Lighting control console
A lighting control console which may also be referred to as a lighting desk or lighting board happens to be a type of electronic device that is used in types of theatrical illumination design which will be able to handle many different lights all at once. They are used all throughout the entertainment industry and will normally be placed within a control booth or at the Front of House which is also called FOH position.
These lightboards are able to operate a type of dimmer which is there to help to determine the intensity of the lights. There are many modern versions that are able to control intelligent models which can produce gobo patterns, movements, and even change colors as well as control hazers, fog machines and many other types of special effect devices. There are some types that are able to have an interface with other types of electronic performance hardware such as motors, automated winches, media servers, projectors, sound boards and many other things that are in place to help improve the synchronization of the equipment or to unify it.
It is these types of consoles that will communicate with a dimmer and other equipment within the whole system through an electronic control protocol. A very common type of protocol that is used within the entertainment industry is going to be the DMX 512, even though there are other types that may still be found to be used, and there are a lot of newer protocols that are being developed such as the DMX 512-A and even the CAN that are able to meet the demands of more up to date and sophisticated devices.
All of these systems are going to be different based on their complexity and size. There are the smaller preset versions that are dedicated to moving lights. The whole purpose for these, are all going to be same and that is to consolidate equipment into an easily organized, simple system so that the designer is able to concentrate on putting on a really great show. Many of these systems will accept MIDI signals as well as commands which allow the systems to be integrated into the capabilities for much more complex shows.
There are some versions that are completely PC or personal computer based. This version is much newer and will software that has a set that is very similar to what is found within hardware-based systems. It is this type of system that will let there be a built to fit type of approach. The user will often provide a good type of PC that will fit their budget and other needs that will come equipped with future options to help improve the whole system. There are some vendors that will offer a type of PC software version of the consoles. Commercial software will often require an expensive and specific hardware DMX interface. However, the DMX PC interfaces are much cheaper and there are a lot of open sourced or free software that can be used.