Focus Plotting Your Lighting
Digital photography has revolutionised the process of
documenting show lighting. With film, taking a
picture of every focus was an unnafordable,
impractical dream. Today, it is a reality.
Of course, it’s still a lot of photographs -
but FocusTrack is here to help. Focus plotting entire
musicals in just a few hours is common, without any
need to manually annotate or sketch focuses.
If you use a Mac, FocusTrack (for the moving lights)
and RigTrack (for the conventional lights) can talk
to your console, turning a light on in the right
place so you can take a picture, then turning it off
and turning the next one on for you. You can just sit
in the circle with a laptop and a camera and work
through your show quickly and efficiently, no more
lists and radios to call the console operator to
bring up channels. FocusTrack will warn you when you
need to change scenery. FocusTrack can even trigger
the camera for you. The process is fast: 1500 lamp
focuses in just a few hours on many big shows.
When you’re done, import the pictures from your
camera to your laptop. FocusTrack knows the order you
were working in, so tell it the name of the first
image file and it pulls the right picture into the
(If you REALLY want, you can automate the whole
process - FocusTrack can do the whole thing on its
own. We always find it nice to have a person standing
in the light in each picture, and the slowest and
most unpredictable part is usually waiting for them
to get to the right place!)
You can add other photographs for each focus -
perhaps a picture of all of the units in a wash, or a
‘lamp’s point of view’ picture,
particularly useful for cross-light.
Plus FocusTrack’s Cue List provides a
repositary for cue photos - and those photos will
show up in FocusTrack, too. Ask to see focuses by cue
and you’ll see the light on its own, possibly
its use as part of a wash and then the cue as a whole
- the building blocks and the end result.