A Stalwart CEDIA Lighting Instructor Returns

Ed Wenck | Aug 03, 2020

Woodward 450Longtime CEDIA volunteer and lighting expert Sam Woodward – whose career stops include stints illuminating big-budget Hollywood sets and worldwide touring rock shows – is back for at least one more dip in the instructor business for residential integrators.

“When Matt Nimmons (CEDIA’s managing director, EMEA) called – well, since it was Matt and CEDIA, I had to say yes,” says Woodward. Although he’s returned to creating big-budget spectaculars – this time crafting special effects for theme parks and cruise-ship stage shows – his experience with Lutron and his accolades as CEDIA’s 2018 Training Volunteer of the Year make Woodward a prime choice for CEDIA’s upcoming Virtual Lighting Conference.

Woodward’s class, Demystifying Control Systems, is quite a bit more granular than the “30,000-foot-view” CEDIA Talks he’d presented at CEDIA Expo in years past. “I began to build the session from questions I’d heard regularly – little points of confusion,” Woodward explains. “Confusion between the inputs and the outputs of a lighting control system (particularly when it relates to power), or which protocols should be used with which types of lights.”

The DALI Update

Woodward also digs into “demystifying DMX” and explaining the updated DALI protocol. “Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen the rollout of DALI-2. Hopefully we’ll take out some of the scary bits around that topic,” he says with a laugh. The big difference between DALI and DALI-2? Certification: “Before DALI-2, vendors could self-certify,” notes Woodward. “The reality was that there were a lot of products that were on the market that were not-quite-100% DALI compliant. The idea was we’d get control systems from vendor A and some fixtures from vendor B, and since they were both ‘DALI-compliant,’ they’d work together perfectly – but this was not always the case. With DALI-2, all those products must be independently verified.”

As the class description notes, Woodward will also address so common misunderstandings in wiring and design. “You have to be really careful about cable thickness, topology, and cable distances -- they matter a huge amount,” says Woodward. “All of these differ from DALI to DMX, and I’ll lay out the rules.”

As Woodward has noted many times during his tenure, lighting continues to be a growth segment for a good many integrators around the world. “Two things were happening: the evolution of solid-state lighting and digital control, and now we can add to that a massive rise in networking that’s changing every aspect of what we do in this industry. The rise of networked lighting control is big. The entertainment world has been ahead of the curve on this when you see what the cruise lines and companies like Disney are creating when it comes to consumer experience.”

“When one takes that sort of drama and elegance, and applies it on a smaller scale, the results can really be something,” says Woodward. “And here’s my three-year, post-coronavirus prediction: Some of these folks in the entertainment field might move into the architectural space, and we’re going to see some really amazing things.”

Demystifying Control Systems: Presented by Sam Woodward

As light sources have transitioned to solid-state, LED, lighting control has also changed from line-voltage-chopping to digital dimming, to drivers and low-voltage networks. This session will explain how the CEDIA installer can be effective, efficient and economical by deploying the most common digital control standards (DMX, DALI and DALI2), and will address common misunderstandings in wiring and system design.

Register for the CEDIA Virtual Lighting Conference here.