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Automated Lighting, Second Edition: The Art and Science of Moving Light in Theatre, Live Performance, and Entertainment

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Late last year, in 2008, I was fi nishing work on another book called Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician when Danielle Monroe, one of the many wonderful people at Focal Press, sent me an email. Almost as an afterthought—one of those oh-by-the-ways—she mentioned that we should start work on revising Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light in the Theatre, Live Performance, Broadcast, and Entertainment . My initial reaction was that I must be in some sort of a time warp because that book, it seemed, had only recently been published. How much could possibly have changed since September 2006?

There’s a viral video that has gotten millions of hits on YouTube called “Did You Know?” by Karl Fisch. Fisch is the director of technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. One month before the original edition of this book was published, he was asked by the principal of the school to speak at the beginning of the year faculty meeting. Having attended several of these meetings before, he felt that it might be a waste of time to discuss “anything of substance” during the meeting. Instead, he wanted to do something a little different. So he put together a thoughtprovoking PowerPoint presentation about what it takes for a student to be successful in the twenty-fi rst century. What he compiled turned out to be pertinent not only to high school students but to anyone who works with technology.

One of the most striking statements in the presentation—and there are many of them—is the idea that we’re living in “exponential times,” meaning that technology is accelerating exponentially. As of this writing, the amount of new technological information is thought to be doubling approximately every 72 hours, 3,000 new books are published daily, and there’s more information in a week’s worth of New York Times than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the eighteenth century.

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