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Author Topic: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller  (Read 843 times)

Jim Layton

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Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« on: April 10, 2018, 09:21:44 am »

I tried searching for an answer but could not find one.

I use hardware controllers (Chauvet/Leviton) and have software DMX capability. We produce local concerts on a small scale. Rented halls, 200 in audience. I have LED pars on stands and LED wahs lights on drums as a basic set-up. The lighting is not programmed, just pushing buttons and faders that create a look as the bands play.

I'm slowly learning software programming for movers but most of the lighting is seat-of-the-pants manual adjustment of the pars and washes.

So...is it possible to use a midi controller to trigger preset scenes, set in the memory of a midi-compatible lighting console? Can you "play" the lights by hitting keys or buttons on a midi controller? I don't want the music to trigger the lights, I want to be able to rapidly hit buttons or keys to fire off presets.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 02:29:56 pm »

I tried searching for an answer but could not find one.

I use hardware controllers (Chauvet/Leviton) and have software DMX capability. We produce local concerts on a small scale. Rented halls, 200 in audience. I have LED pars on stands and LED wahs lights on drums as a basic set-up. The lighting is not programmed, just pushing buttons and faders that create a look as the bands play.

I'm slowly learning software programming for movers but most of the lighting is seat-of-the-pants manual adjustment of the pars and washes.

So...is it possible to use a midi controller to trigger preset scenes, set in the memory of a midi-compatible lighting console? Can you "play" the lights by hitting keys or buttons on a midi controller? I don't want the music to trigger the lights, I want to be able to rapidly hit buttons or keys to fire off presets.

I don't know the particulars of how to do it, but yes, absolutely. The club I run sound at has just such a system. The lights are programmed to a laptop running ShowExpress, and the midi controller - some sort of touchpad, is set up to run scenes, chases w/tap sync, and flash buttons. There are separate faders for front spots, back wash and a master fader. There's even 2 buttons for haze.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 03:41:32 pm »

The term you are looking for is "busking".

Search that out with your favorite lighting program to see how other people are doing it. There will be a certain amount of setup involved, but once it's set up for your lights, you should be able to easily "busk" a light show on the fly....
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Jim Layton

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 11:42:22 am »

Thanks everyone. I'll look deeper into it.
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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 02:19:19 pm »

I think I know the answer to this but I'll ask.  My lighting experience was never deep (I'm colorblind) and ended with 24 par64's and 2-scene local-band-level 24 channel consumer lighting consoles.   

I now have 16 led instruments an enttec dmx-ethernet interface and an ipad with luminare 3.   I have created several scenes.  Mostly I run sound and let luminaire slowly fade out-in through the scenes.  But I have to be careful not to make any rear-lighting-only scenes so I don't have the band start a song or talk between songs backlit only and I can't highlight solos with lighting since the shows are never timed to the lights and I have no idea where people will move on stage.

Is there any way to control the led instruments in real-time (rgb and fade) other than manually choosing which scene to have active?

It seems pretty far from having a 'friend-of-the-band' run lights, as was possible in the old days......

--Kevin

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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 02:34:37 pm »

I think I know the answer to this but I'll ask.  My lighting experience was never deep (I'm colorblind) and ended with 24 par64's and 2-scene local-band-level 24 channel consumer lighting consoles.   

I now have 16 led instruments an enttec dmx-ethernet interface and an ipad with luminare 3.   I have created several scenes.  Mostly I run sound and let luminaire slowly fade out-in through the scenes.  But I have to be careful not to make any rear-lighting-only scenes so I don't have the band start a song or talk between songs backlit only and I can't highlight solos with lighting since the shows are never timed to the lights and I have no idea where people will move on stage.

Is there any way to control the led instruments in real-time (rgb and fade) other than manually choosing which scene to have active?

It seems pretty far from having a 'friend-of-the-band' run lights, as was possible in the old days......

--Kevin

I just looked at Lumaire and you can make custom screens with scene buttons.  Why can't you name the scenes and have someone just select a scene?   We setup one band that has multiple scenes for each song and you can teach the queues to anyone.  You just keep advancing scenes.

The same should work for your Luminaire.  You got as far as you want with it. 

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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 03:45:38 pm »

I just looked at Lumaire and you can make custom screens with scene buttons.  Why can't you name the scenes and have someone just select a scene?   We setup one band that has multiple scenes for each song and you can teach the queues to anyone.  You just keep advancing scenes.

The same should work for your Luminaire.  You got as far as you want with it.

