Lighting Design Software

Stage Lighting Apps for the iPhone

An up to date look at stage lighting iPhone apps and what they do.

July 2008 saw the start of stage lighting’s entry into the world of Apple’s iPhone apps – lighting themed software that you can use with the iPhone (or iPod Touch) and now, the iPad. Since the first few iPhone apps became available, the market has become awash with beam calculators, DIP switch thingies (seriously, just read our article on how to work our binary DIPs without all that technology) and other goodies. Luminair were early on the scene with V1 of their  iPhone based DMX controller and have continued to develop the product, while traditional console manufacturers have added remote functionality that can be controlled via your phone.

iPhone Stage Lighting

Image by William Hook on Flickr

Gel and Gobo makers have created catalogues and and references and serial iPhone developer Michael Zinman has launched his Genielux platform, a sort of worldwide lighting equipment hire database. We can safely say that the market for lighting calculators is well and truly saturated. The addition of hardware like the Seachanger Color Bug, could bring some extra usefullness to the iPhone in your pocket. DMX testers and continuity checkers are things that spring to mind, not so sure about measuring 415v or using the iTouch to clamp meter yer PowerLoks but anything is possible. Here’s what we know about stage lighting specific iPhone apps, grouped into a few sections with links through to the relevant Apple Apps Store page.  You can click on the image and find out more about each app.

DMX Control and Lighting Control Apps

Luminair DMX


Luminair enables you to wirelessly control, view, record and manage intelligent DMX lighting fixtures, dimmers, consoles, other software and media servers straight from your iPhone™ or iPod™ touch. Using Artistic Licence’s Art-Net protocol over your device’s built-in Wi-Fi connection, Luminair communicates with other compatible hardware and software nodes on your network.

A Lighting control interface on your iPhone, the Luminair software boasts the ability to control DMX lighting fixtures. The wireless DMX signal from the iPhone is sent using the open source DMX over Ethernet protocol, Art Net. This can be routed via a Wireless Access Point/Router into your DMX universe / ArtNet node. The app also has file management capabilities and colour mixing control. “Right, can I have channel 47 @ 50% please” “Where’s the desk?” “Hang on – I’ll call it, what’s the number?”


DMX Lighting Control for the iPad

Update: Luminair is now available for the iPad which larger multi touch surface makes for a much more usable lighting control.  Luminair for  iPad has some great features, my favourite being the ability to easily notate cues etc. with a thumbnail image that can be captured by the onboard camera. Great, set up a colour wash, snap it using the iPad camera and use the thumbnail as a reminder icon


Zinman TCP/IP Remote

Zinman TCP IP Remote for iPhone

For IT professionals, systems integrators, and anyone looking for customizable control of any software or hardware capable of TCP/IP communications.

A general iPhone application that can be used in stage lighting situations. The software enables customisable remote triggering of TCP/IP and UDP capable software. This includes professional level lighting consoles like the Grand Ma and media servers.

Grand MA App

GrandMA iPhone Remote

The grandMA consoles are the core of the fully integrated MA system. The grandMA consoles are able to control – in the most elegant manner – moving lights, conventional lights, and effects, as well as LEDs and video. The reliable and proven operational philosophy allows a direct, flexible and intuitive way of working.

Martin Max Remote

Martin Max iPhone Remote

MAXRemote is your personal assistant to remotely control lighting devices straight from your iPhone or iPod touch. It is the ultimate remote tool for your Martin Maxxyz™ lighting console and Martin Maxxyz PC™ with a beautiful user interface and original features.

Other lighting consoles

Other desk makers including ChamSys, Avolites (Titan platform) and ETC have their own personal system for remote control of their products, some of which are browser based rather than actual apps.

Lighting Information and Catalogues

Lighting Handbook

Lighting Handbook For iPhone

Lighting Handbook is a new app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it provides detailed information about Moving lights, LED fixtures, Scrollers, and more DMX fixtures. It also provides access to the manual.

