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Title: Aiming Movers
Post by: Kevin_Tisdall 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
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Steve Garris 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?
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko 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!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Dave Garoutte 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.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Kevin_Tisdall 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
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Hite 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.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko 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!   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman 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.



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Weaver 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!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko 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!   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Erik Jerde on March 07, 2020, 02:33:35 AM
As a grizzly world weary LD who taught me early in my career once said:

ďYou aim a gun.  You focus a light.Ē

Yes, itís a bit pedantic but itís also good to know proper terminology for the industry youíre working in.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on March 07, 2020, 02:43:50 AM
Tim and Jeff thank you both for great posts.  I can't possibly give these the response they deserve tonight as I have early call tomorrow and I am driving the crew in!


I am looking forward to continuing this thread and I hope it will help others with the similar situations.


Thanks again guys.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 07, 2020, 05:01:34 AM
No worries Scott, itís all good!  Tim nailed the detailed explanation of Focus Palettes and how you typically walk through a rig to set positions.  Terminology and keystrokes will vary slightly by console brand but itís mostly all the same in practice.  I think itís also worth adding that you typically get more than just focus too - most consoles give you Color and Beam Palettes, and oftentimes some global attribute palettes on top of that.  They all work the same way though - through the magic of the color palettes I can change my entire show from the orange and white of the Kubota brand to the green and yellow of John Deere in about 3 minutes - no need to manually reprogram all the color chases and eye candy effects in that 80 fixture rig...

Have fun on your gig tomorrow!  Tomorrow (later today) is my first shop day in over a month - planning to play with some Chauvet Epix product I bought for a proof of concept before making a larger investment in it.  Fun stuff!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Weaver on March 07, 2020, 03:12:07 PM
The guys at Chamsys were the originators of the "Hog" style of programming. They sold it to High End and then continued developing the MagicQ desk which is similar, but different enough.

MagicQ is cool in that every desk and even the PC version is all the same software. So learn one, learn them all. The advantage to having larger desks is more physical controls and bigger screens.


The Chamsys product is definitely the underdog, but it can be used just like the big boys. https://chamsyslighting.com/blogs/news/nico-riot-drives-theatrical-looks-for-marilyn-manson-with-chamsys


In my experience I'm not convinced that Hog desks are tough enough for touring. I've seen a lot of broken Hogs. GrandMA's seem to be the biz, but I have zero experience with them.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 07, 2020, 04:07:59 PM
The guys at Chamsys were the originators of the "Hog" style of programming. They sold it to High End and then continued developing the MagicQ desk which is similar, but different enough.

Ah, that was it.  I knew that both products shared a tie in the past at some point and were basically developed by the same individuals.  Iíve admittedly not used a MagicQ product for any length of time in the past 5 years, so I certainly canít speak to what the OS has become in light of Hog 4. 

Iíve never personally had technical issues with the boards, but Iím also not an owner or rental house that seems them going in and out daily.  Iíd be curious if the ETC ownership of the brand will fix this reputation over time.  Reliability is obviously a top priority for any investment I make or recommend to someone else.  I would think Scottís uses would be gentle enough compared to what Iíve seen things survive in the field, but definitely a point for consideration.     
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Weaver on March 07, 2020, 07:11:03 PM
Iíd be curious if the ETC ownership of the brand will fix this reputation over time.  Reliability is obviously a top priority for any investment I make or recommend to someone else.

I would think so. ETC's are built like tanks. Of course my experience with those are back in the Expression/Obsession range.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on March 10, 2020, 01:12:04 PM
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. 




Jeff - See my PM, sorry to ping you in public but the notification system is unreliable...thx



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Dave Batistig on March 25, 2020, 10:57:55 AM
Does anyone here have experience with the Chamsys QuickQ line of consoles? They are priced really well and I have been considering a QucikQ 20 for smaller "club level" band shows, which would consist of a dozen or so flat LED pars and up to a max of 8 LED movers. I am a Avolites Titan user, however my "Mobile" has become something less than mobile with a 27" touchscreen and a wing, however, TitanOne and a touch laptop is a more than viable option. That said, a few of the guys that work for me aren't reall enthused about having only a touch screen to work with, especially when busking, so the playback faders on the QuickQ line make it attractive.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Weaver on March 25, 2020, 04:05:23 PM
Does anyone here have experience with the Chamsys QuickQ line of consoles? They are priced really well and I have been considering a QucikQ 20 for smaller "club level" band shows, which would consist of a dozen or so flat LED pars and up to a max of 8 LED movers. I am a Avolites Titan user, however my "Mobile" has become something less than mobile with a 27" touchscreen and a wing, however, TitanOne and a touch laptop is a more than viable option. That said, a few of the guys that work for me aren't reall enthused about having only a touch screen to work with, especially when busking, so the playback faders on the QuickQ line make it attractive.

I don't know if anyone here has had their hands on one yet, but I wouldn't have hesitations about buying it. It's the same software as the full size desks as well as the PC version. Chamsys hardware feels good in the hands and is very durable. You can clack-a-lack those buttons as hard as you want.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 25, 2020, 06:51:46 PM
Hi Dave, you might want to try asking this question over at Control Booth - I know several folks there have used them on actual productions and not just the demo floor.  I agree with Tim though that the QuickQ is a generally safe purchase.  As with any product it's important to understand the limitations and where the unit sits on the larger food chain, but I don't think you can really go wrong with it per say - just read the manual and play with the MagicQ PC demo for a bit so that you know exactly what you're getting before making the investment.  Good luck! 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Don T. Williams on March 25, 2020, 11:29:17 PM
Dave, I am a QuickQ 30 owner and user with about a dozen show on it.  I also have a Road Hog 4 and Hedgehog 4.  The QuickQ is faster and easier to learn than the Hog and is a very nice console for club level shows in my opinion.  I too like the number of faders (handles) available.  It runs a slightly lighter software than MagicQ.  My understanding is that you can load QuickQ show files onto a MagicQ console and it will run the file 100%.  There are a few things the MagicQ console will do that a QuickQ will not, so not everything programed in MagicQ will translate to the QuickQ console.  I'm told about 95% will.  The MagicViz visualizer and QuickQ Designer are free software downloads.  The QuickQ may not be the "X32" of lighting console, but its close.  The tech support has been outstanding.  Had the new MQ70 been available when I bought my Hogs I might have gone that way.
     
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Matt Greiner on March 26, 2020, 12:27:26 AM
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

Did a quick scan, and I don't believe anyone mentioned Elation Onyx.  It used to be Martin MPC.  While it definitely doesn't have the rider/rental acceptance as GrandMA, Hog or ETC, it does have a lot of features for what it costs.  It's definitely not anything to stick your nose up to.  A fair amount of NHL/NBA arenas use the Onyx software, with their higher end desks (M1, M6).  They have dongles for under $300, and the NX-Touch should be under $500 if you call around.  The Touch gives you virtual faders, as well as many assignable soft touch buttons, as well as 1 universe of DMX output.

