DMX lights don’t refer to a specific type of bulb. Instead, DMX is a moniker indicating the type of control you have over the lights on set. DMX control is common in the broadcast industry, but unfortunately, not everyone knows how to make the most out of this technology. Thankfully, learning the ropes is just as simple as it is beneficial to your production.
To ensure your content looks professional, read this guide to learn how to seamlessly integrate DMX lights into your production. As anyone in the industry should know, lights are some of the most important tools on set, so you should know how to use them properly.
The Basics of DMX Lights
Before getting into the essentials of DMX lighting integration, let’s break down some details about this popular lighting option first. As mentioned above, DMX lighting doesn’t refer to one type of bulb, but rather to a series of equipment set up in a way that offers you optimal control over the studio lighting.
The term DMX stands for “digital multiplex signal” and primarily contains LED lights and a controller console, as well as the cables that connect everything securely. So, what exactly do these tools let you control? Thanks to DMX setups, you can control how your lights look during each broadcast. For instance, if strobe effects or color mixing benefits your video content, you can brilliantly use DMX controllers to achieve such visuals.
On the other hand, if you need to dim the lights on set for a dramatic effect, DMX controllers will get the job done. Of course, the more channels your console has, the wider range of lighting control is available. Thankfully, DMX consoles come in a wide range of channel accommodations. For example, Ikan’s Lite-Puter 8-channel DMX light consoles are great for productions requiring no more than eight channels. On the other hand, for maximum lighting optimization, Ikan’s IDX-096 DMX512 provides 96 programmable channels.
Consider the Environment
When figuring out how to weave DMX control into your production, always think about how the lights interact with the environment. More specifically, think about how the lights will affect how the main subject in the camera frame looks. For example, if you’re shooting a musical act, how will the lights reflect off their instruments?
These are the type of questions you must always ask yourself, the answers of which are always unique to each shoot depending on the subject. In most cases, the best type of lighting for professional productions is the kind the audience doesn’t notice whatsoever. In other words, unless a heavy touch of style is necessary, then the lights should make your broadcast set and hosts look clear and natural. If the lights bounce all over the place and change colors while the host delivers a serious news report, that’s distracting instead of engaging.
Aim Them at the Subject
Although it might sound obvious to some people, one of the crucial tips for integrating DMX lights into your set is aiming them at the subject. After all, the lights should be enhancing what’s in front of the camera, flooding it with brilliant colors, or bathing it in a warm, subtle glow. As mentioned above, considering your environment is key for setting up DMX lights perfectly. That way, you can make the most out of what’s on stage, whether it’s a band, presenter, or beyond.
However, it’s easy to focus on how the lights interact with the stage and not the audience. For example, if you’re shooting a musical performance, you might have to shoot with a crowd of fans at the front of the stage. Of course, this is commonplace at musical events, but don’t forget to establish the LED light bulbs’ aim correctly. Pointing the lights at the audience is distracting, annoying, and counterproductive.
That said, DMX lighting arrangements are for far more than shooting musical performances. This equipment is commonplace in studio lighting arrangements where no audience is sitting behind the camera. That said, aiming the lights at the camera crew is just as counterproductive as aiming them at a concert crowd. To put it simply, make sure your DMX lights always highlight the focus of the production, whether it be a host or guest.
Conduct Test Runs
Like any piece of video production equipment, your DMX system requires test runs before the shoot. Suffice it to say, having the lighting go awry in the middle of the shoot will hurt your ability to compel audiences, especially if it’s a live broadcast. Poor lighting will stand out significantly if your audience is in-studio or watching live at home, distracting them from the content you’re creating. On the other hand, setting up the LED lights perfectly allows you to engage audiences from beginning to end.
Of course, engaging audiences requires compelling content too, but never underestimate how integral your equipment is to production. So, after installing the DMX system on your set, put it to the test. In other words, put your lights through what they’ll experience during the shoot, ensuring they can handle every step of the process. Plus, this test run gives you the chance to find faulty equipment in your setup. A good rule of thumb to avoid such situations is investing in reliable brands and professional-grade gear.
For example, at Ikan, we carry equipment for professional DMX lighting systems, from consoles to lights, to ensure that productions can easily find high-quality gear. The market is full of options, not all of which display the same level of quality, so always be sure you’re buying from reliable industry veterans.
The Final Step
Now that you know how to seamlessly integrate DMX lights into your production, you can make sure they enhance the set instead of ruin it. As you can see, DMX lighting systems can significantly improve video productions, helping you set the perfect mood on set. Although DMX lighting might seem like a complex topic, the aforementioned test runs will help you learn the ropes successfully. After honing your DMX controlling skills, you can ensure every piece of video content has the professional, high-quality visuals you’re striving to achieve.