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ELation Show Designer 3 Console....can these features possibly be left out?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jeffheart08, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. jeffheart08

    jeffheart08 Member

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    I have not heard back from the techs yet at Elation but I addressed two issues with the fairly expensive (out of the lower end boards) Show Designer 3 Console. I wanted to see if anyone else has this console and if they have run into similar issues when it comes to "on the fly" playback. Can anyone let me know if I am doing something wrong and this board can actually do what I am trying to do. I am more of a live dance music lighting guy as opposed to stage and theatre so I am wonder if the design of the console was made for theatre where everything is usually preprogrammed but I would still think you would need the features I am having problems with (listed below) from time to time.

    (this is what I sent to the Elation guys) :

    I was able to thoroughly work with the Show Designer 3 this weekend
    past and have come up with what I feel is valuble feeback for you. Do
    you have input into the research and developement process? If not, I
    would highly suggest that this info is directed towards the
    individuals that have the power to make changes in the functionality
    and future updates of this board. I have worked with many many
    boards in the past 15 years and this board contains some features of
    some of the very high end boards but it has a counter-productive
    offset mixed within it's architecture.
    These two issues that I am about to explain are so large in importance
    that we are contemplating selling the board because of it's lack of
    capability to do these two functions. It is literally two of the most
    important functions (in my opinion) when controlling a nightclub "live"
    environment. Furthermore, I think it can make the difference between
    selling a lot more boards for the nightclub application when consumers
    are debating between products such as a hardware console or software
    like Showpro or Light Jockey.
    The issues :

    (A) NO FIXTURE RELEASE COMMAND : When you are working on a live show and
    the lights are moving, attributes are changing, and you have this cool
    sequence running......You grab control of a fixture and position it to
    highlight someone on the dancefloor. All the other lights are still
    running the sequence. Now, you can not release the fixture you grabbed and
    it is stuck under your control until you restart the sequence which in
    many cases is too abrubt. No matter what changes you make to any amount
    of fixtures while a sequence is playing back, you should be able to hit a
    command that releases all the changes and movements you altered, back to
    the programmed running sequence(s) state. What good is a light that is no
    longer moving around the dance floor while all the others are playing
    back? When the fixture is deselected, it should simply revert back to
    it's preprogrammed state and release any attribute that you changed on the
    fly (unless ofcourse you record it before deslecting it)

    This is the worse of the two issues. Let's say I have 20 color change
    fixtures (this issue can happen with any attribute). I have presets
    recorded in which simply adjust the color channels. I have included all
    the fixutres when making the preset.
    Button 1: Red
    Button 2: Green
    Button 3: Blue

    Now, I play back the fixtures and turn 10 of them on blue and 10 of them
    on red. Lets say they are moving heads as well, so they are spinning
    around and lighting up my dancefloor. In a club situation, the light guy
    is workiing on the fly with the DJ to compliment his music with the proper
    colors. I want to change the red fixtures to blue and also the blue
    fixtures to red (swap them). I select the red fixtures only and then tap
    the preset page button....Now the problem appears......the BLUE preset is
    already lit up because some fixtures are already blue. So you can NOT
    change the red fixtures to blue using the blue preset button even though I
    only have the RED fixtures selected. Since the blue is already lit up,
    hitting it can not turn it ON since it is already ON. Instead, hitting
    the BLUE preset button turns off the blue preset, thus shutting off the
    fixtures that were already blue (even though they are not selected) and
    the red fixtures stay red because I just turned OFF blue. Now, when I hit
    blue again..the red fixtures I have selected will turn BLUE and the
    fixtures that were blue simply stay OFF because they are not selected.
    The only work around is to use the same scenerio except use the jog
    wheels to rotate the blue channel on and the red channel off, then do the
    opposite after selecting the other fixtures. THat will just not work in
    a live environment where everything is happening on the fly and changes
    you being made extremely quickly.
    In order for this problem to be corrected, the board would have to know
    to shut the preset off when fixtures are selected that DO NOT use that
    attribute. SO when I select ONLY the red fixtures and then go back to
    the preset pages, the blue preset will not be lit (even though some
    fixtures are using the BLUE preset(unselected ones)). This way, I can
    now hit blue and turn my red fixtures to blue without shutting off the
    already blue fixtures.
    A board that addresses these issues very well is the NSI MLC-16 and
    could perhaps be a board to look at and copy some of it's architecture.
    The Show Designer is much more capable and fuller featured but the NSI
    has the leading edge (at more than half the price) in the "nightclub"
    application architecture.

    I really like the board and hope that these issues are considered
    serious enough to address. It seems as though it should be a firmware
    issue and something that can be changed with a chip update of firmware
    upload. I can easily see changing the protocol so that one function
    of the "BACK" button could be to release the fixtures as explained in
    the first issue.
    As for the other issue, it just needs to know to deselect the presets
    when fixtures are selected that do not use that preset trait. Not
    deactivate the preset (since other fixtures are using it), just deselect
    it so it can be reused for the newly selected fixtures (which are not
    already using it)

    I'll give you a call to talk about this and see if this is serious enough
    to have it put on the R & D team's plate of things to have a meeting
    For now, I don't want to sell the board if I think there may be a fix down
    the road, but if your team thinks it is not an issue to deal with for this
    particular console model, then the board will ultimately serve me no
    purpose for club application.
  2. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I asked Elation for tech support on a couple lights once. Never got a response. That was, however, in the pre- Eric Loader days so things may have changed. And for nearly $3K, I'd consider an Avo. A few bucks more, but a lot more flexibility. Or you could step down in price to a pc based solution. A Hog PC or Martin LJ will give you less dmx channels (unless you go with 2 dongles) but you'll be able to do all the stuff you're asking about.
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Lititz, PA
    I have actually had good experiences with Elation support. I have called and emailed them multiple times, and they seem to have been receptive of feedback I have given and had good info for me.

    Unfortunately, you don't really save anything if you already own an almost $3k console, so upgrading isn't always practical.

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