It does have the presets that you can update, similar to the palettes that have been mentioned.  It also has a pretty good FX engine. The software is free to download and play around with.  It's not for everyone, and depending on your needs, it may not be for you.  But as mentioned, for the price point, you'd be hard pressed to get a better "bang for your buck".  There is a Facebook group that has a wealth of knowledge, and people willing to help, just like on here.  Some of Elation's primary software developmental staff members are regular contributors and help answer questions on there as well.

Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Dave Batistig on March 26, 2020, 09:49:22 AM
Hi Dave, you might want to try asking this question over at Control Booth - I know several folks there have used them on actual productions and not just the demo floor.  I agree with Tim though that the QuickQ is a generally safe purchase.  As with any product it's important to understand the limitations and where the unit sits on the larger food chain, but I don't think you can really go wrong with it per say - just read the manual and play with the MagicQ PC demo for a bit so that you know exactly what you're getting before making the investment.  Good luck!

Thanks everyone for the info on the QuickQ! I read a post yesterday where someone said, and I paraphrase, that the Lighting world doesn't have its X32/M32 product yet....perhaps the QuickQ line is it. I really love my Titan Mobile with wing. The learning curve on the Titan software is a bit steep, but it is VERY powerful, however, outside of TitanOne, the cost of entry is steep. The Quartz product is a GREAT compact platform, but it is approx. $9500.00 average street price for a 12" touchscreen and 10 playback faders.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on March 29, 2020, 11:08:48 PM
I read a post yesterday where someone said, and I paraphrase, that the Lighting world doesn't have its X32/M32 product yet....perhaps the QuickQ line is it.

Hi Dave, it was probably me that you are referring to - and at least I can say that I've made that comment many times if I'm not the specific one you're thinking of. 

The X32 is definitely an interesting product to consider when looking to the potential evolution of light consoles.  Prior to the X32 there were plenty of digital boards in the wild - they were just all very expensive and beyond the justifiable budget of nearly all weekend warriors, small theaters, and venues/users that make up probably 80% of those that work in this industry.  The big shows had digital (and could pay for it), but this was still somewhat of a minority.  Once the X32 hit the market many of these 80%ers were able to afford the jump to digital and benefit tremendously from the conversion...making the X32 one of the most popular digital boards ever produced having sold apparently around 700,000 units as of late 2019.

Do I think the QuickQ will do that?  In short, no, I don't.  Even more so, I don't think that any lighting console will ever hit that level of popularity.  I'd be curious to see the statistics for the ETC Express and grandMA2, but I digress...  I'm certainly one of the first to admit that there's definitely a hole in the market's offerings for products better than an ADJ Operator but not a Hog 4 that isn't a software solution, but I think in order to catch on with the 80%ers it'd have to be sub-$1000 with maybe an "extended" option that prices in around $1299.  Here's my reasoning...

Back in the day (around 2010) a budget 32 channel analog board was typically around $1000.  The Behringer flavors were a bit less while the A&H flavors were a bit more, and I'm generalizing here.  The pricepoint of the X32 wasn't all that much higher than the analog counterparts and was actually a bargain when you factor in all the outboard gear that you no longer needed.  It made financial sense for users of nearly all backgrounds to make the jump and enjoy the benefits.

Until the 80%ers demand better lighting, we're just never going to get there.  Many people (including the majority on this forum - no offense intended) are happy to spend good money on sound but refuse to spend more than $60 on an LED Par.  Why?  The ebay LED Par is "good enough" for the average band, club, DJ, and others who make up that 80% of equipment owners.  It doesn't make financial sense for these users to spend even $3000 on a console when it won't add a noticeable (and billable) improvement to justify ownership, along the same lines of buying Pars in the $600-800 price range.  Many bands don't even have a dedicated A1 let alone a dedicated LD.  Things like tablet control and portability now take priority over horsepower and effect engines. 

Big shows have the budgets and resources to hire in a grandMA to control the Mac Vipers, Robe Pointes, and whatnot, but the direct-from-China overhaul of budget lighting has conditioned people to not want to spend more than a few hundred dollars on a controller - tops.  I can't say that I disagree either.  Until the patrons are booking bands based on the quality of their lightshows I don't foresee this changing, but regardless I think it'll take a product selling around $799 with two universes onboard, wireless/foot pedal control, at least 20 assignable content faders, the standard programming palettes, and a powerful effects engine (including pixel mapping) to overhaul lighting the way that X32 did sound. 

Just my two cents of course, and I mean all this in the context of open discussion.  The QuickQs are a great option and I'm hoping to see these catch on a bit more.  I'm thinking that it would be ADJ/Elation to launch the product in the same way that Behringer/Midas handled the X/M32, but we shall see!           
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: duane massey on March 30, 2020, 12:04:19 AM
I am not aware of any sub-$1k DMX controller other than a Showdesigner 1 that has the power and features to run a reasonably intricate show. It is not particularly live-show friendly but it can be quite effective if enough time is invested in pre-programming. You can't follow the concepts of the manual nor the online tutorials if you want to get the most out of it. It certainly is not going to work for everyone, but is well worth a look by anyone who wants a stand-alone controller.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Tim Weaver on March 30, 2020, 06:17:01 PM
I am not aware of any sub-$1k DMX controller other than a Showdesigner 1 that has the power and features to run a reasonably intricate show. It is not particularly live-show friendly but it can be quite effective if enough time is invested in pre-programming. You can't follow the concepts of the manual nor the online tutorials if you want to get the most out of it. It certainly is not going to work for everyone, but is well worth a look by anyone who wants a stand-alone controller.

True, but you can get real close. A 300 dollar touchscreen laptop and a 1k dollar Chamsys Mini Wing lets gets you a pretty robust club-level "desk"
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Steven Cohen on April 01, 2020, 10:56:32 AM
Very true. A competent lighting programmer can program a great light show on many of the PC options out there and connect a DMX dongle and produce a great end result. One of the main deciding factors is programming time. For busking and one offs, a physical console is generally the way to go. On large events, programming costs, redundancy, and the ability to tweak focus points for a venue generally mean that a physical console is in order. I think that a show on a budget or a band in a van is the place for software based lighting control.

