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Author Topic: Aiming Movers  (Read 7271 times)

Kevin_Tisdall

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Aiming Movers
« on: March 05, 2020, 12:01:51 pm »

So I have just started using my cheap chinese movers in an arts center I support for band/concert shows (I'm a colorblind sound guy so set expectations there...).   These are not plays.

I'm finding that my 6 movers need to be re-aimed for every act that plays, obviously because the players are all in different positions each time.   Kind of tedious.  I expect it would take much longer if I had 10 or 20.   And how in the world to large shows with scores of movers get the aim set up quickly?   I might buy more but I hate the programming to re-aim every time.

FYI I use luminaire 3.   So I just go edit every.single.light.in.every.single.scene......   Is there a faster way I'm missing?

--Kevin
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Steve Garris

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2020, 12:19:08 pm »

So I have just started using my cheap chinese movers in an arts center I support for band/concert shows (I'm a colorblind sound guy so set expectations there...).   These are not plays.

I'm finding that my 6 movers need to be re-aimed for every act that plays, obviously because the players are all in different positions each time.   Kind of tedious.  I expect it would take much longer if I had 10 or 20.   And how in the world to large shows with scores of movers get the aim set up quickly?   I might buy more but I hate the programming to re-aim every time.

FYI I use luminaire 3.   So I just go edit every.single.light.in.every.single.scene......   Is there a faster way I'm missing?

--Kevin

You're saving each of those scenes, right? Other than that, I don't know of any tricks. It does seem to take forever scrolling through all of the channels when editing. You can link them, provided you want them doing all the same thing, but that's not what you want. For my shows, I program one side of the stage only, with the other side mirrored via the settings within the lights. And for bands, I don't try to point them at musicians, as I am using them for backlighting only. Are these movers being used as a front wash?
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2020, 12:28:40 pm »

So I just go edit every.single.light.in.every.single.scene......   Is there a faster way I'm missing?

Yes - they're called Focus Palettes.  Each palette only stores information about a unit's pan and tilt, among other attributes that can be masked if needed.  You then build cues and scenes off the palettes.  When needing to adjust the lighting to fit a new act all you need to do is update each palette, and the changes will track through your whole show.  The same can be done with color and beam attributes.

Additionally, most pro-level desks will feature tools that help to aim/align moving lights in a timely fashion for effects like fanning and grouping.  Unfortunately Luminaire doesn't include palettes last I checked so you're a bit out of luck there, but to answer your question, this is how the big shows do it.  Hope this helps!
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2020, 12:52:32 pm »

Yes - they're called Focus Palettes.  Each palette only stores information about a unit's pan and tilt, among other attributes that can be masked if needed.  You then build cues and scenes off the palettes.  When needing to adjust the lighting to fit a new act all you need to do is update each palette, and the changes will track through your whole show.  The same can be done with color and beam attributes.

Additionally, most pro-level desks will feature tools that help to aim/align moving lights in a timely fashion for effects like fanning and grouping.  Unfortunately Luminaire doesn't include palettes last I checked so you're a bit out of luck there, but to answer your question, this is how the big shows do it.  Hope this helps!

Yes, Luminair won't do that.
But, You can hide or remove your unused channels.

My Colorado Solos are set to 9 channel mode, but I only show two faders; Color/level and Zoom.
I have the hidden dimmer channel set to 255, and use the color controls to adjust the output.
Makes a huge difference on screen real estate.
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Kevin_Tisdall

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2020, 02:39:53 pm »

Jeff / Dave - thanks very helpful especially the hide channels tip.   I'll look at that.  I figured more elaborate systems had to have tools.  Interesting.

Steve - yes saving scenes.  Probably have 15 or so now and need many more probably 30-50.   With 6 lights x/y that could be up to 600 separate changes.  Could not imagine a 20+ mover setup.

These are backlighting and even at an 18-20ft trim height I'm finding the beam width  too small to get away without re-aiming  at performer positions for most scenes.

Again I'm not a light guy so that makes this even more difficult.  Goal was to improve my understanding of movers and I'm getting that bit by bit.

Thanks again all.

--Kevin
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Tim Hite

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2020, 03:19:48 pm »

I'm looking at moving into more lighting and did a ton of looking around at lighting desks at LDI last year. The last lights I learned to program were Intellabeams with the old HES dedicated controller. It works much same as what you're describing.

What I found was that new lighting desks have a ton of features to make life easier. Palettes, macros, effects and other stuff that will allow you to quickly get the result you want. I looked at the Chamsys QuickQ and ETC ColorSource desks because of pricing. I really liked the ETC, and they seem to be a great company to work with.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 05:38:41 pm »

Again I'm not a light guy so that makes this even more difficult.  Goal was to improve my understanding of movers and I'm getting that bit by bit.

