Accessorizing Your Gear

A continuation of ‘Know Your Gear’…

Now that you have selected the best fixtures to add to inventory, how are you going to use them? It’s time to start thinking about grip, control cable, power cable and distro. There is a decent chance, on a special event, that your distro may be seen to guests – there is an absolute chance that your cable will be visible. The look of your gear is just as important as how you lay it out and run it (stay tuned for that blog post!).
Grip. In the special event lighting world you may be hanging these fixtures in a variety of different type of spaces, which requires different type of grip. Consider where, and how, you are hanging the fixtures – in a ballroom on a truss, in a tent, inside a piece of scenery or decor, top mounted to truss. All different scenarios that you need to be prepared for, which all require different types of hang options.
Control Cable. Depending on the manufacturer, the fixtures can send data through either 3pin or 5pin (in most cases), sometimes both options. Do you buy one piece of cable per fixture? What lengths? Is your inventory constantly turing over on gig after gig, meaning do you need to have extra cable on hand so that you aren’t waiting for a show to come back to the shop before another show is prepped? All of this information, along with a handy ‘general rule of thumb’ that true lighting techs know, you’ll be able to make logical and economical choices.
Power Cable. These questions are similar to those above for control. However, there are several options if your fixtures have the ability to run at 208v. If running 208v, your typical GR (or Edison) cable won’t help you out here. When you branch out into different types of lighting gear, cable options are an expensive necessity. Know your venue situations, and how you are going to need to run your lighting rig for a successful event.
Just a note about control and power cable. There is no magic formula. However lighting designers, most of the time, like their rig to be symmetrical. This is a decent jumping off point when purchasing cables.

Distribution. There are many choices of distros on the market. This decision will be determined by the type of fixtures purchased and how you will be powering them. 120v distros, 208v distros, some with GR, L620, Soca or a combination of outputs and inputs for that matter. Most manufacturers of power distribution offer a build your own distro. Although not as inexpensive as what they have in built stock, this is the best way to get exactly what you need.

A lighting inventory just isn’t about the quality and type of fixture. Like I was writing about last week. This also applies to the above as well. There are the super inexpensive, cheaper options but quality needs to be taken into consideration here too. When speaking of the quality of your cable and distro, safety should be a top concern. Happy shopping! ~Beth, Lead Production Tech @ Solus Lighting LTD

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” – Pythagoras

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