Video: Zak Al-Alami explains live concert busking with Eos


New York based programmer Zak Al-Alami is the Lighting Director at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Arc3 Design. He recently stopped by the ETC video studio to talk us through his process of busking for concerts and other live performances.

Zak Al-Alami reflects on his work

What is busking?

“The general idea of busking is being able to light something on the fly,” says Al-Alami.

“All of it is about getting to a place where you have a comfortable level of organized improvisation….It could be busking a dance set, it could be busking an EDM concert, or it could be busking for a band that you know and tour with, but their set list is so vast and their shows change so much from night to night that it’s not worth cueing it out like a regular theater show.”

Building your toolbox

A busking toolbox includes pre-programmed content, arranged for quick and easy access during a show.

This content includes groups, effects, focus palettes, color palettes, beam palettes, submasters (Zak is a big fan of inhibitive subs), macros and cue lists. Here are some of Zak’s content layouts:

On the right-hand Gio screen: useful macros arranged for easy access – including a “lifesaver” macro that safely returns the stage to a base cue.
Effects and parameters live on the left-hand Gio screen
Busking with Eos
Working on a smaller console? Magic Sheets can give easy, hands-on access to information stored elsewhere on the desk.

Watch the full video to see Zak in action

Watch the full video below to hear Zak explain how he sets up his Eos software show file and see him program songs in real time.



Want to learn about other Eos topics? Do you have busking stories of your own? Let us know at

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Kate Foster
Kate joined ETC in 2012 after several years spent creating sets, props, and the occasional hack lighting design in the basement theaters of New York City. In addition to writing for ETC, she has worked on numerous in-house design projects, including tradeshow booths and the New York office’s Art Deco lobby. In her free time, Kate practices figure drawing, explores obscure corners of NYC, and pines for mountains.