Example: An RGB Stage Light

Every lighting equipment manufacturer sets up their equipment in a slightly different way.  For this reason, it’s essential to consult the equipment manual during programming to determine the ‘DMX Channel Map’.

A very basic example would be an RGB stage light.  It could be designed to run in several different modes:

  • 3 channels.  Three consecutive DMX channels drive red, green and blue. Super simple to operate.
  • 4 channels.  As above, but a fourth channel controls ‘master intensity.’  If this fourth channel is turned off, the fixture will appear unresponsive.
  • 5+ channels.  As above, but some fixtures include built-in effects such as sound activation, color cycling, strobing in various colors and at different speeds.  The map for one of these systems might look like this:


To make this particular fixture work properly, DMX channel 4 must always be set to 100%.  Without channel 4 being turned on, the fixture will appear unresponsive. If written on a musical staff, this would correspond to a whole note which lasts for many measures:



Then, other notes are added and removed, corresponding to different colors.  In some cases, these may appear to be very ugly chords indeed.