 
True, but you can get real close. A 300 dollar touchscreen laptop and a 1k dollar Chamsys Mini Wing lets gets you a pretty robust club-level "desk"
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Caleb Dueck on April 01, 2020, 02:30:38 PM
Very true. A competent lighting programmer can program a great light show on many of the PC options out there and connect a DMX dongle and produce a great end result. One of the main deciding factors is programming time. For busking and one offs, a physical console is generally the way to go. On large events, programming costs, redundancy, and the ability to tweak focus points for a venue generally mean that a physical console is in order. I think that a show on a budget or a band in a van is the place for software based lighting control. 

With the blurring between a physical PC with connected physical wings, to a physical piece of hardware running the same software - to me it looks like there are five different types of lighting control now rather than simply two.

1) Dedicated hardware running 'pro' software - GrandMA 3 full size, Jands L5, Hog 4-18, etc
2) PC running 'pro' software with physical hardware wings - Vista EX by ChromaQ, Chamsys MagicQ PC Wing and multiple Extra Wings, Hog4 PC with Master and Playback Wings
3) PC running 'pro' software and no physical wings - Any of the big-dog brands I believe
4) Dedicated hardware running 'lite' software - Jands Stage CL, Chamsys QuickQ, Pathway Cognito, ETC ColorSource, older Show Designer, etc
5) Ultra-basic - LuminAIR (good) and all the 'cheap' options - Light Jockey, Show Xpress, Free Styler, etc

I like the second option, as I can have multiple large touch-screen monitors, multiple wings, often multiple networked for redundancy.  Lumping the second option with the fifth option doesn't help people looking for control. 

A lot of lighting control is interface - while someone could technically write a MS DOS software program that could do everything GrandMA does, for example - a text command prompt is nothing like physical hardware and multiple touch monitors! 

To me, it all comes down to two things - the underlying software, and the interface.  After that - budget.  For large shows, GrandMA is powerful and popular software, from there you choose the interface (PC with wings, dedicated hardware, etc).  For ultra simple shows - LuminAIR software and an iPad may be fine.  It's great that we can choose software that 'thinks like we think', and have multiple interface and price points available - with that software.  We don't need to limit ourselves to, "I only have $xxx budget, so I'm stuck with one of the more awful software programs."

Software - Interface. 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 01, 2020, 07:55:47 PM
With the blurring between a physical PC with connected physical wings, to a physical piece of hardware running the same software - to me it looks like there are five different types of lighting control now rather than simply two...

I agree completely.  For an X32 of the lighting world to emerge, we're going to need to see something that can unseat a Tier-1 product with the price point at or below the Tier-4 options with the user demand to back it up.  You could probably even split Tier-1 into a Tier-1A for the flagship full-sized desks like what you mention and a Tier-1B for the "compact" versions of the same series such as the grandMA3 Light, Road Hog 4, and even stretch that to my Congo Kid back when Cobalt was an ETC Flagship product. 

I think I can say that I own an example of all five categories and there are stark differences between them, but the biggest comes down to the user interface and workflow as you mention.  That's why the majority of "needs" I listed for a revolutionary desk would be related to workflow.  I'm sorry, but there's just no way I'm going to program a pixel grid using only a 32 character backlit LCD display!  For small jobs I'll usually run Nomad with an ETC Universal Fader Wing but for the busking-heavy gigs I'll be working with a full console even if on paper the software is the same.  I'm 100% for cheap solutions to help get people engaged in the art form, but as I say often enough, the cheap products are great until they're not!

 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Dave Batistig on April 02, 2020, 02:13:15 PM
With the blurring between a physical PC with connected physical wings, to a physical piece of hardware running the same software - to me it looks like there are five different types of lighting control now rather than simply two.

1) Dedicated hardware running 'pro' software - GrandMA 3 full size, Jands L5, Hog 4-18, etc
2) PC running 'pro' software with physical hardware wings - Vista EX by ChromaQ, Chamsys MagicQ PC Wing and multiple Extra Wings, Hog4 PC with Master and Playback Wings
3) PC running 'pro' software and no physical wings - Any of the big-dog brands I believe
4) Dedicated hardware running 'lite' software - Jands Stage CL, Chamsys QuickQ, Pathway Cognito, ETC ColorSource, older Show Designer, etc
5) Ultra-basic - LuminAIR (good) and all the 'cheap' options - Light Jockey, Show Xpress, Free Styler, etc

I like the second option, as I can have multiple large touch-screen monitors, multiple wings, often multiple networked for redundancy.  Lumping the second option with the fifth option doesn't help people looking for control. 

A lot of lighting control is interface - while someone could technically write a MS DOS software program that could do everything GrandMA does, for example - a text command prompt is nothing like physical hardware and multiple touch monitors! 

To me, it all comes down to two things - the underlying software, and the interface.  After that - budget.  For large shows, GrandMA is powerful and popular software, from there you choose the interface (PC with wings, dedicated hardware, etc).  For ultra simple shows - LuminAIR software and an iPad may be fine.  It's great that we can choose software that 'thinks like we think', and have multiple interface and price points available - with that software.  We don't need to limit ourselves to, "I only have $xxx budget, so I'm stuck with one of the more awful software programs."

Software - Interface.

Totally agree, and like you, I like Option 2, however, the cost of entry to Option 2 is still rather steep. Take for example the rig I use, Avolites Titan Mobile + wing + 23" Dell all in one PC. A new Titan Mobile is what? $3800.00, maybe a bit more. A new Wing is at least 2500...there is north of 6K, and we haven't bought a suitable PC to run the software on. With a good sized touch PC, this is a VERY capable lighting rig, and can be scaled down to be just the Mobile and a touch laptop for improved portability.

I keep going back and looking at the Chamsys QuickQ line as perhaps the best "compromise" between full featured "Option 1 or 2" rigs and the lower end PC only setups. I think Chamsys has hit upon a platform that may end up being the "x32" of the lighting world, albeit at a slightly higher cost of entry. Small, fully integrated form factor, reasonably powerful software, 3 options depending on how many handles you want on the console.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 02, 2020, 09:03:48 PM
The problem that I still think needs to be overcome is getting more "lounge level" users to demand better lighting.  While the QuickQ is the latest iteration of a budget board with diet pro features, the same could be said about the ETC ColorSource desks, the Pathway Cognito2, and others like Caleb mentioned.  I know many happy users with a Cognito2, and while it's great bang to buck it's no grandMA.  What's special about the X/M32 is that they can be found at jobs of all sizes and types.  While an M32 isn't a direct replacement for a top-tier Yamaha or Digico desk, I'd wager that given their rider acceptance and the universal knowledge of the M32 that it's certainly taken a bite out of the pro market.  The closest I've seen to this in the lighting world are the traveling LDs who walk in with MagicQ PC and a wing. 

