How to Automate Lighting Without Backing Tracks

Syncing automation when you have backing tracks to use along with your show is essentially quite easy, but what about when you aren’t using music along with your lighting? Let’s talk about automating your lighting show without any backing tracks!

If you want to make a great lighting show from stage without any backing tracks, or perhaps even without any automation at all there are a couple ways you can go about it and put on a fantastic show.


The types automation you can use when you are putting on a show without backing tracks go from simple to complex. You may be a small band, church, or other small venue, and in such a case you may be the only person responsible for or able to run the lighting. In this case it makes a lot of sense to be able to automate your lighting to make things easier on yourself.

Having a way to run the lighting without requiring a full lighting operator can be really beneficial for a small venue.

Factors To Consider

When you are running the lighting for your small venue, there are a couple things to consider when deciding on your automation process. The first is how do you run your show or service? The second would be how do you want to run your lighting? The third thing to think about is how do you want your show to look and how complex do you really want to make it?

What to Look For

There are a few things to look for when you are figuring out the best solution for your lighting that will serve to suit your needs for automation.

When deciding what works best for your venue, it’s important to think about the things that are already being triggered in your show. Whether that be ProPresenter MIDI, Proclaim, or some other type of system in a potential church setting, you can use these which are already in place to fire lighting to match your graphics on screen.

In the case where you may be a band performing in small venues, something that could be helpful to consider is if you already have someone who is using foot pedals who could work to trigger your lighting when needed.


It can really make life a lot easier if you take a moment to look for opportunities where you possibly have pieces of software or instruments, or other devices on stage that are already being fired to go along with the music such as slides during a worship service.

How Do You Want to Run Your Lighting

A main thing to think about when considering your automation options is how you want to run your lighting. Do you want to opt for a simpler show or are you thinking about a fully synchronized show that has a lot of dynamic elements and multiple changes to the lighting?


One of the biggest tips is to use a foot pedal! When it comes to foot pedals you have the option to really choose something that meets you needs because there are plenty of great choices out there for simplicity as well as more complex show set ups.

If you choose a more complex option of foot pedal such as the Behringer FCB1010 you can actually map them however you want to suit your needs. You can use the multiple pedals to go with each song, or instead of mapping out ten different songs, you can use each pedal for different lighting options throughout your show. It works brilliantly either way!

If you choose to use the buttons for different lighting scenes it is a great way to have the ability to fire a really interesting lighting show without having to pre program the entire thing.


The biggest key when thinking about automating lighting changes without a lighting operator or backing tracks is to consider how you are going to run everything. Do you have the ability to have someone pushing the buttons and working the lighting or do you plan to have slides or graphics trigger your lights?

When it comes to creating a dynamic show without automating, it is a little bit harder than it would be with backing tracks than without but certainly not impossible! It may never be quite as detailed of a show as it would be with backing tracks but you can still create a great show that rivals anything else in your local area with a little planning and creativity.

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