The Evolution of Lighting Control in Motion Picture and Television

Scott Barnes and Joshua Thatcher gave an interesting lecture highlighting just how much our industry has changed in the past 14 years.  It was fun to look back and take stock of just how far we’ve come as an industry. 

Consoles have become tremendously advanced.  From the very common Expression in 1999 to today’s Hogs (Barnes and Thatcher’s preferred console), modern consoles are capable of managing a huge volume of units with a huge volume of parameters not conceivable 14 years ago.   Most modern consoles also come with basic and advanced networking capabilities not even remotely possible in 1999. 

Wireless, too, has become ubiquitous.  Thatcher and Barnes spoke about how much wireless has changed their world, and enabled them to put lights in sets or in locations that would be otherwise prohibitively difficult.        

Vectorworks and ESP Vision have developed into very powerful programs for motion pictures.  Now entire rigs can be cued before a single light is installed, hopefully eliminating surprises during load-in.  

LEDs and moving lights ... phew.  Enough said.  

Another thing Barns and Thatcher mentioned was our communication technology has also vastly improved.  Via texting, email, and cell phones we can all talk to each other with much greater ease than before. 

The last area they spoke about was pixel mapping.  Several of their examples highlighted really nifty uses of the technology.  

This trip through memory lane was great, and the examples and stories were fun to listen to.  It also helped me stop for a minute to understand just how much has changed.  It also makes me wonder just how much change there will be in the next 15 years.      

Lance Darcy is a Lighting Designer for The Lighting Design Group, based in New York  City.  He also writes the LD On The DL blog for Live Design.
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