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Author Topic: Decisions on new software  (Read 643 times)

David Junius

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Decisions on new software
« on: December 23, 2018, 07:47:23 am »

Ok, so Iím in dire need of updating my lighting control, especially if I ever want to incorporate movers. I started as a sound guy thatís gotten into lighting. Iíve been researching here and talking with local guys I see on shows and friends in other cities. Iím leaning toward Vista on a pc and then upgrade channel counts as I grow since I have a friend using that software. The local guys all seem to be running hog and possibly grand ma. Either way I will have to learn the software/language. I believe the learning curve will be smaller with vista as opposed to hog/ma however there is a possibility of more freelance opportunities with hog/ma due to more local companies using that platform. For what Iím looking at, the prices seem fairly comparable(pc + dongle/license). I was planning on adding a wing later. Either way Iím buying a new PC for this system so that nulls out that cost!


So, would it be smarter to get hog pc and maybe have a chance at local freelance opportunities or go with what Iíve been looking at (Vista) and have a different system than most of the locals.

Thanks guys

David
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2018, 08:33:33 am »

Hi David, it seems like youíve already done quite a bit of research into your options which is definitely a good thing.  Honestly, itís pretty hard to go wrong these days when it comes to lighting controllers so long as you take the time to think things through ahead of time.  Like I say in most cases with software, get what feels comfortable to you. 

In the case of you freelancing, would that be on actual physical consoles, or just someone elseís computer running the Hog/MA software?  I canít speak a whole lot to Vista, but many people do find it more approachable than the software thatís emulating a full-size desk.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two other very popular choices, and MagicQ PC is similar to Hog if that counts for anything.

What do you use for lighting control now?  Honestly, what makes stepping up for people so difficult is not only do they need to learn a new interface, they also need to learn the new tools and techniques for programming that are industry-standard but werenít available on their previous platform.  In other words, once you learn a (any) bigger platform itís not that hard to jump around since youíll already know how to wrangle bigger rigs - then itís just a matter of learning keystrokes, syntax, and platform-unique features.  Hope this helps!
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David Junius

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2018, 09:42:11 am »

Thanks Jeff,
Iím assuming any freelancing would be on an actual desk and not the pc version based on what Iíve seen the lighting guys in my area using. The actual freelancing option was a suggestion by a local friend and not something I was specifically looking to incorporate.

Iím currently running an ancient controller that Iíve had for 15-20 years now. Itís an NSI MLC 16D, probably most of the new younger kids out here have never heard of or seen one, but itís been doing what I need until lately.

Based on your comments, Iíll continue to look into Vista as I feel itís the best ďfitĒ for me. Iíve been around the hog stuff more than the vista platform, but Iíve never learned how any of the hog stuff works and Iíve gotten a quick primer on Vista, so maybe thatís why I feel more comfortable going with it. Iím looking to spend some money by the end of the year so Iíll see what anyone else has to say but Iím ready buy something real soon. Thanks again

David
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2018, 10:34:37 am »

Thanks Jeff,
Iím assuming any freelancing would be on an actual desk and not the pc version based on what Iíve seen the lighting guys in my area using. The actual freelancing option was a suggestion by a local friend and not something I was specifically looking to incorporate.

No worries!  The reason I ask this question is because if you're going to freelance on the actual console, you can use the PC setup to build your showfiles ahead of time.  While offline editors are generally free, having a nice setup with a programming wing and visualizer can really help to speed things up and give a better indication of how programming will handle when driving the full rig. 

Otherwise, absolutely, go with what feels right to you.  I've found it much better from an end-product standpoint to use a platform/tool/controller/device that I know very well and feel comfortable on even if it's not the most advanced thing out there compared to limping along with something I barely know how to use despite it having more bells and whistles.  Best of luck with the purchase! 
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David Junius

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2018, 11:09:38 am »

Good point Jeff, didnít even think of that plus side of being able to pre program a show before I get there when itís not my rig. Although Iím not sure thatís a big enough selling point for me based on the fact that Iím not currently doing just lighting shows now. Your second comment about knowing how it works trumping the best features is something Iíve been trying to live by for years.  Granted either software plus the few more you mentioned will do plenty more than I will need right now, but I would rather bite the bullet now and just upgrade to something that I wonít grow out of than get the next stepping stone and be back in this decision in a few short years. 

I guess the real questions I need to ask myself now are. 1. Is there enough need for another lighting tech for a freelance person in my area? and 2. Do I want to make my purchase decision based on the chance that I could find extra work by using a certain brand.

I suppose the only other thing I need to think about is the possibility of bringing someone else on as help, either as an employee or contractor, and them knowing the ins and outs of my equipment and setup, but that applies to my audio as well. Thanks again Jeff, maybe someone else will chime in before I decide what Iím buying, although these comments make me lean more toward the Vista route. 
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2018, 02:55:52 pm »

Try and work out the total expense to get to where you need to go.  Work out if you are up for that.

Touchscreen laptops are cheap these days, but you are probably going to want physical controls.  The commercial-but-free packages aren't very "buskable" without hardware wings.  It's a deliberate strategy; the companies have to make their money somehow.

Open source packages integrate with low-cost midi hardware more readily.  But the skills you develop won't be as commercially relevant if you are looking to freelance.

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David Junius

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Re: Decisions on new software
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2018, 05:52:38 pm »

Try and work out the total expense to get to where you need to go.  Work out if you are up for that.

Touchscreen laptops are cheap these days, but you are probably going to want physical controls.  The commercial-but-free packages aren't very "buskable" without hardware wings.  It's a deliberate strategy; the companies have to make their money somehow.

Open source packages integrate with low-cost midi hardware more readily.  But the skills you develop won't be as commercially relevant if you are looking to freelance.

Thanks Lyle,
Iíve thought about the complete cost. Actually I hadnít included the cost of the computer until recently when I found out mine will just barely run the software if I upgrade windows. So by the time I paid to upgrade to 10 and pro I just about bought a new machine. And Iím figuring in buying a small wing for busking even though I only have a tiny rig for now. The price of a usb to DMX cable is enough that itís not worth it to me, Iíd rather just get a wing and use that for DMX output. Iím not sure about the others, but I can buy just a wing and enough channels for now and then upgrade with more channels in the future with Vista. Basically Iíve played with older and non commercial devices and some software and want something in the standard commercial realm. I know itíll be a bigger chunk up front, but I know itíll do anything Iíll need it to for years to come! And other than channel count, I wonít grow out of it!
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