The price piece I think will settle itself.  While I'd love a full grandMA3 for $10K, renting/buying one in is more or less an afterthought when also renting in six-figures worth of light fixtures.  Those working with Mac Vipers and the Clay Paky Mythos can afford the pro desks.  Those with the cheaper Elation and Chauvet Pro fixtures can usually drop $5-10K on an appropriate light console - whether they actually will is a different story.  It's the large percentage of uses mentioned in my previous post that would need to jump on the bandwagon of something better than LuminAIR or a flavor of ADJ/Chauvet DJ board in order for any console to sell anywhere near the 700,000 units that the X32 did and earn the industry respect to follow.  Given the popularity and acceptance of eBay/Amazon/China-direct fixtures I just don't see that happening any time soon.  Hopefully I'll be proven wrong though!   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 02, 2020, 10:57:52 PM
The problem that I still think needs to be overcome is getting more "lounge level" users to demand better lighting.  While the QuickQ is the latest iteration of a budget board with diet pro features, the same could be said about the ETC ColorSource desks, the Pathway Cognito2, and others like Caleb mentioned.  I know many happy users with a Cognito2, and while it's great bang to buck it's no grandMA.  What's special about the X/M32 is that they can be found at jobs of all sizes and types.  While an M32 isn't a direct replacement for a top-tier Yamaha or Digico desk, I'd wager that given their rider acceptance and the universal knowledge of the M32 that it's certainly taken a bite out of the pro market.  The closest I've seen to this in the lighting world are the traveling LDs who walk in with MagicQ PC and a wing. 

The price piece I think will settle itself.  While I'd love a full grandMA3 for $10K, renting/buying one in is more or less an afterthought when also renting in six-figures worth of light fixtures.  Those working with Mac Vipers and the Clay Paky Mythos can afford the pro desks.  Those with the cheaper Elation and Chauvet Pro fixtures can usually drop $5-10K on an appropriate light console - whether they actually will is a different story.  It's the large percentage of uses mentioned in my previous post that would need to jump on the bandwagon of something better than LuminAIR or a flavor of ADJ/Chauvet DJ board in order for any console to sell anywhere near the 700,000 units that the X32 did and earn the industry respect to follow.  Given the popularity and acceptance of eBay/Amazon/China-direct fixtures I just don't see that happening any time soon.  Hopefully I'll be proven wrong though!


Damn, I just looked at the Mythos, 9k a pop.  It makes the Viper look like a Chinese toy. 

Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 02, 2020, 11:19:53 PM

Damn, I just looked at the Mythos, 9k a pop.  It makes the Viper look like a Chinese toy.

Oh yes, and the Clay Paky Scenius Series is even more expensive!  I haven't seen pricing yet for the new Xtylos fixture that uses an RGB laser engine, but I'm sure it's eye-watering.  Said fixture made its North American debut late last year at Posty Fest.  The 178 of those plus something like 50 Mythos 2 units and another two dozen Scenius fixtures definitely made for a high-dollar light rig!  Considering that the Super Bowl only used (I think) 50 Xtylos fixtures really says something... hence my comment that when driving rigs like these the cost of a grandMA is an afterthought. 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 03, 2020, 02:58:49 AM
Oh yes, and the Clay Paky Scenius Series is even more expensive!  I haven't seen pricing yet for the new Xtylos fixture that uses an RGB laser engine, but I'm sure it's eye-watering.  Said fixture made its North American debut late last year at Posty Fest.  The 178 of those plus something like 50 Mythos 2 units and another two dozen Scenius fixtures definitely made for a high-dollar light rig!  Considering that the Super Bowl only used (I think) 50 Xtylos fixtures really says something... hence my comment that when driving rigs like these the cost of a grandMA is an afterthought.


Those Xtylos fixtures are even more impressive.  The beam striking the floor looks like it is burning a hole through the floor though.   The Scenius are 30% more but interesting they are for sale at 20% of that cost on usedlighting.com so the inventory turns fast and depreciates rapidly. 


I have no idea how the economics works at "Super Bowl" level events but as you said 1M with of lighting is just a line item on the budget.  Commercials cost 6M for 30 seconds and 100M people are watching.  It's as big time as it gets.


On a more local note we do quite a few weddings at the local art museum.  Audio is usually an afterthought.  They have an approved lighting vendor that gets looped in at the start of the planning and they work with the event planners.  Most of the time they show up with a bunch of battery powered uplights, the Qolorpoints, they are nicer than Chauvet Freedom Pars that we have.  They usually have a few movers too Sharpys, some nice Colorsource for gobo projection and of course an MA4 to run all of this.  Audio gets the scraps left over.  I don't get it but it is frustrating.  They also get to load in before we do and somehow end up at the dock first or second. 



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Don T. Williams on April 04, 2020, 12:55:54 PM

Those Xtylos fixtures are even more impressive.  The beam striking the floor looks like it is burning a hole through the floor though.

It might be!  I often work with a another company that has Chinese 7R "Sharpy" copies.  The first time they flew these from the truss on my stage trailer, they burned a half-dollar sized hole in the vinyl of one of my backline guitar amps while being focused.  It took just minutes.  We discovered the problem when someone noticed the wood floor of the stage was smoking where these were focused in their start position straight down and full on.  Most of the events I work usually have the lights at 16' to 25' above the stage with stage risers and set pieces that may be 4' to 8' high.  I have replaced the last of my discharge fixtures (ADJ RXONEs which I purchased in 2018 and 2019) with LED versions (Focus Beam LEDs) out of safety concerns.  Even with a 1R lamp at 12', the RXONs get dangerously hot.  It's not a problem when discharge-lamped beam fixtures are used as a floor package outdoors or in a large arena, but for a high school or college auditorium or theater rentals it would be.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 04, 2020, 08:16:07 PM
It might be!  I often work with a another company that has Chinese 7R "Sharpy" copies.  The first time they flew these from the truss on my stage trailer, they burned a half-dollar sized hole in the vinyl of one of my backline guitar amps while being focused.  It took just minutes.  We discovered the problem when someone noticed the wood floor of the stage was smoking where these were focused in their start position straight down and full on.  Most of the events I work usually have the lights at 16' to 25' above the stage with stage risers and set pieces that may be 4' to 8' high.  I have replaced the last of my discharge fixtures (ADJ RXONEs which I purchased in 2018 and 2019) with LED versions (Focus Beam LEDs) out of safety concerns.  Even with a 1R lamp at 12', the RXONs get dangerously hot.  It's not a problem when discharge-lamped beam fixtures are used as a floor package outdoors or in a large arena, but for a high school or college auditorium or theater rentals it would be.


I set a drum throne on fire with 7R Charpie's as we call them.  That was when I was alerted to the issue.