Glad this helps Kevin.  This is why I often say that the cheap controllers are great until they're not.  There comes a point where the complexity of your system drives the need to have some of these advanced features to make controlling/programming it practical.  Unfortunately the lighting world has yet to receive its X32, so until it does you're stuck with the limited low-cost hardware boards, apps, and software solutions until you up your game with an investment close to $10K for an entry-level pro console.  There have been a handful of decent in-between products released in the recent past, but still nothing like what the X32 did for digital audio. 

I really liked the ETC, and they seem to be a great company to work with.

They are.  ETC is one of the few companies that I really endorse as buying from with confidence.  I've been an ETC owner for the past 5ish years and a user for the past 20.  Their support is really second to none, especially for their legacy products.  I was sad to see Cobalt become extinct in favor of Hog, but it's hard to go wrong with that unless you want to jump on the grandMA3 train.  ColorSource has its "gotchas", but for the price they're hard to beat.  I'd love to see a "MicroHog" come out that brings pro-level control to the Junior Varsity crowd in the same way ChamSys is trying to do with the QuickQ, but we'll see!   
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2020, 06:03:18 pm »

Glad this helps Kevin.  This is why I often say that the cheap controllers are great until they're not.  There comes a point where the complexity of your system drives the need to have some of these advanced features to make controlling/programming it practical.  Unfortunately the lighting world has yet to receive its X32, so until it does you're stuck with the limited low-cost hardware boards, apps, and software solutions until you up your game with an investment close to $10K for an entry-level pro console.  There have been a handful of decent in-between products released in the recent past, but still nothing like what the X32 did for digital audio. 

They are.  ETC is one of the few companies that I really endorse as buying from with confidence.  I've been an ETC owner for the past 5ish years and a user for the past 20.  Their support is really second to none, especially for their legacy products.  I was sad to see Cobalt become extinct in favor of Hog, but it's hard to go wrong with that unless you want to jump on the grandMA3 train.  ColorSource has its "gotchas", but for the price they're hard to beat.  I'd love to see a "MicroHog" come out that brings pro-level control to the Junior Varsity crowd in the same way ChamSys is trying to do with the QuickQ, but we'll see!   


Jeff - I continue to appreciate your unique insight into this market segment.  It's evolving but not at the rate of the audio console business. 


Since we last talked I am at the wall exactly on the limitations you bring up.  Having to hand modify scenes to focus lights, no real playback faders, odd tap tempo behavior.  I know I am working really hard to do a 40 or so fixture show.  I am still using ShowExpress only because I have 100's of hours building base scenes, macros and workflows to get around the lack of features.  I am stuck in a serious rut. 


I know you have the Congo Kid, would you say the ETC Colorsource line is a step above in functionality? 


You mentioned Hog.  One of the best LD's in Cleveland now carries a Hog on PC gig.  He uses a PoS keyboard that he programs macros on and midi surfaces.  He puts together awesome shows and is very fluent in the command line. 


Whatever I choose has to be well throughout as the the cost of the console is miniscule compared to the work necessary to redo our scene library.  I don't want to make the wrong choice.  I am a bit paralyzed.


One other side tangent.  We have a Lightshark on demo from Blizzard.  I have been hesitant to put any time into it because it does not look full featured enough. It is better, but I think I will be right back in this spot in a year or two with it.



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Tim Weaver

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2020, 07:55:55 pm »

Scott, as you start learning a real lighting desk you'll be kicking yourself on how much time you've wasted using that ShowExpress.

I am in the MagicQ camp, simply because it was the cheapest option when I started back into lighting. Like Tim Hite, I did a lot of shows in the late 90's using 120k par rigs and 8 intellabeams on the LCD controller. In fact I did the first solo show for Beyonce. She had just left Destiny's Child and honored a Destiny's Child gig by showing up as a solo artist with some dancers.

I have 12 movers and 29 color changers in our rig. I add movers for some shows. MagicQ, MA, Hog, and I'm assuming ETC all have a position palette where you program as many positions as you need. Center singer, drums, guitar, medium flyout, high flyout, etc, etc. You then use these positions to build the rest of your show. So if the show or the light moves all you have to do is update that light for the palette where it matters. I use about 2 dozen position palettes So I would just have to update those for each light in each palette. I could have hundreds or thousands of cues in a show, but those couple dozen palettes will re-position everything.

