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Author Topic: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!  (Read 5390 times)

Sean Mormelo

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What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« on: May 31, 2017, 04:49:56 pm »

Hi guys I've been around for a while and I've been searching and searching for a computer software console that fits my needs but that's also very visual and is easy for someone with no lighting programming experience to get up and running. I've tried D-pro showXpress myDMX 3.0, Luminaire, Vista and Lightkey. There are things I like about everyone of them but none of them seem to do everything I need which is:

Be visually-based so no punching numbers or numeric programming.
Have 2-D and or 3-D layout capabilities built in.
Built in effects. 
Palettes-programmable
Groups
Midi Show Control

Basically I want to preprogram a bunch of cues and lighting sequences and have able 10 live fire them off synced up to the PPM of the song etc. using MSC control.

I swear luminaire on the iPad does all of this better in to my eye easier to understand except that it does not have palettes and if I need to change positions of lights across all of my cues and sequences in my shell it will be impossible to do without that.

It seems to me the only software package that does all of this is Jand's Vista which I only messed with briefly and it looked too complicated even still.

ShowXpress seems to do most of what I need but there's no information in the manual about any of it midi capabilities. It looks like it only uses midi notes.

MyDMX 3.0 looks awesome to me but does not have Palettes presets!! WTF?? They seem to be some wonky workarounds but it looks like a lot of work and also it only uses meeting notes and it seems very complicated to be firing off my show just using Notes. A lot of extra midi BS to go through.

D-Pro has no way to sync with Abelton via Midi.. i'm at a loss here and I really need some guidance. I appreciate it.


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Rob Spence

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 07:20:09 pm »

Budget?


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Jeff Lelko

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 07:20:50 pm »

Hi Sean,

I've been following your posts (replying to some) and can't help but realize that you've been asking this same question in varying forms for over the past year.  A better question might be what is it that all the different programs on the market (and there are a lot) aren't doing for you?  Now, I certainly haven't used every program on the market so maybe there's something out there that fits all your criteria, but given that you're still searching a year later it might be doubtful. 

So Luminaire doesn't have palettes - got it.  And that's an understandable gripe.  The problem I think you keep running into is that you don't seem open to learning how to program a "real" software package.  I'm not saying that what you've done so far doesn't count, but there's a reason why many of the more involved platforms have manuals numbering in the thousands of pages...or well should I say 1,000+.  Point and click programs are easy enough for people without the time/skill/interest in learning how to really program, but these programs are also quite limited.  Once you hit the wall of what they can do you either have to expand your controller to a more capable software package or settle for what you have - maybe finding a few obscure workarounds to accomplish what you need.  To have the advanced capabilities that you speak of you might have no choice but to pick up a more involved product.  I've been a Cobalt user for almost 3 years now and a MagicQ PC user for over 10, and there are still new things I learn about them. 

I can't speak to ShowXpress but there are others here that can. 

Going with the "guidance" portion of your request, I'd strongly vote to stick with a mainstream program and take the time to learn it.  This could be MagicQ PC, M-PC, ShowXpress, or a few others.  I'd avoid the more obscure software simply because there are fewer users of it and that it might be harder to get help or assistance if you need it.  Your "no numeric programming" requirement is something that you'll likely have to look past if you want advanced features.  Just as a programming FYI - when scripting a highly choreographed light, laser, or pyro display, a single minute of "show" can take hours or even days to program and tweak to be right...and that's with a skilled programmer.  Hope this helps and good luck!
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Sean Mormelo

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 11:38:13 pm »

Hi Sean,

I've been following your posts (replying to some) and can't help but realize that you've been asking this same question in varying forms for over the past year.  A better question might be what is it that all the different programs on the market (and there are a lot) aren't doing for you?  Now, I certainly haven't used every program on the market so maybe there's something out there that fits all your criteria, but given that you're still searching a year later it might be doubtful. 

So Luminaire doesn't have palettes - got it.  And that's an understandable gripe.  The problem I think you keep running into is that you don't seem open to learning how to program a "real" software package.  I'm not saying that what you've done so far doesn't count, but there's a reason why many of the more involved platforms have manuals numbering in the thousands of pages...or well should I say 1,000+.  Point and click programs are easy enough for people without the time/skill/interest in learning how to really program, but these programs are also quite limited.  Once you hit the wall of what they can do you either have to expand your controller to a more capable software package or settle for what you have - maybe finding a few obscure workarounds to accomplish what you need.  To have the advanced capabilities that you speak of you might have no choice but to pick up a more involved product.  I've been a Cobalt user for almost 3 years now and a MagicQ PC user for over 10, and there are still new things I learn about them. 

I can't speak to ShowXpress but there are others here that can. 

