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Author Topic: Software light Controllers?  (Read 2527 times)

Jim Turner

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Software light Controllers?
« on: January 06, 2014, 03:19:30 pm »

I've been trying to find a solution to my controller issues.
I've got a cheap Elation DMX Operator 192 that works ok but is a nightmare to program... bought a used Elation Show Designer off e-bay that is unusable due to bad faders & buttons.
I've recently been looking at software controllers but before I chuck any more money at this I'd like to hear a few opinions... Plus the Idea of mousing around a screen trying to "jam with the band" really doesn't fly. There are hardware midi surfaces I could add but that brings the price point up to where I might as well get a real console.
Whatcha all think?
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 05:40:28 pm »

I've been trying to find a solution to my controller issues.
I've got a cheap Elation DMX Operator 192 that works ok but is a nightmare to program... bought a used Elation Show Designer off e-bay that is unusable due to bad faders & buttons.
I've recently been looking at software controllers but before I chuck any more money at this I'd like to hear a few opinions... Plus the Idea of mousing around a screen trying to "jam with the band" really doesn't fly. There are hardware midi surfaces I could add but that brings the price point up to where I might as well get a real console.
Whatcha all think?

Our Show Designer 2 hasn't been touched since we got Martin Light Jockey, we use a Lenovo tablet to run LJ and have an old NSI dmx controller acting as subs for groups of fixtures. We also use an iPad for control sometimes.

Light Jockey is fairly inexpensive, but you have to learn how to do things the "Light Jockey Way".

My personal rig is MagicQ PC, I'd eventually like to get a wing but it's not at the top of the priority list, I mostly use it when I'm running solo to control a few LED cans.

MagicQ PC itself is free, and very powerful, but you wouldn't want to busk a large light rig without a wing.
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duane massey

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 08:30:25 pm »

The Show Designer should be repairable for a small amount of $$. The "Operator"-series are close to being useless for most real-world applications. PM me if you need any help with the Show Designer.
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Duane Massey
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Ryan Kucharo

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 09:38:53 pm »

We run Chamsys MagicQ with a MagicDMX Full [http://www.chamsys.co.uk/magicdmx] and it works well.  It does require a pretty beefy PC to run. It works great for intelligent fixtures or a show with a bunch of light cues, however, it can be far to time consuming to setup for a basic "flashing PAR" gig. One thing I have thought about, but havent done yet, is purchase a Cherry [http://cherry.de/cid/b2b_keyboards_SPOS_G86-63411.htm] or PI [http://www.piengineering.com/XkeysKeyboards/index.php] Programmable keyboards and use it leiu of a wing. But, For most conventional PAR only concerts we typically use a simple Elation StageSetter 8 or 24 and assign lights to bump buttons as it is quick and easy.
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Jamie Chappa

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 11:14:23 pm »

I've been trying to find a solution to my controller issues.
I've got a cheap Elation DMX Operator 192 that works ok but is a nightmare to program... bought a used Elation Show Designer off e-bay that is unusable due to bad faders & buttons.
I've recently been looking at software controllers but before I chuck any more money at this I'd like to hear a few opinions... Plus the Idea of mousing around a screen trying to "jam with the band" really doesn't fly. There are hardware midi surfaces I could add but that brings the price point up to where I might as well get a real console.
Whatcha all think?

Freestyler dmx can be run with a midi foot controller, wireless keyboard or iPad. It is cheap and easy to use also. I have all the color changes setup on my keyboard which makes it easy to mix and run the lights.
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James Feenstra

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 09:29:19 am »

Take a look at the Jands Vista software, it's a free download, but does require a dongle to enable output;

www.jandsvista.com/download

It's powerful, easy to use, and very visual- no typing in a string of commands to get what you're after.

Note; I work for the North American distributor and am the trainer for Jands here, although I've been a long time user as well
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James Feenstra
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Jands Vista, Arkaos, Prolyte, ChromaQ and LEDGo

Jeff Lelko

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 04:24:12 pm »

I'm yet another user of MagicQ PC for the majority of my lighting work.  As others have mentioned, it's a very powerful platform that can be implemented for under $100 assuming you already have a laptop to run it on.  I have to admit though that when it comes to light consoles, I really like the ability to actually push buttons and move faders.  The PC solution is great (and I have mine running on a tablet PC), but once your setup gets beyond a certain size and complexity, having a wing is a must.  Unfortunately, the wings are extremely expensive and even the MagicQ MIDI interface will cost close to $1000, at which point I ask the same question - if I'm going to dump a lot of money into a lighting solution, should I just get actual hardware console instead of one that requires a PC? 

To help bridge the gap I also use a Behringer Eurolight to control my PARs and effects.  I personally find it difficult to design with conventional stagelights on a purely PC console (even if it's on a tablet), so the Eurolight fills that void while I leave MagicQ to handle my movers.  I've been using the MagicQ / Eurolight combo for nearly 10 years now and it fits my needs well enough, but I would certainly prefer to have all that control on one console.  Of course that's going to cost serious money though (hence I have yet to do that). 

Hope this helps!
-Jeff
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Jim Turner

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 06:31:02 pm »


Thanks a lot for the input.
Just installing MagicQ now... seems pretty comprehensive. The 3d visualizer is a great feature
Cheers!
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Josh Daws

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 07:41:07 pm »

i have been using Martin MPC recently and have really been enjoying it...ive also used the MagicQ PC...personally i have found the experience with MPC more user friendly...you can hook up a 3d visualiser and also use MIDI control. the plus side is that also you have 2 universes of control. my favorite by far...and like the vista, designed for touch interface, and not about a million keystrokes and commands...
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Steve Alves

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Re: Software light Controllers?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2014, 09:55:27 pm »

+1 Martin Lightjockey
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