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DMX address hell

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Stuart R, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Stuart R

    Stuart R New Member

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    Howdy all -

    I'm working with LEDs and DMX addresses for the first time... and every time I think I finally have it figured out I prove myself exceedingly wrong!

    Here's the current problem. I'm working with five or six different types of LED fixtures, each of which has a different grouping of attributes that need to be assigned DMX addresses. Some are super simple, like RGBI, while others are more complex, like RGBSI, or RGBAW. The most traditional approach, as I understand things, is to assign DMX addresses to each attribute and then map them all to one channel on the board, and then using the board (we have an ETC Element) to assign the color and intensity within individual cues.

    We do a lot of live events where it's not that helpful to write cues beforehand. I prefer to work with submaster faders, with some faders controlling general illumination, but quite a few others connected to specific color washes. To this end, I want to split the DMX addresses for each instrument's attributes between separate channels so I can control each primary color as its own instrument. Here's an example. Let's say I have three LED PARs, each with RGBI as the attributes. I assign the DMX addresses to these channels:

    PAR 1: R - 101, G - 104, B - 107, I - 110
    PAR 2: R - 102, G - 105, B - 108, I -111
    PAR 3: R - 103, G - 106, B - 109, I -112

    With the colors now available separately, I want to create a submaster for each color. Which channels do I use to do that? Taking red as an example, do I simply put 101, 102, and 103 in the sub, or must I also include 110, 111, and 112 because they control intensity and a hue without intensity is darkness? If I need to append the Intensity channels as well, I'd end up with:

    Red: 101-103 plus 110-112
    Green: 104-106 plus 110-112
    Blue: 107-109 plus 110-112

    Is that right? [I *assume* the board will let me map the same Intensity addresses to different subs...]

    IF that is how that works, then I think I get it and can go from there. HOWEVER, I have other LED instruments that have NO INTENSITY ATTRIBUTE in the DMX configuration. It's just a bunch of colors, with no I or M (same thing). If there is no I, how is the Intensity data communicated? I don't see how it can piggyback on the color channel, which is busy instructing the instrument how saturated to make the hue. In these cases, does it actually work to just gang together all the R addresses (for example)?

    Does anyone have the answers to these questions?

    Also, does anyone know of a thorough yet understandable primer on how DMX-Channel communications work with different types/brands of LED instruments, so I don't have to post so much? Thanks!

    Ack!
     
  2. Brentgi

    Brentgi Active Member

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    This is incorrect... Fixtures number their attributes themselves sequentially based on the start address of the fixture. It should be something like this:
    PAR 1 (set to address 101): R-101, G-102, B - 103, I - 104
    PAR 2 (set to address 105): R-105, G-105, B - 107, I - 108
    PAR 1 (set to address 109): R-109, G-110, B - 111, I - 112

    As far as the rest goes, in my opinion, you're using an Element which gives you quite a bit of control over each attribute of each fixture. What you're wanting to do seems a bit retro and I consider digging in to the features of your console a bit more. Typically, each fixture would be patched to a single channel on the board and you would control your attributes within that one channel. Also, Element has a great color picker which means you can select colors rather easily.
     
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  3. soundofsparks

    soundofsparks Member

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    Occupation:
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    On the Element, you want to patch using the built in profiles for your fixture style.

    If PAR 1 is RGBI with starting address 101, you'd patch it as channel X type generic LED RGBI (If you know the make and model of the units, all the better. You can just patch them as what they are.)

    The console will now be able to handle all the different color configurations for you and as programmer you won't have to know if the units are RGBI or RGBA or RGBHS or whatever they are because the profile will translate them to the consoles interface.

    Now the way you want to handle color mixing (three handles, red green and blue, where you run up red and blue to make purple) the way the console wants you to handle color mixing (photoshop style color wheel where you pick purple) are different.

    To make it do what you want to do, you'd make a Red sub with Channel X at Full, Red at Full, Blue at 0, Green at 0. Blue sub would be Channel X at Full, Red at 0, Blue at Full, Green at 0. Green sub would be Channel X at Full, Red at 0, Blue at 0, Green at Full.

    The subs would be pile-on, so Red sub at Full and Blue sub at 50 should put the intensity at full, red at full, blue at 50, and green at 0.

    Now since intensity is built into these subs, you can just run up red and get red light on stage, but if you put red sub and blue sub at 50, you'd have a purple light at 50% intensity.

    So to help this, you'd actually not record intensity into the three subs, and make a fourth sub that is just intensity.

    Now, ultimately you should think more about what your goals are ultimately. Would it make more sense to have 10 preset colors that you could choose from with button clicks (color palettes)?

