What is a Stage Lighting Controller?
Lighting fixtures, dimmers, and atmospheric machines (hazers, foggers, bubble machines, etc.) that make up most of today’s lighting systems share a common communication protocol via Digital Multiplex, or DMX. In order to program and control the various features and capabilities of all of these devices, a controller of some sort must take your programming and design desires, convert them to DMX values, and send to each device. Simple wall controllers take preset looks with the devices on your system and give you easy access to 5-10 different pre-programmed looks. Small system lighting consoles offer more control, either in pre-programming or running on the fly, to create more dynamic and/or changing looks with simpler lighting systems, such as systems that don’t include more than a few dozen cues or moving lights. Once your cue stack/list gets longer, or you have complex movement as part of your programming, such as what you would see at a concert, you need to step into a medium or full format live production lighting console.
Why do I Need a Stage Lighting Controller?
Lighting controllers allow us to control all attributes of our lighting system from one place. In addition, many controllers also enable users to control special atmospheric effects, such as fog machines and hazers. More sophisticated lighting consoles are designed to ideally interface with more complex, moving lighting fixtures, and some will even interface with media servers to map our motion graphics onto your lighintg devices. Utilizing these tools allows for a seamless performance, one that engages your audience and creates the desired atmosphere.
How Do I Choose the Right Controller?
There are a plethora of controllers available in a wide range of prices. How do you decide which is best for you? Consider the following questions to narrow down which lighting console is right for you:
- Who will be running it? Do you have trained, experienced, professional lighting designers or programmers programming your lighting every week? Or do you have relatively untrained volunteers running your lighting? Your lighting console should match the talent and capability of the team that will be operating it.
- What are your future plans? You may have a relatively simple lighting system now, but where do you see your lighting needs in 5-10 years? Pick a lighting console that can grow with you.
- What are your technical requirements? What type of lights are you using? How many faders do you need to control cue stacks or playbacks? Are features like touchscreens important? Do you need playback faders, or do you pre-program all of your lighting at the start of the performance? Will you interface your lighting console with a Media Server? All of these questions make up your lighting programming and operating workflow and should dictate the level of console you choose.
Why Choose CCI?
CCI Solutions carries all of today’s top lighting consoles and controllers, big and small. Whether you need a high-capacity lighting console or a software license that turns your PC into a light controller, CCI Solutions has the perfect lighting console for your system. Shop the best selection of lighting equipment and get expert guidance from our team of National Sales Consultants.