Stage lighting of a show

Part 1. Tools for the Designer in ETC EOS. The advantages of having a template in EOS.

In this series of articles Cory Pattak Tell us how to build a template in ETC EOS to save time on all your lighting designs

Cory Pattak

Work as Lighting Designer . It can sometimes be intense and full of difficulties. Assembly times and technical tests are short. Resources are often scarce and we have to make the most of our tools.

Designing in different theaters for different companies and productions is an incredible job, but it can also be very tedious at times. It is much more interesting than always designing in the same space, but it also demands much more from you. Every time you start a new job as an Illuminator you find that many of the tasks are repeated from one production to another. Many of the effects, states, and palettes that you create repeat themselves, and have many similarities to other effects, states, or palettes that you've created for other productions.

Is it advantageous to have a template as an EOS file to save time?

Every time I repeated the same task in different jobs I said to myself: "I have to create a good template that saves me time in each production". ETC EOS was the ideal platform to do it: it is easy to join 2 files and thus, for example, mix macros, presets and configuration of a file, with magic sheets from another source. 4 years ago I started to create this template (which I have been improving over time) with all kinds of useful information that allows me to start working very quickly

And why does an Illuminator have to take responsibility for the recording and configuration in the console?

Some of you may wonder if the programming is not a task of the technician or lighting technicians, instead of being the responsibility of the Illuminator. And in a certain sense it is like that. A great lighting operator who knows the console very well and who is capable of doing the things you ask very quickly is always a great help, and allows you to focus more on the artistic task. A fluid relationship with the operator is so important that it can be decisive to finish your work on time. But we do not always have a good programmer at hand, and sometimes you have to work with operators who do not know the console so well or are not so fast. Sometimes I even decide to record the function myself. It does not have to be the usual, but it can happen on occasion.


Little time of technical trials

In most of the productions that I have worked I have always felt that I have less time than I need. Thanks to the use of the template file I can start working directly on the recording part of the show, and use tools that will save me time: macros, magic sheets, presets, palettes, etc. But what do I need to include in that template?

First step: Identify the repetitive tasks you do for most productions

These are some of the things that I have to manufacture for most of the productions in which I work:

  • Color Palettes
  • Beam type pallets for mobile phones (Gobos, Zoom, Blades, etc.)
  • Submasters for Room Lights, Fog Machine, Specials, Cannons, Room Inhibitors, Guards, Mobile Starts
  • Creation of Effects
  • Creation of Groups
  • Creation of generic Presets for mobile lights (Frontal, Special, Color Covers, etc)
  • Creation of Macros to go faster in the recording

If there was any way to have many of these elements in my base file, in my template, when I arrived at the theater the first day I could directly start recording the Cue 1 !!

What do I have in my template?

Having said all of the above, this is what I have in my base template to streamline my work to start any recording in ETC EOS:

  • Color Palettes
  • Beam pallets
  • Magic Sheets
  • Groups (that will be created once you have started recording)
  • Presets (some of them empty, but at least with a name to facilitate the recording)
  • Effects
  • Submasters
  • Macros
  • Pixel Maps

This base file did not create it overnight, but I have done it in a process of 4 years, and it has completely changed the way I work and the speed with which I arrive at the final product. It also has an impact on the artistic part of the production, now I can dedicate more time and therefore the result is better. And I also notice it in my stress levels, now at the end of a production I do not feel like I've been running a marathon.

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