The Spot Op
Many theater companies around the world have difficulty providing adequate positioning for followspots in their venues. Most
of these issues come from architectural obstacles that either don’t allow a followspot to physically fit, or don’t allow for safe,
easy access for technicians to operate the spots. Advancements in the field have been made which have allowed moving lights
(which are much smaller than a typical followspot) to be used as a followspot (disengaging the pan and tilt controls) allowing the
operator to take control of the moving light attributes typical to a followspot that a lighting console would normally control. This
can include intensity, zoom, iris, color, frost, gobo, etc.
Very recently technology has been developed that allow full control of a proprietary moving light fixture from within 2000’ of a
moving light fixture. This was mostly developed for tours that typically put followspot operators on chairs high up in trusses,
which saves the tour on rigging time and increases safety of the crew. This could also be used in situations where there
physically is no place to put a followspot/operator, but because these units provide many features in the most extensive way
possible, it can be incredibly cost-prohibitive for companies that are really interested in having a pan/tilt, iris, and intensity
control of their moving lights. Also, because the existing technology is only for one very large moving light, it may not be suitable
for small theaters.