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The Wireless Post

The Advantages of Using Wireless Technologies

Businesses are always in a race to find and exploit any technology that will give them a competitive edge and that will also best serve their customers. For several decades, now the preeminent technology that businesses have used to accomplish this goal is wireless communications. In fact, wires and cables have almost become technological dinosaurs. Some businesses and individuals still cling on to wires and cables and these devices do have their function. However, more and more they are being usurped by emerging wireless technologies. At Ratpac Dimmers, we are all about innovation and technologies that give our customers the edge over their competition and that increases the public’s appreciation and enjoyment of our products. For those few people who are not convinced of the virtues of wireless technologies – such as our wireless DMX control which uses Lumen Radio’s CRMX – here are just some of the advantages wireless tech offers.


  • Greater mobility: The elimination or reduction of wires means that equipment can be more easily moved from one area to another. This gives lighting designers, stage directors, etc., greater flexibility in the placement of technical equipment. Moreover, wireless systems can be more easily assembled and disassembled than wired setups.
  • Safer working environment: Fewer wires means that the number of trip accidents can be diminished which increases workplace safety.
  • Greater flexibility: It’s easier and quicker to add other components to wireless systems than it is with wired systems.
  • Greater reach: Wireless equipment can be connected in areas that would be difficult for wired networks. For example, many entertainment venues often have aesthetic styling considerations, which would make the presence of wires and cables impractical.
  • Lower cost: Wireless systems are often less expensive than wired systems since wires and cables are purchased on a perfoot cost. Moreover, wireless systems reduce the cost of installation and the time needed for re-routing and wire maintenance.
  • Greater scalability: The reach of wireless networks can be expanded more easily than a wired system. Moreover, this greater scalability means fewer workers are required for set up and installation.Wireless Dimmer


Yes, the advantages of wireless devices are obvious and explain why they have all but replaced wires and cables in many areas of business. The entertainment industry is just one of the many areas that benefit from this technology. Wireless makes life easier for technicians, artists and the public in general.

NAB Show 2017: Where Content Comes to Life

It all started back in the first part of the 20th century at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. There, Eugene F. McDonald Jr., who also launched the Zenith Corporation, founded the National Association of Radio Broadcasters (NAB). From these humble beginnings the NAB has risen to become the trade association representing commercial and non-commercial television and radio broadcasters. Today, the NAB thrives through its annual trade show which this year takes place from April 22 to 27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ratpac Dimmers will proudly attend this trade show which will combine the talents of broadcasters and technicians from around the world. Also, attending the show will be a number of prominent media personalities from organizations such as the NBA, the WWE, the United States Tennis Association and many others. In the past speakers have included people like Steve Wozniak, director James Cameron, Gary Marshall and Betty White.2017-show


The three areas of concentration for the NAB have been and continue to be advocacy, innovation and education. The key legislative and regulatory issues the NAB currently promotes are high speed wireless Internet service bandwidth allocation, protecting the rights of journalists and equipping mobile phones with broadcast capability for emergency preparedness.


As a company that is all about innovation, we at Ratpac Dimmers are especially excited to participate in the NAB trade show. We see it as a chance to exchange ideas, present our technologies to interested companies and share in the history of the organization. We will be there to discuss innovations in wireless technologies that aid film makers, directors, choreographers and broadcasters of all kinds.


Finally, education is perhaps the most important area of concentration for the NAB and its annual trade show. Educational tools utilized at the show will include live interactive webcasts, podcasts and presentation by industry leaders. All of these have the goal of providing broadcasters with the opportunity to hear about the latest technologies, broadcasting issues and business technologies.

Yes, this year’s event is expected to continue the tradition of advancing all three of the main goals of advocacy, education and innovation which has been a part of the NAB since it started in 1922. Technologies have changed but our commitment to improving the industry remains the same. A complete list of each day’s activities as well as a guest speaker’s list can be found at the following link. Join us there.

