LDI Thursday: Session Overview from Andrea

Sessions sessions sessions; so many great choices and options it was hard to decide, but the “Art of Programming” day was the front runner for me and I’d like to share my impression of this day of vast information with you.

This is the fourth year for this topic and the panelists (Robert Bell, Vickie Claiborne, Demfis Fyssicopolus, Rob Halliday, Michael Nevitt, Jim Ohrberg, and Brad Schiller) represent every portion of the field of programming for lighting design.

In the “Art of Programming I” session, the panelists focused on: what programmers should do in preparation for programming, how to think about fixture assignments and how to relay your needs to the LD and crews, what to consider in making focus palettes/libraries/presets (and how much is too much), and they also provided a glimpse into the politics/structure on various works (rock and roll, TV, theatre) and how to navigate those situations professionally. The stories and slides that accompanied each of the points made the conference fee worth it, and there are more sessions to go!

After a break for lunch and some catching up on work, the next session for me was the “Art of Programming II.” Here some members of the panel had other sessions to be a part of, but it did not short-change the experience. In this session we learned what each person keeps with them at all times while in the venue, what they document on the show and how they go about this documentation, more in-depth discussion on how they work directly with the LD and how to build the trust that is necessary between them (remember to be personal and professional), and the fact that the safety of the information within the console, and the console itself, is up to the programmer and we learned proactive steps to take to ensure that safety; from saving to the harsh reality of damage or theft.

A short break and it was off to “The Future of Console Design” presented by Rob Halliday. To look at the future we need to look at the past, and the beginning of this session was a fascinating reminder through stories and slides of where the consoles of today have gotten some of their features. The information and humor led directly into the “why” as in we’ve all sat in front of a console and thought “I need it to do this, why can’t I just…” or “programming would be faster if I could just…” This was not just a history lesson or just one person’s viewpoint, it was encouragement to challenge our way of thinking and to continually question and push us to work smarter as LD’s, programmers and developers.

In my view a good session presents information to the audience, and a great session makes them think and question. All three sessions from today did just that.