Going with the "guidance" portion of your request, I'd strongly vote to stick with a mainstream program and take the time to learn it.  This could be MagicQ PC, M-PC, ShowXpress, or a few others.  I'd avoid the more obscure software simply because there are fewer users of it and that it might be harder to get help or assistance if you need it.  Your "no numeric programming" requirement is something that you'll likely have to look past if you want advanced features.  Just as a programming FYI - when scripting a highly choreographed light, laser, or pyro display, a single minute of "show" can take hours or even days to program and tweak to be right...and that's with a skilled programmer.  Hope this helps and good luck!

Hey Jeff...

Thanks for replying. I outlined what they are not doing. And you are right I do not have the time to fully learn how to be a lighting engineer. Along with playing live full-time I'm also trying to build this business shooting videos creating very involved backing tracks for our bands, working musicians up, being a husband and dad. I simply do not have the time to learn another heavy learning curve conceptual program to go along with the 4 or 5 major audio DAWs I know, all my adobe Suite of photo video software, office, Apple etc...I don't have the time to learn a pro level lighting console that is designed from a non visual pedigree. My mind doesn't work like that... I've offered you and several other lighting designers $$ to come help out, and consult specifically on my needs. Paid a LD to come out and run out rig for a video shoot. Did not turn out well.

My show doesn't have to be custom or crazy for every cue. A nice set of programmed cues and palette presets built up to choose from that I can tweak a bit will do. It's not Pink Floyd here




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Sean Mormelo

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 11:39:28 pm »

Budget?


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Budget is not an issue


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Scott Holtzman

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 01:19:32 am »

Budget is not an issue


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ShowXpress works great with Ableton.   What is missing is the palettes.  Am I correct in assuming that's the core deal breaker?  I completely agree.  The difference between toys and real consoles is the ability to align all the scenes at once (palettes).  If you want that feature you have to leap into the deep end.

It seems to me the lighting industry hasn't had a breakthrough product like the X32 was for audio.  I keep waiting for a lighting system to be introduced at a lower price point with pro features.  It hasn't happened to date.

With the removal of the budget limitations I believe you are very close to your answer.  It's too bad the LD you hired didn't work out.  I have had the opportunity to work with a great LD and it has opened my eyes that audio engineers who trivialize the role of the LD, that believe we can do a good job running lights as an ancillary role to our audio work or possibly even performing are deluding ourselves.  A sound engineer might be able to busk out a halfway decent show if the scenes are all setup.  A cue is bound to be missed under high workload situations. 

How much time did you give the LD to setup your show?  If you hire an LD and give them the time to design your scenes and work with you on the automation your learning curve is now reduced to setting the palette aiming of the moving fixtures. 

I suggest you try another engagement with an LD, fully communicate your goals and work together to get your show designed.  It's a good investment.

 
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Steve Kosiba

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 11:58:06 am »

It seems to me the lighting industry hasn't had a breakthrough product like the X32 was for audio.  I keep waiting for a lighting system to be introduced at a lower price point with pro features.  It hasn't happened to date.

As a lighting programmer who works heavily on lots of different flavors of consoles, I beg to differ - the Martin M-PC paired with M-Play or M-Touch or M2PC is really a game changer and has allowed me to send out control packages with small tours at a before unheard of rate.  They've been picked up by tons of people who hadn't considered Martin consoles before, and while it is not an all-inclusive console - with a little ingenuity you can make it one with a computer and custom case.  Check out the Martin M-Series User Group on Facebook to see some of these great custom consoles.  The Chamsys gear is also coming down in price now that Chauvet is distributing them in the US, so that is going to make big waves as well.

One of the big things about lighting consoles is that they are either easy to use and weak or harder to learn but powerful.  What it seems OP is looking for here is one that's easy but also powerful, and the problem is that to get the pro features you have to learn how they work.  It takes time and effort, but thanks to YouTube, both Martin M-PC and Chamsys MagicQ PC are easy to pick up on if you invest some time.  You can also find someone locally to train you and help you set up your show, which I highly recommend.  Once you do that, there will be very little "punching numbers".

I'd suggest going the Chamsys route having just played with an MQ80 demo and liked it.  You can assemble a very decent Chamsys PC setup for not too much money.  You'll need to get the Chamsys dongle to unlock stuff like MIDI control, but that's not too much.  You can build a setup with no physical interface if you really want to just go the MIDI control route.  If you want more physical controls, you could get the PC Wing Compact and hook it up to your computer.  I always encourage a dedicated machine to run lighting, you don't want to run this on the same computer as a multi-track playback/recording software.
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Sean Mormelo

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 12:31:29 pm »

As a lighting programmer who works heavily on lots of different flavors of consoles, I beg to differ - the Martin M-PC paired with M-Play or M-Touch or M2PC is really a game changer and has allowed me to send out control packages with small tours at a before unheard of rate.  They've been picked up by tons of people who hadn't considered Martin consoles before, and while it is not an all-inclusive console - with a little ingenuity you can make it one with a computer and custom case.  Check out the Martin M-Series User Group on Facebook to see some of these great custom consoles.  The Chamsys gear is also coming down in price now that Chauvet is distributing them in the US, so that is going to make big waves as well.