Stanley McCandless and his Stage Lighting Theory

Considered by many to be the grandfather of modern day theatrical lighting, Stanley McCandless is one of those people whose influence theater goers witness everyday without knowing it. For although he developed his method of stage lighting way back in the 1930s with relatively primitive equipment, his techniques are still used today. His groundbreaking book “A Method of Lighting the Stage (1932)” laid out these techniques which are today known as the McCandless Theory or Method. Lighting professionals and stage directors who have access to much more sophisticated technologies than those that were available to McCandless – such as wireless dimmer packs – owe him a debt of thanks for the work they do.


McCandless was interested in both the art and the science of stage lighting such as it existed in the mid-20th century. He was born in Chicago Illinois in 1897 to Charles and Mary McCandless. While in his twenties, he received his degree in architecture from Harvard College. His studies there eventually lead to him becoming a theatrical lighting associate. As his interest in theater grew, he became an educator, innovator and author who took the problem of stage lighting head on. He basically categorized the functions of how light worked on the stage into visibility, locale, composition, and mood. Working as a theater consultant in his early years, McCandless designed house lights for the Center Theatre in New York’s Radio City. The fixtures he utilized used shutters and gobos or templates. McCandless continued to expand the burgeoning field of theater lighting and to educate new generations of lighting professionals until he retired in 1964.

The McCandless Method

The McCandless Method is a special approach to stage lighting that McCandless developed in the 1930s. Part of this method is that actors are primarily to be fully lit from the front but secondary light is used to sculpture the actor’s features. Full lighting is provided from two lights on opposite sides which are positioned above the actors at approximately 45 degree angles 90 degrees apart. (These two lights are positioned at opposite directions.) Moreover, his method pairs a cool light (relative to the other) against a warm light. The result is that placement and contrast of these lights create a more natural looking light. McCandless devised his system while at Harvard College. He refined it when he moved to Yale to be near the heart of the American theater. His method demonstrates that today’s technologies are useful, but that human ingenuity and intelligence are equally important.

Best Film Schools in America

Great moviemakers don’t just spring up overnight. It takes superior instruction and resources to help film students reach their potential and to go on to become great directors, cinematographers and lighting specialists. Fortunately, some of the best film schools in the world are here in the good ol USA. Here are some of the top film schools in the country and some of their notable alumni.


  • USC: Since 1929 USC’s School of Cinematic Arts has been cranking out graduates like Judd Apatow, John August, Susan Downey, Kevin Feige, Doug Liman, Shonda Rhimes, Bryan Singer, George Lucas and John Wells to name just a few. The school is a well respected leader in the world of academia.


  • American Film Institute (AFI): Notable among its graduates is Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, and Terrence Malick. Its alumni are proud winners of such prominent events as the Cannes and Venice film festivals.


  • New York University: Graduates of this well respected school include Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and M. Night Shyamalan and Ang Lee. The school is considered by many to be “the best film school east of the Hudson.”


  • UCLA: Frank Marshall, Justin Lin, Dustin Lance Black, Francis Ford Coppola are just a few of this school’s graduates. Adding to the prestige of the university is the fact that the School of Theater, Film and Television has an acceptance rate of only 2% of the applicants who apply to go there.


  • Columbia University: This school’s notable alumni include Nicole Holofcener, James Mangold, and James Ponsoldt. This school has a better acceptance rate that UCLA at 21% but it is no less respected in the industry and among academia. Its School of Arts has turned out film scholars, writers, theatre practitioners, and visual and sound artists and many other who have made great contributions to the world of film and theatre.


  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts): This school’s alumni include John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Kirby Dick, Tim Burton, Brenda Chapman (the first woman to win an Oscar for an animated feature). Its School of Theatre includes Design and Production courses including Costume Design, Lighting Design, Producing (MFA), Stage Management, Production Management (MFA), Scene Design, Sound Design, and Video for Performance (MFA), etc.


