Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET Professional.
Since my son was born 6 years ago, I have had a lot of experience with “some assembly required,” then having to show him how to use the thing that I just spent way too long building. Reading the manual helps a lot with situations like this, and also having some time to play with it first before showing him how to use it. Admittedly, sometimes I have a hard time giving up the new toy and letting him play with it.
I. Read the manual. Reading the manual may not seem like an important thing, but to be honest, it is really important, especially when you are using a fixture you have never used before. The manual will have important information on rigging, operation, power specification and installation. All of this is pretty important when you have your brand new light and you are trying to guess how to hang it, set a DMX channel, or navigate through the menu map. By guessing on how to operate or hang a fixture, you may end up damaging it before you even get to use it. Reading and understanding the specifications of the fixture will also help you to better apply the fixture to a particular situation.
II. Check out the light before the show. Playing with your new light before you get to a show is also a great idea. This will prevent you from having to do on-the-job training and not being able to fully utilize the awesomeness of the fixture. There is nothing worse than walking in to program something, looking up and not knowing the gear that is in the rig, or how to utilize it. I love setting up lights in my living room and getting a chance to see how fast it pans tilts, and what colors look best plastering the walls. It is also a good time to work with a new fixture without any distractions. This is also the perfect time to make sure that the fixture profiles are working properly and that you will not have any on-site problems that could have been caught beforehand.
This is even more important when using multimedia gear like projectors or video walls. Not knowing the ins and outs will add a lot of time into the programming of your show and could cost you future shows with the same people. It is really apparent when you are trying to figure out something on the fly. The sweat dripping off your forehead is a dead giveaway.
Chauvet provides great documentation including manuals and quick resource guides for all of the products. We also have product videos that show exactly what they can do. This information is available at www.chauvetlighting.com. I highly suggest checking it out, as it is a great resource of information and inspiration for making your show a success.