Category Archives: Lighting

Projector Animations

Wireframe-OE-(0;00;00;00)For Not So Silent Night this year we played around with using a projector as a light source.  We took a 17,000 lumen projector, put it upstage center, and faced it towards the audience.  With the room hazed out we were able to create some pretty sweet animations.  Stuff you just can’t do with a normal moving light.

We used Qlab since it is a very reliable media player and the new version adds a lot of on the fly controls for manipulating content.  It’s also controllable from a variety of ways, MIDI notes, keyboard shortcuts, MIDI Show Control, iPad app, lots of options.  This made it easy to add into our Ableton show control rig.

We loaded up some content into Qlab and tried full color, complex stuff along with black and white, really simple stuff.  We started to find that the simpler the better since we’re trying to discern images in mid-air using haze.  The more negative space in the image, the easier it was to read.

Think of your moving lights.  The gobos that give the most distinct beams are typically the least busy ones.  The really busy gobos may look good on the ground or wall as a texture but probably don’t look as good in the air through haze generally speaking.  Instead of individual beams you can end up with a frosted look.

Not that all colored content look bad, color bars through the air actually looked really cool, ha ha.  I was really interested in beams for this show so white graphics with a black background seemed to work best.  This gave us the most contrast possible for the beams to cut through.

White is also easy to color correct into other colors.  Take away green and you’re left with magenta for example.  Taking away a color from white to change the look is way easier than creating content in a specific color and then trying to get white instead.

After seeing what worked and what we liked I created some simple stuff in After Effects.  Things rendered nice and fast since they were so simple.  Creating everything ourselves also gave us full control over the look.  Searching through stock content is sometimes more work than just creating stuff yourself if you know what you want.

Below is what we made.  I’m pretty sure we didn’t use everything but we wanted lots of options.  Feel free to rip them from YouTube and play around with a projector you may have lying around.  You don’t need 17,000 lumens (but it helps, ha ha) you can try it out with a smaller projector just to see the effect.

I think that my favorite effect was the small dots falling.  This created an awesome starry, twinkly, kinda look.  We actually used it on a song where it was the only light in the whole room and it was great.

The moving line was probably my second favorite.  Real laser like effect waving around.  The OE logos came out nice too.  Always cool when you can incorporate a little branding into the effects.

Audio Dots
Audio Lines
Circle Dots 1
Circle Dots 2
Line
OE Wall
Lines
Moving Line
Snow 2
Snow 1
Snowy Dots
Squiggles

Light Converse Basic Tutorial Part 2

LightConverseHere’s my second video tutorial for Light Converse.  This time I walk through configuring the fixtures in Light Converse to talk to a lighting console.  Once you have this step done you’re ready to start programming cues in your lighting console!

The Show 2013 Lighting Setup

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 5.50.26 PMHey everyone, I just wanted to share a little more from The Show 2013.  This year we had lots of lighting elements working together to help give us some variety.  For those moments when we really wanted a big look we had plenty of fixtures to get the job done!

In this video is just a brief overview of the setup and a couple of clips from The Show.  Over the next week or so I’ll post up some more pictures and videos from this awesome event.

The Show 2013 Ableton Live Show Control

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 5.50.26 PMI can’t believe we just got done with The Show 2013, just doesn’t seem like another year has passed!  Will Doggett from LoopsInWorship.com and myself put together a video showing how we controlled everything for The Show.

Once again everything centered around Ableton Live and it worked great!  All 3 nights went very well considering the hundreds of cues that were happening.  Check it out!

Luxi Incident Light Meter

e8696d51f15753e084dff0baf40011f9_largeSo I think it’s pretty obvious that I love Kickstarter, ha ha.  So many cool things are getting launched on there that otherwise probably wouldn’t make it to the mass consumers.

Recently I found (and backed) this light meter.  The Luxi is an attachment for the iPhone that lets you use it as a light meter.  It’s pretty cheap, much cheaper than a standalone light meter.  So that makes it attainable for just about anyone cost wise.  And since it’s a small attachment it’s easy to just leave in your bag and keep on you for jobs.  Easier than hanging onto a stand alone meter.

I meant to post this before the Kickstarter campaign ended but I just got busy.  The good news it that it will go into production and will be available to people outside of Kickstarter at some point.  Currently it’s only for iPhone 4, 4S, and 5’s.

Once I get mine I’ll post a follow up article and compare it to a standard light meter.  Make sure that it’s working like it should!

Super Bowl Lighting Director’s Thoughts

Personally I thought that the recent Super Bowl had a great lighting show and was well done overall.  While I think that Beyonce did a good job for a pop artist, I find myself watching the technical side of things more than anything else.  What displays are they using?  What lights are those?  That was a great idea, that wasn’t, ha ha.

