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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Dec 4, 2023

Zounds! We're back again with a fresh helpin' of down-home, Wisconsin-grade minced oaths. We've got so much forking content to get through that if we don't get talking, we might driven to harder words like frickin' or shirtballs. At least there won't be any trolley problems.

In this episode:

  • News items
    • The Ayrton Cobra
    • Unreal Engine pricing changes
    • Solotech founder in memoriam
  • Designer chat
    • Renaissance Tour
  • Tea Time
    • How do you like to distribute DMX?
  • Lighting Trivia
  • Lighting Term of the Day: Art-Net

During the time of holiday cheer, whatever you celebrate, may the light of truth and the warmth of love go with you in your hearts.

Sep 11, 2023

It's the Lighting Nerds, nerding out about lighting, of all things!

In this episode:

-The GLP X5 series, which uses four emitter colors...confusingly
-The KL series profile
- The passing of Richard “Nook” Schoenfeld
- Tea Time: Thoughts about the grandMA 3. Spoiler alert: not all good!
- Lighting term of the day: camlock, and to a lesser extent, a discussion of feeder
- Lighting trivia: Alex and Craig both don't know it!

Hopefully we'll be back soon. Much love to y'all.

Jul 13, 2022

It's episode 041! Not episode 042. That's the next episode. You know, I made some really delicious brussels sprouts tonight, they were like...flavor sponges. They were SO GOOD with the mustard and maple sauce that I made. Anyway...where am I? Who are you people? This episode was recorded in March, so things are a teensy-tiny bit out of date, but stick with us, folks. We have some good stuff here to talk about. Starting with:

  • Martin P3 5.3 is out
  • Alex talks about CuePoints, Craig asks questions about it
  • GLP X5 Wash
  • Tea Time: should you carry your own gear onto shows?
  • Lighting Term of the Day: Encoder

Lastly, our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent gun violence in our nation. Please visit to help save lives.

Sep 3, 2021

Yeah, we still podcast. Sometimes. In this day and age of little work, sometimes we seem to have even less time to get together to pod. Certainly, it affects our motivation. But we have mustered some up for you, dear listeners, so let's dive into this year's week's episode.

  • New fixtures: the Martin MAC Ultra
  • Notable personnel movements: don't move, it's COVID.
  • Garth Brooks cancels
  • Notable stage designs: feat. NAZIS
  • Tea Time: Spectacle vs Art: Backline Techs Weight In
  • Lighting Trivia: First distributed networking?
  • Lighting Term of the Day: Telescan
Feb 8, 2021

Because we suck at publishing, it's been a while. But here's a new episode, and it's 39, which is a LUCKY NUMBER. In this episode:

  • The Chroma-Q thing that has some cool gears for focusing. Craig is amazed, because he's never seen that before, but apparently it's a thing
  • Drafty 4.0: It's Drafty-er!
  • Michael Strickland of Bandit Lites fighting for Teh Working Class
  • Decentralized productions.
  • Tea Time: General Device Type Format
  • Lighting Trivia: Alex gets it right
  • Lighting Term of the Day: PWM
Sep 4, 2020

It's our THIRTY EIGHTH episode. Craig has finally moved, and finally got this edited. Geez. Two locations, two webinars, and a broken lead pipe later...we are finally releasing this old thang. Anyway. In this episode:

  • ChamSys MQ500
  • Robe Tetra1
  • grandMA3 OnPC XT
  • Grant Imahara's death
  • Tea Time: Controlling your cash flow
  • Interview: Tucker Downs, color scientist
  • Lighting trivia: Alex gets it wrong
  • Lighting Term of the Day: lectern vs podium
  • Squish

Hugs and kisses y'all. Register to vote. -C

Jun 17, 2020

Geeze, United States. We leave the room for ONE SECOND and everything goes up in flames, at times literally. To those who have asked: Craig is fine. (He lives in the Twin Cities, but all is well) In this episode:

  • Alex and Craig talk about the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd
  • New Gear: Robert Juliat Arthur, Luminex Lumicore, Digital Projection Satellite
  • Notable Tours: Keene Cause and Effect tour
  • Tea Time: Difficult Patrons, Part II: The Art Critic and The Phonophobe
  • Lighting Trivia: Craig gets it...wrong.
  • Lighting Term of the Day: Ballast

The credits thought today is brought to you by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article I.