That's helpful Scott, and I'll look at that.   Sorry to hijack this thread into a luminaire tutorial.... 

I think one thing I couldn't work out was fading when moving manually from scene to scene.  I'm sure i would not always want to fade, but it would be nice to control whether to fade or not on the fly.    With a screen full of scenes and the ability to fade or not I'd be set for the level of things I do.   That's what relates to busking to me.

I have looked at just about every tutorial I can find for this.  Either they are way over my head or totally fixated on the DJ landscape.  I don't do anything but try to light bands in small bars who would otherwise be playing under hamburger lights and driveway spots.   

--Kevin

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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2018, 03:48:51 pm »

That's helpful Scott, and I'll look at that.   Sorry to hijack this thread into a luminaire tutorial.... 

I think one thing I couldn't work out was fading when moving manually from scene to scene.  I'm sure i would not always want to fade, but it would be nice to control whether to fade or not on the fly.    With a screen full of scenes and the ability to fade or not I'd be set for the level of things I do.   That's what relates to busking to me.

I have looked at just about every tutorial I can find for this.  Either they are way over my head or totally fixated on the DJ landscape.  I don't do anything but try to light bands in small bars who would otherwise be playing under hamburger lights and driveway spots.   

--Kevin

A quick look at the Luminaire manual show programmable fade times.

I think you need to sit down with a few fixtures, the software and the manual and get familiar.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
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Steve Garris

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2018, 01:08:46 pm »

A quick look at the Luminaire manual show programmable fade times.

I think you need to sit down with a few fixtures, the software and the manual and get familiar.

If I'm not mistaken, he wants the fade between scenes to be set manually. I need this feature too. When I was playing with Luminaire, I believe there is a way to control the fade rate manually, but possibly not easy or quick to get to it. On my Magic 260 controller, I can make scene changes and adjust the fade rate by simply moving a fader on the controller. I'm hoping Debbie D chimes in as she knows Luminaire.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2018, 01:13:29 pm »

If I'm not mistaken, he wants the fade between scenes to be set manually. I need this feature too. When I was playing with Luminaire, I believe there is a way to control the fade rate manually, but possibly not easy or quick to get to it. On my Magic 260 controller, I can make scene changes and adjust the fade rate by simply moving a fader on the controller. I'm hoping Debbie D chimes in as she knows Luminaire.

Another Magic 260 fan.  I keep an XP PC just to run the software.  That board has a ton of features for the price point.
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
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www.ghostav.rocks

Steve Garris

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2018, 03:03:49 pm »

Another Magic 260 fan.  I keep an XP PC just to run the software.  That board has a ton of features for the price point.

Unfortunately mine just took a dump on me, right at the beginning of a show! I'm shipping it to SoCal for repair.

I ended up changing two trees of lights to an auto fade program, then I plugged them both into a little Wallmart remote I carry with me. I just switched them off between songs, so the lights ended up still looking good.
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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 12:16:34 pm »

If I'm not mistaken, he wants the fade between scenes to be set manually. I need this feature too. When I was playing with Luminaire, I believe there is a way to control the fade rate manually, but possibly not easy or quick to get to it. On my Magic 260 controller, I can make scene changes and adjust the fade rate by simply moving a fader on the controller. I'm hoping Debbie D chimes in as she knows Luminaire.

Correct.  I read the manual, viewed every tutorial I could find and have driven my wife crazy with blinking lights in the family room.  I could be wrong but I find that the fade rate and time is global for a sequence, not per scene.   If you are not running a sequence, pressing a scene button instantly turns on that scene.  Pressing another instantly goes to the next.  Would be handy to program a scene fade-in/fade out that is saved with the scene.

--Kevin
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Steve Garris

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Re: Can you freestyle lighting with a midi controller
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 03:23:51 pm »

Correct.  I read the manual, viewed every tutorial I could find and have driven my wife crazy with blinking lights in the family room.  I could be wrong but I find that the fade rate and time is global for a sequence, not per scene.   If you are not running a sequence, pressing a scene button instantly turns on that scene.  Pressing another instantly goes to the next.  Would be handy to program a scene fade-in/fade out that is saved with the scene.

--Kevin

Unfortunately you have few choices in the low-cost dmx controller market. I went through all of this when I purchased my Magic 260, which can manually fade between scenes and also has a master fader. The only other board that I know of, where you can adjust the scene fade rate manually on the fly, is the ADJ Operator 192. Keep in mind that this is still a cheap, limited controller:
https://goo.gl/ywKLFR
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