I know that they used Green Hippo media servers to power the two video displays built into the stage.  I also know that they had two rows of 80 Clay Paky Sharpys (160 total!).  This allowed very simple movement macros to look amazing!

Video content was very good and very creative.  At one point thanks to clever camera angles and good content you really thought there were more real people on stage than there really was, pretty cool.  Overall I thought it was entertaining and unlike a lot of other high profile lives events lately, I didn’t spot or hear any huge errors.  That’s always nice.

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article interviewing the LD for the last three Super Bowls and other high profile events.  I always like to know what other people’s thought process is and how they work.  There’s almost always at least one little tip or trick you can learn from.  Worth checking out!

Ableton Live Controlling Lighting, Video, and Lyrics

Hey guys, we just got done with a week of rehearsals and shows for Oceans Edge’s Not So Silent Night.  Everything went great!  In this show we tried out some new ideas that we haven’t done in a show yet.  The biggest one being some pretty heavy automation thanks to Ableton Live and MIDI.

We ended up with Ableton Live sending out MIDI commands to our lighting console for lighting cues.  To another machine running ProVideoPlayer for videos on our stage screen.  Then to yet another machine with ProPresenter for lyrics which was a master for two other machines running ProPresenter in slave mode connected to our side screens.  We didn’t have video cabling to those areas so we wirelessly connected to them.

In the end Ableton Live on one machine was triggering a grand total of five other machines running different programs and performing different tasks.  All through MIDI and MIDI Show Control.  Pretty cool stuff!  This allowed us to have the precision of automated cues but unlike timecode we could easily change the order of cues, repeat cues, skip cues, change the tempo, all things that timecode is too rigid to do well and simply.

This involved some testing and extra work on the front end but resulted in a better show that was very easy to run.  We only ended up with about 100 lighting cues, about 5-10 were manually triggered.  If Ableton Live wasn’t triggering most of the lighting it would have been at least 175-200 cues.  This is because we used Ableton Live to repeat cues (for easier programming) and trigger presets saved to our submasters that could then be triggered as individual lighting cues or looks.

Just like you can hit the bump buttons to make the submasters go Ableton Live can do the same thing through MIDI Show Control commands.  So one song that would have been 50-100 cues was simply 23 presets triggered remotely in different arrangements.  This even allowed us to divide up the programming between several people.  I was able to focus on lighting looks and programming the lighting console while other people carefully placed cues into Ableton Live to trigger the lights.

Connectivity was pretty simple as well.  In fact only the lighting console itself had a physical MIDI cable plugged into it.  The rest of the machines received MIDI commands over the network using Apple’s Audio MIDI setup that’s built into the OS.  We have used this a lot and it has proved to be very reliable provided that you have a good network connection and not a lot of network congestion.  We created our our network just for these machines in order to make sure everything worked as fast as possible.  Everything in the lighting booth was hard wired together and the two remote machines connected over the wireless N WifI network.  This worked very well.

My buddy WIll Doggett and I put together this short video where he walks through the setup.  Ignore the messy lighting booth, ha ha.

Ableton Live Lighting Control

So today we got some time to experiment with Ableton Live controlling our lighting console.  Basically the goal was to find a way to have Ableton control the lighting cues and trigger everything.  This way we have everything in sync and it’s all automated.

Today was time well spent.  We figured out all kinds of cool stuff that has really opened the doors wide open to all sorts of possibilities.  Basically we can now have Ableton be the center of control for the entire show, lights, media servers, lyrics, anything that can see MIDI!

The best part is that since it’s through Ableton we can still have the creative freedom to change tempos or repeat sections and everything will follow along.  So everything can be programmed but we can still be flexible, pretty rad!  This is a lot better than the other way around where Ableton chases another source and the performer can’t change anything on the fly.  Locked into a timecode that can’t speed up, slow down, or jump around.

For now here are just a couple of teaser videos.  Ableton was on one laptop outputting MIDI commands to our ETC ION console.  The the ION was outputting DMX over ARTnet to another laptop running Light Converse visualization software.  We’ll make another video explaining things in more detail at some point.  For now this shows a couple of lighting looks mapped to MIDI notes that could be played live or played from the timeline.  You can just imagine where this could lead with some more time to plan out looks!

Interesting Setup For Synchronizing Music, Lights, And Sound

My friend Will Doggett from LoopsInWorship.com sent this video to me a few weeks ago.  With all that’s been going on I just got a chance to watch it and it’s pretty cool.

Music, Lights, Sound

Basically they pulled off a pretty unique way of syncing everything together with the music in a preprogrammed way but the trick is that the artist still has creative freedom to change tempos, repeat sections, whatever he wants.  So there’s the precision of a preprogrammed show without locking the artist into a setup that can’t be changed.  Pretty impressive stuff!