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Mark D'Agostino
Lighting Design software
on Nov 1, 2010 at 7:06:49 pm

Is there software, (preferably freeware or very inexpensive-ware), that I can use to create a lighting diagram. I am doing mostly studio lighting with existing grid. I'm looking for something that has the icons for various lighting fixtures.


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 3, 2010 at 6:12:49 pm

Any opinions regarding MicroLux? I downloaded the free "light" version but haven't had the chance to try it out yet.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:53:23 pm

If you're on (or have access to) a MAC - I can't recommend OmniGraffle more highly.

You can master the program in a few days - and it may change your life.

It's an ASTONISHING layout tool and if you go to GraffleTopia - a site where users share and freely trade design compositions - you'll find a whole array of pre-built theatrical lighting instruments ready to drag and drop onto stage plots.

This has become my GO TO software for the layout and design of most common business tasks - MUCH easier than anything else I know of, and really, really flexible for 2D stage plot style designs.



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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 4, 2010 at 2:37:39 pm

Thanks Bill. Based on your enthusiastic response I'll definitely check it out.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Dan Brockett
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 5, 2010 at 7:23:37 pm

I second OmniGraffle. I have used it for three shows this year and did some elaborate camera plots and lighting plots with it and I am very graphics/drawing impaired.

Used it on an eight camera live concert and a six camera poker game shoot I did for Fox. Clients were very impressed and crew loved them. I just use different basic shapes to signify different types of lighting fixtures, they don't have to be artistically accurate for a gaffer to look at. Use a distinct shape and or color and label it and the crew gets the message.

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 6, 2010 at 7:23:22 am

We use Vectorworks.... which is basically the lighting industry standard.



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Dan Brockett
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:38:58 am

Dennis:

Vectorworks looks amazing. How hard is it to learn? It is a full CAD program so it probably takes some experience/training or intuition in using CAD? I have seen plots done with it before, top notch program.

Also, FWIW:

Vectorworks Spotlight = U.S. $1,995.00
OmniGraffle 5 Professional - U.S. $199.00

Definitely for two different audiences.

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:46:08 am

I believe it's relatively easy to learn. I personally don't draft as I have "people" doing it for me.
Wow....it costs that much? !!! :-)



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Dan Brockett
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:36:55 pm

Actually, looks as if the cost has increased
http://www.amazon.com/v-2009-Spotlight-RenderWorks-MAC/dp/B000XAWRMQ/ref=sr...

I am sure it is a great program but only within budgets of companies and or working lighting designers. Wish I had "people" who could do my plots;-)

Dan

A Producer Who Is Also A DP? Yep, that's Me.

http://www.danbrockett.com


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Michael Easparam
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 14, 2010 at 10:23:17 pm

We use Vectorworks, def a great product. As someone who took 4 semesters of AutoCad classes - Vectorworks is NOT easy to learn! It's completely different IMO, but once you either learn it yourself or (highly recommended) take a class - it's not too bad.

Here's the deal with Vectorworks - it's a 3D program. That's why it costs so much. You can literally flip the set from a frontal view to a top view to an isometric view with a couple clicks (assuming your machine is very fast!).

If you (or anyone else reading) decides to buy Vectorworks, buy the package with Renderworks. It's MUCH cheaper together and it lets you texture shapes instead of just working with a wireframe model. Probably not as useful to the average commercial guy as it is to someone planning a studio setup, but it's very nice to have and it will hit your pocket hard if you have to buy it later.

For basic 2D plots, I've seen lots of concert/theatrical guys use Microsoft Visio and some light symbol stencils. I think the student version of Visio is $9. However, I have not seen any film type fixtures in Visio before. In Vectorworks, we just draw a 3D model of the fixture if one is not available from the manufacturer (you can of course import AutoCad shapes).

Also, just for the sake of mentioning it - there is also another product similar to Vectorworks called Wysiwyg (What you see is what you get). In my opinion only - it's the biggest pain in the butt I've ever seen. Totally backwards and you have to deal with their stupid dongle system. Lose the dongle, your software is useless and they will not replace it. I have however seen some nice drawings done with it. Not sure how long they took to make though!


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Lighting Design software
on Nov 8, 2010 at 2:55:41 pm

Thanks Dennis. I had heard of Vectorworks a while back and would love to use it but it's way out of my price range. I'm giving MicroLux a try. The "light" version is free. The "pro"version is $899 but can be had for $99 if I "act fast" and buy soon.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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