Yes, it takes more than potential alone to become a great moviemaker. It also takes careful guidance and the right instruction and resources. Fortunately, these film schools will continue to produce some of the greatest artists in the world of film, stage and TV. Similarly, we at Ratpac Dimmers will continue to provide the hardware necessary also in creating memorable theatre and movie moments.

Ratpac Dimmers: How Our Commitment to American Made Products Helps You

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about outsourcing and the negative impact it has on American workers and the economy. At Ratpac Dimmers one of things we are proudest of is the fact that our dimmers are American made. The other thing we are proud of is that this fact does not take away from the quality of our products or their price competitiveness. Our strand dimmers, for example, destroy the myth that company’s can only thrive by using foreign made products. We only wish that other companies understood that American made helps the economy without sacrificing the quality or bottom line of American companies. Here are some of the other advantages there are in buying our dimmers here in America using American workers.


  • Creates jobs – American jobs are created when you buy American products. In fact, according to ABC News, if each American spent as little as $3.33 extra on US made products it would generate nearly 10,000 new jobs.flag-206886_640


  • Helps the economy – Layoffs that come about as the result of outsourced jobs hurt the economy and this in turn leads to unsustainable borrowing from other countries. A healthy economy leads to less debt for America.


  • Better for the environment – Manufacturing processes in America are much cleaner and environmentally responsible than in most other countries where regulations – if they exist – are haphazardly enforced.


  • Promotes safe working conditions – Many workers in foreign countries work under inhumane conditions such as long hours, child labor, low wages, etc. Buying from foreign countries promotes labor under these situations.


  • Promotes product safety – We’ve all heard horror stories about how some products made overseas contain toxins and other hazards that endanger public safety. In America, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ensures that manufacturing processes here abide by a set of strict safety regulations. When you buy an American made product you can rest assured that your product complies with these regulations.


  • Helps reduce international conflicts – Many countries where work has been outsourced have anti-democracy governments. Buying American made products helps to make sure that access to vital goods are not supporting political conflict.


Finally, we confidently place the quality of our products right alongside similar products made overseas. Moreover, a vibrant manufacturing sector incentivizes technological innovation. This innovation can give your company the edge it needs over its competitors. Our products reflect that innovation and this is one of the many benefits of purchasing our dimmers.

The PDB Series

The PDB12 gives end users the ability to do a hard reset of individual channels controlling their light remotely.  Modern lights are becoming computers with LEDs and like all computers/smart devices, they need a hard power reset from time to time.  Why chase down the power and reset power at the distribution box, when you can do it via Wireless DMX through our PDB12, PDB6 (220V)?  Modern Lights need a modern power and data solution; that is what you get with the PDB Series.

When it comes to technology, things change even faster because the advancement of technology is always getting adjusted to be made better.  In the film-making industry, the most important thing for producers and cinematographers to remember is that they have to make an impact.  What do they look for?  Well that’s simple, the most bang for their buck!  With that bang however; comes the factor of power.  As soon as you give something power you have to take into consideration that like every good thing, sometimes you have to give things a breather.  In technological terms, it’s called a hard reset.

Ever had a DVD skip and freeze your whole system to the point you’re forced to simply unplug the entire device or shutdown the device without the proper power off steps?  Well, it’s the ame concept.  Usually a shutdown process would include chasing down the power cord, and following the cord to a distribution box.  Wouldn’t production be made faster with the ability to do all of this chasing from the press of one button?  Well that’s what RatPac provides with the addition of the PDB12 to your set, you add the availability of doing it all through Wireless DMX.  By doing it via DMX, one button shuts it down from wherever you may be on the set.  So there is no need for someone to be a runner.  Save yourself the trouble, because the PDB Series has your back.  With the new PDB Series, you’re getting the newest technology every time, at any set.  Have the control of power all in the palm of your hand!


