iOS Makes Better Practical Maps

On this last project, we had a LOT of practical lamps on our locations and stages.  This sometimes made it difficult to know exactly which fixture we were controlling, since we had previously used generic light bulb icons to indicate lamps.  All that changed when Louise, my Rigging Programmer, started using her iPad to take pictures of each fixture, copy just the lamp itself (excluding the background) and paste them into the maps.  It’s super easy and terribly helpful.

Open Camera on your iOS 16 (or above) device.  I use my iPad since it gives me more screen space to work with for the map, but you do you.  Take a photo of your lighting fixture.  

Now open the picture and touch/press on the lamp, then let go.  You’ll see the lamp stay the same while the background goes dark.  Select Copy.  Now go to your app of choice (I suggest Freeform, which is free with iOS 16) and paste. 

It’s very easy to resize the photo to fit the scale of the drawing you are doing.  Add your channel number as text, then repeat all the steps for the other lamps in your location.

Here’s a map from our last project.

This process is so fast and helps so very much.  It’s much easier for both the electricians inside and me to read which fixture is what.  

What are your favorite tricks for making plots/maps easier to read?  Hit me in the comments. 


  1. Andy McCann - Reply

    Hi Mark, a question –

    I like this idea of yours, and I opened up Freeform but it’s new to me. In your explaination above, do you already have a set floorplan open on the Freeform app, that you then add the pic & info to?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    – A

    • admin - Reply

      In the example I showed, you could either:

      1. Use the lines to sketch out the space.

      2. Import a pdf of the space, then paste the fixtures on top. (Edited: I figured out where the Back and Front controls are in Freeform- you select the image, touch the three dots in the lower right hand corner, then select Front or Back at the top.)

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