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 04, 2020, 09:16:13 PM
I'd be very interested to see if the laser engine of the Xtylos causes the same heating problem that many of the discharge beam units have.  I know the Xtylos doesn't require the same considerations that traditional lasers need and can be treated like any other fixture, but I'm sure as they become a bit more common we'll find out. 

I'm still in Camp Discharge, but don't blame you for switching Don.  I'd love to go all LED, but my typical events are of the size that LED is still very expensive for the non-wash fixtures (and even those can be a stretch).  I will say thought that I've had a very enjoyable experience with the Elation Dartz 360.  None in my personal inventory yet, but they're a neat fixture that packs a surprising punch for only using a single 50W RBG LED.  Definitely sufficient for featured use on small-medium events and as eye-candy effects for arena work, yet you can still put a dozen of these on a single 20A circuit.  Very cool lights.

I do agree with you Scott that it's interesting to see how fixtures depreciate differently, even when from the same manufacturer.  I've seen that legit Sharpys are finally down to under $1000 used.  I've also been toying with the idea of picking up a half-dozen Martin Atomic LED units since they're also around $1000 used these days. 

As far as the economics on larger jobs go, I've heard many people say that audio takes the leftovers.  My audio work isn't at that level so I can't personally compare, but when doing lights or pyro for larger events like you mention our product is definitely considered an integral part of the producer's vision.  A few years ago I shot pyro at an Art Museum as part of their "Great Gatsby Gala".  They wanted it to look like the movie, so things like sight lines and whatnot were very important to pull off the effect correctly.  It went well!  Even for the indoor close-prox effects we need to be very closely tied into the event planning so that I don't end up dropping fallout on the very expensive rented grand piano...  The massive Fourth of July displays are an even more complicated circus of logistics!   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 08, 2020, 03:48:55 PM



Jeff do you know anything about the Leviton 8700 series?  I am going through the manual it looks very robust.  Never heard of Leviton in that space.



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 08, 2020, 06:21:54 PM
Jeff do you know anything about the Leviton 8700 series?  I am going through the manual it looks very robust.  Never heard of Leviton in that space.

Hi Scott, yes, Leviton has been in the theatrical lighting arena for several decades.  I'm not sure of their exact history or how Leviton relates to NSI and Colortran but I've seen all three names used somewhat interchangeably (and occasionally together) on the same series of products.  I don't have any experience with the 8700 Series, but I do have extensive experience with the Leviton Innovator.  It was by far the most unreliable console I've ever used.  It would randomly crash, ghost, go rogue, and occasionally short out and desolder its PCBs...  You can read other horror stories about this board on Controlbooth, so it's safe to say that my experience with the desk wasn't unique. 

The 8700 Series does seem to be an improvement from that and offers some nice features for the price.  My only concern would be a lack of any real support with this outside of Leviton's customer help line itself.  Even a quick search over at Controlbooth doesn't seem to reveal any current users, and this is still a 13-15 year old product.  Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork if you ask the same question over there, but I'd be cautious with this one.  For similar money it looks like you can get a nice ChamSys board or stretch to buy a Hog 4 series desk...either of which is a much safer option in my opinion.  Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 08, 2020, 06:34:36 PM
Hi Scott, yes, Leviton has been in the theatrical lighting arena for several decades.  I'm not sure of their exact history or how Leviton relates to NSI and Colortran but I've seen all three names used somewhat interchangeably (and occasionally together) on the same series of products.  I don't have any experience with the 8700 Series, but I do have extensive experience with the Leviton Innovator.  It was by far the most unreliable console I've ever used.  It would randomly crash, ghost, go rogue, and occasionally short out and desolder its PCBs...  You can read other horror stories about this board on Controlbooth, so it's safe to say that my experience with the desk wasn't unique. 

The 8700 Series does seem to be an improvement from that and offers some nice features for the price.  My only concern would be a lack of any real support with this outside of Leviton's customer help line itself.  Even a quick search over at Controlbooth doesn't seem to reveal any current users, and this is still a 13-15 year old product.  Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork if you ask the same question over there, but I'd be cautious with this one.  For similar money it looks like you can get a nice ChamSys board or stretch to buy a Hog 4 series desk...either of which is a much safer option in my opinion.  Hope this helps!


Thanks, a little bit of digging, I have the manual and latest code now.  It was updated in 2017.    They were made my Lt-light out of Spain who is still in business.


I would never buy one new.  There is one for sale, in road case, looks really nice for next to nothing.  Might be fun to play with, learn big boy consoles.  I was hoping someone had some experience.  I am going to keep digging.



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 08, 2020, 06:53:00 PM

Thanks, a little bit of digging, I have the manual and latest code now.  It was updated in 2017.    They were made my Lt-light out of Spain who is still in business.


I would never buy one new.  There is one for sale, in road case, looks really nice for next to nothing.  Might be fun to play with, learn big boy consoles.  I was hoping someone had some experience.  I am going to keep digging.

I'm glad to hear that these boards are still supported nonetheless!  I don't blame you on not wanting to buy one of these new - I probably wouldn't.  For the used price it might be worth it as you mentioned.  The syntax on the Innovator was very close to ETC, so if this series at least uses somewhat standard syntax as well it probably can't hurt to play with!  If it were me I don't think I'd pay more than $500 for this, understanding that it'd be mostly a shop board until if/when I trust it enough to take on paying work that matters, but the education alone definitely has some value to it...much like how buying an old High End Studio Beam/Spot/Color or Martin Mac for nearly nothing can be a great experience to poke around the guts of a "real" moving light and learn how they work.  Keep us posted! 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 08, 2020, 10:54:17 PM
I'm glad to hear that these boards are still supported nonetheless!  I don't blame you on not wanting to buy one of these new - I probably wouldn't.  For the used price it might be worth it as you mentioned.  The syntax on the Innovator was very close to ETC, so if this series at least uses somewhat standard syntax as well it probably can't hurt to play with!  If it were me I don't think I'd pay more than $500 for this, understanding that it'd be mostly a shop board until if/when I trust it enough to take on paying work that matters, but the education alone definitely has some value to it...much like how buying an old High End Studio Beam/Spot/Color or Martin Mac for nearly nothing can be a great experience to poke around the guts of a "real" moving light and learn how they work.  Keep us posted!


Check your PM
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 09, 2020, 01:44:49 AM

Check your PM


Hi Jeff - Are you getting PM notifications?  I replied again.



Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 09, 2020, 07:05:50 AM
Hi Jeff - Are you getting PM notifications?  I replied again.

