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Stage Lighting systems have, until a few years ago, relied on relatively expensive specialist hardware (and later, software) to control lighting. These Lighting Desks were expensive to produce, and all operated slightly differently from each other.
Once the computer controlling the system became a standard Windows PC (or similar), the software running the desk became easily upgradable, and ‘offline’ versions of the software could be run on a standard home computer, and show files could be edited and transferred around on a memory stick (or a floppy disk originally).
The hardware is still useful for professional programmers, where the speed of access to specific buttons and faders enables a very fast programming environment. However, many more users (including those that cannot begin to think about affording the hardware) are using the software on its’ own. The Eos software, by ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), can run on Windows or Mac computers, and with the addition of a dongle to authorise a licence, and hardware to produce a DMX signal, it has the same functionality as a full lighting desk.
Below are listed some of the current software-based systems.
Chamsys Magic Q
Also available: Chamsys MagicHD – Media Server software
Official website: https://secure.chamsys.co.uk/magicq
Official website: https://www.daslight.com/
Nomad key & EOS Software
Official website: https://www.etcconnect.com
GrandMA2 on PC
Official website: http://www.malighting.com/en/support-downloads/software.html
Vista by Chroma-Q (formerly Jands Vista)
Official website: https://www.vistabychromaq.com
Compatible with: Windows (Windows 10 only) or Mac OS (after OSX Sierra)
Onyx NX by Obsidian Control
New to lighting control, this is the industry-standard Mac software for sound and media playback.
Official website: http://figure53.com/qlab/