COVID-19: The Entertainment Industry Reacts With Training Options

It may seem like the worst of times: Many of us are confined to our homes, while others are facing loss of jobs or temporary layoffs as the entertainment business goes into COVID-19-forced hibernation. Or isolation. But the industry has responded in a very positive manner. Here are a few of the resources people can take advantage of while waiting it all out…and for educators looking for online options while classrooms are off-limits.

Vectorworks is offering free Spotlight Essentials Seminars. Use the code TRAINMENOW for a 100% discount.

Interested in lighting console training? Strand has announced that training costs will be waived. As they posted on Facebook:

Anyone that wants Strand console online training, you can go to our website and send a request for online training. All normal online training costs have been waved for the next few weeks to help our entertainment lighting community.

ETC has done the same:

We at ETC know times are tough out there for a lot of our valued users and friends in the industry. This won't last forever, but for as long as it does, ETC is here for you. From now until May 15, ETC is offering all our LearningStage classes FREE. We will continue to offer resources over the next few weeks to help keep you learning, and adjust this timing for as long as we need. Until then, stay safe and stay connected.

Obsidian Control Systems is deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and is dedicated to supporting the entertainment industry. They will also offer free weekly training sessions covering the ONYX control platform and new NETRON data distribution range. These classes will be hosted online and are available globally for anyone interested in learning more about Obsidian’s advanced yet intuitive lighting control products. For more details and registration, please visit the Obsidian Control training webpage.

ChamSys runs a series of free live webinars on programming for their MagicQ console. Rgister here for classes taught by top programmers and lighting designers. Download the MagicQ software to get ready for this training.

ACT Lighting has also gotten into the act with free online courses through June 1. Use promo code act4me to register for ACT Academy classes for grandMA and dot2 consoles.

John Huntington, professor of Entertainment Technology, sound engineer, and author of the book Show Networks and Control Systems, has some really good, free video lectures on his Control Geek website based on the chapters of his book.

The Virtual Theatre, a 3D set design tool for the Theatre Arts Classroom, has announced that for the next three months, they will be letting you use the program for free. “Just log on and select the ‘FREE ONLINE’ product and purchase. There is an option for a donation if you'd like to help with development, but that is optional. Pass around and let everyone enjoy this tool.”

Figure 53 is giving educational users free use of QLab 4 Pro bundle until June 1, to support teachers and students “during social distancing.” Anyone with a .edu email address can have a free temporary QLab 4 Pro Bundle. Create your account at and email [email protected].

Other freebies include Free Ladder Training, and the USITT Lighting Commission has created a Google doc with a long list of useful links.

The web is a great resource and the more you noodle around, the more you will unearth. For example, the folks at Magnum have created the list of lists, including many of the trainings we have listed here, plus more: Every Free Event, Technology Class, Tutorial, and Workshop.

And when you are all trained out, you can take a video tour of the wonderful exhibit “In The Company Of Harold Prince,” at the New York Library For The Performing Arts, which is now closed.

Or check out Playbill's list of musicals and musical documentaries you can watch online!

See you on the other side…