Wybron iSwatch Gel

Wybron Gel Swatch

The Gel Swatch Library by Wybron, Inc., lets lighting production personnel browse, search, and compare more than 1,000 gel color filters made by the following manufacturers: – Apollo (included in Version 1.4 release) – GAM – Lee – Rosco


Genielux App

Genielux is a user-friendly application that helps you find the exact model of lighting, audio, film, video, or other production gear that you need. It searches local vendors inventory for rent or purchase and returns a list of results based on your current GPS location. You can also provide an alternate location to search for the nearest vendors who can provide your gear.

Genielux is free for users, hire companies pay to list their inventories.

Wybron Moire Gobo Library

Gobo Library

The Moiré Gobo Library from Wybron, Inc. lets lighting production personnel browse, search, and experiment with more than 3,600 different A-size gobos from the following manufacturers: – Apollo – GAM – InLight – Lee


Lighting Calculator Apps

ShowTool LD

ShowTool LD

Simple. Powerful. Comprehensive suite of Lighting Design and Electrics utilities for theatre and film. Showtool LD is a bunch of lighting design related calculators : Beam, Gels cuts, Power Law, DIP switches and DMX all one app.

DMX Color Mixer

DMX Color Mixer

Colour mixing app that you can pick colours and cross reference against dmx values.  icon

Wybron CXI Calculator

Wybron CXI Calculator for iPhone

The CXI Color Calculator from Wybron helps lighting production personnel find and program colors for the CXI dual-gelstring color changer. Scroll through two overlapping gelstrings of cyan, magenta, and yellow to blend the ideal shade, then plug its numerical values into your lighting control console to have a CXI color changer move to that color. The Color Calculator also gives you the values needed to replicate several colors from the GAM, Lee, and Rosco

Zinman Pocket LD

PocketLD iPhone app PocketLD is a photometric database and calculation tool for stage lighting and TV/Film lighting professionals. Simply enter your throw distance, than select manufacturer, fixture and a lamp to calculate beam/field diameter and fc/lux. MZ brings us another neat little iPhone and iTouch app that does Lighting Designer type calculations with a comprehensive fixture database to make life easier. Free database upgrades, so you can get new fixtures for the software as they are added. icon

PowerCalc – West Side Sytems

Power Calc

PowerCalc performs basic electrical power calculations with watts, volts, amps, and motor power factor.

A calculator for power law, resistance, inductance and other useful stage lighting stuff. Although you could do these sums on the iPhones standard calculator, this little app makes life easier. Requires the iPhone 2.0 software upgrade and is only a few pennies.

Beam Calc – West Side Systems

Beam Calc

Use BeamCalc to calculate the geometry and photometrics of spotlight beams. Position and direct three light sources (chosen from the included library) to determine lighting characteristics: elevation angle, beam and field pool width, illumination, shadow length.

A handy beam calculator to help you choose spotlight angles for your lighting designs. The BeamCalc needs just a few measurements such as trim height and horizontal distance from the subject. It spits out the beam width of a given angle or can reverse the calculations for you, helping you to decide if you spotlights will be wide enough. Update:  The next generation of Beam Calc is now available with improved functionality and is compatible with the iPad.

DMX Calc – West Side Sytstems

DMX Calc

Entertainment lighting equipment uses a control system called DMX512. DMXCalc is a simple and elegant calculator which does address arithmetic for DMX equipment.

Zinman Gel Calc

Gel Calc iPhone App GelCalc is an iPhone/iPod touch app for stage lighting designers, electricians, and stage hands. Quickly calculate number of sheets of gel, best cutting direction to yield the most frames per/sheet and pricing.

Zinman iSwitch DMX

iSwitch DMX

iSwitch DMX is an easy to use binary DIP switch utility for stage lighting electricians, technicians and programmers. Selecting a DMX address updates the DIP switch graphic with the correct DIP switch settings.


Zinman ML Finder

Moving Light Finder for iPhone

For the stage lighting tech addressing a light plot. ML Finder displays the DMX footprint for over 500 moving lights, LED’s and media servers. Know how many DMX channels each device uses, in any mode. Simple to navigate and FREE to download!

