American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 68

◗

The ABCs of DMX
1. Laptop connected via USB to
Vista’s M1 controller and to an inexpensive dimmer using Vista’s free Byron
software. This is a professional system
that allows a Vista lighting designer to
sketch and refine scenarios at home or
on the road.
2. Setup using Q Light Controller, which is free software for creating
simple lighting scenarios, and a professional 4x dimming rack.
3. Laptop connected to Enttec’s
USB DMX Pro adapter box, which is in
turn connected to an inexpensive 4x
dimmer using Enttec’s utility software to
control the lights. This setup is useful for
simple tests of DMX networks.

Above: A laptop
hooked up to a
Vista M1
controller. Right:
A laptop
running Q Light
Controller
software
connected to a
4x dimmer.

include Clay Paky (Alphas and
Sharpys), Martin (Macs), Philips (VariLites) and Robe (Robins and
ColorSpots).
Initially, cinematographers and
gaffers used automated lights for special
sets like nightclubs, or for fantasy
sequences. These days, automated lights
are appearing in many lighting packages
as a general tool, especially when inaccessible lights need to be reoriented
quickly. Howard observes, “On the set,
68

May 2013

the director or cinematographer can
move the camera in a heartbeat, and
with a moving light, you can quickly
spin the light with the console to get the
shadow in the right place.”
3 Simple Setups
This page and the next feature
photos of three simple DMX setups
with which I experimented. I have listed
them in order from most to least expensive.
American Cinematographer

DMX on the Film Set
DMX networks have become de
rigueur on contemporary soundstages,
especially on big films, and I turned to
Rousselot and Higgins to learn about
some of these applications. Rousselot
has been using dimmer consoles in his
cinematography since 1984, and he
started using DMX while working with
Higgins on Interview with the Vampire
(AC Jan. ’95). The duo expanded their
use of DMX on other collaborations,
notably Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
(AC July ’05), which featured extensive
use of automated lights and wireless
DMX courtesy of Chris Gilbertson’s
Light by Numbers system. Higgins
recalls that at first, Rousselot operated
the lighting consoles himself, but in
time, they added a desk operator to the
electrical crew.
Higgins believes a lighting
console has become essential to soundstage work. “I feel very uncomfortable
going to a stage or tungsten set without
having a desk and a desk operator. The
only time I would work without a desk is
on a big day exterior. Even on a small set
with practicals, the director may
suddenly call for a light change — for
instance, he might want the actor to
walk into the room and turn on a light.
Cinematographers should be allowed as
much flexibility as we can give them, so
I wouldn’t go to a set without a desk.”
Rousselot cites the following



American Cinematographer - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - May 2013

American Cinematographer - May 2013
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: “Suit & Tie”
Production Slate: Trance • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Surviving the Future
A Trailblazer’s Tale
Conjuring Hope
The ABCs of DMX
Star Tech
Hot Shots
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Paul Maibaum
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - American Cinematographer - May 2013
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 1
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 2
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Contents
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 4
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 5
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 6
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 7
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 8
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 9
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 11
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 13
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Short Takes: “Suit & Tie”
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 15
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 16
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 17
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 18
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 19
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Production Slate: Trance • The Reluctant Fundamentalist
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 21
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 22
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 23
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 24
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 25
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 26
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 27
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 28
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 29
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 30
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 31
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 32
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 33
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Surviving the Future
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 35
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 36
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 37
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 38
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 39
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 40
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 41
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 42
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 43
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 44
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 45
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 46
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 47
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - A Trailblazer’s Tale
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 49
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 50
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 51
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 52
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 53
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 54
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 55
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Conjuring Hope
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 57
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 58
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 59
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 60
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 61
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 62
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 63
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 64
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 65
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - The ABCs of DMX
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 67
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 68
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 69
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 70
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 71
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Star Tech
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 73
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 74
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 75
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 76
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Hot Shots
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 78
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 79
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 80
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 81
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 82
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 83
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 84
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 85
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 86
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 87
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 88
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 89
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 91
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 92
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 93
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 97
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 99
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - ASC Close-Up: Paul Maibaum
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - May 2013 - Cover4
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