By Steven Louis Shelley
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Additional resources for A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Second Edition
For example, a backlight system equipped with a cool or saturated color may require fewer control channels. A second backlight system, in the same light plot, may contain warmer or more desaturated color. Since that color may provide more visual punch, the second system may be assigned more control channels, and assume the task of providing isolation. From the audience’s angle of observation, an even blend of a single color on the floor eliminates the possibility of distractions caused by seeing bright or dark spots on the performance surface.
Since computerized lighting systems electronically control dimmers, it’s possible for a single channel to control more than one dimmer. Returning to the same example, the same instrument is still hardpatched into dimmer 2. Another instrument is plugged into dimmer 3. The computer light board is now programmed to softpatch both dimmer 2 and dimmer 3 to be controlled by channel 1. Bringing up channel 1 now activates both dimmers, and both instruments will be brought up together. On most modern computer light boards, it’s possible for any number of dimmers or instruments to be controlled by any single channel.
Here are two examples of how the two pieces of information are used to perform basic load calculations. Example 1: Is it possible to plug three 1000-watt instruments (or 3 kilowatts, or 3 kw) simultaneously into a single #12 cable? Multiplying the individual wattage by 3 results in the total wattage being considered (1000 × 3 = 3000 watts). Since the voltage is a given (110 volts), the second version of the power formula is used. 27 amps, much more than the 20-amp rating assigned to the #12 cable.