The Lighting Nerds

The Lighting Nerds is a bi-monthly podcast that talks about the technology used in entertainment lighting, lighting industry news, hosts interviews with people in the field, and generally banter about lighting.
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Now displaying: Category: stage lighting
May 20, 2020

In the midst of the global pandemic, we offer you this commentary on the state of the lighting industry. I have very few pithy comments this week, because this pandemic is just so emotionally draining. The strain of prolonged isolation is truly monumental. Hang in there, everyone. I'm feeling it, just you like are.

In this episode:

  • ETC Fos/4
  • Craig gets a little ranty-about Chinese market fixtures
  • Chris Lisle's open letter
  • Tea Time: Photosensitive epilepsy / patron requests
  • Lighting Trivia: To the nearest 20 years, when was limelight first used as a stage lighting source? (Alex gets it wrong)
  • Lighting term of the day: Limelight
Mar 31, 2020

Yeah, we know you haven't thought about COVID-19 for like...ten seconds, but here we are anyway, talking about it. At least, like, a little. It's the episode featuring the OG Lighting Nerd, Gavin Lake! Say hello, Gavin.

In this episode:

  • Industry news: 
    • God almighty, the mother effing coronavirus.
    • Wash your hands, blah blah, let’s commiserate about how super effed we all are. 
  • New fixtures / gear
  • Notable personnel movements
    • Tyler Truss now owned by Glenn Cleland, previously owned by Mark Dodd of Dodd Technologies, which seems to be a production company.
  • Notable tours / productions
    • The Deadmau5 cube tour
    • The Black Keys and the 325 Strike Ones.
  • Tea Time
  • Lighting trivia!
    • Which of these did not exist: the Martin MAC 1200, the VL liquid lens, or the moving head confetti cannon?
    • Craig sez: I know that I say "VL7" in this episode, but that's wrong. The VL7 had nothing specifically to do with the liquid lens
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Softgoods
Aug 3, 2019

It's The Lighting Nerds, episode 032. That's an exponent of 8, which makes this episode extra-special. We also have Jose, my old L2 from Halsey, filling in for Alex, who's off making money for this ep. In this ep:


  • Industry news and fixture talk
    • The Martin MAC Allure
      • It's cool, I want to see a rig of many
    • The Elation Artiste Monet
      • Jose likes it!
    • The ETC Releve
      • Much better than that other ETC moving light.
    • The Elation RAYZOR 760
      • It's S P A R K L Y
  • Tea Time
    • An interview with Mike Wood, who tells us about strange French words and their effects on lights
    • No seriously, it's about etendue, which you need to know about so LISTEN UP KIDS.
    • Mike's papers about this concept, so you can follow along
  • Lighting Quiz
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Snoot / top hat
Jun 26, 2019

It's Episode 031! Craig and Alex are back, Craig had a baby. Well, his partner did anyway. It's the Episode with the title card you'll have to listen to the whole thing to get. In this episode:


  • Industry news
    • We do not talk about the new Clay-Paky light, because I have conflicting information about it. Does it use a phosphor? Are there lasers? CP won't say.
    • High End Systems Turbo Ray
    • Vari-Lite 6500 Wash
      • Bet VL didn't see the Turbo Ray coming!
    • Fred Foster passed away in February
  • Notable Tours
    • The 1975 ABIIOR tour
      • Is it called that? I keep seeing two different names for the thing.
    • Tobias, are you listening? We like you <3
  • More news
  • Tea Time
    • Staying healthy on the road, a discussion
    • Send us your tips for staying healthy!
  • Lighting trivia
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Source 4


Oct 25, 2018

It's the Lighting Nerds! Your go-to source for slightly up-to-date lighting information!

In this episode:

  • News Items
    • The Vari-Lite VL10 WashBeam
    • Circa-Scoop LED by Mega Lite. Interesting.
    • The Altman AP-150. It' RGBW PAR.
  • Notable Movements
    • George Masek is back at VL. Woo, George!
  • Notable Tours
    • Frame By Frame
  • Tea Time
    • Controlling Media as an LD
  • Lighting Trivia
    • Alex cheats
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Additive and subtractive mixing
Aug 17, 2018

We're still not dead yet!

Craig's back from Halsey, and Alex is done with his move. We're here to chew gum and make podcasts, and we're stock full of Juicy Fruit. Er, or something like that?

Since I know you're listening, hi, Drew!