No...I don't think this site has sent PM notifications since probably 2017 or so...  I just wrote back (called it a night after my first response), but you're also certainly welcome to email me.  I check that far more often and know it to be far more reliable.  Glad to help and hope this all works out!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeremy Young on April 17, 2020, 07:41:21 PM
I'm in the small-time operator camp, and am still getting my feet wet in lighting.  I don't have the experience you guys do, but I wanted to toss in my recent (albeit limited) experiences with the Lightshark LS-1. 

I do small events (tiny to some on this forum) and am usually working alone.  My expertise is the audio side, but my clients kept asking for lighting and were willing to open their wallets faster for a good solid wash than any changes to my audio system seemed to instigate.  I started with a bunch of LED "DJ party lights" I'll call them and a Chauvet Obey 40 DMX controller, which were fine for small spaces (50 or less people) but I learned quickly that they were nearly useless in larger or outdoor environments and sold them to a happy bar-band.  I was primarily using sound-activated looks at that time, so my programming needs were minimal.

I stepped up to some COB LED par cans and went from a Chauvet Obey 40 to Luminaire and some ArtNet nodes.  I could get a good wash for small stages, but it still lacked for my version of larger stages (still tiny to some of you).  I picked up 8 higher output LED par cans to use as front wash and I've been very very happy with them, but they are a 7-in-1 diode and I struggled to get the colours to match my 3in1 LED pars with Luminaire.  Programming was getting cumbersome, and the odd time one of the acts had their own sound tech I couldn't do much in the way of "busking" with it.  Considering I'm also running FOH/MON, picking up mic stands and explaining to people that I'm not the bartender, I longed for a more intuitive and tactile (IE: I can make changes with one hand without taking my eyes off the stage) lighting control solution but did not have the clients nor experience (nor 60-fixture rig or any movers) to get any meaningful ROI from a big boy console.

I tend to analyze things to death, and explored every option I could find including many of the boards listed in this thread, PC options, etc.  I joined every FB users group of every brand I could think of and watched for patterns of issues/support/resolution.  I read every manual and made SWOT analysis of each.  I kept coming back to the LS-1 because I wanted physical faders for when I'm at FOH position, as well as a remote control option (iPad) when I was mixing on glass.  The Onyx platform and touch control was a contender, but I decided I didn't want a computer based rig if only for not wanting to have to stay on top of updates etc.  My options at that point were the QuickQ series (which do not run the full version of MagicQ, which means some features of MagicQ show files will be lost when imported), the ETC Colorsource series, and a few others.  Since my busy season was approaching I forced myself into a decision and ordered an LS-1.

Now, my LS-1 arrived mid-March, and thanks to this global pandemic we're calling reality I have no shows on it yet (nor do I even have any shows anymore, sigh).  However, not including the time it took to read the manual start to finish (which I'd done long before it arrived), I had my 16 par cans and two geysers patched (including making all three fixture profiles from scratch), and had about 10 looks programmed in less than an hour.  I immediately realized that things like fixture groups and palettes were going to be a big time saver for me.  I know the LightShark doesn't get the love of the bigger brands but for my needs my first impression has been fantastic.  I really like that the remote control is browser based, so it's not going to require constant updates with every new Apple IOS update like my app-driven stuff, which in my mind gives it more shelf life. 

Is it the X32 of lighting?  Probably not.  However, it's worth consideration for those coming from Luminaire or older hardware looking for tactile control and a hardware-centric solution, especially those on a budget.  WorkPro has a solid library of tutorial videos now, and have also launched a "Wing" for expanded hardware control possibilities, which helped ease my decision that this would be a one-trick pony for the manufacturer.  YMMV and all that.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 18, 2020, 02:00:01 AM
I'm in the small-time operator camp, and am still getting my feet wet in lighting.  I don't have the experience you guys do, but I wanted to toss in my recent (albeit limited) experiences with the Lightshark LS-1. 

I do small events (tiny to some on this forum) and am usually working alone.  My expertise is the audio side, but my clients kept asking for lighting and were willing to open their wallets faster for a good solid wash than any changes to my audio system seemed to instigate.  I started with a bunch of LED "DJ party lights" I'll call them and a Chauvet Obey 40 DMX controller, which were fine for small spaces (50 or less people) but I learned quickly that they were nearly useless in larger or outdoor environments and sold them to a happy bar-band.  I was primarily using sound-activated looks at that time, so my programming needs were minimal.

I stepped up to some COB LED par cans and went from a Chauvet Obey 40 to Luminaire and some ArtNet nodes.  I could get a good wash for small stages, but it still lacked for my version of larger stages (still tiny to some of you).  I picked up 8 higher output LED par cans to use as front wash and I've been very very happy with them, but they are a 7-in-1 diode and I struggled to get the colours to match my 3in1 LED pars with Luminaire.  Programming was getting cumbersome, and the odd time one of the acts had their own sound tech I couldn't do much in the way of "busking" with it.  Considering I'm also running FOH/MON, picking up mic stands and explaining to people that I'm not the bartender, I longed for a more intuitive and tactile (IE: I can make changes with one hand without taking my eyes off the stage) lighting control solution but did not have the clients nor experience (nor 60-fixture rig or any movers) to get any meaningful ROI from a big boy console.

I tend to analyze things to death, and explored every option I could find including many of the boards listed in this thread, PC options, etc.  I joined every FB users group of every brand I could think of and watched for patterns of issues/support/resolution.  I read every manual and made SWOT analysis of each.  I kept coming back to the LS-1 because I wanted physical faders for when I'm at FOH position, as well as a remote control option (iPad) when I was mixing on glass.  The Onyx platform and touch control was a contender, but I decided I didn't want a computer based rig if only for not wanting to have to stay on top of updates etc.  My options at that point were the QuickQ series (which do not run the full version of MagicQ, which means some features of MagicQ show files will be lost when imported), the ETC Colorsource series, and a few others.  Since my busy season was approaching I forced myself into a decision and ordered an LS-1.

Now, my LS-1 arrived mid-March, and thanks to this global pandemic we're calling reality I have no shows on it yet (nor do I even have any shows anymore, sigh).  However, not including the time it took to read the manual start to finish (which I'd done long before it arrived), I had my 16 par cans and two geysers patched (including making all three fixture profiles from scratch), and had about 10 looks programmed in less than an hour.  I immediately realized that things like fixture groups and palettes were going to be a big time saver for me.  I know the LightShark doesn't get the love of the bigger brands but for my needs my first impression has been fantastic.  I really like that the remote control is browser based, so it's not going to require constant updates with every new Apple IOS update like my app-driven stuff, which in my mind gives it more shelf life. 

Is it the X32 of lighting?  Probably not.  However, it's worth consideration for those coming from Luminaire or older hardware looking for tactile control and a hardware-centric solution, especially those on a budget.  WorkPro has a solid library of tutorial videos now, and have also launched a "Wing" for expanded hardware control possibilities, which helped ease my decision that this would be a one-trick pony for the manufacturer.  YMMV and all that.