    I think ultimately, you should get a little more down and dirty with your console. I recommend the Eos Family learning video series. Once you have a better idea of how the console works you can make it do what you want or change what you want to something you maybe haven't thought of yet.

    https://www.etcconnect.com/EosFamilyVideoSeries/
     
  4. Stuart R

    Stuart R New Member

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    Hi Brent - Thank you for your input. I think I was a bit unclear on part of my process - I was planning to let the instrument do its own DMX address generation based on the starting # as you say. I was then going to assign each address to a different channel, and then combine the red channels (for instance) to one submaster. I do hear you about patching each fixture (and all its addresses) to a single channel and then using the color picker and so on. I just want to be able to do live events and have the faders control areas (easy) and color washes (less easy, which is what I'm trying to figure out here) without having to stop and choose the colors in the heat of the moment. I do agree that I need to get to know the board better! Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    There is also this factor- Lets say you have 4 LED fixtures that make up a rear wash. If you intend to operate them together, simply set them to the same address.
    When you are doing live shows with no designed cues the rule of "Keep It Simple" really stands out.
    I come from the old days of PAR shows with analog boards and submaster scenes, so I understand what you are saying. Things work very differently now, but one way to minimize your head exploding in real-time is to work out some generic sequences way before the show. Kind of a bag of tricks that you can call up when hit with a show you have never had any prior contact with. Needless to say, this becomes a life saver if you start introducing moving lights.
    As far as fixtures with no intensity channel, your "I" is set by your RGBAW channels together. All the "I" channel does is proportionally apply values to those channels. Bit of a pain not having it.
     
  6. danTt

    danTt Well-Known Member

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    This is not quite true. You'll want your Subs to have red at full, blue, green at null, blue at full, red, green at null. Because Eos treats all non intensity parameters as latest-takes-precedence, if they have a 0 value in them this value will assert itself when the fader moves. Instead you need to remove any instruction from the colors you are looking to store--either with selective storing: Channel 1 Red Record Sub 1, or after the fact in blind: Blind Sub 1 Channel 1 - Red @ Enter.
    It also gets a bit more complicated due to the nature of LEDs and additive color mixing. Because the general usecase involves turning the intensity to full and seeing something turn on, RGB values on LED home at full instead of 0. This makes your faders useless by default. You'll need to set a home preset/adjusted fixture profile with these values at 0, or alternatively mix color with inhibitive subs. The downside to a 0'd out home preset is that you need to remember to set a color on your LEDs every time you turn them on.

    It's not the easiest thing on the Eos, I hope at some point we see ETC steal the idea from Congo/MA/Probably Hog of putting attributes directly onto faders, rather than putting specific parts of channels onto faders.
     
    Ric likes this.
  7. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If you have your fixtures under ML / colour picker control, you can select a variety of different fixtures and pick a colour on the picker, all the selected instruments regardless of make and model should come up on that colour. You could then save that to a sub for your full stage colour washes for busking purposes.
     
  8. Silicon_Knight

    Silicon_Knight Active Member

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    Believe it or not, it seems like you are both saying the same thing - the terminology can be confusing:
    "Each instrument should have it's own set of DMX addresses, then let the console group them as needed."​

    Here's a more detailed procedure that highlights this concept:
    1) Set each lighting instrument to it's own address (leaving space for the extra channels of the previous fixture): PAR 1 @ 101, PAR 2 @ 105, PAR 3 @ 109
    2) In the console, assign Fixture#s to each of these 3 address (using the exact model of instrument or a generic that matches the channel layout). Fixt#1 = PAR@101, Fixt# 2 = PAR@105, Fixt# 3 = PAR@109.
    3) In the console, you should be able to assign these fixtures into "scenes" or "subgroups" or something similar (I apologize for my lack of expertise on ETC Element on how it might accomplish this) that should allow you to have some generic areas/colors, etc.
    4) Then for more complex shows, you can actually record cue lists pretty quickly.​

    Someone posted a link to some good videos that might be helpful with Step#3 for the ETC Element. You should definitely be aware of the LTP (Last Takes Precedence) behavior of these controls (someone else mentioned that the ETC Element works that way). That type of behavior can make "mixing" between faders more challenging.

    The only time I would recommend putting multiple fixtures at the same DMX addresses are under the following unusual situations:
    - DMX address space is short and there is no easy method to use multiple universes (e.g. 20-30x Instruments at 30ch each -> more than 1 universe)
    - All of the instruments that will occupy the same DMX addresses are identical brand/model (or at least a compatible DMX channel map - though the color mix will likely be different between brands/models)
    - You are running a VERY simple show where you NEVER want to control of each instrument individually (e.g. corporate events, and these are all backdrop lights)
     
  9. peacefulone61

    peacefulone61 Active Member

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    I have had great luck using color pallets with my wash fixtures and a magic sheet not sure if this would help on your situation.
     
