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Thread: Programming advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Programming advice

    I have been messing around with dmx and ilda for about 4 months total; that is my only experience with lighting and programming as I am originally a sound guy. I am now going to be running lights for smalls shows (by small I mean 1000-5000 people) and I do not have long to get it together for the first show which is in one month. I do have the set list for the performer but I will also have to run scenes for random songs while the dj is spinning.

    This is what I have:
    DMX-
    Sunlite for control
    4 moving heads
    8 single beam on/off green lasers
    2 dmx controlled 600mw 445nm scanners with 21 patterns.....can modify speed of patterns.
    2 led wash strips
    5 750 watt strobes
    2 fog machines

    ILDA-
    Pangolin Quickshow for control
    2 - 1 watt rgb scanners with 30k galvos.

    Ok sorry if this thread seems off topic but I know some of you guys are pros so please help me out here.

    How would you program for a set that includes unknown songs at first and then a known set list?
    - An example of the answer I'm looking for: I would setup all of the dmx lighting to have "macro" scenes that are patched to a midi keyboard for triggering and let Pangolin run automatically utilizing the tap function.

    I know how to program scenes and different laser patterns. What I do not know how to do is organize it all and trigger it so that it is seemless during a full length show.

    Thank you SO much for any help. I will figure it out either way I'm sure but I know you guys know your stuff

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    Central Florida
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    Sounds ambitious but someone here should be able to give you some pointers to get ya going. I am a pre-programed show guy so I won't be able to help... unless you have Pangolin problems specifically; then hit me up on the Pangolin contact page... Definatly take some video of your show when you get it going.
    Love, peace, and grease,

    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  3. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    It is ambitious.....it is daunting. I hope someone has some advice for me. What I really need to do is read the manuals front to back and watch all of the tutorials. Part of why it seems so diffiult for me I believe is that I haven't really utilized the full potential of the software.

    I have it all set up right now in an insulated storage building that is about the size of a small/medium sized bar. I have had some people come and preview what it looks like so far and they said it looks great and would enjoy it just the way it is. But there is no way I can sit there and switch between pangolin and sunlite and then in sunlite control one set of moving heads and then turn on the strobes etc......I've got to be able to group these functions into generics scenes, beat match and then trigger when it feels right. Or........I could timeline the entire setlist (Oh wait you can't get a dj to cooperate with you to that level.)

  4. #4
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Springfield, IL
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    welcome to my world, lol. I use live pro for lasers and Martin lightjockey for the scanners, moving heads, strobes, etc. On the static set lists I'm sure you have been able to come up with a very decent looking show. It is when you get into the controlled randomness of the DJ that automation becomes an issue. I personally have hit a wall with the capabilities of Lightjockey controlling Live Pro or even the other way around. I want to coordinate sweeps of lasers with the scanners and moving heads, scene colors, timed strobe effects of discharge lighting and lasers, etc. You get the idea. Unless I'm doing something wrong the software is not there YET for the automation. I did run this by Bill from Pangolin at SELEM V a couple weeks ago and he did seem very receptive to my ideas so lets hope something will come of it. More likely these types of capabilities will be in their pro software BEYOND if they are worked out. I also feel I will have better luck working with Bill on this rather than approaching Martin or one of the other lighting giants.
    Mario

    www.r3dj.com

    1.5W RGB unit from Marc at CT Lasers!
    400mW RGBv mod based on Chinese unit

  5. #5
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    My momentum is too precisely determined :S
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    The easiest solution would be two computers, one for the lasers and one for the lights.
    What I do is I program scenes and sequences (in Freestyler) for each type of fixture, like I program a random colour chase for my spots, then a slow fade, then just some static colours, etc.
    What I would do in Freestyler is bundle all these sequences in a cue (which is basically a list of sequences). Then I can put this list into the Submasters, where I can pick a sequence from each list individually.
    So if you created a list of each fixture or each effect (whatever you prefer), you can control them individually. You could for example create a "Colour" submaster, a "Shutter/Strobe" submaster, a "Pan/Tilt" submaster, etc.

    I guess most lighting programs work this way, though maybe not in the way I described it.

    Poke Bill for integrated DMX support in his programs. Maybe even I would be tempted to buy them.

  6. #6
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    I think you can send MIDI commands from a controller to both programs at the same time, that would likely solve your problem... still it would be a nightmare to program.
    I usually run 2 softwares at the same time... Painful to sync everything manually. Feels like a man and a computer are trying to do the job of 2 men and 2 computers LOL.
    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Thank you so much for your advice guys! Last night I stayed up late puzzling over the situation. I finally came to this conclusion:

    -1 computer with both sunlite and pangolin running on it.
    -Dual output video card with two monitors.
    -Synch both programs using midi timecode coming from the DJs software; all of the music will be going through his mixer.

    -While dj is spinning I will have a master page and utilize submasters for different colors, movements, strobing etc. (as per colouredmirrorball ; so I can change the whole stages color but everything else stays the same or I can change the moving heads patterns but the color stays the same. All of these effects can be enabled to follow audio at a specific frequency; so if I want strobes for a snare roll I can do that if I want strobes for a pulsing bass line I can do that too.

    -Have timelines for the 5 song set of the performer. During practice I will make sure both programs operate at the same speed on midi timecode; if not there is a millisecond offset setting if one is a little off.

