Daniel Von Fange

Life, Code, and Cool Stuff

Lighting Again

I got to light a small Youth Concert at church this weekend. It’s the first time I’ve been behind a lighting board for a show in almost three years. I realized two things. Number one, I still greatly enjoy lighting. Number two, I hate using an Expression 3 for controlling intelligent lights.

It was great to be back in the action again, painting the stage with color. Getting ready for the show was a little bit of a challenge since I had never seen or heard the band before, no one had a CD of their music, no one know where they were going to be on stage, every conventional light from the front was in white, and I’d never done a show with an Expression 3 before. There were just enough intelligent lights out front to wash the small stage, so it was obvious that at any given moment I had a choice between having a stage in color, or having lights moving around with a white stage. Therefore, I decided to save all the moving about with the lights for the finale, and do static color looks for the rest of the show. (I was blessed with color mixing Studio Spots and Studio Colors. Color mixing is so wonderful, and opens up so many possibilities for gentle transitions and adds quite a bit of flexibility and ease to programming the show. ) I put about ten gorgeous to extra gorgeous looks on cues, then programmed the submasters with a combination of both effect lighting and normal submaster things (like the front white conventional washes). Since I had no idea what would be coming, everything had to be ultra flexible.

The show went off well, though I mistook the second to last song for the finale. (I can’t understand a word of rock music especially and when it is loud enough to make me feel like I was missing eye protection.) After cutting loose with with lights on the song finale, and doing a right good job of it, I realized about half way through the song that this was not the end! Good grief, how am I to top this?!?! After some quick thought, I was able to do even more for the real finale by bumping the color mixing submasters that I had used during programing. The crowd was wild as the entire building blacked out for a split second on the bands final bash on the guitars and drums. As they vanished and the MC appeared on stage, I was still glad I’d been able to drag up a little more for that last song. But the MC’s words chilled me, “Maybe if we yell loud enough, they will come back and play one more song!” Rats! There was no way I could just do a motionless stage with the band and the audience still wild from the finale just before. So once more I had to invent some action as we went into it. I’d have been in real trouble if I had not covered the subs with useful stuff before the show. It’s good to light again.