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Ion - do you track or do you not?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by flyweed, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. flyweed

    flyweed Member

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    So we've had our Ion now since May. I have gotten the functions down fairly well, I am still unsure on whether I like the "tracking" or not. I mean, I've cue'd several shows now and am always aware of channels that are tracking..With that said, I still think back to the old 72/144 in which each cue would be basically a fresh slate, and not have channels track through from cue to cue. How many of you like or dislike "tracking" and do you use the board in or out of tracking mode?

    Thanks for any input, thoughts.

    Dan
     
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    See this thread: http://www.controlbooth.com/threads/question-about-tracking-vs-cue-only.33605/

    I tend to work in cue only, but mostly as the times I'm building up looks, it's frequently a visiting company that is quickly writing a lot of looks where the SM knows that Cue 3 will also be Q7, Q15, Q19, etc.... thus find I get into less trouble sitting in cue only. But as Anne stated " Putting a tracking desk into Cue Only mode does not make it a preset desk". I fully understand the differences and use the inherent tracking ability of the Ion all the time to not screw up all my attributes of the movers. This is one thing tracking desks are really good at and their reason for being in most ways, it's really the only way you can deal with LED's and movers and any gear that needs to not go home every time you want a new cue. Some LD's are really good as well, at understanding exactly what the channels are supposed to be doing, what's needed in certain scenes, writing hard block cues before and after scenes to avoid unwanted tracking and tracing and then using track and trace to their advantage as modifiers and to avoid having to go forward and back thru the cues to modify levels. Eos OS is much better at this then Express ever could be.

    In practice and with events that have nothing but conventionals, there's really not a huge difference on the surface between how you record on the Ion and on the Express.
    "Ch 1 full, record cue 5, time 5.". On Express you need to (sometimes) press the channel button before recalling Ch 1 to Full, on the Ion it's smarter and assumes you are talking channels unless you pressed the Cue or Record buttons. That saves a bit of time lost to having to press Enter a lot. You also save time on Ion when it knows that "5" means "50" and when it auto loads the playback fader, saving a "Cue 5, Go A/B, Release, Release". Thus there's all kinds of functions that save you a ton of time on Ion, tracking and trace only being two of them. Get to know the desk and you will see for yourself.
     
  3. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    At my venue we all track. The QOnly button gets used from time to time to limit the change to the current cue but we're all comfortable with the idea that the channel will keep doing whatever it is doing until another instruction comes along to change it.
     
  4. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Well-Known Member

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    I Track it! Judicious use of Q-Only record and Update makes my life that much easier. Often, I need to set the basic look and then modify certain elements such as band back light or front light for certain areas. Granted, the opposite is true and I could just Track the change. However, as most of the changes I make are ones that track, it saves keystrokes to leave Tracking on.
     
  5. ElGusto

    ElGusto Member

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    With judicious use of the cue only, block , and update functions, Tracking is the only way to travel!
    With out getting too philosophical, I tend to look at a scene or a show as each channel moving through the scene/show individually as opposed to a series of global events happening one after another. Operationally this means Tracking! The few times I do use 'cue only' mode are to build the barest skeleton structure of a show with many major breaks i.e. Black outs or scene breaks (a musical review, or long evening of dance recitals) . Then its immediately back to tracking mode. Tracking may not save a ton of time in writing the show the first time: using the record function to create a new cue that's a previous with a couple of small changes is a way of manually "tracking", whether the board is set that way or not.
    Tracking mode comes into it's own when you're editing the show in tech rehearsals. Generally, a scene or section has multiple internal cues, so adjustments to a channel or channels within scenes or sections will usually span several cues. Tracking allows me to make that edit- via the update function- once per scene as opposed to once per cue, a block or the end of the cue stack makes sure it wont go to far. You're actually editing the show the same way you wrote it!
    This is a very simplified version of my cuing process (I wish I was only editing a channel once per scene), but that's my approach to conventional lighting, and its seems to pretty much apply to moving lights, with all of their various parameters as well. Saves tons of time and even more key strokes.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It really depends on what you are doing and how you like to use your console. If you are doing simple theatrical productions where you just fade out at the end of one scene and fade in at the beginning of the next. Tracking is unnecessary and a hassle. However when you start stacking lots of cues into a show with a variety of subtle or not so subtle changes within the same scene that link from cue to cue, tracking can be a huge help to tweaking it later. That said, if your show is a one off, created quickly on the fly without lots of later tweaking, tracking becomes a hassle again.
     
  7. Zel

    Zel Member

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    I always track. The thought of building each cue from scratch it just too mind numbing. Tracking helps with the flow of your work and if you think about it you’re doing just about the same thing anyway; instead of building each cue from zero your removing lights you don’t need in the next cue when you track.
    Try it, you’ll get hooked.
     
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  8. carproelsofly

    carproelsofly Active Member

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    As always, "it depends".

    For a children's theater show, with discrete scenes that change time/location/mood each time there's a cue, use cue only mode.

