Theatre Terms | AACT

Theatre Terms

image of question markAs a service to the theatre community, AACT provides over 1000 definitions of theatrical terms.  Fully searchable, our glossary is helpful for technical staff, directors, actors, producers, or anyone wanting to better understand the inner workings of theatre.

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Term Definition Link

    All modern lighting desks use this serial form of communication with dimmers. All the information from the desk is transmitted along a single pair of cables to the dimmer where a de-multiplexing unit (demux box) decodes the string of data and passes the correct piece of information to the correct dimmer.
    The industry standard protocol (language/standard) for multiplexing has the digital USITT DMX512 (introduced in 1986, based on RS485 data protocol). However, new protocols are continually being added to keep up with more demanding equipment.
    SMX is a communications protocol which enables digital dimmers to 'report back' to the desk on any faults (eg blown lamps).
    RDM (Remote Device Management) is an emerging upgrade to DMX512 which will include bi-directional communication between controller and device.
    DMX512-A (officially ANSI E1.11) is a standard developed at ESTA, which is backwards-compatible with DMX512, but has stricter safety parameters and offers some upgrades of functionality.
    Among the older protocols (pre-DMX512) are D54 which uses a stream of analogue voltage levels and was the Strand standard, and AMX 192 (US Standard, introduced around 1975) which can control up to 192 channels and uses a 4-pin XLR connector. (AMX stands for Analogue Multiplex).

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