As I promised, here we are with the second article about the Lighting Programming Philosophies (you can find the first one here), where I’m going to give you some rules of skilled professional practice and a real checklist to better organize your programming and executing sessions.

I start by pointing out that LD and Programmer often are found in the same person and, if not so, it is useful that at least they both “speak the same language”. I believe a situation where the LD doesn’t know the basic of programming and how the console workflow works, can be compared to the paradox of a painter who asks another one to paint his own picture. Vice-versa, a light-board operator must have an artistic sensitivity and the “touch”, to best match the LD’s needs.

Lighting Programming Philosophies

This is the first example of good behaviour, that we can translate in a football postulate: a winning team is that formed by players who work together for a goal, rather than a group of individual talents that too often get no results at all. By team, we do not only mean just the two professionals I mentioned before, but all those who gravitate around the lighting part of a show: from the technician to the porter (that I like to call “friend of the effort”), and also the stagehand, the director, the stage designer, the costume designer, the video team and so on.

Therefore, talking about practice, my advice is directed to both the Board Operator and the Lighting Designer: it is useful that everyone follow the setup since the laying of the very first piece of truss, and that are able to produce, before the beginning of a setup, what we can define the instruction manual, to be delivered then to the technicians.

The Instruction Manual must contain:

  • Plan 2D views by layer (roof, floor, etc…) of the lighting rig with the patch and the fixture numbers;
  • Front 2D views by layer (roof, floor, etc…) of the lighting rig with the patch and the fixture numbers;
  • Side 2D views by layer (roof, floor etc…) of the lighting rig with the patch and the fixture numbers;
  • Isometric 3D view with all the layers;
  • quoted views;
  • summary tablet ordered by number of the fixture, also containing the fields refering to fixture model, DMX mode, fixture numer, DMX address and note about gel, lens, focus point and so on.
  • F.O.H. Setup (how to set up console and monitors, port-node ip address etc…).

You will see that a well done (and well paid) document like this, along with a coffee and a croissant to your whole crew when you arrive at the location, will guarantee an excellent show and the maximum willingness by the team to cooperate.

Walter Lutzu

Another tip about the correct conduct of a Board Operator/Lighting Designer is to involve those who want to be involved. How many times, during the programming, you find around you stagehands or technicians, curious to see what you’re doing and how you’re doing it? So, in the name of the crew’s harmony, but also to pick up some comments which could be useful for you, ask them their opinion or what they think about a specific fixture and much more. Remember, there are technicians and stagehands who have seen more programming and executing sessions than you have. Maybe they don’t have a clue how to use a lighting console, but they surely have a great deal of “visual experience” that can be so valuable for your job.

And now we close this short article with the good programmer’s check list.

Click on the image below to download the pdf!

Lighting Programming Philosophies

In the next article about Lighting Programming Philosophies, I will share with you a few simple rules about the fundamental figure of the lighting entourage: the Lighting Designer. We will review the distinct phases of the planning, the “minimum requirements”, the artistic attitude, the guidelines, the technical notions and much more.

Enjoy and Stay Tuned!


Walter Lutzu
Project Coordinator