    For a 90-minute box-set drama, tracking is the way to go.

    If you're building cues for the drama in sequence during tech, you might not notice a difference since you're likely modifying the current cue and saving it as the next cue with a slight change. The difference will become clear after the notes session in which the director says "Can we get some more lights on them over here for the second act?". If you've been tracking, you only need to change it on the first cue. If not, you'll need to do some extra work in spreadsheet mode.

    For the children's theater show, those quick notes you do in blind can very easily bite you if you're not working in cue only. (Unless you're very diligent about block cues.)
     
  9. Zel

    Zel Member

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    Correct, let me back peddle a second. Even in a preprogrammed show you still need to take manual control sometimes (busking). Actors don’t always hit their mark on cue or whatever. In your case changing venues brings another element into the mix.
    I guess my point is what ever works for you is what gets the show done. There is nothing inherently wrong with tracking/non tracking/blocking/asserting. Just don’t think of it as voo-doo when it may just be esoteric. Venture out and see what happens.
     
  10. theatricalmatt

    theatricalmatt Active Member

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    My one wish for the Ion, vis-à-vis tracking, is that it told you when you were affecting other cues. This is doubly true since it will ask for a confirmation before overwriting the existing cue; it'd be nice if a message popped up telling you it would track through cues 9, 10, and 11 as well.
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Let's see if I can get this straight on little coffee,

    The desk can sit in 2 modes - Tracking and Cue Only. These are toggle states in Setup. Obviously if you sit in Tracking Mode and you make changes then Update or re-record a cue, IF the levels of those channels are not different in later cues (or previous if using Trace) then the the levels will track and change until those levels find a new value later, or earlier (or potentially to the end of all recorded cues). Any values that are different from what you just modified become blocls to the track/trace function. This is s good reason to get used to recording cues that are at the beginning and/or end of a scene/act or dance piece, as hard blocks, using the block button. It puts a hard value on all channels to prevent tracking/tracing past that point.

    If you enable the desk to be in Cue Only, then channel value changes recorded in a cue will only be applied to that cue. That's the point of Cue Only.

    If you desire, while having Track enabled, to only make a change to a particular cue, then the Cue Only/Track button (first press functions as Cue Only) is used. That keeps the change from tracking.

    While in Cue Only mode, the Cue Only/Track button reverses it's function. pressing will allow a change to track.
     
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  12. Zel

    Zel Member

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  13. theatricalmatt

    theatricalmatt Active Member

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    I work with a lot of students. Not all of them consistently remember the Cue Only/Track button exists. Not all of them consistently use it even when the designer asks (grr).

    Also, a level change will only track until that channel changes levels again; occasionally, a "non-change," such as a 1% increment or decrement occurs. This happens sometimes if you move a cue, or copy a cue from one cue list into another. Then, it's nice to know that it hasn't tracked through the entire cue list.

    Having an informative reminder wouldn't do any harm, and would help teach tracking to those unfamiliar with the concept.
     
  14. Zel

    Zel Member

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    Also, a level change will only track until that channel changes levels again; occasionally, a "non-change," such as a 1% increment or decrement occurs. This happens sometimes if you move a cue, or copy a cue from one cue list into another. Then, it's nice to know that it hasn't tracked through the entire cue list.

    That's interesting, I've never heard of that.
    Yea, I have every prospective tech watch "Bobblehead Fred" as a primer then review it as we go along.
     
  15. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I have to disagree. Having a constant reminder that the console is doing exactly what I told it to do would drive me bonkers, especially if it kept prompting with "Are you sure?" messages. If you need the reminder then blind spreadsheet mode is very useful for explaining what is happening. If one understands the move-fade philosophy then there is no guessing about what is going to happen.

    On a Magic Sheet in v2.1 you can show the next and previous move for any channel so maybe that would be a way to give you the information you desire. It might also be in 2.0 but I don't have it installed to confirm. It's not quite the same as listing an arbitrary number of cues between the current move and the next move but it will certainly give you an idea that the value is going to track.
     
  16. avalentino

    avalentino Active Member Premium Member

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    I have to agree with sk8rsdad. This indication might not be so bothersome for one or two channels, but if you'd made 25 changes.... :)

    You might find the update through command to be useful, as it will blow through move instructions. To keep it simple:
    Cue 1 = 1 thru 5 at full.
    Cues 2 thru 10 all tracked data.
    Cue 11 = 1 and 2 are moved to 50, rest of the data tracked.
    Sequence ends at cue 20.

    Let's say you are sitting in cue 6. Change 1 thru 3 to 25. Update thru 18 Enter - this will force 1 thru 3 to be at 25 in cues 6 thru 18 - blowing through the move instruction in cue 11 for channels 1 and 2. The behavior past cue 18 is determined by the use of the Cue only button (if in track mode) or Track (if in cue only mode). If in track mode and you don't append the update command with [Cue Only], those channels will track into 19 and 20 at 25. You can combine this with the trace command to force the changes back to cue 1.

    Hope that helps!
    a
     

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