Seachanger Colour Bug

Seachanger Color Bug

The colorBUG from the SeaChanger group at Ocean Thin Films, Inc. is a wifi enabled, handheld light/color metering device that works with your iPhone or iPod Touch running the colorBUG client app, allowing you to measure: – Color in CIE 1931 x,y space – Illuminance in lux – Color Temperature in degrees Kelvin This software requires a colorBUG light/color metering device for functionality.


DMX Ref app

DMXRef is designed to take the math out of working with DMX lighting equipment. DMXRef includes DIP switch and auto addressing functions, conversion between local and global addresses, and Dimmer Doubler decoding.

Rigging with the iPhone / iTouch

OK, so the actual swaggering around wearing a greasy clutch chain like a scarf is still down to you. But rigging calcs are always something that are better made without mathematical errors, so here’s a few rigging calculators for the tricky stuff like bridles and load distribution.


Bridle Rigging App

Bridle is the innovative bridle creation app for the entertainment rigging industry with a fresh perspective to the ancient craft of calculating bridles.


iBridle Rigging iPhone App

iBridle is for use within the events rigging industry. It can accurately calculate bridle leg lengths, apex angles and load distribution. There are no set measuring units, so regardless of whether you work to metric or imperial standards you will always get the answer you need

JR Clancy iRigging App

JR Clancy Rigging iPhone App

Rigging app that provides tools and reference data for many areas of rigging, including wire rope, battens, arbors, sheaves, stage ropes, motors, curtains, and fleet angles. Available in Imperial or Metric Versions.

Other useful Apps, not lighting specific

Zinman Portfolio

Zinman Portfolio iPhone App

Portfolio is the perfect app for Photographers, Illustrators, Artists, Designers and anyone looking for an intuitive way to showcase their work on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Includes the same look and functionality as Apple’s Photo app, with improvements relating to an electronic portfolio.

If you’re a lighting designer or have any kind of visual portfolio to organise and display on your iPhone, this takes care of it nicely.

icon That’s pretty all the stage lighting iPhone apps we  know of. If you own any of these apps, let us know if you like them in the comments.  Perhaps you’re wishing for a lighting related iPhone app that you’d like to see the devs working on?  Funny or serious, stick it in the box as usual. If you think we’ve missed some, just add them below and we’ll update the list.

  1. daniel maxwell

    All of the apps for lighting are great, but if you dont have an iphone or ipod touch then you cant utilize these assets. Is there any talk of making these apps available for symbian s60 or on any other os?
    thank you

  2. Glenn

    All stage lighting reference info free on one web page (formatted for mobile phones):
    Save it on your phone…

    * Cable Specs
    * Cable Amp Ratings
    * Amp Ratings for Feeders
    * Gel Info
    * Gel Cross Reference
    * Gobo Sizes
    * Gobo Sizes for Fixtures
    * PAR lamps
    * Fresnel Beam Spreads
    * ERS Beam Spreads
    * ERS Beam Diameter vs Throw
    * Power Formulas
    * Cable Voltage Drop
    * Unit Conversions
    * Beam Calculations
    * DMX Address Calculator

  3. Argghh

    Been testing Luminair and I don’t think any of you have actually tried it. The software has so many bugs as to make it unsuable at the moment. v1.1.2 installed today and it lost all my edits and saves. Can’t reload a saved show back to the ipad, deleting stacks crashes the app, changing maximum values for a fixture makes the bar disappear amongst others.

    Very much an Alpha piece of software. And not worth the money.

  4. Noah

    Rather than using the portfolio app, you can always set your portfolio as a PDF, Email it to yourself, and save it in iBooks.

    Also, Lampy is a free app that combines a few of those calculators in one unit.

  5. Olivier

    There’s also an great remote for COMPULITE VECTOR desklight on appstore ,
    it’s free : iControl . very good !

  6. Clayton Combe

    Check out Lighting Designer for iPad if you’re making plots for film, theater, or TV. It’s the only app out there that allows you to do actual visual layouts of your setups. It’s still a fairly new app so features are still being added, but it’s quickly growing into an extremely powerful tool.

    Disclaimer: I am LD’s developer. But hey, who ever got anywhere without a little self-promotion? And more than anything, I want to hear from users about what they’d like LD to do, so I can make it the best app it can be!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.