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Making good videos and still images requires the ability and capacity to control what is being captured and recorded. Lighting is a huge factor in most situations, especially important for making videos that are engaging or entertaining.
Regarding studio lighting, you may have come across DMX lighting. What is DMX lighting and how can it help us with our own video or still imaging projects?
What Is DMX Lighting Anyways?
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DMX is not a brand name or a rap star, it is a digital standard for lighting and effects control. DMX stands for digital multiplexing. This standard allows compatible lighting or other machines to be controlled by a central board. DMX supports 512 channels per fixture of control and since it is digital, you can wire units in series as opposed to snaking a separate cord for each device back to a control panel.
So, DMX is not a special effects machine or a specialty sound mixer, but rather a method of connecting and controlling lighting and other effects that is digital in nature and simple to connect.
DMX Lighting Benefits
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DMX lighting benefits us in several ways. DMX lighting for photography of still images eases up our studio workflow, especially when working with models or in making portraits. Sometimes, we need to add models to our product photography for clarity of purpose or for lifestyle images. DMX lighting gives us centralized control over all the changes required for the various images.
DMX lighting for videography is where we really feel the positive DMX lighting benefits in regards to simplifying our workflow. Since we have things in motion, including the recording (hence the term ‘motion picture’ still applies), we optimally want a method of lighting control that won’t require us to either pause the action or work arounds for ensuring non performers don’t show in the view.
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Setting up all of our lighting and effects with DMX lighting control lets us make all of the changes from a centralised console, avoiding pausing production or working around non on screen people. Some DMX lighting consoles even allow for preprogramming all of the adjustments.
This centralized control can open up our creativity as well. Imagine being able to mimic the effect of cloud passing over the Sun while a character is engaged in a touching soliloquy. Or, dimming light on one part of an object and turning on a light on a different part when the instructor moves on to that next part in a training video. There are lots of possibilities for creative filmmaking made available with DMX lighting.
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Obviously, to take advantage of all that DMX lighting control offers, we will need to have compatible equipment. What do we need for DMX lighting? We will want to have lights that can be controlled by a DMX lighting console and we will need a console or controller of some sort. There are multiple great options in both of these categories.
When choosing new equipment for professional video production, I like to see what Ikan Corp. has available. Ikan is a manufacturer and retailer of high end video production accessories and lighting. Since they make what they sell, you can often find amazing gear at lower than expected prices.
Lyra LCX21 Soft Panel Light
This is an example of a very good video light with lots of DMX control options as well as excellent general lighting quality and characteristics. The Lyra LCX21 Soft Panel Light has a CRI of 97, uses LED bulbs for versatile control and low heat, variable color temperatures from 2800K to 10,000K, special lighting effects, heavy duty construction, and can be powered by either AC or batteries.
The lights can be controlled either by a DMX lighting console or by the switches, dials, and menu on the light itself. This light is very bright and is adjustable in several aspects of color for blending in with ambient lighting or with other lights you already own.
Ikan IDX-096 DMX Console
For controlling multiple fixtures and lights, the IDX-096 DMX Lighting Console from Ikan provides 96 channels of light dimming and can be programmed for 4 pages of 24 scenes each. Additionally, you can program fade and chase times, you can even plug in DMX enable audio for changing options to the beat of a soundtrack.
What Is DMX Lighting Good For?
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So, what is DMX lighting good for? It allows you as a photographer or as a filmmaker videographer complete control over lighting changes without ever touching the lights or getting in the way of a scene. DMX lighting will open up new avenues of creativity as it eases your workflow