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Glossary of Lighting Terms

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C-Clamp
See definition for Pipe clamp. In the film and video industries, a "C" shaped clamp that attaches onto a pipe and locks with the aid of a bolt, that when tightened, presses like a vice onto the pipe. It also has a stud or studs for the attachment of luminaire, grip equipment, etc.

C-Stand
see Century Stand

Cable
A rope of wire used to transmit electricity or data.
To run, hook up, and/or interconnect electrical cables and the items to which the cables are connected.
A strong, flexible, wire rope made of steel, used to support pipes, battens, truss, etc., from an overhead structure.

Cable Bundle
A group of electric cables attached at various points by tape, rope, etc.

Cable Cradle
A metal sling used to support heavy stage cable as it hangs from a batten, while simultaneously preventing the cable from entering horizontal sight lines from the house to the stage. It can also take strain away from the point where the cable exits a piece of distribution equipment.

Cable Drop
An overhead electric cable or group of electric cables that extends downward for the connection of luminaires or other electrical apparatuses. The cable(s) may be connected to some type of overhead support, or directly to a piece of distribution equipment.

Cable Hook
A hook that attaches to a stand used to hold excess coils of electric cable, often found on follow spot stands.

Cable Mount
A term used to describe a connector designed to be electrically attached to the end of a cable.

Cam-lok
A commonly used type of insulated, locking, single conductor cable connector manufactured by Crouse-Hinds Inc. The name Cam-lok is trademarked.

Candle (cd)
The unit of Luminous Intensity of a light source.

Candlepower (cp)
A term often used in place of Luminous Intensity.

Cap
The removable or hinged, rear cover of some luminaires that contains the lamp socket, lamp, and power cord.
See definition for Base.

Carbon Arc
An arc source in which the arc is formed in air between a pair of carbon electrodes.

Card
In general, a circuit board.
See Dimmer Card or Control Card.

Catwalk
A raised, overhead platform used in film industry studios, used for mounting and accessing luminaires and other types of production equipment. Located around the perimeter of the studio floor, they are often painted green and are always provided with handrails.

Century Stand
A grip stand manufactured by Matthews Studio Equipment Corp. The name Century Stand is trademarked.

Channel (ch)
An individual control output on a control console, accessed and regulated by a slider, switch, or button, or in, some cases, accessed by a discretely assigned address and regulated by a data input apparatus.

Chief Electrician
Master Electrician or Gaffer.

Chief Lighting Technician
Master Electrician or Gaffer.

Circuit (ckt)
A complete electrical path leading from an electrical supply through conductors and perhaps dimmers, distribution equipment, electrical devices, electronic items, etc. to the load and returning to the source. The load is quite often a lamp.

Circuit board
A plastic or fibrous card that contains electronic components and the wiring and/or tracers that interconnect them.

Circuit Breaker
An electrical device designed to open and close a circuit by non-automatic means and to open the circuit automatically on a predetermined over current without damage to itself.

Circuit Breaker Panel
A panelboard that houses circuit breakers.

Cold Mirror
A mirror that transmits heat, i.e., infrared radiation, but reflects light.

Cold Start
A term used to describe the ignition of a cold arc lamp, i.e., a lamp that has not been electrified for a relatively long period of time.

Color
(see color medium) To place color media in front of a luminaire to alter the color of the beam.

Color Balance
An arrangement of hue, chroma, and value within a design that produces a sense of equilibrium, i.e., no colored area commands attention to the detriment of the entire arrangement.

Color Changer
(also color scroller, color wheel) An apparatus that attaches to a luminaire and allows one to manually introduce one or more color frames into the beam. Color changers are most often found on follow spots.

Color Correction
Adjusting the color temperatures of various luminaires so that they are all the same, or to make them match existing light sources, e. g., sunlight or fluorescent light. This is usually accomplished by utilizing color media, but adjusting the input voltage levels is a method sometimes used for some luminaires.

Color Filter
see color medium.

Color Frame
An apparatus used to hold color media or other types of filters. It can be of various shapes and sizes, and may comprise one or more pieces.

Color Medium
Any colored transparent material that con be placed in front of a beam to color the light. They can be of the absorption or reflection type.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)
A single number approximate evaluation of the effect of a light source on the visual appearance of a colored surface. The number falls on a scale from below 0 to 100, with daylight at 100. Objects and people viewed under lamps with a high CRI generally appear more true to life.

Color Scroller
An electronic, motorized apparatus that mounts on the front of a luminaire, and allows for the automatic placement of one of a number of gels to be placed in front of the beam.