I don't have particularly good news.  Our LS-1 arrived DOA.  We are a Blizzard dealer and it came from them.  Blizzard could not send a replacement and informed us they are not selling them anymore.


I find it somewhat good luck because after all the discussion here the LS-1 doesn't have focus palettes so if you are going to do movers getting them focused is going to be the same workflow I was stuck with in the Chauvet Showxpress. 


If a used Congo Kid shows up I would grab it although at this point I think I want a Road Hog because the LD we use most often uses Hog on PC.

Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 18, 2020, 11:46:01 PM
Jeremy, I'm glad to hear you've found something that's a good fit for you.  There are definitely many trade-offs to consider when buying a light board, and mostly unlike the digital mixer industry in general, they can vary wildly in terms of features, capabilities, and workflow.  Let us know how it all turns out when you have a chance to finally use it!

Scott, that's really unfortunate to hear about your experience with the LS-1, even more so that Blizzard doesn't sell them anymore.  I take it that's a permanent status too?  If so that's surprising - I thought this was a viable competitor to Luminair.  Although still limited in horsepower, it was a step in the right direction.  I'm sure the R&D on this product wasn't all that cheap, so I'd be curious to hear why the board was shelved so soon before really penetrating the market...

I do have to agree with your disposition as well Scott.  While I still feel that my Congo Kid was a great choice when I bought it in 2014, the fact that it never gained much of a market presence along with it now being a discontinued series would make me think twice in 2020.  Believe me, when the day comes that I'm ready to switch boards for personal use you'll be the first one I call when looking for a buyer!  Especially since you see many guest LDs in your line of work, I really think something from MA, Hog, or ChamSys would be your best investment.  While I love my Kid for personal use as a travelling LD, putting myself in someone else's shoes if I didn't know the board I'd probably frown on it and either request a tech to program it for me or just ask for a mainstream desk if I didn't have my own to bring...much like how I'd respond to coming across the Leviton board you mentioned above in the wild.

Speaking of which, I keep getting the "are you still interested in..." emails - I take it you walked away on this one?   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 19, 2020, 05:30:49 AM
Jeremy, I'm glad to hear you've found something that's a good fit for you.  There are definitely many trade-offs to consider when buying a light board, and mostly unlike the digital mixer industry in general, they can vary wildly in terms of features, capabilities, and workflow.  Let us know how it all turns out when you have a chance to finally use it!

Scott, that's really unfortunate to hear about your experience with the LS-1, even more so that Blizzard doesn't sell them anymore.  I take it that's a permanent status too?  If so that's surprising - I thought this was a viable competitor to Luminair.  Although still limited in horsepower, it was a step in the right direction.  I'm sure the R&D on this product wasn't all that cheap, so I'd be curious to hear why the board was shelved so soon before really penetrating the market...

I do have to agree with your disposition as well Scott.  While I still feel that my Congo Kid was a great choice when I bought it in 2014, the fact that it never gained much of a market presence along with it now being a discontinued series would make me think twice in 2020.  Believe me, when the day comes that I'm ready to switch boards for personal use you'll be the first one I call when looking for a buyer!  Especially since you see many guest LDs in your line of work, I really think something from MA, Hog, or ChamSys would be your best investment.  While I love my Kid for personal use as a travelling LD, putting myself in someone else's shoes if I didn't know the board I'd probably frown on it and either request a tech to program it for me or just ask for a mainstream desk if I didn't have my own to bring...much like how I'd respond to coming across the Leviton board you mentioned above in the wild.

Speaking of which, I keep getting the "are you still interested in..." emails - I take it you walked away on this one?


I think we miscomunicated I don't have visiting LD's.  While Blizzard is not selling the LS, Work Pro the makers of it still is. 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: John Fruits on April 19, 2020, 08:12:49 AM
I have to wonder about the LightShark shortage.  Spain has just allowed manufacturing to reopen after a total shutdown.  That may be why there is a shortage here.  Fullcompass used to list the LS-1 and the LS-core but they don't now.  They do list a couple of the nodes.  Another online seller, IDJNOW still has the LS-core on Ebay but not the LS-1.  I also wonder if they are also facing a component shortage.  That was the reason given for MA Lighting dropping the Dot 2 range. 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on April 19, 2020, 09:02:38 PM
I think we miscomunicated I don't have visiting LD's.  While Blizzard is not selling the LS, Work Pro the makers of it still is.

Ah, no worries.  When you mentioned that your regular LD uses Hog I implied that you had other LDs crewing your events as well.  That's interesting to hear about the LS still being produced but not under the Blizzard name.  You and John seem to know more about the production side of the industry than I do - I'm just a consumer/user and not a dealer.  You bring up an interesting point about a component shortage though John - I just don't understand how that would happen unless Blizzard was essentially paid a cut of each sale to act as the distributor. 

While I don't own any Blizzard inventory I've had a number of delays in getting product delivered over the past year too.  My latest order from Prolyte got hung up in their bankruptcy/restructuring issue that happened late last year (mostly fulfilled now, but still waiting on some couplers), and then I have a handful of Chauvet Epix products still awaiting delivery as well (2 months and counting).  My purchases are through reputable dealers with significant buying power, so I know that's not to blame - it's just a trend I'm seeing more and more of.  At least the silver lining to all this is that I'm not losing money or business from unfulfilled orders, given that there's no business to be had at the moment!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeremy Young on April 29, 2020, 08:00:20 PM
For those following along at home, the LightShark products are no longer distributed by Blizzard in North America.  They now use Etnia Pro for the USA and between Europe and USA they are promising 24-hour support. 

Info from a post to the Lightshark users group on Facebook, dated March 16th 2020.

New firmware with an updated FX Engine was due to release early 2020, but has been postponed to late 2020 (as of about 3 weeks ago).

I don't sell, or work for, LightShark, just wanted to keep the information up to date in this thread.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeremy Young on April 29, 2020, 08:13:43 PM

I don't have particularly good news.  Our LS-1 arrived DOA.  We are a Blizzard dealer and it came from them.  Blizzard could not send a replacement and informed us they are not selling them anymore.


I find it somewhat good luck because after all the discussion here the LS-1 doesn't have focus palettes so if you are going to do movers getting them focused is going to be the same workflow I was stuck with in the Chauvet Showxpress. 


Are you sure?  Granted, I don't own movers so I can't test it, but there are user programmable palettes available for each fixture and you can see up to 25 simultaneously on the palettes screen.  The LS-1 manual covers in detail how to make them or edit them for gobos, colours, intensity etc.  The manual doesn't specifically go through the steps on saving a focus palette but I don't have a reason to doubt that it's possible in the way the information reads to me.


