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Author Topic: Plug and play system for a touring band  (Read 780 times)

Greta Di Iacovo

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Plug and play system for a touring band
« on: February 06, 2018, 04:20:29 pm »

Hello Guys! Nice to meet you!
I'm struggling with this question and I haven't found anyone that could help me...
Let me explain:
I sing in a sci-fi rock n' roll band, and our show highly relies on special effects on stage.
We're not well paid for now and we must keep our luggage very light.
While touring, I can't be sure if the venues that host our shows have a light designer and which scanners do they use. More than that, I'm pretty sure I cannot ask them to change their connections and presets, or I can not ask them to tell me precisely how do they work to set up a normal DMX system.
My venues will change daily, and i can't bring with me my lights or a designer.
I need some very elemental features, like a total shut down on the lights on stage in a certain moment. I'm not asking special designs or movements... of course, it will be cool!
BUT: I heard that there are some automatic system that recognizes the scanners channels and may work with some very easy preset. I need something that can work easily on the "master" without going crazy with every single scanner of the venue.

Can you tell me if something like that already exists?
 
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Plug and play system for a touring band
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 04:51:26 pm »

Hello Guys! Nice to meet you!
I'm struggling with this question and I haven't found anyone that could help me...
Let me explain:
I sing in a sci-fi rock n' roll band, and our show highly relies on special effects on stage.
We're not well paid for now and we must keep our luggage very light.
While touring, I can't be sure if the venues that host our shows have a light designer and which scanners do they use. More than that, I'm pretty sure I cannot ask them to change their connections and presets, or I can not ask them to tell me precisely how do they work to set up a normal DMX system.
My venues will change daily, and i can't bring with me my lights or a designer.
I need some very elemental features, like a total shut down on the lights on stage in a certain moment. I'm not asking special designs or movements... of course, it will be cool!
BUT: I heard that there are some automatic system that recognizes the scanners channels and may work with some very easy preset. I need something that can work easily on the "master" without going crazy with every single scanner of the venue.

Can you tell me if something like that already exists?

Please go to your profile and correct your displayed name.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Plug and play system for a touring band
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 10:01:47 am »

Hi Greta,

Can you tell me if something like that already exists?

In short, no, something like this does not exist.  While DMX is a very defined protocol, the way a fixture implements it for attribute control will vary by the make and model of each unit.  Any DMX light system will require programming to some degree, even for very basic operation.  How long this takes to accomplish largely depends on the skill of the programmer and the tools he/she has to work with, but there is no way to just walk into a venue and instantly have the lights do exactly what you want. 

BUT: I heard that there are some automatic system that recognizes the scanners channels and may work with some very easy preset. I need something that can work easily on the "master" without going crazy with every single scanner of the venue.

I believe what you're referring to is called RDM (Remote Device Management).  While it'll help you with your patching, it still won't take the place of actual programming.  Also, for RDM to work, both your console and your fixtures have to support it.  If you're traveling to venues with unknown equipement you cannot rely on this being in place.  Also, DMX usually isn't configured as a master/slave system.  Each unit is individually controllable without affecting the others so long as fixture addressing doesn't overlap. 

I sing in a sci-fi rock n' roll band, and our show highly relies on special effects on stage.
We're not well paid for now and we must keep our luggage very light.

So something isn't adding up to me.  If you're a touring group with a show that relies on special effects, why don't you have the budget or logistics to travel with the gear and LD you need to make this work?  If your group's reputation is at stake, wouldn't you want to guarantee that the effects you need will work properly on a consistent basis and not just wing it each night, hoping for the best depending on what all each venue has installed (if anything, and if it even works)?  Just my thoughts...  Good luck!
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Lance Hallmark

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Re: Plug and play system for a touring band
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 04:32:15 pm »

I agree with the above statements. Your best bet would be to acquire a half dozen well thought out fixtures and have a band member's BF, GF, roadie, etc...  learn a little DMX programming and run your lights. You can get a lot of different looks out of a few fixtures if you do your research and make the effort for good programming. Unfortunately, even going the cheap route could run you $2k or more. You can run lights in an auto mode but lighting works best with a live programmer and that sounds like what your show will need to get the proper effects you want.
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Lance Hallmark
Hallmark Events & Entertainment
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