By Steven Louis Shelley
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Extra resources for A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Second Edition
Choosing the proper beam spread is directly related to the number of instruments needed to cover the entire backdrop. One formula used to determine the total number of instruments needed is based on the cautious assumption that a typical template will cut the overall diameter of an instrument’s beam by about 50%. Based on that assumption, the number of instruments of any particular beam spread can be determined. When template systems are used to “break up” an entire performance surface, they are often designed so that they produce as much patterned light as possible, while requiring the fewest instruments to achieve that coverage.
In this example, the computer lighting console controls the dimmer with low voltage current. For our purposes, the word control can be used not only as a verb, but also as a noun. Control can refer to any generic device that controls a dimmer, and is a requirement for every electronic dimming system. The electrical path must remain unbroken in order for the lighting instrument to receive controlled voltage and function correctly. Understanding each point in the path allows the lighting designer to properly control the electricity supplied to each device or lighting source.
24-1000watt instruments should not overload the dimmer pack. (In reality, 24 × 1000-watt instruments, divided by 110 volts, equals 218 amps. ) Rule of thumb two: How many amps are needed to power 15-1000-watt instruments? Rough answer: 15-1000-watt instruments equals 15 × 10 amps each, or 150 amps. (In reality, 15,000 watts, divided by 110 volts, equals 136 amps. ) When possible, the production electrician’s load calculations on a dimmer system should be a double-check of prior calculations made by the lighting designer.