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Macro Tablet

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by geezer, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. geezer

    geezer Member

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    I was wondering if anyone could give me some information on macro tablets. From looking in the Strand 300 manual, I know that you can have one on the Strand 300 (which is what my high school has) but i don't know how well they are supported on other consoles. I am interested in getting one, but I was wondering if there is one that I can get that would be supported by ETC or other companies, so that when I leave my high school I will be able to use the tablet with other consoles. Sorry if this is kind of vague, but I don't know much about the topic, so I am hoping you guys will be able to fill in the gaps.

    Thanks
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You do realize there is nothing special about a macro tablet. It is just a Wacom or similar tablet interface for a computer.

    First off, you can always download the manuals for other consoles from the manufacturer's website and look it up. Second, I think you will have a hard time finding a tablet that will work with your 300. I believe they need to be PS/2 and not USB (yup, hate to break it, but you can't use the USB ports on the back of the 300, DOS doesn't support them), and those are very rare these days if they exist at all. I suppose you may be able to find them on ebay. Lastly, we advocate not to spend your own money on things for the school, you have no guarantee that someone else wont break what you buy, and then you loose. Tablets are not cheap, in fact they are usually very expensive, and to really be effective as a macro tablet you want to have a relatively large one. Also, in reality, do you really use enough macros often enough to warrant having a tablet, or do just want it because it seems cool?

    I would imagine, if nothing else, other consoles would recognize the tablet a the input device it really is, and you could probably use it as a mouse. That of course may not be too helpful to you. Even if you were an avid Photoshop-er or you did a lot of graphic arts on your computer, you would probably want a tablet that is more sophisticated than what you need for the light board, and if you got one to do those things, it probably wouldn't work with your light board. If you are bent on having a tablet for the board though, I would go the the art department or graphics arts or even who ever is in charge of computer tech, and see if there is an old PS/2 tablet kicking around the school.
     
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  3. dj_illusions

    dj_illusions Active Member

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    we have a strand 300 48 and 96 fader desk. the 96 one has been unlocked so all 96 faders work as subs with no channel faders.

    i use alot of macros, but have never ever run out... if you need more have you looked into adding macros to the sub/channel flash buttons - it is very easy to do and lets u utilise those buttons if you dont flash your lamps very often or better yet you can leave them as flash and use shift so you can do a macro or a flash!
     
  4. dj_illusions

    dj_illusions Active Member

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    Yes, thats what I mean, on a 300 or any strand 500 series aswell, if you are running 24 subs, every flash button on the sub is capable of running a macro.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2007
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    As well as th 14 P buttons and the 4 LCD buttons... strand is full of macros (the 500 at least)... the only time I really use macros on the strand is when programming movers. Makes things much easier. I have yet to find to many macros to use while programing conventionals that are actually worth the time. I find I use macros more often on ETC consoles for conventional based shows simply because there are so many things the the expression line does not do quickly.
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Besides, unless typing [MACRO]XXX[*] is more keystrokes than what the macro does it is still a time saver. On the tablet, you would have to hunt up where the macro you want lives and hit it with the stylus, which, by the time you do that you probably could have keyed the macro number. Also, by keying, you never have to leave the keypad, which in itself is a time saver. With the macro tablet, you are hosed if you loose the stylus as well.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Macro tablets are intended for designers to attach their magic sheets to. Usually so they can turn things off/on just by hitting an area. I have seen them used, never used one or programmed while someone used one. I am sure it would drive me up the wall though. I either want full control of the board when programing or do not even want to think of the board existing when I am designing.
     
  8. dj_illusions

    dj_illusions Active Member

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    I run alot of macro's on our strand 300. Have alot of FX programmed in for operating dance schools on the fly, also have ones to grab all, fx 0 go, cue 0 go, fx pause and fx step advance macro's. run macro's to turn the smoke machine, uv's and mirror ball on and off which are actually fx with smooth fade in/out times.

    they come in very handy when programming movers on a strand.
    it is also funny to program one to shutdown the desk when someone else is plotting just to be annoying!

    i also wrote a macro to allow you to use the dimmer on, dimmer dimmer function from the stage electrics remote which is quite handy!
     
