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Author Topic: DMX Questions and Help  (Read 1618 times)

Steve Hayes

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2021, 05:32:38 PM »

Thanks Steve for reporting back. Wish more people would do that!
No problems, agree! I often get slightly disappointed when people say they'll report back on forums and groups - but then don't.
Anyway, I'm learning more and have even been training others in my very small way. Like to pass on what I learn - as people here have done.
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Paul Johnson

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2021, 05:41:09 AM »

Hardware controllers become out of date the minute anyone produces a new light. ALL the big manufacturers have a team who write new control files as new lights appear and get known, plus people can send in the manual details for custom ones to be produced and added to the database. Other people write their own head files.

What is absolutely certain is that real controls can do the job insanely better than anything with a few faders. A friend runs lights for a big european ice tour - with his kit he's got over 100,000 DMX addresses.

Even with simple and cheap lights, let's say just 6. Minimum modes gives you maybe 4 channels - intensity master, then RGB. However, they probably have some in-built effects that might need another couple of channels. In a proper control, you would load up a head file that can control all of them, even if you don't need them. You can have red, green and blue - but you can also set them to gradually cycle washing your stage every colour slowly or fast. You can also set them to strobe, one to the other, or in more than one colour, or set the reds to slowly cycle from one to the other why the blues do stabby blinder stuff, and the greens could be doing their own thing. If the lights become movers, the things you can do, expand exponentially. Simple programmers cannot do this. A touch screen could be set up to have on screen buttons that have the names of the people in the band, and others with colours, and others with wash, strobe or cycle or random buttons. So you can hit Dave, White and he lights up white, hit BV, cycle and your others get a gentle wash. Or you could have up tempo, mid or slow as buttons and run an entire show like this. If you have movers, then buttons appear for what they can do.

Before long, the lighting guy is busier than anyone!
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duane massey

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2021, 01:33:10 PM »

No matter WHAT you use to control your lights you have to allow for plenty of pre-programming or you will never have a decent show. The entry-level hardware controllers do not allow for enough memory/scenes/etc for a serious show. Showdesigner 1 is the only controller I am aware of that has the capabilities to be usable but it does require a lot of pre-planning
Software systems are certainly the path most are taking, but you still have to put in the time to build up scenes/programs before you even start to do a show.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2021, 07:14:17 AM »

Hardware controllers become out of date the minute anyone produces a new light. ALL the big manufacturers have a team who write new control files as new lights appear and get known, plus people can send in the manual details for custom ones to be produced and added to the database. Other people write their own head files.

I don't think I'd go quite so far...  A varsity or even junior-varsity console should last no less than 7-10 years with proper care.  Any hardware console worth its weight (or software for that matter) will have a built-in fixture profile editor.  Relying on tech support to build your profiles is dangerous - many times I've arrived to a fly-in gig to find fixture substitutions that require edits on the fly.

No matter WHAT you use to control your lights you have to allow for plenty of pre-programming or you will never have a decent show.

Yep, and even more so the ability to edit on the fly without having to reprogram the whole show.  This is where programming tools like groups, palettes, masks, inhibits, etc. come in.  These are standard-issue tools on the big boards but something sorely lacking in nearly all entry level boards and even many middle-class options.  Workflow is everything too.  All things being equal I'm faster on my full hardware console compared to the software + wing equivalent. 
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Paul Johnson

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2021, 07:29:39 AM »

You can always build something yourself, but the ones done by the manufacturer tend to be more, er, stylish and usable. However - lots of operators simply cannot build profiles themselves. Some of the cheap controls are simply awful in their implementation and require so much button pushing. The real controls can be programmed on the fly - so you work the show, and while doing it, you're adding features and looks with the other one, slapping them on faders and buttons. The price of good controls is getting to be too much - you need to speed five grand upwards to get something versatile enough to tour. The PC based systems are very good, but once you start adding hardware wings, the price ramps up very quickly. Those Chinese desks with the 'Avon' look but a different operating system are so limited that their cheap price really doesn't hold up. They like others, will still work in ten years time - but look how far things have gone in a few years. Fixtures with forty or more DMX channels, and we used to have intensity, colour, position and beam - but now we have to keep looking at the new features and squeeze these into categories not really ideal.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2021, 05:37:39 PM »

You can always build something yourself, but the ones done by the manufacturer tend to be more, er, stylish and usable.

I disagree, and in fact have found the opposite to be true.  Seeing as whoever is writing the fixture profile likely doesn't have an actual fixture in front of them - especially if it's a Chinese Oddball - they won't have a way to test and verify that the fixture attributes are behaving correctly.  They'll just be going off of whatever documentation is available, which can be spotty at best.

The price of good controls is getting to be too much - you need to speed five grand upwards to get something versatile enough to tour. The PC based systems are very good, but once you start adding hardware wings, the price ramps up very quickly.

Yep, and for any tour with an artist you've heard of having one or more 5-figure consoles on hand to drive the show is nothing when there's easily 7 or 8 figures worth of equipment hanging up in the rigging.  As I often say, cheap controllers are great until they're not.  It's one thing to use my Behringer Eurolight for bench testing in a pinch, but when earning a paycheck you can bet I'll either be using my personal ETC board or a rented varsity console such as a grandMA3.
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Paul Johnson

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Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2021, 01:00:25 PM »

As I've mentioned I'm a Chamsys user and my requests to them are ALWAYS better than the ones I do myself - which perhaps because I'm not brilliant at writing them, are often less capable than theirs - usually where there are are more than one of the evolutionary effects parameters that often overlap - plus of course they select appropriate icons and pick better integrations with the visualiser.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: DMX Questions and Help
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2021, 01:00:25 PM »


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