Thread: Unusual hobby
View Single Post
Old 18-02-2022, 01:09 AM
t17forLife t17forLife is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 226
t17forLife is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Unusual hobby
Originally Posted by condensatelover View Post
My favourite hobby is... Stage lighting! I am mad about stage lights and effects.
When I was small, we usually went to theatres. But often I was not interested in act. I was looking up at the ceiling. There always were trusses with stage lights on them.
The first close contact was on a musical play. We took seats near one of the trusses. There were huge black rectangular devices with mirrors. Through cooling holes I could see light, but nothing was coming out of fixture itself.
But when the play started, I saw a spot appearing on the wall and then changing it's colour from white to blue. Then the round shape changed to a flower shape. Looked like something was scrolling inside to create effects. And then one image splitted to three and started to rotate. I was impressed.
Now, through years I can easily say that it was a scanner light.
Scanner light uses a mirror and two stepper motors to move the beam through the space (scan the space)
Scanner light also has some other effects, such as
Effect wheels - different metal discs with some effects mounted on them.
Colour wheels have different colour filters on them to change colour of the beam.
Gobo wheels have different patterns on them (fixed and rotating) to make the beam shaped. Rotating gobos can rotate to create dynamic effects.
Scanners also have additional functions, such as
Iris to make beam thin or wide.
Focus to make beam sharp.
Zoom to make beam bigger and smaller.
Frost filter to make a soft-edge beam
Prisms to split images. They can be linear and circular. The amount of images is connected with number of facets on prism. For example, three-facet prism makes 3 images from 1.
Shutters to dim and strobe. Most of stage lights have discharge metal-halide lamps which can not dim or strobe. So, to make a blackout or a strobe, there is a shutter system. It closes the light output without bulb being switched off.
Every effect of light is controlled via an internal controller. Stepper motors move effext wheels and other components to exact position. And the light itself can be controlled with a DMX 512 protocol.
I love stage lighting .
As soon as I saw the words "gobo" and "DMX"........story time

When I was 11 (in 2011) I started volunteering at the church youth ministry in the tech department. Many American churches are real big on putting on a show during worship songs - this place was no exception. The first year they had me running the projector screens/computer for lyrics. Another guy would run the sound board and a third guy would do lights. More on those in a minute.

Year 2 they started teaching me how to use the light console - it was a Vista S1 attached to a Mac Mini. They had all kinds of lighting on stage - RGB LED Par64 lights, movers (spot and wash), hazers/smoke, dimmers for everything else up there. The console had your normal array of sliders and whatnot, but it also had programmable screens and preset buttons. The computer software, you could pull up any fixture or group of fixtures and basically set them up however you want.
I did my own self-teaching about DMX and the software and always enjoyed learning about stage lighting. Later on they had me running a big camera for children's ministry (around the time I learned about looner-ism in late 2013). Then they "fired" me from volunteering at church for reasons I still don't know and I stopped believing altogether not long after that.

In high school I took tech theatre as an elective with the intent of getting my hands on the stuff once more. The most I ever did was make gobos and walk on the catwalk (teacher said that when falling over the railing, "don't grab on to the lights - they're fuckin expensive and you can be replaced "). Otherwise I just helped to build things out of wood and goof off the rest of the time.
Thank you for attending my TED Talk on the subject
Reply With Quote