The Best Lighting Controller
"Which is the best lighting desk?"
This is another common question I’m asked, usually by students or those starting out in our industry. As you may imagine, there really isn’t an answer to this. Whilst I don’t have a detailed knowledge of all consoles, I have seen or had a brief overview of most professional ranges currently on the market. I’ve also worked on a good number of multi-programmer multi-brand console shows, and came to the conclusion very early on that it’s really all about personal preference. They pretty much all do the same thing, just get there via a slightly different method. It’s a little like the Mac/PC debate where some users swear by one or other products, but ultimately they both allow for similar work to be produced. Some consoles are certainly aimed towards a specific market or user base, and all have strengths and weaknesses.
My advice would be to look at everything, and once you have found something you are comfortable with to stick with this product line if at all possible. At one stage I tried to cover 20 different consoles, (including model variants), but I quickly found this to be a mistake. Specializing in a small range of consoles not only improves your knowledge, as you are using the same product over and over again, but also gives you the best opportunity to forge relationships with the software developers. This allows you not only keep up with every new feature and bug fix, but also to help shape the way the product evolves.
Here are a few console ranges to take a look at in the first instance. Note this list may not be exhaustive. Apologies to anyone I have missed out.