Recommendations for seminar/workshop presenters

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Recommendations for seminar/workshop presenters

Postby dokai » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:58 am

The first meeting of the brand new Rhode Island chapter of the ADJA took place Wednesday, 10/14/2009. It was also the third of a three-night workshop called "DMX After Dark", which was co-hosted by the CT, MA and RI chapters. The person presenting the workshop was Ben Stowe from Northern Light FX, aka NLFXpro.com.

As some of you may know, Ben has won many awards for his work in the lighting industry. Some of you may also know that Ben is a true technology nerd, and LOVES this stuff. His enthusiasm for lighting translated to a fantastic three days, with many people electing to attend all three nights just to make sure they didn't miss anything, despite the three locations being a couple of hours distant from each other.

Of particular note was the fact that people were encouraged to bring their laptops, which were then plugged into supplied DMX interfaces and lights, allowing attendees to actually manipulate the light on the table in front of them while Ben was explaining the steps. One attendee even brought along a pair of moving heads just so he could get some training on HIS gear. There was also lots of one-on-one time with Ben after the meetings.

I'd like to recommend Ben Stowe to any organization or chapter out there that's looking for a technology savvy AND entertaining presentation. I really can't say enough about what a great person Ben is, and how much I enjoyed his workshops. My wedding party introductions are going to look MUCH different next year, thanks to Ben!
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Postby CJ Greiner » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:52 pm

Wow - that's really neat. I've learned lots (the hard way) about DMX. I think it's great that other DJs won't have to go through the same learning curve I did.

DMX can be easy - if it's taught by the right person, and the right tools are used.
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Postby dokai » Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:56 am

CJ - I hear that Ben is going to build on the workshops I attended in preparation for this year's MBLV in February. Should be a great opportunity.
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Re: Recommendations for seminar/workshop presenters

Postby jbrown157 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:16 pm

Did they discuss using mic cables for DMX? I've done some reading and some say you never do it and others say it's ok.
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Re: Recommendations for seminar/workshop presenters

Postby dokai » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:19 am

jbrown157 wrote:Did they discuss using mic cables for DMX? I've done some reading and some say you never do it and others say it's ok.


This topic and "Terminate, or not?" were the two main myths that Ben debunked. As he put it, "it's like speeding: everyone gets away with it with no problem right up until they don't."

ALWAYS use DMX cables (which cost less than most high-end mic cables) and ALWAYS terminate your DMX chain. Otherwise you run the risk of signal degradation and the resulting head-scratching as you watch your lights do strange things that you're not telling them to do. Can you get away with cheating on these? For a little while, probably, depending on how elaborate your lightshow is, the distances involved, etc. But why would any professional want to risk his reputation when it's so easily avoided? A terminator costs next to nothing, and there's no money to be saved by using mic cables instead of DMX cables.

FYI, there are very real differences between the construction of standard mic cables and DMX cables. In fact, an article I read recently described how cold solder joints that don't show up in testing a DMX cable with a standard analog cable tester can still wreak havoc with a digital signal. If a cold solder joint in a legit DMX cable can cause that much trouble, imagine what the lack of shielding, the impedance mismatch and all the other differences between DMX and mic cables can cause.

Drop Ben a message if you'd like more info. He has TONS of information on these topics, and wants to get the truth out to as many people as possible. He'd be glad to hear from you.
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