American Cinematographer - May 2013 - 69

benefits to working with lighting
consoles and with DMX: “You can
control color temperature, which is
especially useful for imitating candlelight or other colored sources; you can
switch lights on and off from a single
point; you can balance different lights
from the console; you can change the
lighting while the camera is moving,
including switching off a light at a
certain point during a shot to avoid a
reflection or shadow; you can keep a
record of lighting setups, facilitating
reproduction of it in the future and
providing helpful data to second units
and visual-effects teams; you can dim
lights between takes to minimize heat
and save energy; you can make fast
adjustments between takes without
taking control of the set; you can adjust
lights in accordance with a moving practical source in the scene; and you can
perform visible light changes, such as
clouds passing in front of the sun, very
quickly and easily.”
Higgins notes that on some of his
recent productions, the DMX channel
control was sometimes down to the
individual bulbs in a patchwork of
LEDs. Mathie, Higgins’ frequent desk
operator, explains that big productions
on soundstages will use many DMX
universes, with thousands of DMX
channels. “You need so many channels
in the age of LEDs, moving lights and
media servers,” he says.
Mathie details his starting
network with a half-dozen DMX
universes on a soundstage:
• 1 universe for dimmers
• 1 for upstairs
• 1 or 2 on the working floor
• 1 for the practicals department
• 1 for wireless DMX (for example, for lighting integrated into
costumes)
Mathie uses an Ethernet network
to transport many universes in a single
cable around the set. There are several
ways to do this, but he opts for the ArtNet protocol with a 1 Gigabit Ethernet
network, which theoretically can hold
more than 1,000 DMX universes. “It’s
more than we would ever need, but

Left: A laptop
connected
to an
inexpensive
4x dimmer via
Enttec’s USB
DMX Pro
adapter box.
Below: DMX
5-pin XLRs.

channels add up quickly. All it takes is
30 LED lights of a certain fixture, with
dozens of individual bulbs, and you
could need three or four extra lines of
DMX. I recently had 15,000 channels
on a set, which would have required 30
DMX cables, but one Ethernet cable
transmitted it all. That’s where the
Ethernet comes in handy: We spread it
around the stage so that we’re never
more than 30 feet away from it, and it
offers a limitless amount of universes.”
Mathie cautions, however, that
setting up an Ethernet network on set,
with its nodes, switches and software,
adds another layer of complexity to the
DMX installation and troubleshooting.
Higgins stresses that today’s
complex DMX networks require additional time to rig and sometimes to
prelight. “Unlike theaters, soundstages
don’t have DMX prewired, because you
wouldn’t know where to route it. DMX
does require planning and careful
www.theasc.com

scheduling. You have to count back a
couple of days. And you have to stay on
top of it, because things do change —
film sets can be quite organic. A lot of it
is down to planning and agreeing with
the director and production about your
preparation days and your prelight days.
Once you’ve rigged it and prelit, you’re
ready to go, and any changes during
shooting can be made very rapidly.” ➣
May 2013

69


http://www.theasc.com

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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