Color Temperature
The temperature, in degrees Kelvin, of a black-body that generates light with the closest visual color match to the source being specified, i.e., a measure of the color appearance of light, not the actual temperature of the light.

Color Wheel
An apparatus holding several different gels that can be rotated by hand or motor such that any one gel can be placed in front of a luminaire with relative ease.

Colorine
lamp dip

Complementary Colors
Two colors of light that combine to make white light in the additive color mixing system. For red, green, and blue, the complementary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow, respectively.

Complementary Tints
Two colors in the additive color mixing system that combine to make nearly white light.

Computer Board
memory board

Concave
A term used to describe a lens side that is inwardly and usually spherically curved.

Conduct
To carry electrical current.

Conductor
Generally, anything that will carry electrical current, but usually refers to an insulated wire.

Cone
see Snoot.

Cone Light
A soft light luminaire that uses a single ended lamp and a cone shaped reflector.

Connector
Specifically, the name for a family of electrical wiring devices, such as plugs and receptacles, comprising one or more contacts, a means for electrically attaching a conductor to each contact, a means for electrically insulating each contact from the other, and an overall insulating material around the complete assembly such that only the contacts are exposed when the connector is properly installed to the item containing the conductors.
Generally, any item used to make an electrical connection between two or more separate conductors.

Connector Box
see Plug-In Box

Connector Strip
A piece of power distribution equipment comprising an elongated metal housing, and a plurality of female flush mount connectors or female pigtail connectors for the purpose of supplying electricity to luminaires. It usually hangs from a batten and has many circuits, the line side is usually hard-wired, and it gets its electrical supply from dimmers.

Console
see Control Console.

Control Board
see Control Console.

Control Cable
A cable used to transmit digital or analog signals from a control console to the apparatus to be controlled.

Control Card
Specifically, a circuit board that receives the control signal from the control console and, in turn, individually controls the independent outputs of a bank of dimmer modules.
Generally, any circuit board that performs many of the control functions of an electronic apparatus, e. g., a ballast or automated light.

Control Console
An electronic apparatus, run by an operator, that converts the settings of various items, such as sliders, switches, buttons, or some form of data input, into a digital or analog signal that is thereby transmitted to a control card, dimmer bank, or some other electronic apparatus. Some control consoles are also equipped with monitors.

Convex
A term used to describe a lens side that is outwardly and usually spherically curved.

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Cool Color
Generally, a color that is in the green-blue-violet range.

Cool Light
Light having a color temperature of approximately 3600°K to 4900°K, i.e., bright-white to blue-white.

Cord Wrap
A loop made of rope attached to a yoke for the purpose of supporting excess coils of electric cable.
A round bracket provided on the rear of some luminaires for the purpose of retaining coils of electric cable when the luminaire is to be stored or transported.

Crew
see Lighting Crew

CRI
Color Rendering Index

Cross Bar
In the theater industry, a bar mounted horizontally on top of a stand. It contains two or more sliding tees for mounting luminaires, and a fixed tee for mounting the bar to the stand.
In the film and video industries, a bar mounted horizontally between two stands for the purpose of hanging luminaires or grip equipment.

Cross Connecting Panel
see Patch Panel.

Cross Fade
A relatively slow change from one control console setting to another.

Cross Fader
A slider on a control console that enables a cross fade.

Cross Light
A luminaire used for cross lighting.

Cross lighting
Illumination from two sources on opposite sides of the subject.

Cue (Q)
An event in a production that is the signal for a specific action.
The signal given in order to cause such an action.
The response to such a signal, which may include a change in intensity settings for a luminaire(s), or a change in action by an apparatus(es).

Cue Light
A light used to signal a cue. Red usually means stand by and green usually means execute the cue.

Cut
To remove illumination from a scene or subject.
To block a portion of a light beam.

Cut Sheet
Also known as data sheet; a paper, pamphlet or leaflet that has detailed information about a lamp, luminaire, piece of equipment, etc., usually supplied by the manufacturer.

Cutoff
A general term for anything used to block a portion of a light beam, e. g., flags, cutters, shutters, barn doors, etc.

Cyc
see Cyclorama

Cyc Light
See Cyclorama Light

Cyclorama
A vertical surface which is used to form the background for a theatrical type setting, usually made of heavy cloth drawn tight to achieve a smooth, flat surface. It usually represents the sky or suggests limitless space. Traditionally, cycloramas were dome shaped or horizontally curved, but may now also be flat or vertically curved as well.

Cyclorama Light (Cyc Light)
A luminaire mounted at the top and/or bottom of a cyclorama in order to light it in a smooth, uniform manner.
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