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Focus on Lighting Technology

Everything you always wanted to know about entertainment lighting but were afraid you would be too bored if you asked!


Richard Cadena’s concise work unravels the mechanics behind modern performance lighting and appeals to designers and technicians alike. Packed with clear, easy-to-read diagrams, the book provides excellent explanations behind the technology that is used on a daily basis in the lighting industry – often taken for granted, but rarely explained.


The workings of dimmers and DMX transmission are clearly explained, along with Advanced Control Networks. For technicians there is an insight into power supplies, basic electrical theory and protection, and the mechanics of moving lights.


For designers, there is an explanation of the scientific method of comparing brightness, which makes an excellent complement to the chapter on the Inverse Square Law, and a look into how dichroic filters work in comparison to traditional ‘gels’. It provides the designer with an informed choice when selecting colour media.


In total, the book shows the route that lighting technology has taken to where it is today, and an insight into what future technology is likely to bring the lighting industry.

Author: Richard Cadena
Publication Date: 15th April 2002
Book Format: Paperback
Kindle Version: Click here to buy from Amazon
Price: £17.95


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This book is primarily concerned with the technology behind modern day lighting systems. Subjects such as control systems, dimmers, power supplies and servo control are all covered, along with optical technology from gels to lenses and reflectors. An amusing and informative read, the book provides good background reading for all those starting out in the world of entertainment lighting.


Cadena has a long history in the business. Starting his career with Blackstone AV in the US – now better known as High End Systems – he has built up a considerable knowledge of lighting and its related control systems. After a brief introduction the book starts with the basics of control – or the building blocks of DMX – describing its structure and behaviour.


The new (yet to be ratified as a Standard) ACN protocol is also covered, before we go ‘back to basics’ to discuss the properties of light, or more particularly colour temperature. While this is well described, the lack of discussion on colour mixing and filters is noticeable. There is a brief overview of lamp output measurements and terminology, before moving on to electrical power theory and measurements. This leads neatly into dimming technology, which is covered in an easy to understand manner, and includes – briefly – the latest in IGBT technology.


Cadena then investigate the mechanics of optical systems, illustrating the inverse square law, light intensity and gives an excellent description of achromatic lenses and their features. The book then continues on, somewhat distractingly, to study circuit breakers and their characteristics. Whilst every lighting tech has cause to understand them, it does appear something of a diversion.


The final chapters concern themselves with servomotor control, such as those found in moving lights, and the technology and design of energy-efficient power supplies. Glass gobos and dichroic colour are given the Cadena treatment, which also covers some of the detail ‘missed out’ from the section on colour temperature. There is a brief part on reflector design before finishing off with a brief history of the moving light and a quick gaze into Cadena’s crystal ball for the future.


While subjects are covered quite briefly, the book includes some amusing anecdotes, is easy to read, and has an accessible, conversational tone and features the latest technology. If you’re a fledgling technician who knows little more than one end of a Par can from the other, then this book will prove very useful – especially if you want to get up to speed with moving light technology.