Anyway, in this "ep":

  • Industry news
    • I lost the audio of our last show, which is why this has taken so long. Sorry.
    • Ayrton is making eyes at doing "standard" moving lights. That's kind of interesting.
    • grandMA 3. Yeah, of course we're gonna talk about it.
    • City Theatrical makes top hats for the X4.
    • The WholeHog 4 hardware refresh. Craig has some feelings about the WholeHog.
  • Tea Time
    • The cost of being a lighting designer in 2018
  • Lighting Trivia
    • What does "DIP", as in "DIP switch" stand for?
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Punter
Mar 11, 2018

It's the TWENTY-FIFTH EPISODE of Lighting Nerds! In this episode, we keep Alex around, joke (or do we??) about being corporate shills, and talk about festival lighting.


In this ep:


  • News Items
    • Alex sees the Portman lights, Craig still doesn't like them, exactly.
    • The 2018 Superbowl halftime show
    • The 2018 Winter Olympics - we can't review them, because we couldn't watch them. Shame on you, NBC.
    • TARM LaserGrid
  • Tea Time
    • Festival lighting! Building your rig, getting along with people. Perhaps we'll touch on programming for festivals later?
  • Lighting Quiz
    • Alex gets it right
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • DMX


Feb 17, 2018

It's the one with Brad Schiller!

Fresh off the newly-reinstalled Silver Mac Tower of Audio is Episode 024 of The Lighting Nerds. In this "ep":


  • News Items
    • A new touring roadshow, from ENTECH.
    • GrandMA 3 orders exceeding expectations, delays of up to eighteen months expected.
    • Portman releases the Pix31. The Lighting Nerds question its utility.
    • Martin introduces the RUSH MH11 Beam.
  • Interview
    • It's the one with Brad Schiller, legendary lighting designer, programmer, Renaissance Man, culinary master and inventor of the "Schiller Technique" for cooking pineapple, and all around Friend of the Podcast. Recorded 2017, sat on a hard drive in New Hampshire until now.
  • Tea Time
    • We discuss doing ALL the visuals for productions as one person.
  • Lighting Trivia
    • Craig gets it right, for a change
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Lamp / globe / bulb


Jan 24, 2018

We've fixed our audio! Thanks to everyone who sent me pineapples, I really appreciate it.


Our title this time references electric toothbrushes, people...obviously...


In this episode:


  • News
    • grandMA3! It's new! It's big! It has little letterbox screens that are just *begging* for a cool timecode view.
    • GLP Force 120
      • It's a big ass fan. Not to be confused with Big Ass Fans.
    • SGM G-Spot Turbo
      • No green emitter! Fascinating.
    • Katy Perry's "Witness" tour is using PSN for positional data. Had you heard about PSN? Me neither.
  • Tea Time
    • Piracy, specifically console piracy. Don't do it, kids. Inspired by reddit.
  • Lighting Trivia!
    • Craig loses.
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Ballast. Also describes some industry people I know.


Happy new year, everyone! Here's to the continuation of the show.



Dec 26, 2017

Does anybody read these? If any of you are reading this, shoot me a email / DM / tag me with "pineapple".


The Lighting Nerds! We're still around. Thanks so many to the many, many people who stepped up in to say that they'd be happy to host a show with me, it felt really good to find out that people still care and want to help. Introducing a new host who will be around (I hope!) a while, it's Alex! From Australia. You might know him as the guy who makes the Console Training videos on YouTube. He's also a Lighting Nerd.


In this episode, our first in several months:


  • News Items
    • Ed Sheeran tour. It's cool

    • MAC Encore line of LED fixtures from Martin.

    • GLP JDC1. Can we come up with a different name? Cool light, though.

  • Tea Time
    • Prepping a rig. I sort of sprung this topic on Alex. Sorry, Alex!
  • Lighting Quiz!
    • Alex doesn't win. Sorry, Alex.
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Gacflex vs steelflex vs spanset


And finally…

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Joyous Kwanzaa
Rockin’ Ramadan

And a very special tip of the hat to those who believe in nothing but still want holiday pay.

May one day people all over the world not just tolerate but celebrate different faiths and cultures, and have their greetings accepted in the spirit they were given, without fear of being mocked and laughed at by those who lack understanding.


