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Explaining a Few Lighting Basics

Explaining a Few Lighting Basics

Eaton’s Zero 88 series continues its enthusiastic support for professional lighting, audio and AV distributors’ Leisuretec’s “Introduction to Lighting Basics" course, an innovative one-day fly-through of some of the fundamentals of stage, event and venue lighting, devised and presented by their lighting specialist, Andy Friedli.

This is the third of four “Lighting Basics” sessions being run by Leisuretec throughout 2018. Over 30 customers and interested parties attended over these latest three one-day courses, and Leisuretec has now trained over 170 people via this straightforward, hands-on process, with great results.

Andy devised and developed the course – initially for Leisuretec staff – three years ago, having joined the Leighton Buzzard based company five years ago. With a background in theatre and a 25-year career that includes working for leading production lighting companies, he’s seen a lot happen in that time and recognised that a little basic information goes a long way!

It can assist sale teams to better understand the precise needs of their customers, and for those working in other technical departments, it can provide insight into some of the theories behind, and reasons for, making light work.

The first courses proved so popular that Andy and his colleagues at Leisuretec decided to open the training to their customers, specifically systems integrators and venue or event production staff and crew who maybe involved in the peripheries of lighting, and who can benefit massively from a little bit of extra knowledge.

As the concept gained traction, Andy appealed to the leading lighting brands in Leisuretec’s portfolio and asked for their support, including Eaton, who were delighted to participate by providing a selection of consoles to illustrate the control side of lighting.

The current package of desks includes the new Zero 88 FLX S range which are perfect for learning.

“Training and technical support that empowers end-users is right at the top of our agenda,” confirms Zero 88’s international sales manager Tyler Holpin. “We have supported Andy’s initiative right from the start, and it’s great to see it become such a success.”

In fact, the Eaton Zero 88 team took it one step further when the chief UK technical sales manager Mandy Bullock-Williams joined Andy as the second presenter.

“We work extremely well together,” commented Andy, “being able to banter is good fun and livens up the atmosphere, and to have another knowledgeable person to bounce ideas off and recall and share their own experiences – and between us there’s many – is highly beneficial. So, it’s very much become a collaborative effort.”

Mandy’s career as a lighting professional began an impressive 46 years ago, when she became fascinated by lighting whilst still at school, and at that time, ‘training’ was virtually non-existent.

“That’s all changed now,” she observes, “but there is still a real need for concise, practically based courses like this which will give individuals already working in the industry more insight into a specific aspect. Anyone interested in taking their lighting knowledge further now has several options.”

Topics covered on the Lighting Basics course include looking at the different types of available fixtures, what they do and how and when to use them including profiles, Fresnels, washes, PARs, LEDs, tungsten, arc sources and moving lights, for which Eaton provided several generic fixtures from Italian theatrical specialist, LDR.

The control section introduces DMX and basic desk programming and operation and goes into how to achieve colour changing in LEDs or making a light move and how to work effectively with gobos.

Grass roots wiring and electrical theory are also part of the daily syllabus. Each course culminates in the two groups being asked to set up some lighting for a theoretical corporate event utilising between four and six of the luminaires – with which they are now familiar – and a wind-up stand, while Andy poses as the fussiest, most pedantic and hard-to-please event client / keynote speaker!

The daily class is split into two in Leisuretec’s purpose-built TecZone area, allowing both sub-groups to work on an identical set of fixtures and get properly hands-on with these, and the numbers are limited to 12 maximum per session.

It’s an intense amount of information to absorb in a single day, but the feedback received by Andy and Mandy, Leisuretec and Zero 88 has allowed them to optimise the content so it’s thorough and sufficient for everyone to digest comfortably, yet not so overwhelming that they forget everything as soon as they leave.

Zero 88 and Leisuretec also stage console-dedicated courses at other times in the year which currently focus on Zero’s award-winning new FLX and FLX S ranges and how easy they are to use. Zero 88 also run their own product training and awareness programmes.

Please check for further details.

Andy also ran a Lighting Basics Juniors course for nine 13- and 14-year-olds as a one-off day event, which he describes as: “Probably the most rewarding course I have run. They had a genuine interest,” and followed the exact same course as the adults: “Fully embracing the technology even though none of them had ever handled lighting equipment before.” He hopes to have sparked at least some of them to consider an industry-related career.

In picture: Day 3 group with tutors Andy Friedli (far left) and Mandy Bullock-Williams (fourth from left). photo: Louise Stickland

30th August 2018

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