The Benefits of Wireless DMX

Did you know that the Wireless DMX system was originally developed for the military to encrypt radio signals?  In today’s modern world, Wireless DMX has become a source of technology that helps develop the importance of lights and cameras used during entertainment and video production.  If you are in the field of entertainment technology, than you are most likely familiar with DMX.  DMX is the communications protocol that was created by the entertainment industry in order to have a common language for lighting controllers to speak to lighting devices such as dimmers or color scrollers.


Dimmers:  Used as devices to lower the brightness of a light by changing the voltage waveform applied to the lam
p. It is made possible to lower the intensity of the light output.2016-12-19_1428

Color Scrollers:  Invented by Wybron in 1980, the idea generated from the concept that moving the mass of a gel frame took too much energy and machinery.  Moving the frames quickly meant that the frame had to be sturdier, which made it heavier.  Stage lighting is more effective when you have a
choice of colors from each light.  Color scrollers allowed more flexibility in the planning stage and less equipment on the operation stage.2016-12-19_1424

We are living in a revolutionary period in lighting, driven by the growth of LEDs.  Lights and cameras become smarter by adding functionality while the infrastructure used to power smart lights remains virtually unchanged.  All modern digital fixtures require both power and data at the fixture.  Live event power systems delivers data to modern lights but the systems are bulky and not suited for the film/TV world.  Our solution is the PDB series: power, data and wireless DMX in one box.  Wireless DMX is an interesting technology that is changing the way we light out shows and it is continuously helping us to work faster at a lower cost. There is so much more we can help you learn, contact our team here at RatPac Dimmers for more information on our Innovative Technology.


RatPac and Passengers


A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony, a part from our norm, transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in it
s sleep chambers. Two passengers are awakened 90 years early in this outrageous phenomenon. This Christmas, every moment counts. What if everything around you suddenly changed? Would you give up your life on Earth?

Crew includes: Morten Tyldum (Director), Thomas Newman (Music), Rodrigo Prieto (Cinematographer), Maryann Brandon (Editor), Luke Freeborn and John Collins (Art Directors).

RatPac products used: The gaffer onset used RatPac Cintennas to power gags on the set where wires could not be seen in the shot.


The LDI Show in Las Vegas 2016

There is nothing lighting professionals enjoy more than exchanging information and sharing their knowledge with other professionals and neophytes to the industry. Indeed, this is the best way that the science and art of professional event and theatre lighting can move forward. This year’s LDI Show in Las Vegas – which ran from October 17-23 – provided an opportunity for professionals to do that and to learn about some pretty awesome current and emerging technologies. It also set the stage for designers, programmers, technicians, riggers, electricians and technical directors and opportunity to submit their proposals for teaching a new generation the craft of lighting and cinematography. (Starting on November 15th, professionals will have an opportunity to submit a session proposal for LDI2017, which takes place the week of November 13-19, 2017 in Las Vegas.)
Events of the #LDI2016 included an awards ceremony on the APEX Stage – (Booth 1581), special events such as the LDI Booth Crawl and Scavenger Hunt, LDI en Español and LDI’s spectacular Live Outside – Technology for Outdoor Events & Festivals. The outdoor events were designed for more than just showing off stunning light displays. Their aim was also to educate and spread knowledge of this industry to beginners and professionals alike. For example, these outdoor events featured talks on safety and real time learning sessions.
The other aim of this year’s #LDI2016 was to help arena riggers, theatre rigger, electricians, and portable power distribution technicians enter the field. To this end, all four examinations were given on the 22nd of October. Finally, professional from prestigious companies such as TMB, Point of Rental Software, Enttec and USITT conducted seminars on topics ranging from inventory management to the future of stage lighting technologies. Yes, training and educating the future generation of artists and technicians in the industry was the emphasis of this year’s LDI2016 with even more training and educational opportunities anticipated for next year’s event.
At Rat Pac Dimmers, we appreciate and support the efforts of professionals who engage in and sponsor such events. In the past, many professionals have not only found a way to inform others about the products they offer and display, but also to learn themselves from their colleagues by simply sharing knowledge in the industry and improving the experience of concert and theatre.