Nov 13, 2016

I'm back from LDI, Gavin is back from Europe and we're both seriously tossing around the idea of emigrating straight back to the shores of Britain! #election2016. In this episode:

  • The PRG Ground Control Long Throw
  • The laser phosphor thingy from Osram
  • The Robe DLF7 wash
  • Indoor spark projectors!
    • They're kind of awesome
  • T-Time (Tech time!)
    • Fades, delays, paths, split timings
  • Lighting term of the day: CMY
  • Craig does okay with Gavin's tough quiz!
Oct 12, 2016

Dear interwebs, we promise never to be away this long again. If two or more of us aren't available, we'll do an episode anyway. Maybe a short one, maybe a long one, maybe with a guest. But we'll stick to that two week (about) schedule from now on. Probably. Maybe. Also, new cohost with Craig today: say 'ello to Josh. Gavin will be back in November-ish.

In this, our pre-LDI episode, we talk about a lot of new lights! Chew on this:

  • News items
    • The Robe Spikie, an update from episode 012
    • Robe Spiider
    • The Robe Halo
    • Philips Showline SL LEDSPOT 300
      • wat
    • Showline Hydrus 350
      • wat again
    • Blizzard BUDDHA
      • Not sure about this one, don't hate me, Frank
  • Tips for being a church lighting (or production!) person
  • Term of the day: LED, and some common myths debunked. Also Craig lets long-winded about how they work and skirts copyright law.
Aug 28, 2016

Hot off the presses, it's a new episode of Lighting Nerds. We did this one right in the middle of being way distracted by houses, touring, and honey-do lists, and it shows a bit in the show. So uh, bear with us.

Jul 25, 2016

It's tour season, and Gavin and I are on the road and subsequently exhausted. But we keep making this for you, because, well, that's what we do. Anyway. In this episode:


Jun 20, 2016

Thanks to the restorative powers of angry e-mails, we're back after a month hiatus! Whew! Let's get this show on the road!

  • Guest star: Rowboat, the man with the Golden Voice
  • Gavin and Craig have jobs, let us tell you about them
  • Live Design Product of the Year Awards
    • The GLP X4 Bar
    • SGM G-1 Beam
    • Ayrton Magic Dot R
    • PRG Ground Control followspot
  • Live Design awards. Spoiler: LeRoy Bennett wins a thing <3
  • We discuss the Beyonce video monolith design by Es Devlin
  • Craig tells you about the Helmholtz-Kohlraush effect, feel smart.
    • Everyone says it's a entoptic effect, but Craig disagrees.
  • GrandMA software release
  • Lighting term of the day: Fleenor, with an extended discussion of opto-splitters
  • Lighting quiz: Craig gets it wrong, wrong, wrong
May 19, 2016

We've got everything this week: Craig's crappy on-location audio, new lights, quizzes, we're like a week late, and more!


  • News items:
    • Elation releases
      • A moving head wash with lots of colors, the Platinum 7
      • An LED PAR that combines all the sources and zooms
      • The eMotion, a moving head projector
      • The Sniper Pro, a cool laser-like effect
    • Martin releases the Axiom, and I totally saw it in action
    • Philips tries to spin off 25% of their entertainment lighting business, since they couldn't find a buyer for the whole thing
    • Hamilton gets 16 Tony Award nominations
  • The science of the health effects of haze. tl;dr, we're all gonna be fine.
  • Lighting Design, Console, and Programming Theory: we walk through how WE would program the famous song "Back in Black" by AC/DC. As it turns out, we're the same person.
  • Lighting term of the day: cable bridge.
  • Lighting quiz: Gavin gets it right!


Links to the studies and whatnot cited about haze:

May 7, 2016

Boy howdy, I was late on that one. But your loss is our, uh, gain? Or something like that. Anyway. In this episode:


  • Ayrton makes cool stuff:
  • Lighting Design, Console, and Programming Theory:effects
  • Some e-mails: David Henry talks to us about termination, Amy Peryam asks about dealing with creative differences, and Amanda Tullis tells us about a solution to makes LEDs dim smoothly
  • Lighting term of the day: PAR can
  • Lighting quiz: Craig 1.5, Gavin 2.5
Apr 14, 2016

In this episode, Gavin admits some...personal shortcomings, namely, his obsession with tiny pieces of metal and glass that change the shape of a light beam. We're all here for you, Gavin.