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
Dec 24, 2019

It's a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Las Posadas/Eid-al-Adha/Diwali/Festivus miracle! An episode: shiny, new, episode 034. Curl up in front of the fire, break out the Glögg, or if you're like Craig, Templeton Rye and have yourself a merry little whatever with The Lighting Nerds. I really should decide whether to always include the "The" or not. Sheesh.

  • New fixtures / gear
  • Notable personnel news 
  • Tea Time
    • Variables in grandMA2
  • Lighting trivia!
    • Biscuit: Craig gets it right!
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • IR / instant replay
    • Common on corporate shows, refers to a sound clip that’s stored ahead of time and played back.
Sep 13, 2019

We're back with the hackneyed animal similes. In this episode:

  • The Chauvet Maverick MK3 
    • We talk about having network connectivity such as sACN/Artnet vs physical DMX that loops thru etc. 
    • And some other stuff
  • The Martin ERA 300/Martin ELP Profile Range
  • The new generation of visualizers
  • Tea Time
    • Craig gets *very* long-winded.
    • God, is he still talking?
  • Lighting trivia: Alex's lucky guess!
  • Lighting Term of the Day: Envelope + pinches
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


Feb 6, 2019

Woah, two eps in the space of a month? Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Pet the hedgehog! Wat? In this episode, Alexander is back:


Industry news: 

  • New fixtures / gear 
    • GLP JDC1s now feature “Aggressive mode”, which increases the brightness 180% when the RGB LEDs are not in use 
    • World’s first 50-watt 7-color: emitter
    • New short-arc lamps: Osram SharXS Brilliant Series. 1000, 1200, 1500. They have a CRI of 92, which is pretty high. I’d love to see TM-30-15 specifications on these. 
      • Fun question: when was the last time you saw a jacketed arc lamp? Like, a decade? 
    • LightConverse is now L8. Alex riffs on how he feels about LightConverse.
    • Tea Time: Alex’s thoughts about the Reputation Tour: redux
  • Lighting trivia! 
    • Craig gets it right
  • Lighting Term of the Day
    • Scroller
Jan 26, 2019

It's the Lighting Nerds, first ep of 2019. That's twenty-nineteen. Special guest co-host, Chas! In this Episode:


  • ROE Vanish V8 LED screen
  • New Follow-Me hardware
    • Craig has concerns about AC Lighting
  • Clay-Paky manuals are now behind a username / pass wall? Why? That's dumb.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Tea Time: The Taylor Swift Reputation Tour, Part I
  • Lighting Trivia: Chas guesses
  • Lighting Term of the Day: gel

Happy New Year, you hoopy froods! And shouts to the excellent folk at IATSE Local 16.

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.


Mar 3, 2017

Somewhat approaching a normal release schedule, I hereby...release a new episode. Wherein I bungle a movie reference. In this episode:


  • News items
    • Mythos's...mythier?
    • VL6000. Kinda cool.
    • Watch Netflix's new series, Abstract: The Art of Design
  • Tea Time - getting faster at punting, favorite macros
  • Production review - Tobias Rylander, The 1975
  • Lighting term of the day - Total Internal Reflection
  • Lighting quiz - Craig gets it wrong
Feb 8, 2017



Remember when I said we'd be back soon? I lied. But Josh is back, and Gavin is not. It's Lighting Nerds, and we're still doing this! In this episode:

  • News items
  • Some more LDI stuff
  • Tea Time
    • Craig and Josh talk about lighting for television
  • Lighting term of the day
    • Dichroic
    • The etymology: Greek origins, meaning “two-colored”. It refers to glass with a special optical coating which allows it to reflect all light except certain wavelengths. Lights that change colors use this type of glass almost exclusively for its resistance to heat-related fading, and for the very pure color of the transmitted light.
  • Lighting quiz:
    • I get to quiz Josh
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.
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