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Thread: DMX control using Pangolin LD2000 Showtime and Enttec DMXIS

  1. #1
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    Default DMX control using Pangolin LD2000 Showtime and Enttec DMXIS

    The Pangolin QM2000 system offers very precise control of DMX parameters using DMX frames.
    However, when it comes to simultaneously controlling multiple DMX fixtures across several channels, the use of DMX frames can quickly get a bit tedious.

    I've started working with a solution that I believe many hobbiests, and some pros, might find helpful.
    This allows complete independent control of multiple DMX fixtures, along with synchronized automation via Pangolin Showtime.

    The package I'm using is the Enttec DMXIS, which is a software console that connects to the computer via a dedicated USB-powered interface. It can control up to 512 DMX channels, with a virtually unlimited number of custom presets and banks. All screen controls can be activated directly with a mouse, or automated via a footswitch or MIDI. The complete package, with the interface, costs about the same as a decent MIDI controller, but the DEMO version (fully functional software interface, just no DMX output), can be tried for free!

    Here are the details, along with a console screen shot:

    http://www.enttec.com/index.php?main...ion&name=dmxis

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    To use the this with Showtime, I'm taking advantage of a "less-documented" feature of the LD2000 suite - while many realize the suite can be controlled from MIDI, the QM2000 can actually function as a very effective MIDI controller - and no additional hardware is needed!

    First, in addition to the DMXIS software, you'll need to use a piece of software like MIDI YOKE:

    (free; I'm using MIDI YOKE NT 1.75 on my XP laptop - available from http://www.midiox.com/index.htm?http....com/myoke.htm).

    MIDI YOKE installs as a Control Panel application, and runs automatically in the background to act as a software MIDI interface between software applications running on the same computer. If you need to run MIDI between computers across a network, there are various (not free, however) "MIDI over LAN" clients that will serve the same purpose.
    Either way, you do NOT need additional MIDI hardware to make this work!

    Making it work:

    Once all the software is installed, setup DMXIS to use MIDI YOKE as the MIDI interface (it should automatically show up as an available interface). Then, setup your DMX fixtures (real or virtual), along with any DMXIS presets, effects, etc. that you might want to use. Note that you'll be using the DMXIS screen controls the very same way you would if you were using a hardware DMX lighting console. Keep in mind that virtually EVERY control on the DMXIS screen can be controlled via MIDI controller messages (using a VERY easy to use MIDI "Learn" function). Also, every bank and preset can be selected using MIDI program change messages. (So, if you happen to have an external MIDI controller for LivePRO, you might just have an additional use for it....)

    Using it with Pangolin Showtime:

    First, setup your Playback Settings, MIDI Output Device to use MIDI YOKE (it supports multiple MIDI ports - be sure to specify the same one you used in DMXIS). Now, to control DMXIS, instead of frames, we're going to use MIDI effects, which are created in the Effects Editor just like any other Showtime effect:

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    When specifying the MIDI control parameters, use "Control Change" to directly control individual - or groups of - DMXIS screen controls; use "Program Change" to select DMXIS banks and presets:

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    After the effects are created, just drop them on the Showtime timeline wherever you need to control DMXIS, just like you would any other frame or effect! One caveat here - it is definitely possible to have multiple MIDI (DMXIS) effects going at once. However, I have found that when doing this, is seems to work smoother if the MIDI effects are dropped into different tracks, rather than stacked in a single track. Also, keep in mind that MIDI only supports 127 control steps, while DMX controls 255; so, if you need VERY precise, fine-step DMX control, you may still need to use a DMX frame.

    Overall, I'm finding this is VERY easy to use - creating the MIDI effects is quick, and anyone with any experience using a DMX console (even an "el cheapo" like I have!) will quickly feel right at home using the DMXIS software console. If you decide to try this out, you'll definitely want to spend a bit of time with the DMXIS users manual, and also check the tutorial videos and support forum tips on the Enttec web site. Also, if you have access to a 2nd monitor, it definitely helps to run Showtime on one screen, and the DMXIS console on the other!!

    Holler' (PM or e-mail) if you have any questions!!

    Randy
    Last edited by Stuka; 05-30-2010 at 08:26.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi Randy,

    I am just back from China - in town for only a few hours before seeing and responding to this. Thanks to Francesco for pointing out this post.

    Thanks for the comments. In fact DMX is a topic we are exploring right now -- both for the future of LD2000 and also QuickShow. The method you came up with here gives some good food for thought, but I think we can come up with something better for the long term.

    By the way Randy, please contact me privately as I would like to get the latest version of QS into your hands so you can play with the DMX features in there and see how you like them. QS already supports DMX Input and Output using the ENTTEC USB DMX device.

    You still have an FB3, right? (Answer through direct email as I am very busy lately and -- unfortunately -- only have time to visit PL when someone sends me an email with a link to a forum post.)

    Best regards,

    William Benner

  3. #3
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    does DMXIS have its own timeline?

    i really, really, really wish showtime had specific DMX tracks, its impossible to do a lot of DMX stuff and laser stuff at the same time without using a f%^&-ton of tracks, and even then, you hit the event limit a few seconds in... very frustrating

  4. #4
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    does DMXIS have its own timeline?
    Does it need its own timeline? I thought the point of this was to get the timeline in your laser software to be driving the DMX output, albeit via midi in this case because it seems to work better/easier than the inbuilt DMX support.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by flecom View Post
    does DMXIS have its own timeline?

    i really, really, really wish showtime had specific DMX tracks, its impossible to do a lot of DMX stuff and laser stuff at the same time without using a f%^&-ton of tracks, and even then, you hit the event limit a few seconds in... very frustrating
    DMXIS is strictly a real-time playback console; in essence, you use it in lieu of an external hardware console - with the added benefit of being able to control it via MIDI from within other software or from an inexpensive external controller!

    In my case (not a lighting pro by ANY stretch of the imagination!) I find it easier to use a console to create a multi-channel DMX scene I'm looking for, and save as a preset, rather than create that same "look" using DMX frames. Once you see how it's accomplished, it's then very easy to create a MIDI effect frame to trigger that preset, or even create multichannel DMX fades that work just like the default laser fade effects. As I mentioned, the MIDI approach can be a bit limiting due to the fewer number of control steps available, so if you need precise control (such as fine moving head positioning, or something similar), you'll probably still want to use DMX frames. However, for folks like me who just want to fire up a bunch of RGB LED fixtures, the DMXIS approach seems to work quite well!

    The event limit issue can be handled fairly easily by using multiple scenes.
    We had a discussion on that very subject here:

    http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...619#post136619

    As far as the overall future of DMX and Pangolin gear, I'd be willing to bet we'll see more capabilities in the future.
    Their support for the Enttec USB Pro interface in QuickShow for the FB3 sure seems like big step in that direction.

    Bill, Thanks for the QuickShow offer - I'll drop you an e-mail!

    Randy
    Last edited by Stuka; 05-31-2010 at 06:14.
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

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