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  10. Silicon_Knight

    Silicon_Knight Active Member

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    There are probably many people here (including me, of course) who are always looking to expand their knowledge and experience and would like more information on your approach. Would you care to share details? TIA!
     
  11. Lextech

    Lextech Active Member

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    I use pallets all the time. I tend to match my wash fixtures to the gel colors I use alot. Since Lee and Rosco numbers don't really conflict I make the pallet number the gel number. For example once I have matched the fixture to R80 I save it in color pallet 80. Lee162, color pallet 162 and so forth. I find even though I use magic sheets most of the time, that if I need to grab to tweak by keyboard I know what color is where. Once I have my pallets built, for movers this will include gobos, position and what ever else I need, I build a magic sheet with each type of light that includes the fixtures laid out the same as they exist in real space. Once that is populated I add color pallet buttons, colored as close as I get them to the color they give me, to the page. For movers I add focus, beam and effects pallets also. This system allows me to access things quickly and in a logical manner. My main space is broken down so that every light is on one magic sheet or another. This includes pages for:
    Booms
    Fronts
    High sides
    Box booms
    Wash
    Specials
    Movers
    Cyc

    If you need more info ask away.
     
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  12. Calc

    Calc Active Member

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    This is already baked in to EOS on your element. The manufacturer codes are:
    1 Apollo Gel
    2 GAM GamColor
    3 Lee
    5 Rosco Roscolux
    6 Rosco SuperGel
    7 Rosco E Color
    8 TokyoBS Poly

    So you can enter it all on the command line. For example, "1 @ 5/80" will make channel one turn Rosco 80. "1 @ 3/201" turns it to Lee 201, etc.
     
  13. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Here’s one page of our busking magic sheet that controls 6 MAC 700’s. Fixture channels and groups on bottom, Color Palettes on right, Focus in Center, Beam palettes for gobos on top, more beam palettes for image sizing and edge plus movement on left.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Lextech

    Lextech Active Member

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    This would assume two things. A, I want to remember manufacture 5 is Rosco and B, that the color presets that are in the board look anyway close to the color I want. Added to that if you use color that way you have no control or consistency between fixture types. While some fixtures, in particular ETC's fixtures, get close on some colors most other manufactures fixtures are not even close. For a concert are they close enough, sometimes. For when I do dance, no they are not. There is a third party company that creates the values for ETC and sometimes I think they are either blind or are guessing. The OP asked what people did, this is what I do and now I have explained why. I works for me, the stock color picker works for some and both of those are great. I admit to using the gel library sometimes out of the need for speed, but if I have time and a memory stick I try and match the variable color fixture to a S4 with the gel I want and save it for later.
     
  15. DaShinja

    DaShinja Member

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    Methodology I use to mix colors without any LTP (Last Takes Precedence) issues on Altman Spectra CYC 200s on an Ion.
    I hope these may work for you on an Element

    Spectra CYC 200s are RGBA and the profile "608" at least exposes in addition an Intensity parameter.

    Part I
    1. Patch fixtures using profiles appropriate to instrument (I use "608")
    2. In Live: Select all units in question
    3. Set Intensity and all NPs (Non-intensity parameters which in this case are colors RGBA) to 0.
    4. Record Preset (I often choose 999) and label it "New Home"
    5. Enter the CIA's 'Setup' and choose "Show Settings"
    6. Select "Home Preset" and type "999" Enter
    The steps so far will make the default values for parameters of your smart lights to be I = 0 RGBA = 0 respectively

    Part II
    1. Open two new Tabs: One shall be "Fader Page (28)" [In Particular if you don't have a fader wing] and the other shall be "Fader Config (36)"
    2. Select units in question and then set them to be full intensity and choose Red for the color
    3. Assign to a fader of choice
    4. In "Fader Config" find the fader you've assigned and click below the "Add HTP" in the blue'sh box
    5. Find "Channel Filter", click it, and put the channels of your LEDs (this also works with Groups and is probably easier)
    6. Find "Param Filter", click it, and make sure under the Param Filter Columns that you select: Intensity and also under Color select the Color you wish the fader to control (in this case Red) are selected
    The steps of Part II ensure that you have created a fader that controls both Intensity and the color Red for the fixtures controlled by that fader's selection, and which will play nice with other faders of the same type when you repeat these steps and create a fader for green, and blue, etc.

    I admit, that there may be shorter ways of doing this and that you could perhaps do this more quickly and efficiently with say the "Fader List Page" due to the selected sub also showing its "Fader Config" below, at least on the Ion.
    Nevertheless, I have considered the way I got this to work the first time and listed it in that way.

    Hopefully this is useful to you.

    If you need different sets of LEDs controlled on different faders - you can set appropriate channel control via "Chan filter" on a given fader and assign those faders in different areas of your fader wing (which hopefully you have).

    I welcome your thoughts.
     

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