I've created colour, intensity and FX palettes for my wash LED's and it works as intended, so I assumed focus palettes would be the same otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned the LS-1 in a thread titled "aiming movers".


Hopefully you can get your hands on a working demo one and confirm that before writing it off from your shortlist.   
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Scott Holtzman on April 30, 2020, 01:35:33 PM

Are you sure?  Granted, I don't own movers so I can't test it, but there are user programmable palettes available for each fixture and you can see up to 25 simultaneously on the palettes screen.  The LS-1 manual covers in detail how to make them or edit them for gobos, colours, intensity etc.  The manual doesn't specifically go through the steps on saving a focus palette but I don't have a reason to doubt that it's possible in the way the information reads to me.


I've created colour, intensity and FX palettes for my wash LED's and it works as intended, so I assumed focus palettes would be the same otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned the LS-1 in a thread titled "aiming movers".


Hopefully you can get your hands on a working demo one and confirm that before writing it off from your shortlist.   


Certainly willing to admit I am wrong.  It does have palettes just not focus palette, not as one would think of one.  Seems you have to refocus every scene.

Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeremy Young on April 30, 2020, 08:15:32 PM
Thanks Scott, hopefully someone with some movers and a working LS-1 can weigh-in for us.  I'm not fluid enough in lighting control lingo to know the difference, but if I ever get some downtime during this downtime I might try downloading Capture so I can test it on a virtual mover.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Joel T. Glaser on May 16, 2020, 01:29:24 PM
Thanks Scott, hopefully someone with some movers and a working LS-1 can weigh-in for us.  I'm not fluid enough in lighting control lingo to know the difference, but if I ever get some downtime during this downtime I might try downloading Capture so I can test it on a virtual mover.

Hi Jeremy. Did you (or anyone) have a chance to check out the focus palettes on the Lightshark console? It's on my radar for a possible up grade, but focus palettes are becoming more and more important for my usage.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeremy Young on May 16, 2020, 02:33:04 PM
Hi Joel, this came up recently on the Facebook LightShark users group, and it does seem to be possible although if I were reading between the lines on responses from various users it works differently than other hardware.  Since this is my first real adventure into DMX controllers outside of basic stuff, Iíll leave that to the experts to compare how useful it is. Here is a link to a YouTube video that was shared that covers the process of updating a palette so that it affects all of the scenes built using that palette.  For my use (no movers, so can only confirm it works to adjust colour/intensity/strobe settings) it works.

youtube link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqLv86Xv6_M&fbclid=IwAR2XZtqtCRMqW0FThQu4iGwuxzwr-o1PKKRJeLBr-nKXEKMxUke2wnkLWYs)


Iím still at the point of understanding the board and how to create looks I like and how to get there quickly. Looking at features and understanding how that would affect my workflow is still ahead of me, since Iím still developing that workflow.  Hope that helps, but there are some great resources and very responsive folks contributing to that FB group, if you are a user of FB I would recommend checking it out. 
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on May 17, 2020, 12:56:57 AM
Hi Joel, I took a look at the video Jeremy linked above and can say that the process shown to record/update the color palette is pretty standard in comparison to other consoles.  There are slight differences in nomenclature and keystrokes, but that will almost always vary between consoles anyways.  There seems to be a focus palette selection included in the interface shown in the video - I would find it very odd if the programmers of LightShark implemented palettes for colors and gobos but left out pan/tilt, given that those are two of the most common attributes found in moving lights. 

One thing did stand out to me when watching the video - there was no mention made to masking.  Masking is something used to select out (or mask) certain attributes from a palette or other recorded item.  This is useful for example by recording one palette to only control the prism of my light fixtures while another palette can independently control the gobo of the same light fixtures despite both attributes falling under the "beam" palette for most fixtures.  Masking will prevent the two palettes from conflicting when triggered LTP.  LightShark might just not have this feature, but it can be very useful when programming more complicated shows.  Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Joel T. Glaser on May 17, 2020, 09:24:36 AM
Thanks Jeremy. Just over there reading that thread. Informative video. I've followed David Henry for some time. He's a great source of lighting info!
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Joel T. Glaser on May 17, 2020, 09:38:56 AM
Hi Joel, I took a look at the video Jeremy linked above and can say that the process shown to record/update the color palette is pretty standard in comparison to other consoles.  There are slight differences in nomenclature and keystrokes, but that will almost always vary between consoles anyways.  There seems to be a focus palette selection included in the interface shown in the video - I would find it very odd if the programmers of LightShark implemented palettes for colors and gobos but left out pan/tilt, given that those are two of the most common attributes found in moving lights. 

One thing did stand out to me when watching the video - there was no mention made to masking.  Masking is something used to select out (or mask) certain attributes from a palette or other recorded item.  This is useful for example by recording one palette to only control the prism of my light fixtures while another palette can independently control the gobo of the same light fixtures despite both attributes falling under the "beam" palette for most fixtures.  Masking will prevent the two palettes from conflicting when triggered LTP.  LightShark might just not have this feature, but it can be very useful when programming more complicated shows.  Hope this helps!

Jeff,

Lighting consoles, pallets, cues, ....... this is all new to me, so no matter which desk I end up with, I'll be starting from scratch. I've been using DMXIS on a laptop, controlled via an ipad. I've been able to create some pretty cool shows, but I'm getting more lights and working bigger stages all the time. And programming is VERY time consuming! Every time I make a change, it eats up way more time than I want to believe it should. I think there are much better options out there for what I'm trying to do (without breaking my bank account!! LOL). Trying to position my business to handle these bigger shows/stages and finding ways to more easily program and make adjustments to light shows.

Masking is a HUGE time saver for me in DMXIS. .... once I got my head around how it works, that is! HA!! I would think that would be standard in every lighting software/console by now. But maybe not. I'll check that out.

Thank you Jeff. Very helpful, as always.
Title: Re: Aiming Movers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on May 17, 2020, 11:25:00 PM
I would think that would be standard in every lighting software/console by now. But maybe not. I'll check that out.

Glad I can help Joel.  Yes, masking is standard in any professional console but as we work further down the food chain this feature comes and goes.  I'm actually surprised that DMXIS includes masking as a feature, but I'm glad to hear that it does!  LightShark may indeed have this - it just wasn't mentioned in the video and I don't have experience with the product directly to confirm or deny this. 

I totally agree that all of this is a great learning experience for you as you experiment with the new tools and techniques available in these more advanced platforms.  As with many business investments, it's always a balance of cost and return, and how your money can best be spent to posture your company to take on the larger jobs.  Happy learning and best of luck!