One of the big things about lighting consoles is that they are either easy to use and weak or harder to learn but powerful.  What it seems OP is looking for here is one that's easy but also powerful, and the problem is that to get the pro features you have to learn how they work.  It takes time and effort, but thanks to YouTube, both Martin M-PC and Chamsys MagicQ PC are easy to pick up on if you invest some time.  You can also find someone locally to train you and help you set up your show, which I highly recommend.  Once you do that, there will be very little "punching numbers".

I'd suggest going the Chamsys route having just played with an MQ80 demo and liked it.  You can assemble a very decent Chamsys PC setup for not too much money.  You'll need to get the Chamsys dongle to unlock stuff like MIDI control, but that's not too much.  You can build a setup with no physical interface if you really want to just go the MIDI control route.  If you want more physical controls, you could get the PC Wing Compact and hook it up to your computer.  I always encourage a dedicated machine to run lighting, you don't want to run this on the same computer as a multi-track playback/recording software.

I just looked at Chamsys.. we are all on Mac computers so at least this runs on Mac. But other than that you have numeric keypad and a bunch of BS. I'm going to tell you there's no reason why lighting software can't be visually-based and have a friendly GUI. The only reason is they cater to people who have been doing this for 20 or 30 years before that. You're right there is no middle ground it seems the only software that to me as a visual GUI and pro features is Jands Vista. All of the low-end software consuls do everything I need except for being able to adjust the scenes globally position color tilted Cetra. Palettes

I don't need to buy any overpriced hardware programmer wing.

As far as hiring a lighting director I tried to find one and I even offered someone from this board thousands of dollars to come in and get a show started. I hired a very well-known LD here in the Orlando area to come in make some cues and then run his system live for a two day video shoot last summer and he couldn't even be bothered to have profiles from my rogue movers. I was supremely unhappy with the results and we ended up having to make a lot of lights and augment the effects video post production. If anyone has any names feel free to PM me!


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Nathan Riddle

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 12:35:14 pm »

My show doesn't have to be custom or crazy for every cue. A nice set of programmed cues and palette presets built up to choose from that I can tweak a bit will do. It's not Pink Floyd here


I'm a Jands Vista guy so I'll comment from that perspective.

What wouldn't Jands work for you?

These are your requirements correct?

Be visually-based so no punching numbers or numeric programming.
Have 2-D and or 3-D layout capabilities built in.
Built in effects. 
Palettes-programmable
Groups
Midi Show Control

The only thing Jands can't do is the 3D layout, most programs can't natively anyways and it will seamlessly work with any 3D lighting modeling program (same as any other console/software that outputs art-net).

I use Capture Argo, but there are others; including free ones.


A more detailed analysis of your requirements for future posts:
I've tried D-pro showXpress myDMX 3.0, Luminaire, Vista and Lightkey. There are things I like about everyone of them but none of them seem to do everything I need which is:

1) Be visually-based so no punching numbers or numeric programming.
2) Have 2-D and or 3-D layout capabilities built in.
3) Built in effects. 
4) Palettes-programmable
5) Groups
6) Midi Show Control

Basically I want to preprogram a bunch of cues and lighting sequences and have able 10 live fire them off synced up to the PPM of the song etc. using MSC control.

It seems to me the only software package that does all of this is Jand's Vista which I only messed with briefly and it looked too complicated even still.

I'm not sure why you think it is complicated, every volunteer I've thrown into the fire has quite easily picked it up (provided they are already musically minded).

If you have Jands Vista questions I can answer them easily.

I'll even record a video to help (I'm working on more for my channel, but the Jands videos get the basics pretty quick/easy 6x ~10min videos).
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 12:37:22 pm »

As far as hiring a lighting director I tried to find one and I even offered someone from this board thousands of dollars to come in and get a show started. I hired a very well-known LD here in the Orlando area to come in make some cues and then run his system live for a two day video shoot last summer and he couldn't even be bothered to have profiles from my rogue movers. I was supremely unhappy with the results and we ended up having to make a lot of lights and augment the effects video post production. If anyone has any names feel free to PM me!

Hah, fly me to wherever you are and I'll start you a show  8)
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: What Software Console fits my requirements? Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 12:37:22 pm »


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