And when it comes to quickly focusing the lights those consoles help there too. Just select your light group (say VL5's) and then hit "Locate", which turns on the light so you can see it, then hit "highlight" which takes the first light in your group, zooms in tight, turns the beam white, takes all other lights in the group, turns them blue, and zooms out. So you are controlling one light at a time, it's zoomed in tight and white against a blue background. Really helpful! Then you position it where you want it, and hit "Next Head" which pops this highlighted light to the next fixture in ther group. The one you just finished with turns blue and zooms out. So pop through all the lights in a group by hitting "Next Head" and "Prev Head". When you have all the positions you hit the "All" button which kicks you out of highlight mode and back into having the programmer controlling all the heads in that group. Hit "Record", then touch the position palette. It will ask if you want to update the palette and you say yes.

You just updated a palette. Now go do all the rest for all the lights. Should take you about an hour with a 40 head show.


Don't cheat yourself out of a dinner break anymore! Get a real desk and start learning!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 07:58:08 pm by Tim Weaver »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Aiming Movers
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2020, 12:12:38 am »

Hi Scott, Iím glad to hear that you continue to mind my contributions here useful!  Knowing the kind of work you do it doesnít surprise me that youíve hit the wall of what can really be done with the cheaper controllers. 

Unfortunately no, the ColorSource Series is not a step up from the Congo Kid, and in fact is quite a step backwards from that.  The Congo Kid (along with the entire Cobalt Series) has the luxury of sharing the same flagship Cobalt software that ETC developed to go toe-to-toe with the Hog 4 and MA for gaining a foothold in the busking market.  While the Kid is the smallest physical console in the Cobalt Series, it still has the same horsepower as the top-of-the-line Cobalt desks, minus things like attached monitors, motorized faders, and reduced channel capabilities.  As we both know though, Cobalt never gained any serious traction in the US market and was retired once ETC bought High End Systems along with the Hog product line. 

The ColorSource Series really finds its niche in smaller systems that have a mix of LEDs, conventionals, movers, and small bits of media.  Itís a step up from the older SmartFade Series but nowhere near what EOS/Cobalt/Hog can do.  While Iím sure itíd be a nice step up for you from ShowXpress, I think youíll hit the limitations of this board too soon enough Ė especially since they have a relatively low fixture (device) count. 

At least in the Unites States, ETC dominates the theater market while MA is generally what youíll find on the majority of large tours and concert venues.  Hog 4 is an industry-standard alternative and you definitely canít go wrong with that either.  Since Chauvetís acquisition of ChamSys there hasnít been a tremendous amount of repositioning of the brand, QuickQ aside.  If my memory is correct, I believe ChamSys was an offshoot of Hog by former HES employees, hence the large number of similarities between the two.  While ChamSys continues to be alive and well, I donít see them evolving from the ďBudget HogĒ label anytime soon.  Theyíre good boards, donít get me wrong.  I just donít think theyíll unseat either Hog 4 or grandMA3. 

Honestly, it comes down to how much money you want to spend and if you want your board to be rider or rental friendly.  Regarding your decision, you canít go wrong with Hog especially now that itís an ETC product Ė itís a known standard with plenty of resources to help you learn the console with ETCís world-class support to back you up.  Iím not a huge fan of the PC approach when talking pro-level desks, but theyíre the cheapest.  The smallest physical Hog 4 desk that I would consider owning is the Road Hog 4, which will set you back around $10K.  A Hedgehog 4 is about half the price but too small for me (physically) to meet my personal preferences.  There are plenty of wings available for both the consoles and Hog 4 PC, or you can do what your colleague does and use a custom keyboard.  The biggest catch with the Hog is that you need to learn to work in a single bank of 10 faders.  While you have multiple pages plus wings that can be added, Iíve always struggled with this concept.  Having a background with the ETC Express, Iím spoiled when it comes fadersÖhence my pleasure with the Congo Kid having 40.     

MA is your other real option.  You canít go wrong here either, but even the smallest consoles (grandMA3 Compact) will cost north of $20K and rapidly go up from there.  Of course thereís still ChamSys, Jands, Pathway, etc., and I know happy users of all these product lines.  I just donít have enough experience to speak on them.  Most of them are far cheaper than the mainstream desks but wonít help you in the rider or rental department unfortunately.   

The TLDR diet version of this Ė thereís a reason why Iím still hanging onto my Kid!  Once the software support reaches EOL in a few years Iíll have to make a decision whether to still keep it or transition to something newer, but if I had to do it today itíd be a toss-up between a grandMA3 Compact XT or a Road Hog 4 (for a quarter of the price).  grandMA3 is very new right now, but if you can at all swing the cost itís likely to become the golden standard for the next decade.  On the bright side, with Hog 4 now under the ETC umbrella theyíll be happy to travel out to you for a demo and will definitely take care of you.  They can also explain the product lines and possible solutions better than I can.  Not being an MA owner I canít directly speak to their level of user support.   

I know itís a big step for you, but I agree with Tim Ė once you do this youíll consider yourself crazy for not doing it sooner!  Hope this all helps guide your decision!   
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Re: Aiming Movers
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