  9. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    As much as I disliked it at the time I am gonna say macros on a platet can be useful when programming ML's. For a production I was on we rented an Expression II with a micro tabled that had all the ML features plotted out and it was done well enough that it was actually pretty useful.

    Attached is a blurry picture of how it was set up for you to get an idea.

    By no means is it a hog replacement, but it was still workable.
     

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  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I almost let this one slide...but nope, as a dyed-in-the-wool ETC-lover (there, I said it!:)) I feel I have to ask "Such as what? (does the Expression not do quickly?)" And also I must state that I use many macros on the Exp3, but for mundane housekeeping tasks such as save/load disk, dimmer check, etc. My favorite was TC on/off, which also swapped the screens so you immediately knew what mode the desk was in. I've found running long macros live can cause a delay and the cue(s) will be late--a friend pointed this out and I told him he should be using "AutoLoad" for his particular application, at which point he said "Oh, like Performer Gold Cues!?" I hadn't thought of Gold Cues in years. I miss Gold Cues, used to be only ten, then they increased it (at Morpheus' request/demand) to 100. I also miss saving shows onto cassette tapes...I could have TWO cigarettes AND a cup of coffee while waiting for a show to save/load. Anyone have a Kliegl Performer II/III they'd like to sell me, cheap?

    By the way, does the Strand 300 have the possibility of Remote Macros?, hopefully via a db-25 connector? I still have the box I built for the Expression out of Radio Shack parts to trigger 8 macros. I've used it on more than one occasion, generally for programming in show control situations. It's still labeled "Enable Scrollers," "Disable Scrollers," "Enable TC," "Disable TC," and "Graceful Abort," from the last time I used it.
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Ditto.

    I was doing some training of a new board op today on my Express 48/Emphasis and she pointed out that we had almost 60 macro's or so. Sure enough, she was close. NONE of these are for ML stuff, they're all for everyday stuff. Note too that the Express doesn't do things quite as quick as the Expression/Insight as Express.

    - We have a patch Screen macro when using the RFU
    - Ditto getting into park to allow multiple dimmers to be brought up from RFU
    - One of my favorites is resetting from two scene operation to single scene so as to run cues on the A/B buttons on RFU
    - Ditto turning off the GM for those times some idiot left the GM down\ and I need channel control on the RFU, and don't want to open up our console position (console is generally left ON).
    - Plus about 25 or so that do a temp patch of a positions dimmers to a level of zero for those times during focus when you've got channels across multiple positions and don't want to activate non-focused units.

    In my mind there's no real limit to how macro's can help.

    Unfortunatley, there is no way to add external devices such as a macro tablet to an Express, the hardware is too old.

    Steve B.
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    It appears the Express48 supports up to 4 remote macros. So you could build a little remote box like I did to fire macros 1901-1904 for about $10 in parts. May or may not be worth the labor.
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    So, you program macros for things that have their own keys, like FX Pause and FX Step? How does that help? Also, what remote are you using for your strand, because both the R120 and R130 and the WRFU have the capability to work with dimmers natively, no macros required. This is one of the great the things about the Strand systems, the RFUs are worlds better than ETC's (can't speak for EOS/ION as I haven't seen those RFUs). The Strand RFU can operate in Patch Mode natively. Between the two live screens it gives you access to almost every key on the input tile, and you get 4 HHR only macros. You can bring up multiple dimmers at a time (no Park Mode required), heck you can even record cues if you want to.

    Wait, what does the Express(ion) line do quickly? Certainly not moving lights, not even really scrollers. There is that funny thing about them not being native tracking consoles, that drives me nuts. What is with that funny "release" button? For small venues and schools, these are nice consoles, but for the same money you could have a Strand 300 with far superior features. Even if you have one moving light, I would be much happier on a console with a moving light package worth the cost of the console as opposed to one that kinda feels like an afterthought. I have worked with the Express, and Expression 1, 2 and 3.
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Now, Alex, you're baiting me and I won't take IT! (The bait.;)) Since both the Strand 300 and the Express(ion) are essentially defunct, it's not worth de-bait-ing. (I made a joke! Charlie Babbit made a joke!) Our "friendship" means too much to me.
     
  15. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    :angel: Ok...
     

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