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In what situation would us use a Dimmer? How do you use them?


Just so you know...


Me and a couple of friends are thinking about opening a stage management business and when we go to the company that want our services, we intend to use our own equipment so there can be as little at fault as possible :-) I know the basics in lighting & sound and I took a class bout a year ago with The ASP.



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You would use a dimmer any time you want to be able to control the intensity of a light. Some exceptions to this are movers which often have mechanical dimming and discharge lights. For a typical stage show you might have between say 12 and a couple of hundred channels of dimming with each channel controlling one or more lights. Typical connection goes: Desk outputs DMX over a cable to the dimmers. Dimmers are fed from a three phase input and output over single phase connectors to the lighting circuits which have the lights attached.


Being from the other side of the world I'm not familiar with the course you took, did they not cover dimmers in it? It might be wise to do some more training or do some work with your local community theatre to enhance your knowledge and get more hands on experience.


As far as starting your own company goes, there are plenty of people on the blue room who do exactly what you're talking about for a living. Have a look through the archives and then ask them what's involved. You'll pick up a lot of information from them.





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In what situation would us use a Dimmer? How do you use them?




Me and a couple of friends are thinking about opening a stage management business


If you are starting a stage management business why are you asking about dimmers?

Dimmers are used by lighting people not by stage management people.

Stage Management is a discipline in it's own right.



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<sighs deeply>


Rob, hi and welcome to the Blue rom.

However, as is my wont, I'll dive straight in with my 10c.


If you intend to start a business of ANY sort there's one thing you MUST have above all else - even money...

That one thing is experience.


You need to have workied in said business area for some considerable time as a paid, working, adult, and thus garnered enough knowledge not just about the products/services you might want to offer as your own 'boss', but also about the marketplace in your area of expertise. You'll also need to have built up an extensive list of contacts in the business, bearing in mind that this is a pretty limited niche market in the first place, so your potential customers will have a wider choice than you may think to choose from.


You'll then need that other thing I mentioned - money.

You'll need insurance, both for yourselves (PLI) and any kit you might invest in.

Transport - not cheap, even a basic transit needs servicing, fuelling, taxing, insuring etc.

Equipment and tools - all cost, and if you plan to succeed in business you'll need to go for quality - hence usually more expensive - options.


There are a raft of other things to think about - all of which, if you care to trawl the BR using the SEARCH option above, have been discussed many times.


So - my advice - get some work experience and stick with that for a few years before you think about branching out on your own.


Oh, and unfortunately, if you need to ask such a basic question as "What would one use a dimmer for" then quite honestly you're nowhere NEAR being close enough to have a business being just a twinkle in your imaginative eye.


Not what you may want to hear, but them's the facts, and nothing will change.


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You say in one of your other posts concerning sound that, "you are more of a lighting technician".


And you don't know what a dimmer is?????????????????????????????????????????????


Please save yourself a lot of heartache and money and do not even consider setting up a business.


Potential hirers will come to you for advice. What on earth are you going to be able to tell them?

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the most basic way to describe a dimmer;


do you have those light switches in your home where you can twist the knob and the light dims?

Vola! there is your dimmer.


now, put in to our industry; they are quite different one dimmer may be able to dim 1 or 2 kilowatts of lighting. it gets very complicated, and only fully competent people should mess with such equipment.


whatever has come across you to want to 'start a stage management business' which is more of a sound and lighting hire company?


like the others who have said, this is a bad idea. and will not work anyway if you are currently in compulsory education.

you need to know what it is you are offering in the first place.

stage management (cueing, prop checking, set changing (and in amateur theatre controlling the actors))

sound/lighting (designing, rigging, focusing, programming, operating, de-rigging,)

The main problem is age, now I don't know how old you are. but presuming your young, people are not going to take you seriously as a business if you are running around and messing about (google being an exception)


Its not that people on here don't want you to enter the trade and be successful. They don't want you to look stupid.

try getting work, not as a company, as an individual for now.


if you get a lot of 'business' then become one (legally) if not, keep going as you are. Get some training, get employed, get some contacts. then think again about starting a business.

Bare in mind that most technicians/engineers in this industry are freelance, and a lot of the freelance have other jobs.

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I have worked as a Stage Manager, Property Master and Lighting Designer for three years, and I wouldn't dream of starting my own company yet.


I don't know about the UK (because I live in Canada), but I don't think that most theatre companies would need that (incorrectly classified) service. Most all theatres have their own dimmer boxes, and would probably frown on an enitely new set of equipment coming in. (I have only ever heard of this happening once. It was a Broadway Across Canada production that was contractually obligated to use a specific companies equpiment.)


Gil Miciak

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Most all theatres have their own dimmer boxes, and would probably frown on an enitely new set of equipment coming in.


Actually, you're not necessarily correct there.

Certainly major touring shows into top class venues come in equipped with their own LX kit - often on pre-wired bars - many with their own dimmer 'city' which plugs into the house mains supply and gets cabled out to the barrels.


Smaller theatres of course may well be different, using the house rig as appropriate.

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Being in business is little to do with the business discipline, it IS however a lot to do with the discipline of "Business" .


The knowledge of your business -sound light etc is simply assumed to be there. What sets you apart from others -and there are hundreds!- is your business attitude competence confidence and simply being "nice to have around" mean a LOT. Having a huge contact list helps, but the comfidence that comes from having cone the job many times before shows through.


Very few people have the real opportunity to start from scratch and make a business without learning in the employ of another (usu older) person or company. Then comes the job of finding new work for yourself so that you don;t upset your previous employer.

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