Lighting your show for 2020 and beyond
At TFG Stage Technology, the team know that most of the professionals in the performance technology industry started off by operating the lighting and sound on the school show.
For many years the school hall and the local theatre both used the same type of tungsten lanterns and dimming that had been industry standard since the 1970s.
As you visit schools in 2020 you can frequently see the same type of equipment in operation that were used to light school shows as long as 35 years ago.
It would be fair to say in many schools there is no technology currently in use that is older than the performance lighting that TFG Stage Technology still services annually.
During the last 10 years the standards for show lighting have changed dramatically with the introduction of high-quality, affordable LED fixtures.
If the right fixture is chosen a single LED lantern can do the job of three or more of its tungsten predecessors using less than 20% of the power and generating a fraction of the heat.
It should be said, however, that the LED upgrade is not without its hazards. The market has been flooded with cheap-and-cheerful fixtures with a short lifespan, that are more suited to the bedroom DJ than stage lighting
And experiences with the alluring chrome and array of LED bubbles of these models has been enough to put many off what is quickly becoming the new industry standard.
In the past three years, TFG Stage Technology has delivered two consultant-designed spaces that have no provision for traditional dimmed lighting and work only on the modern power-saving equivalents.
This year sees the emergence of a new product designed for schools and smaller theatres that allows the use of modern LED fixtures alongside existing dimmed lighting.
The company understands that the cost of a complete new system can be prohibitive, but with recent release of Zero88’s Betapack4 it is now possible to begin to upgrade patchable lighting rigs fixture by fixture as your budget allows.
Alongside the Zero88 FLX-S24 control desk, this now brings modern show lighting within the reach of most school shows.
With modern LED fixtures you can change the colours from the control desk, and pick your new shade from a palette and tune it to perfection with a wheel encoder. No filter cutting, no ladders, no need to clear the hall.
With modern lighting controllers it is possible to programme the lighting in the classroom or at home and watch the results on visualisation software before you take the show file to the controller. For the more adventurous there is even the smartphone app, but you might want to keep that a secret.
As modern LED lanterns generate so little heat there is no need to keep them out of reach. It is perfectly possible to use them at low level and even take them into the classroom and let the students experiment to their hearts’ content without fear of burns or fire.