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Lighting Software

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by lighttechie5948, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    Okay... What would be a good software if let's say...

    I had to do really cool moving light effects, but had an Express 250 as a console. What software, if it such exists, could DMX (through USB) or MIDI (through USB), and control the moving light channels, while the express controls the conventional channels.

    or

    computer control moving lights and express control conventionals seperatly and MIDI the them together where you would just need to press GO on the express to activate the Express cues and the computer cues.


    I think this might help program moving lights in the future, so what softwares are out there?

    ~Joe
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I've heard good things said about the Chamsys software and a USB dongle, but I have yet to actually try it out .. which is just as well, since I don't have any movers to control anyhow.
     
  3. thommyboy

    thommyboy Active Member

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    I really like the MagicQ software along with the Enntec. But it can be a little daunting if you have not used a Hog board.
     
  4. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Hog PC and have it control your entire rig.
     
  5. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    That Sounds Expensive. How much would that cost?
     
  6. Jeroen

    Jeroen Member

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    - Chamsys MagicQ with enntec
    - E-Cue with e-node
    - GrandMA on PC with MA node on PC

    with the GrandMA node on pc pro dmx in/out you can use your express as an input board for the pc software, this gives you real fader control in conjunction with the powerfull GrandMA software. I know several theatre shows in Belgium using a small dmx desk like a Smartfade as a simple dmx input board for a MA node to a pc running GrandMA, outputing dmx over ethernet to the node, finaly converting it to dmx out.
     
  7. lighttechie5948

    lighttechie5948 Active Member

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    I just looked into GrandMA on PC. I like that idea. I know the software is free (downloading it now), how much would the node be?
     
  8. nmccoart5

    nmccoart5 Member

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    If your going to use moving lights, I would say get your hands on a GrandMA console. You can control your conventional lights from there too. By downloading the free software, you can play with the software and get a feel for it even before you get the console. They have some great online tutoirals about their boards too. I like the MA Ultra-Light, thats what I use at my High School anytime I use movers and wouldn't choose anything else. I have used the Hog consoles also, but I personally prefer the MA consoles.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    MSRP $1900 US, a/o 10/08. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. would be happy to assist you.
     
  10. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    If you dont want the node Pro, just look at the standard 2 port node, grab your PC, another PC/laptop and a network switch. You can control your conventionals and your movers off the MA onPC software, and at the same time have a full tracking backup. Thats the wonder of the MA.

    As a MA user myself, this is a great option. You have 2 universes of DMX controlled through ethernet. Less worry about USB, and you have a back up as if one computer fails, the other will take over as the master.

    If you wanted too, you could throw on a third PC into the network, and use MA 3D as a visualiser. You could program offline, and then use the visualiser at Ops for some extra ''oo.. what does that do'' moments by passing audience! :grin:

    Nodes are available exclusively through A.C.T Lighting in the US, and there are a number of distributors in Australia and SE Asia that I know of and work with :)
     
  11. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    The pc based lighting systems run anywhere from $75 for the Entec box to about $1500 for the HogPC. Many of them are between $250 and $1000. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Why the range? The pricier ones are likely to have better support, better interface to peripherals, better design, bigger fixture libraries, etc.

    The advantage to pc based control is that you can usually download the software for free and try them out before you buy. You won't be able to actually control any lights because that's what the hardware box is for, but at least you can play around with the software.

    The other thing is that most of the better ones allow for a 512 channel input. So you could take your ETC, use it to run conventionals, send the signal into the pc controller, then out to the rig, and you would only have one cable from FOH.

    Martin LightJockey is my favorite, but that's partly because I have so much time and money invested in it that I haven't considered any other products. It gives you dmx in and out, and if you have two dongles, you can run up to 4 universes out or 3 out and one in. The visualizer is memory intensive, but I never use it.

    You should search around because the pc lighting control topic is fairly common around here.
     
  12. tcahall

    tcahall Member

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    MagicQ from Chamsys gives you a fully functional, professional grade board from your PC for free. The dongle (I use the Enttec Pro) is about $160. Chamsys has taken the path of giving away their full console as a way of building a following and it is working very well. It will do everything that a HogPC will do (with the currently in beta timeline, probably more) and step you into the world of a real ML console. It will control all your conventionals as well and you can step up to something larger in the Chamsys line (or a Hog) easily. The software is very solid and evolving quickly.

    If you are looking to get started with a PC software package that is taking you somewhere and are tight on money, its the only choice. There are some great PC based software packages that give a PC based fell (Lightjockey, etc). If you want to spend your life running shows from a PC, they are a good choice. If you aspire to move to a professional lighting board, they will give you a powerful design tool (lighting design skill can be transferred to any board), but will not help you transition to a Chamsys, Hog or GrandMA board in the future.

    Jands Vista is another critter yet again (also available as software with their dongle). It is a very different look at lighting software. Essentially, a best of both worlds between a board and a PC centric solution.

    Tim.

    P.S. when in doubt, get MagicQ with Enttec dongle and get started with a real console and movers. You will learn a ton for under $200 and you can run any show that will fit on a single universe. (conventionals included).
     
  13. Jeroen

    Jeroen Member

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    You should ask prices at your local dealer, I'm from Europe, and the nodes are about €500 for the 1 dmx output versions to about €1500 for the pro versions with input and output dmx.

    A very good combination:

    use your existing or any other simple dmx512 board (express, smartfade, ...) as a sort of input / trigger table for the grandMA software. And, as said above, in a network you can easily add computerpower to your very own little almost MA network... however make sure you use a quality switch.
     
  14. lightman02

    lightman02 Active Member

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    I like the MagicQ from Chamsys as a low cost solution to having a real pro console. I have used it with the Enttec Pro and was very inpressed with it's performance. I may use it for my next show as I am still messing around with it. The great thing is the software is basically the Hog so learn that and you will have alot of experience on the pro boards out today. I may be buying a Road Hog as the MA is great but alittle to pricy right now.
     

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