Control/Dimming Midi Show Control Software

Hello, I am in need of a little advice, was wondering if anyone could help me.
I need software that would be able to send Midi control from my computer to the light console, nothing fancy, just a GO signal. I have tried both Mulitplay and Qlab, but unless I've missed something I don't think they can do what I want them to. I want to be able to place MIDI cues on a timeline of sorts. What I am doing is a light show synchronized to prerecorded music as a fundraiser of sorts. I am currently in the process of marking the locations (time) of the cues in the audio files, down to thousandths of a second. Is there software built for the specific application I am looking at? Free would be ideal, I am not able to pay too much for anything right now.
 

VCTMike

Active Member
Hello, I am in need of a little advice, was wondering if anyone could help me.
I need software that would be able to send Midi control from my computer to the light console, nothing fancy, just a GO signal. I have tried both Mulitplay and Qlab, but unless I've missed something I don't think they can do what I want them to. I want to be able to place MIDI cues on a timeline of sorts. What I am doing is a light show synchronized to prerecorded music as a fundraiser of sorts. I am currently in the process of marking the locations (time) of the cues in the audio files, down to thousandths of a second. Is there software built for the specific application I am looking at? Free would be ideal, I am not able to pay too much for anything right now.

If you want to bypass the light console altogether try Visual Show Automation (Brookshire Software LLC). It can send out DMX commands timed to audio time line events programmed by the user.

Visual Show Automation - Features
 

sk8rsdad

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
I have tried both Mulitplay and Qlab, but unless I've missed something I don't think they can do what I want them to. I want to be able to place MIDI cues on a timeline of sorts.

You've missed something.:)

QLab definitely supports MSC. You will need a midi port on your computer and a midi cable to connect to the lighting console, which has to be capable of accepting an MSC input. There are few configuration hoops to jump through like enabling input and output, agreeing on addresses, etc.

After that it's a question of adding MSC cues in QLab with the appropriate timing. FWIW, thousandths of a second is unnecessary in the lighting world. Even assuming there's no delay in the communications (which there is), and assuming the lighting instruments can react that quickly (which they mostly can't), the human eye/brain take around 25ms to react to a change. Think about the refresh rate on the monitor you're using to read this. Do you see the image repainting 60 or 70 times per second?
 
If you want to bypass the light console altogether try Visual Show Automation (Brookshire Software LLC). It can send out DMX commands timed to audio time line events programmed by the user.

Visual Show Automation - Features

What kind of support does it have for moving lights? I've got 4 Mac 700s, 2 IQs, and 2 Gobo Rotators I'm going to use.

What Qlab doesnt have is the timeline, I know you can put in MSC cues, but the timing is relative to the cue before it if I'm not mistaken. With the large volume of cues I am dealing with, programming in Qlab seems like it would be a pain, as I currently have all the cues marked on a timeline.
 
the issue with Qlab is that i believe it doesnt have a timeline, the cues are timed relative to each other rather than to a show clock. Is this correct?
as for VSA, 2 questions, what sort of dmx device support does it have, I am using four MAC 700s, 2 gobo rotators, and 2 IQs. Also, is it possible to send MIDI with VSA? I am more comfortable programming with a console than with the computer software.
 

cpf

Well-Known Member
the issue with Qlab is that i believe it doesnt have a timeline, the cues are timed relative to each other rather than to a show clock. Is this correct?
as for VSA, 2 questions, what sort of dmx device support does it have, I am using four MAC 700s, 2 gobo rotators, and 2 IQs. Also, is it possible to send MIDI with VSA? I am more comfortable programming with a console than with the computer software.

QLab can fire cues based on a timecode. The interface for that isn't great, though, you just enter the timecode into a box, no "timeline" UI to be found.
 
where is this timecode box? all i'm seeing is a preload, postload, and cue duration. It was my understanding that a fully automated show could only be done through a system of follows
 

VCTMike

Active Member
What kind of support does it have for moving lights? I've got 4 Mac 700s, 2 IQs, and 2 Gobo Rotators I'm going to use.

What Qlab doesnt have is the timeline, I know you can put in MSC cues, but the timing is relative to the cue before it if I'm not mistaken. With the large volume of cues I am dealing with, programming in Qlab seems like it would be a pain, as I currently have all the cues marked on a timeline.

I don't think there is any support for fixtures. It just sends out DMX commands. So it would probably be a lot of manual programming. It supports a few DMX dongles and some custom stuff they have developed also.
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
This is a situation where loading all your audio onto a device that can play it back while generating SMPTE timecode. This could be done by putting all the audio on a DAT tape and then connect a SMPTE link between the DAT and your lighting console, slaving the console to the DAT machine. Then you should be able to program your light cues to fire at given times off the SMPTE clock. (this happens to be how we ran lighting for the cast shows when I was working on cruise ships)

SMPTE will give you a timing resolution of 1/30th of a second. As mentioned before, thousandths of a second is superfluous.
 

tyler.martin

Active Member
exactly what I was thinking Derek. The only difference is I would use a Multitrack audio software and use one of the multiouts for SMPTE.

Qlab could do this if you were playing two audio files at the same time.
 

shiben

Well-Known Member
This is a situation where loading all your audio onto a device that can play it back while generating SMPTE timecode. This could be done by putting all the audio on a DAT tape and then connect a SMPTE link between the DAT and your lighting console, slaving the console to the DAT machine. Then you should be able to program your light cues to fire at given times off the SMPTE clock. (this happens to be how we ran lighting for the cast shows when I was working on cruise ships)

SMPTE will give you a timing resolution of 1/30th of a second. As mentioned before, thousandths of a second is superfluous.

Isnt it actually 1/29.9 seconds?

This sounds silly but for a 100 minute show a bunch of fractions of a second can add up... The same people who make Qlab actually also make a program for setting up time code to a pre-recorded track... Or you could do what some placed do for backup, which is have the SM counting and calling gos to the music, and dont have as many cues in the song...
 

cpf

Well-Known Member
Isnt it actually 1/29.9 seconds?

This sounds silly but for a 100 minute show a bunch of fractions of a second can add up...

Totally ignoring drop-frame workarounds, if you just lower the framerate of the timecode (to 25, let's say) you eliminate the issue of drift while maintaining more than acceptable precision (+/-20ms). QLab has a setting for this, which means that most lighting boards (and other QLab equivalents) would also have it. Just make sure whatever's playing back the audio can output the timecode at the same rate.
 

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