with an LED you have more options. The best way is to play with the colors and see what works well with each other. Be sure to make notes to see what you like and what you don’t like.

JP (51:32) I’m curious to know more about how midi controllers work with software and/or consoles. Can they be used together? If so, what’s the best way to do that? I’m a 1 man DJ and have all my lighting pre-programmed ahead of the event and trigger it on-the-fly. I’m using an iPad now with Luminair and looking to switch to a console. I thought about using a midi controller (Akai mini?) at the event.

Normally, with iPad based controllers don’t do MIDI well. I have a video where I walk through on how to use MIDI Controller and Lighting Consoles.

How Do I Map a MIDI Controller to My Lighting Console?

Closing (55:00)

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 @

Also, if you have been listening for a while I would sincerely appreciate if you would take a moment to rate the Podcast and be sure to share what you’ve learned from the show!

Rate/Review on iTunes

Be sure to tune in next week as I take on Part 2 of the Complete Guide to Pixels, LED Tape, and Custom LEDs, see you then!

share this

Related Posts

How working on large stages is easier and harder than small stages

What Software Should I Use to Control LED Pixels?

3 Types of Console Setups for ANY Size Venue