Why is lighting so less popular than sound?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Lyle Williams, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Active Member

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    I don't have any hard numbers, but I guess audio mixers outsell lighting controllers by maybe 100:1.

    There seem to be a lot more people comfortable with pushing faders on a mixer than on a lighting desk.

    Why is the gap so big? I know this is a biased audience.
     
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  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Don't the av posts here outnumber lighting by a factor of several?

    I think lighting people agree sooner the audio. I know I've felt and have said on numerous occasions that a room full of theatre consultants would generally agree or most be near a common denominator. A room full of acoustic consultants - responsible for sound systems in my world - would be all over the place.
     
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  3. cbrandt

    cbrandt Well-Known Member

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    Another important factor is the number of spaces that require sound support that don't require lighting support beyond what the general contractor installed in the space. There are thousands of small auditoriums or presentation spaces that are lit perfectly fine for speeches and presentations, but still require a mic or two and some speakers.
     
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  4. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Well-Known Member

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    Unless they're very contemporary or big, most HoW don't have lighting controllers - just a crummy set of track lights and confusing blob of wallbox dimmers.
     
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  5. Lextech

    Lextech Well-Known Member

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    Well discussions here are much more about lights and I think if you compare apples to apples I think you will find at the pro level it might be the same. Now i will admit that with the musician level consoles you are probably right since you almost never see a bar band with a lighting console. But at the pro level I see much more traffic in the light world. Also look at how many major lighting manufactures compared to major audio manufactures. No one has the reach in the audio world that ETC has in the lighting world. Lastly I challenge you to find me a theater program that audio students even come equal to lighting students. I'm a sound guy, I picked up lighting, it was way easy in the pre DMX world because I could hit buttons in time with the beat. I know VERY few light guys that can mix.

    Of course there is a rule in our business that everyone in it knows two jobs, Theirs and how things should sound.
     
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  6. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Active Member

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    "If sound was hard the lampies would do it?" :)
     
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  7. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Active Member

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    But more seriously, half the events where PA is needed lighting would improve the situation too.

    Is it too complex? Too much clutter? Too hard?

    What is keeping lighting in the back seat? (theatre aside)
     
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  8. Lextech

    Lextech Well-Known Member

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    Please come and mix for me, nice 40 piece big band, shouldn't be hard for you. Dozen discreet mixes, it will be fun.
     
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  9. Lextech

    Lextech Well-Known Member

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    At what level are we talking? Community theater will always have lights before sound. For bar bands lights are for lighting the band not doing aerial effects. What are we discussing.
     
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  10. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    There are a lot of garage bands. There aren't many garage stages.
    There are lots of outdoor venues and events where sound is needed but the sun is going to win any lighting battle.
     
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  11. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I put a rheostat on the Sun once... Once.
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Don't kow of if help, but peerhaps everyone wants LED, and or the older technology for sound control has not matched it in control channels. If LED, you need more contrrol channels than dimmers - research into that.

    The Mac 2k everyone around work has a stated opinion about - mostly bad, yet for me the lamp inspector, the problems were solved verses the VL-3K using the same lamp still in use. Wish such fixtures still in use lamp wise given bad ballasts are changed on both by now. Both obsolete in newer more control channel fixtures I believe the norm. Or less wattage/more efficient when not LED, more channels to control = bigger light board.

    In installs now it's mostly the LED fixtrue - schools don't need dimmers, need a larger light board. Also, if you started with 98 dimmers, perhaps you do not need a huge light board say... Hog or Hog II; though no idea on my part of what needed.
     
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  13. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Active Member

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    Just in general. So many mixers sold. So few lighting controllers. Everyone's a soundguy. So few lighting people. I know I've wandered like a drunk into a lighting bar to put this question to lighting people. If I'd asked the question on a sound forum most everyone would think a light console is a mixer that doesn't need four people to move it. :)

    The two biggest musical instrument shops in my city are pretty large; maybe turning over $20m/pa each. Between them they have one lighting controller. Not just one model, just one of them. And it's the behringer.
     
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  14. Rob

    Rob Well-Known Member

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    There are way more amateur musicians than AmaDram stages. Almost everyone has a natural tendency to express their opinion about what sounds bad and how to fix it rather than complain that the colour temperature of a fixture makes you feel icky. 100% of the population listens to music performed by the best musicians the world has to offer. (Who’s not heard of The Beatles?) But not many people have a Monet hanging on their wall and can explain why they like it more than a Cézanne.
     
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  15. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    I think I kinda see where you are coming from.

    Job wise there are like 6:1 ratio of sound to lighting. Everyone wants to be in audio. Imo I think that’s where people think the money is.

    I have had to start sliding into video and projections just to get work because I didn’t want to try to break into audio. It’s also my least favor field of our industry.
     
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  16. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Amiers Why? Why is audio your least favorite??
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  17. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    To be honest I’ve just never really taken an interest in setting up and running it past setting up my own personal home audio.
     
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  18. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I've found that in K12/higher-ed students are more excited about lighting than they are sound, but in the wild more people know how to run a sound mixer than a lighting console. That trend is likely to continue as jamming bump buttons and throwing faders disappears from lighting because of color-mixing LED's. Not that running LED's is that much harder, but it's less intuitive than say learning how to mix audio by messing with the knobs on your car stereo in traffic.

    Knowing how to drive a mix console and knowing how to mix are very different, and an infinitesimally small number of people can do the latter well.
     
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  19. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lyle-

    I think there are several reasons - if a band/bass player or other miscreant buys a small audio mixer, it can be used in rehearsal, in performance, and can be a part of the owner's "studio". A light control board runs lights that are used only in performance.

    A theater needs ONE light board in the auditorium, but might have several mixers to select from based on complexity of needs or ability of operator.

    And audio is *everywhere*, even in places you don't notice or expect it (which is why the installation biz is 100x the size of the live sound biz).

    As for the attraction of audio vs lighting... I think audio is attractive for several reasons, the first being that so many folks think anyone can do it - and that's correct if you'll accept "done badly." At any rate, they buy a small Mackie or it's current equal and find out it's tougher than they thought and give up, or if they're more successful, buy a bigger mixer, then another. Until recently there has been no "entry level" lighting desk in the sense of entry level audio mixers.

    I think the up-thread observation comparing CB topics is telling - there *are* more lighting folks that seek advice and growth in their craft than compared to soundpersons. The difference is that soundpersons will buy mixers whereas most LX persons never purchase a controller, and have no need to.
     
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  20. Lextech

    Lextech Well-Known Member

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    Where are all of these sound people you speak of? Look at the jobs on tours, hell look at the number of trucks on tour and tell me what the ratio of lighting to sound. Look at the rider for most Yellow Card shows, concerts, hell WWE and there are always more lampie jobs. Look at most university faculty rosters, there will be multiple professors that teach lighting and scenic design, there will never be more then one sound professor if there is one at all. At my little school there are two professors and a adjunct lighting designer who teach design on a yearly schedule. If they need sound design taught for the one student who wants to do an independent study they have me teach.

    Mike while I agree that in secondary and higher education lighting rules I will argue that out of the AV market where lighting is not a normal part of the job that the rest of the industry also has more people comfortable on a light board. Today's consoles, if set up right with well thought out magic sheets or pallets are actually pretty easy to use. Again I am not talking about musician level gear, an X-18 air is not a sound board, I'm talking someone that can walk up to a CL5 or SD10 and make it work.
     
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