Andy Haefner

Active Member
Hello, I am going to be programming a light show for an event later this March, I only will have the fixtures for 1 week (we are renting) but it is going to be a very complex show for me (6 Moving Head fixtures, 2 Foggers, and numerous LEDs), i will have to make various effects and so on. I figure a good way to spend my time before the show would be to make a cue list detailing every part of the show, to allow myself to program quickly and efficiently. Has anyone done this in the past? Do you have a system that works for describing light cues? I don't know where to start.
Excel at s your friend.
Offline editors for the console and visualizers are your friend with benefits.

Agreed. If you are a student you can download Capture for free install that on a computer that you can have near the console. Depending on the console you can use a network switch and plug the laptop straight into the lighting network and program on the board.

If you don't have access to the board. If its an ETC console you can download the offline editor in combination with Capture all for free, and build the show from home. Build the show with pallets and once you have access to the actual lights. Plug them in, update your pallets and your good to go.

Most other companies allow you to download their offline editor but many of them require hardware to output to the visualizer. ETC does not.
Hi Andy,

Which console or software are you using as your actual controller? How familiar are you with it? That alone (at least to me) would play a large roll into how I'd structure the programming of a show. While many features are consistent across name-brand consoles, others are not...or at least implemented differently.

As others have said, utilizing a visualizer is the best way to do this especially if you want to play around with different effects. Capture is a solid choice, though I'm not sure how useful the student edition is due to its limited fixture library. Maybe you bypass that by creating your own profiles if that version allows it? If you can it's definitely a viable route, and you can't go wrong with free!

What else does this light show need to do? Is this going to be timecode triggered?

Good luck!
Connect your offline editor to visualizer (such as capture; previously suggested). Program EVERYTHING using palettes/presets... No "hard" values. Even for intensity, use palettes... make one for "off", "dim", "medium", "bright", and "full". Visualizers are great, but while 20% may look dim for your LEDs on the visualizer may in fact be at 4% in real life to look how you'd like. Don't just poke at the color picker until it looks right - spend 20 minutes making palettes for all 30 colors you plan to use.

By using palettes you can quickly edit your "dim" palette onsite, and update all your cues simultaneously... same for "lavender" and "congo blue".

Even if you have to go old school and just make an excel sheet ahead of time to punch in quickly on site, write your cues based on palettes and not percentages.
What's the style of show / type of event? Rock 'n Roll? Musical theatre? Something else? In the pre - previz days designers certainly made notes and cue lists; I'm sure many still do, especially for plays (I still make notes in my script with basics of blocking, mood, time of day, fade times, etc.) I'd create a paper form with a mini ground plan to sketch where the action is on stage (what are you highlighting?) and make notes of mood, color, brightness, patterns, angles, etc etc etc. If you're "painting" with beams in haze, you could do an elevation sketch of different patterns.
Depends on the board you are using. MA, Martin and ETC all have software that can be downloaded to a laptop and the full show programmed. Avo and Full Boar do as well, but they are for Win 7 or XP era OS. Depends on the computer you want to use.

I fully agree on programming presets and palettes, but if you can get the rough intensity, color and movement set up ahead of time then you won't have to put in as much work later, on a much tighter timeline.

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