  • Pro Light and Sound happened
    • The Axiom happened
    • Some other Martin fixtures happened, and Craig might be reviewing one
    • Some Robe fixtures, including the PicklePatt and the Spikie
  • Lighting Design, Console, and Programming Theory: gobos
  • A discussion / introduction to what color temperature is
  • Term of the day: Molefay. Don't call them flashers, please. Nathan.
  • Lighting quiz question: Gavin gets half a point.
Mar 30, 2016

An on-time episode! It's like Christmas in March! In this episode:


  • Gavin and Craig talk about their current projects. Craig does lights for Alan Jackson, Gavin is building a kick-ass previz rig.
  • Industry news:
    • Martin releases a teaser video for the MAC Axiom hybrid, which we still can't talk about
    • Robert Juliat releases the DALIS LED cyc light, and they’re demoing at PLS in Frankfurt
    • Color rendering index TM-30-15, a brief chat
  • What to do when you have a bad day
  • Lighting term of the day: socapex. Cover your virgin ears during this bit, Christian kids.
  • Lighting quiz: Craig 0.5, Gavin 1.
Mar 28, 2016

Geeze, enough with the late episodes, Craig! I was prepping a new rig and programming video and lighting alike and had two shows this weekend. Audio quality and editing skill in this episode: 6/10. Sorry. I'm on the road.

Anyway, Episode 010 is hot off the proverbial presses and it's low-key but high in content. And fiber.

  • Chauvet teases us with the new Maverick Series
  • Martin teases us with the MAC Axiom Hybrid. What does it do? We can't tell you, but it will be awesome.
  • Things we carry in our gig back, and we mention a new tool: The KRE Can Wrench:
  • Emails! So many e-mails
  • Lighting Term of the Day: ACLs
  • The Lighting Quiz: what year were Vari-Lites introduced?
Mar 3, 2016

We're back, 24 hours late this time because one of us - not saying who but his name rhymes with KAVIN - is cavorting about Europe, surrounded by history and country music fans.

In this episode:

  • Gavin is in Europe, and he caught a cold.
    • Advance your show, especially in Europe.
  • The Robe BFML
  • A tragic and preventable accident in an Italian theatre
  • Lighting Design, Console, and Programming Theory: color!
  • Controlling via MIDI and other goodies. A link to a guy who built a console thing!
  • Term of the day: fly rail
Feb 17, 2016

Oh man, incandescent is back, and it's more efficient efficacious than ever, thanks to some MIT braniacs and the power of TEENY TINY THINGS.

In this episode:


  • MIT creates a ~40% efficacious light bulb with NANOSTUFF. Linky here:
  • Lighting Design, Console, and Programming theory: palettes, positions
  • A short-winded review of Superbowl 50
  • An interview with Todd Erickson, of Smashing Pumpkins LD fame
  • Term(s) of the day: key light, fill light, kickers, sidelight, all that jazz
Feb 3, 2016

Hi guys! I'm trying some new things with the audio levels, trying to keep stuff around where most other podcasts are. So maybe you'll notice some changes from previous episodes in terms of audio levels. Shouldn't be too big an inconvenience. I hope.


In this episode!


  • We talk about Drafty, a new CAD tool for the entertainment industry
  • The Chauvet S-Par 1, which uses a micro-Fresnel array. Oooh, shiny.
  • A long-winded talk about the Color Quality Scale, spiritual successor to CRI. Here's a link to Davis and Ohno's paper, "Development of Color Quality Scale".
  • New recurring segment! Lighting Design, Console, and Programming theory: groups and cuelists
  • We review the 2015 Mega Super Bowl design just in time to review the next one!
  • Term of the day: fire curtain, and why water-based ones are a bad idea if you're doing a concert.
Jan 22, 2016

Holy cow, two days late this time? Shame on us. We had some audio issues, okay? OKAY?!?

Episode VI


  • ETC's Source 4WRD, an LED retrofit
  • The Elation 360i and the High End Uno - it's the year of the LED ACL beam, mark my words
  • A review of the Martin MAC Quantum Profile - tl;dr, we like it
  • Story time about followspots
  • Lighting term of the day: stage directions!
Jan 7, 2016

Between having a nasty upper respiratory infection (just what you want when you're a podcaster) gigging over New Years, and moving to different houses, it's a wonder we're only fourteen hours late on this one. Anyway, fresh off the presses, it's Lighting Nerds, Episode 005 folks. In this edition:

The Robe Square. It's certainly, uh, square.

The Lumu Power light meter.


Dressing for success on corporate gigs. Protip: a ratty tshirt and cargo shorts won't do. Tsk tsk.

Craig and Gavin get super-nerdy about CRI. We mention the Munsell color system, here's the WP page on it.


Lighting term of the day: proscenium.

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