    -During this part of the show I am going to coordinate with the dj to put gaps between each song; the performer can talk to the crowd during these gaps. I will switch to my next timeline in both sunlite and pangolin and then give the dj the thumbs up and he will play the song thereby triggering the show.

    It's funny because the conclusion I came to last night at 2am is like a mixture between all of you guys ideas. Your responses have confirmed that I am on the right track!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey851 View Post
    Thank you so much for your advice guys! Last night I stayed up late puzzling over the situation. I finally came to this conclusion:

    -1 computer with both sunlite and pangolin running on it.
    -Dual output video card with two monitors.
    -Synch both programs using midi timecode coming from the DJs software; all of the music will be going through his mixer. This is just asking for trouble. If you were going on tour than this is one thing but a live performance is just that, live. You need to be able to react to any thing that the dj is going to play 100% on the fly for lasers and lighting.

    -While dj is spinning I will have a master page and utilize submasters for different colors, movements, strobing etc. (as per colouredmirrorball ; so I can change the whole stages color but everything else stays the same or I can change the moving heads patterns but the color stays the same. All of these effects can be enabled to follow audio at a specific frequency; so if I want strobes for a snare roll I can do that if I want strobes for a pulsing bass line I can do that too.

    -Have timelines for the 5 song set of the performer. During practice I will make sure both programs operate at the same speed on midi timecode; if not there is a millisecond offset setting if one is a little off. again, you need to be live. and not time-lined out, things rarely work out well first time through. You don't want to have anything to do with his equipment. If/when something goes wrong you are going to be the one on the hook.

    -During this part of the show I am going to coordinate with the dj to put gaps between each song;NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! EVER. Like it or not the dj is the show YOU are not. He comes first, you are just the lighting guy. the performer can talk to the crowd during these gaps. I will switch to my next timeline in both sunlite and pangolin and then give the dj the thumbs up and he will play the song thereby triggering the show. Not knowing what kind of show this is (rave, private party,school...) I don't see this happening.

    It's funny because the conclusion I came to last night at 2am is like a mixture between all of you guys ideas. Your responses have confirmed that I am on the right track!!!
    Without more details it is difficult to give good advice other than you just need to practice running all of this live. You need to build LOTS of cues and scenes and be able to call them up instantly and be able to combine and record real time to be brought up later on the fly. When I was doing lighting & Laser professionally (mostly dance music) I would start out the night with a dozen base looks and build the show on the fly for the rest of the night. Preprogrammed doesn't work well unless you have lots of time to coordinate and rehearse with the 'talent' .

    Good luck

    chad


    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Without more details it is difficult to give good advice other than you just need to practice running all of this live. You need to build LOTS of cues and scenes and be able to call them up instantly and be able to combine and record real time to be brought up later on the fly. When I was doing lighting & Laser professionally (mostly dance music) I would start out the night with a dozen base looks and build the show on the fly for the rest of the night. Preprogrammed doesn't work well unless you have lots of time to coordinate and rehearse with the 'talent' .


    Good luck

    chad
    Ahh yes good call. I should have clarified. The DJ works for me and my business partner, and the performer is local so we can meet with him a few times before the show.

    During the dj spinning I will just be using either audio in or midi timecode to sync the beat ONLY not to sync a timeline.

    The one good thing about using midi timecode through my djs equipment is that both pangolin and sunlite have a function where the lightshow moves with the music at all times. If the dj actually scratches in the middle of a song, the light show "scratches" as well (could look weird) but once the midi timecode resumes the lights resume at that specific part of the song, I'm referring only to the timeline stuff right now. As for random songs, like I said I am only using it to beat match for chases and sweeps.

    The main thing I will take from your advice is that I will have many "looks" and scenes on a seperate page. I will set these to be triggered on the fly. If all else fails I can setup my sunlite so that the midi keyboard overrides anything else in sunlite. As for Pangolin, I'm not sure if I can do that but I could always just blackout and then go through atmospherics manually or use the beat matched light jockey in a pinch.

    Edit: If I try to coordinate this with the dj and I don't feel that he can cope I will go to plan B.

    Plan B
    -Trigger scenes live while he is spinning using audio out from my sound guys mixer to beat match.
    -Play the performers songs from my computer. (The performer insists on a perfectly programmed show, no on the fly stuff and I'm getting paid enough to listen imo)

    Plan C

    - Have macro scenes on my dmx lights that I select and change it on the fly as you suggest.
    - Have pages of "favorite" patterns and effect on pangolin that can be triggered manually.
    - Manually tap to synchronize.
    Last edited by Mikey851; 09-02-2011 at 13:45.

  10. #10
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    Okay, so I finally found out the true solution here if anyone is interested. Keep in mind this is not for a dj spinning random music and using generic scenes this is for a 10 song setlist that I have a little over 2 weeks left to program.

    The solution:

    1. Serato to Ableton bridge.
    2. Use midi time clock signal from Ableton to my lighting software for beat matching.
    3. Program midi triggers into Ableton and that's it.

    What this will allow is that the dj can beat match, he can scratch, he can do whatever he wants. The cues that the midi triggers will be assigned to will only function when the specific midi signal is sent. So if there is a snare roll in a song, we can zoom in on that snare roll in ableton and apply a midi trigger that lasts as long as the snare roll does. No matter what tempo he is playing at my lights will match using the midi clock; so when the snare roll comes up a signal will be sent to my software to trigger the chase cue that I have created and that cue will operate at the current tempo.

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