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Control/Dimming Control ETC Express with a computer via Midi Show control

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by computmaxer, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. computmaxer

    computmaxer Member

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    Hi,

    I am the "tech crew head" at my local high school, and we have an ETC Express 48/96. Great board by the way, learn this thing and you'll be set.

    I want to learn how to control the light board with our Windows XP computer that sits right next to it. I have purchased a generic Midi to USB converter, and tried some free software but got nothing to work.

    Basically I am looking for an explanation on how to set it up correctly, maybe a suggested software I could try, which settings to use under the options screen on the board, etc.

    Thanks so much for the help--- I know this can be done but I've been searching the internet forever and have not found any thing. Any input is much appreciated! :) :cool:
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Hopefully, you've already read chapter 25 of http://www.etcconnect.com/docs/docs_downloads/manuals/Express_Two-scene_Preset_v3.1_User_Manual.pdf.

    Next, obtain a copy of Amazon.com: Control Systems for Live Entertainment, Third Edition: John Huntington: Books, and read chapters 25-28. (If budget is an issue, the first or second editions may be purchased used for as little as $1.99 from Alibris: Used Books, Used Textbooks, Rare & Out-of-Print Books and others.) Actually, read most of the book; it's excellent.

    Other useful information can be found at Richmond Sound Design - Show Control & Virtual Sound Systems - Home Page. Charlie Richmond is DA MAN when it comes to midi show control.

    Why? (I probably should have asked this first.) John Huntington's book gives great examples for why, and why not, Show Control may be a viable solution. Tell us your specific application and we can make further suggestions.
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    First things first, you are not going to be able to re-create the console on the PC. MSC is designed to simply send "Go" commands to the console, and the console does its thing. You can do more, such as fire macros and subs, but thats about it. Before you go to far down the road, if you want to do more then this, you should probably stop now.

    Also, go read those books, I have nearly worn my copy out, and its my second copy.
     
  4. computmaxer

    computmaxer Member

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    Thanks, I might take a look at some of those books...

    Here is the application:
    I want to be able to put Channel X at FULL with my laptop while on the catwalk. (The laptop would be remote desktop controlling the PC next to the light board). Running cues is also something that I want to do.
    As far as I understand, you can do all of this with Midi Show Control.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You are trying to re-invent the wheel. I would highly suggest going with one of these... FocusPhone&#153

    Having two computers, a wireless network, something invented to control keyboards in the 80's, and who remote desktop might just lead to a bit too many steps/gear to do a simple thing.
     
  6. computmaxer

    computmaxer Member

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    I agree with you that this is a less efficient method and has too many steps.

    That FocusPhone is really cool, but it cost $750. Now I wouldn't mind spending that if we really wanted it. But this is more of an unnecessary convince, proof of concept, and just something we think would be cool to do. We already have all the hardware to do the MSC route, just don't know how.

    In other words, even though it might seem dumb, I still would like to learn how to do this...
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have done with simple go commands, never done it beyond that. First, you need to figure out what you are going to fire the cues with. SFX is what I have used in the past, but this will not work for you. I am going to say you will need some type of keyboard emulator or something. This is where it is going to get tricky. After that, you could program a macro for each button on the console, and then program those macros to listen to certain notes. Just a start.
     
  8. JohnHuntington

    JohnHuntington Active Member

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    Thanks Derrek for the nice plug!!! The check is in the mail :)

    I just wanted to post and say that if you can find a used copy, that's great, but please do not buy a first or second edition. Each was a total re-write of the others, and the third is the book I wanted to write all along, with everything heading onto the network, and into the future.

    Also see the postings on my blog about why I now think we should work to move beyond MIDI, DMX, etc (including a chapter from the book). IP Postings
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You could also probably still get the hardwire RFU for the Express. If it costs less than the focus phone, I don't know. As for the MIDI show control idea, I don't think that the console supports what you want to do. I don't think that you can use MIDI to call individual channels. Also, as has been mentioned, the console only responds to MSC commands, so general MIDI also won't work. You will need software capable of sending MSC (like SFX), or software that allows you to write in the MIDI command you want to send.
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ladies and gentlemen, another industry expert, Professor John Huntington! Welcome to the Booth, John. Start a thread in the New Member Board - ControlBooth. I'm looking forward to reading what you're going to write about a less-than-stellar recently opened show.:twisted:

    We recommend your book often around here. I only suggested the earlier editions because the original poster has an Express, and I see little difference in the chapters on MSC. I agree with you that it's time to look toward ACN and RDM, but again, we're talking Express here. As others have said, MSC is not the best approach to achieving the desired outcome in this case.
     
  11. computmaxer

    computmaxer Member

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    Well, despite the negative feedback on the idea, I got it working!
    Turns out we had the "Midi In" plugged into the "Midi in" on the board and same with the outs... obviously the out should be going into the in and visa versa. *facepalm*

    For those of you who are interested, I used GType for Windows free version. It works well for sending manual commands to the board.
     
  12. minameismud

    minameismud Member

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    computmaxer: what is GType? i tried googling for it and found nothing useful. got a url?
     
  13. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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  14. SchirmerC

    SchirmerC Member

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    I am also "head techie" or whatever you want to call it at my high school - I've been wanting to do something similar with out ETC Express 125 for quite some time now. I brought in my midi interface and hooked it up (as you did) and after some tinkering was able to make it all work; (the express's user manual has a nice section on MIDI. I used some software called Multiplay, which is unlimited freeware. Its use is mostly for sound effects, but you can fire off midi commands as cues also - I'm hoping to sync up some thunder + lightning @ rehearsal today :D
    Heres a link for Multiplay, its kinda hard to find - Audio Visual Devices - MultiPlay
    The sound and midi cues are all i have really used (and waits, etc.), but i think the video cues are a little buggy (this software is still in development)
    Anyways, I've used this software and I really think its great for freeware
    Hope this helps at least a little
     

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