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Controlling Moving Lights

How Automated Fixtures Work

Intelligent stage lighting gets most of its “smarts” from computerized control consoles and the lighting technicians who program them. As DMX devices, concert lightingautomated lights are given a start address and require a DMX channel for every attribute or feature built into their design. Some fixtures combine two DMX channels for a single operation, thus providing accurate and repeatable performance with 16 bit precision (DMX is inherently an 8 bit protocol). While lighting consoles are the most common control device for robotic lighting, the fixtures typically include on board controls for testing and maintenance or as a means of setting and recording preset looks to be played back from internal memory. These presets may be utilized in standalone fixtures, or they may operate in a Master/slave configuration where the master instrument distributes the control signal to subsequent automated luminaires when fixtures are linked by 5 pin DMX cables.