Moving Lights/DMX info


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For one of my classes we have been assigned to project/paper on pretty much anything electricity related in the theater. I was thinking about doing a general research project on moving lights, and DMX, how they both work, and how they work together. Does anyone know any good resources, books websites etc that I can use as research material?



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Stagecraft Digest in a search would prove a wealth of information on the subject.

On books,
Recommended Practice for DMX: A Guide for Users and Installers, by Adam Bennette; PLASA and USITT 1994

would be the manual on the subject though it's TBA or now updated. Check with USITT on the update.

Also some newer books that should have some amount of info:

The Speed of Light, Linda Essig, - Review of the book: "covers the development of DMX512 (though not at the bits & bytes level) as well as computer control and automated lighting and the impact these technological advances have on our industry." - Mitch Hefter ESTA / USITT DMX Revision (ANSI BSR E1.11) Task Group Chair
USITT Engineering Vice-Commissioner, DMX512 Subcommittee Chair

After this, lots of good or new books on the subject or having to do with it. These are the ones I note beyond others might be of use to look at.

The Automated Lighting Programmer’s Handbook. By Brad Schiller

Computerized Lightboards

Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business 2nd Ed, by James L. Moody; Focal Press ISBN: 0-240-82934

Control Systems For Live Entertainment 2nd Ed., by John Huntington; Focal Press - Newton, MA. 1994 ISBN: 0-240-80177-6

Focus on Lighting Technology by Richard Cadena, ISBN: #1-904031-14-5

Let There Be Light: Entertainment Lighting Software Pioneers in Conversion, by Robert Bell.

Lighting Control Technology and Applications 2nd Ed. Robert Simpson, Lighting Control Systems ISBN #0-240-51566-8

Lighting Control by Robert Simpson

Lighting Technology 2nd ed. by Brian Fitt, ISBN #0-240-51651-6

Lighting and the Design Idea, 2nd ed. by Wadsworth/Thomson.

A PracticalGuide to Stage Lighting, by Steven Louis Shelley Focal Press Boston 1999 ISBN: 0-240-80353-1

Recommended Practice for Ethernet Cabling Systems, In Entertainment Lighting Applications, ESTA Publications. Stage Step - Dist. #TE3011

Stage Lighting Controls, Uif Sandström; MPG Books Ltd. - Bodmin, Cornwall 1997 ISBN: 0240514769


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Martin has a tech primer on moving lights that gives a basic overview of the various components (with pictures) that might be helpful. I’m not sure if it on their web site or not but I have it on file somewhere if you can’t find a copy.


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For the DMX end of things, you'll want a book which talks about data signaling and encoding in general. You need to understand how the bits - the 1s and the 0s are represented electrically. I have a book here, Data Communications and Networking by Behrouz Forouzan (publisher McGraw Hill) which so far, not having read much of it yet is decent in this area. It's something you can likely find at a library.

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