10 grandMA Tutorials You Have to Watch from Lighting Programmer Christian Jackson8 min read

grandma2 tutorial screen from christian jackson
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If you’re not familiar with Christian Jackson, he’s an amazing lighting programmer and operator, and he has one of the best YouTube channels for people interested in lighting design. We included him on our list of free training for the event production industry.

His videos are incredibly informative, but he also takes time to make them visually appealing.

On my channel, I explore the world of live event production and the equipment used to put on full-scale events from a behind the scenes perspective. Here you’ll find tutorials, equipment demos, reviews, full length gig-logs, touring vlogs, and equipment repair. 

We’ve put together a list of 10 of his best tips and tutorials videos for grandMA2 and grandMA3.

1. MA2 Crash Course – Program a Show From Scratch

If you’re learning grandMA2, this is the place to start!

YouTube Description: 

GrandMA2 can be incredibly daunting to learn. In this video, I’m going to be giving you a full-length crash course to go over all of the major things you need to know to get a show up and running from nothing.

Consider this your “oh S#!*” guide to MA2. 

Remember that the desk is only as complex as YOU decide to make it and that the only true way to become comfortable with it is to practice and experiment.

2. MA3 Live Stream – Questions answered + MA2 Tips

While it’s over two years old, if you’re just starting to think about working with a grandMA3, this video is worth a watch.

YouTube Description:

The MA3 has been announced! In this live stream, we talk about specs, console philosophy, and all sorts of things lighting related.

3. Lighting Programming: MA2 Effects Engine Basics!

This is another “basics” video, but it’s a good one if you’re new to MA.

YouTube Description:

The effects engine is very powerful in the MA2, I’ll show you how to navigate your way around the basics so you can start experimenting on your own and finding some cool looks. 

I work in the world of lighting for dance music, but you can use these techniques for every style of lighting including corporate, architectural, and traditional stage lighting.

It’s important to remember the differences between Selective and Template, Relative and Absolute! Always remember, the kind Germans at MA Lighting have included the manual with the software. If you are ever stuck, use the help key to read up on the topics that confuse you. 

4. My Top 5 MA2 Programming Tricks – Guaranteed Time Savers!

Who doesn’t love time savers? And Top 5 Lists? 

YouTube Description:

There are so many things to learn with MA2, but in this video I’ll show you 5 of my favorite “not so common” tricks to working with the software. These are the kinds of things that will save you tons of time, yet aren’t that well-known.

In this video I’ll be explaining the following:

1:14  Using worlds to make your playbacks and sequences cleaner 

3:58  Creating layout views from camera views 

5:18  Fixture At Fixture to quickly copy values to a fixture in the programmer 

6:27  Changing Appearances by referencing other objects 

8:26  Using BlindEdit in macros to sneakily move data 

5. Importing Capture Fixtures into MA2 – This Saves SO Much Time!

Another time saver!

YouTube Description:

If you are manually making your stage/layout views, you are doing it wrong! Let me show you a quick way to take a stage you’ve designed in Capture and import all of the fixture positions and patch data into MA2 so you can spend WAY less time prepping your show file.

Please note that this process will only work in Capture 2018 and newer. 

6. Festival Lighting Setup in a Stadium – Bumbershoot 2019 Vlog #1

Ok, this one isn’t technically a tutorial, but it does show you a complete lighting setup, and there’s a lot of MA time involved. It also really makes you want a popsicle.

YouTube Description:

WHEW – I’m back from tour and you know what that means – finishing up all these videos from my backlog. Sorry about the delay, but here is episode 1 for my Bumbershoot 2019 vlogs. In this video we’ll be loading in the lighting rig and making sure it works properly for our guest LDs in the coming days.

Bumbershoot is a music and arts festival that takes place annually in Seattle, Washington. Since I live here, I’ve been able to participate in the production of this show whenever my schedule has allowed. https://onereel.org/bumbershoot

7. Programming my MA2 layout color view

This is just a fun time-lapse to watch of Christian re-programming his color layout view.

YouTube Description:

A quick time lapse of my afternoon spent re-programming my color layout view for busking shows. MA2 has a really powerful layout view feature that can be used to make really user-friendly custom GUIs.

Color Presets stored into sequences are called by macros. 

8. I don’t often give away programming secrets…

Nice overview of how his color layout view works on his MA2 showfile.

YouTube Description:

Had a bit of a slow night at the club, and yesterday’s vlog was taken down, so I figured I’d unveil some of my secrets in an extended video to make up for it!

Okay maybe the secrets aren’t too well kept, but I still get questions in my email and inbox every day, so I wanted to give an overview of how my color layout view works on my MA2 showfile.

You should understand the concepts of storing sequences, editing macros, and copying (overwriting) pool items. Also helps to have a good handle on assigning things to the layout view!

9. How to Output Art-Net from MA2

Super popular question from anyone getting started with MA2.

YouTube Description:

Ah yes, the most common question regarding MA2: How to get artnet output from the desk! It’s really not that difficult. In this video I will show you exactly how to do it, no matter what type of MA2 system you are using. All you need to do is configure the IP addresses for your network cards so they can talk with other Artnet devices, be the master in a session, and set your network protocols tab in the setup menu correctly.

10. GrandMA3 1.0 Software Experimentation Live Stream

Experimentation videos are always fun – especially when it involves a grandMA3!

YouTube Description:

After much anticipation, V1 of the new GrandMA3 software has arrived to the general public and that means it’s time to figure out how to use it! This video will be significantly different than any of my normal tutorial/vlog type videos because this is an entirely new software and I thought it would be fun to see just how difficult picking up a new lighting software can be.

If you enjoyed these videos, make sure you head over to Christian Jackson’s YouTube channel where he has many, MANY more videos about lighting programming. 

You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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