Automated Lighitng Technician

LightinGal

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
I had an epiphany today. (well over time really)
I realized that i really want to be an automated lighting lighting programmer/technician.
I dont know a lot about the field though.
what does it take to become one?
what colleges are good for it?
What kind of degree do i need?
And what kind of stuff should I be doing now to prepare?

any thoughts would help marvelously!
 

The_Guest

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Location
Detroit, MI
ship said:
This is a re-occurring topic or two both here and on stagecraft or highschooltech otherwise (see weblinks section than search under the topics.) Lots of schools out there depending upon your goals and focus, lots of ways to get where you want also or otherwise. Two topics so commonly discussed that not to insult your question or any answers you might get in asking, but the info already here and elsewhere will best answer your question in what has already been stated - it’s asked a lot.
In a more direct answer to your topic, what’s a company looking for, they are looking for you and what sets you apart not the training always, but training and experience helps and can even set you apart. A quote from the TV show West Wing. Something like this. Two ball players in training camp are heading for a base and both get there at the same time. One is experienced, the other is new, which would you keep? Answer was you keep the one without much experience. Experience can be trained and improved upon, drive in getting there just as fast can’t. Or something along that concept.
Experience, Experience, Experience.

I hate to "ship" this one out, but it's the truth. With his knowledge and experience he knows how this industry works better than anyone else here (well at least IMO). There was another post that he had that I can't find in the searches. It was from a while ago, almost a year ago someone cited they were a young hs lighting tech looking for work trying to break into the industry. Ship had a phenominal response that was very informal and true. If someone could post a link to that, that'd be great. Sorry to put you on the spot, ship.
 

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
I'd suggest getting the yellow pages, especially if you have a separate business to business book, and start calling. Also, google lighting, rental, production, etc. and anything else you can think of. Even tent rental companies need people. The first step is to get your foot in the door ANYWHERE to learn. You may even have to do stuff for below minimum wage in order to get that first job. And a lot of it will be weekend only. And put up with a lot of crap. And deal with people who think they know stuff, but really don't.
 

soundman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
I would suggest getting the offline version of some differnt boards and playing around with them with there 3d counterpart Like grand ma pc and grand ma 3d (free) hog II pc and one of the visuleizers that go with ect.
 

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
Learning the pc versions isn't a bad idea. Although I'd also suggest that if you can find a touch screen monitor, get one (although they can run $500+ very easily). The reason being that a lot of the buttons on those consoles aren't replicated on the standard computer keyboard (such as the @, the Set, the Group, etc. buttons on Hog. And since those buttons get used a lot during programming, you'll find that trying to use the mouse and work with the pc really sucks.

You might also look at the better (imo because they are windows based) dmx software such as Martin LightJockey, Elation Compuware, Sunlite DMX, etc. Since they were designed straight to a windows environment they are more user friendly than the Hog and MA (again, IMO) which are transplants from the original consoles.

There's also a classified section at prosoundweb but it's currently undergoing maintenance and has been for a couple weeks.
 

soundman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
Ive been using the offline versiond to get the syntechs down. like for patching on a hog. But I can see where you are coming from, you show up on site and you know what you want, you just can't find it.
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
Try to get in touch with a community theatre if there is one near you. Most don't have the resources for automated lighting, but may come with people who can help you get connections.
 

soundman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
Yea thats what I ment, each board has its own way of doing things. So learning what format or syntax to enter them in is helpful. For example naming something with a hog is set ma its keyboard to undo something in ma is opps but in hog its undo.
 

SuperCow

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Location
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Basically, syntax is the order you punch things in to the board. For example, some boards respond to this:

[Channel] [34] [@] [25] [Enter]

While some respond to this:

[34] [Channel] [25] [Level] [Enter]

This is the syntax of the board. The one on top is a verbose syntax, in that you hit the bootons in the way that you would say it. The one on the bootom is just plain wierd, but I've come across board that work that way.
 

LightinGal

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
What kind of degree would i need to do this?


And as for experience, I do work in a few theatres, they are not big, but im learning a lot.

i think im going to sit down and read a few manuals. definitely.

thanks everyone!
 

Radman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Location
Franklin, TN
Maybe look into a degree in business.
 

TechWench

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Chicago
Wouldnt lightingal want to get a degree in lighting design with maybe a concentration in automated lighting?

how would a degree in buisness help with that?

maybe im wrong here.
correct me if i am.
 

The_Guest

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Location
Detroit, MI
SuperCow said:
Basically, syntax is the order you punch things in to the board. For example, some boards respond to this:

[Channel] [34] [@] [25] [Enter]

While some respond to this:

[34] [Channel] [25] [Level] [Enter]

This is the syntax of the board. The one on top is a verbose syntax, in that you hit the bootons in the way that you would say it. The one on the bootom is just plain wierd, but I've come across board that work that way.
And some respond to both. :D
 

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
TechWench said:
Wouldnt lightingal want to get a degree in lighting design with maybe a concentration in automated lighting?

how would a degree in buisness help with that?

maybe im wrong here.
correct me if i am.
Business degrees may or may not be useful (I don't have one so I can't say) but they may lend more credibility to someone. That is, if they know what they're doing. Anyone who claims to have skills they actually don't won't last long, no matter what kind of degree they have.
 

RonaldBeal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
TN
The reality is there are two ways to get a job as a lighting tech/programmer in the professionjal world; Luck and hard work. I've never counted on luck.
If your goal is broadway and "traditional" theater then a degree in theater/technical theater comes in handy. If your goal is lighting for music events a degree dosn't help much, although Full Sail does have a decent placement program. Ultimatly you'll need to start working for a lighting company (or production company) in the market you want to end up in. You may have to apply several times before you get hired (persistance pays.) You will start at the bottom and if you do well and work hard, you'll move up.
Hope this helps and good luck