Review: LightFactory, PC-Based Lighting Controller
In a recent article appearing in Projection Lights and Staging News Magazine (PLSN), Richard Rutherford reviewed the newest member of the Stage Research family, LightFactory. LightFactory allows unprecedented click and go lighting control. Thanks to PLSN magazine for permission to reprint this stellar review.
an experienced sound and lighting contractor, I am often put upon by manufacturer
reps to “…take a look and let us know what you think”
about this piece of gear or that. Sometimes, there may be an actual potential
need for the product, a free lunch or sometimes just plain old curiosity
on my part. In this case, however, the stars aligned properly and I came
across this product that I wanted to check out.
|LightFactory is a PC-based software solution for lighting control that
is laptopcapable. At first glance, it seems to be just another click-and-go
software-based DMX control program, but I found that there is more to it
First of all, I am one of those overconfident types who reads the first page of a manual and then starts pushing buttons just so I can get really frustrated. LightFactory seems to know me. They laid out their Web site with a logical path to FAQs, system requirements and hardware accessories. Very little reading is required to get to the meat of features and operation. Their quick setup manual was almost too clear and simple, and once the software was downloaded, I had dimmers and fixtures patched in about three minutes.
The attention to detail with regards to operating both intelligent lights and dimmers is probably the outstanding feature that goes almost unnoticed because the software is so intuitive in this regard. There may be cooler graphics out there, but the visual response to the mouse and keyboard was logical, useful and functional. Upgrading to the 5,120-channel version and using a couple of large monitors would be great for writing programs for a complex show. The specs say you can get 450 channels up on a single screen, but the company actually recommends a dual monitor display. I agree—not because you really need it, but because the software does so much that you just wouldn’t want to miss anything. The simple color-coding of active channels is really effective, and making on-the-fly changes to fixtures and dimmers only takes a confident glance.
also really liked the photographic icons for individual fixtures and
being able to simply “mouse” intelligent fixtures to X and
Y coordinates. This is the way software should be, where most of the
detailed front end work is done for you. While the open USB interface
is certainly fast enough at 40 frames per second, I suspect that some
heavily burdened laptops might bog a bit. However, some interfaces such
as the Soundlight/Sunlight USB interface have separate microprocessors,
so I don’t see this as an issue if you are willing to spend a
couple more dollars. I have to think that any of the optional Ethernet
interfaces would also work even better, especially if you require multiple
are not included, but considerations for interfacing with software like
Capture and WYSIWYG are handled nicely enough. At less than a dollar per
control channel, the software is very reasonable in cost considering the
quality, and if you pony up for all 10 DMX universes, then you are paying
less than 40 cents a channel.