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Network Script Scrolling Software

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by willbob8, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. willbob8

    willbob8 Member

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    I was wondering whether script scrolling software over networked computers was a thing??
    I was thinking something along the lines of having a bunch of networked computers at various position (DSM, Sound, LX etc) and the DSM would scroll through the script which would automatically scroll on the other computers.
    An extra feature which would be very useful, is if the DSM was able to mark up the cues of various departments and then they were in groups so only that department would see them on the scripts as they scroll.
    As an upcoming sound engineer at university, I often lose my place in a script, or sometimes actors would jump around and I don't know where they've gone; so this software would ensure the entire technical team was on the same page, literally!
    This sort of thing must exist but I just can't find it anywhere!
    If I knew what I was doing, I would make it because it really shouldn't be particularly complicated.
     
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    It would be easy to do with a webcam pointed at the SM's script or a desktop sharing app like WebEx or Teamviewer. I'm not sure how useful it would be in practice though. Most shows rely on the SM for coordinating cues. What happens when the system dies?
     
  3. willbob8

    willbob8 Member

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    Sound effects run on QLab on OSX
    Almost all modern lighting desks run on Windows or alike
    Even some mixing consoles run on Windows

    We rely on technology as it is, I would say have a backup hard copy but would make everyone's life much easier

    It could also be used to ensure everyone's scripts are up to date when changes are made
     
  4. Mike R

    Mike R Member

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    I think it is an interesting idea, especially if you think of it in layers. If each person can create their own layers for each page, and THEIR notes show up on each page, that would be very helpful. The SM could keep you on track.
    That being said, it would lock you and the SM into not being able to look at other pages of the script.

    As a sound engineer, especially in college, actors should not be missing lines or moving around in the script. If they do, the SM will be as lost as you are! Their dropping lines or scooping around makes it impossible to mix Line-by-Line.
     
  5. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    The publishers would have to revise their copyright rules to permit reproduction in other forms, particularly for a commercial product.
     
    Mike R likes this.
  6. teqniqal

    teqniqal Active Member

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    Aside from the copyright issue, which could probably be worked-out, just placing all the information in columns of a spreadsheet will work well - many shows are already run this way. You have columns for Script, LX, SFX, Fly, Actors, Stage Crew, etc.

    To distribute it so everyone sees what the SM / ASM / DSM is doing could be as easy as a multi-participant Zoom.us or Skype session where everyone was seeing the screen of the person in control. This allows the observers to be device agnostic (PC, MAC, iPhone, Android, Windows phone).

    Alternatively, a video output of the SM / ASM / DSM's screen could be converted for streaming over the venue network and everyone would just watch it on a video window of their local computer (may be partially device agnostic).

    Alternatively, a video output of the SM / ASM / DSM's screen could be converted to HDBaseT and distributed via a dedicated HDBaseT video network. Requires a free HDMI input on each local monitor, and works best if all monitors are using the same exact resolution mode (like 1080P). Some HDBaseT-to-HDMI receiver / converters have scaling built-in which would allow a variety of monitor resolutions to be used).

    Alternatively, a video output of the SM / ASM / DSM's screen could be converted to HDBaseT-over-IP and distributed over the venue's network (or a dedicated network). Some HDBaseT-over-IP-to-HDMI receiver / converters have scaling built-in which would allow a variety of monitor resolutions to be used).

    It would be helpful to let everyone look ahead a few cues / lines so they can see the upcoming events. MS Excel tends to work the active line down to the bottom of the window and the stuff that already happened (past cues) would be visible above it, so keeping the next few upcoming lines in view may require some macro programming for the 'cue advance' function.
     
  7. willbob8

    willbob8 Member

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    Maybe you could add a very simple box which says number of pages until next cue, and what that cue is
    Or have the ability for any 'slave' to manually scroll as well but when you do it gives you a button to jump back to the 'master position'?
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  8. Morte615

    Morte615 Active Member

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    It's not a script (though if you wanted to take the time you could input a script) but Show Pro is a very nice cue sheet software. It does everything you were looking at and then some. It's IPad based though you can use it on a Mac also (no PC :( )
    http://www.showprosoftware.com/
     
  9. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    I think the answer here is to just make sure you and the SM are communicating off-line and everyone's book is updated

    Getting this down comes with practice -- if you're losing your place in the script while mixing the usual cause of this is not looking at the script. If you're on a digital desk you should be programming the desk for touch and mixing by touch, keeping your face in the script and ears with the show. If you're missing your place because you're trying to spot a visual cue, get that cue on a cue light and have the SM call it to you. I've mixed certain shows a hundred times, and still keep my face in the script to keep from getting lost, but I know where every DCA is under my fingers just by sheer repetition and practice. This also means you need proper gain structure to make sure you're always throwing the fader to the same level. Just keep practicing and knowing VCA 3 from 4 through touch will come naturally.

    If you're lost because the actors are ad-libbing, then the SM is certainly lost as well, no amount of networked script will help that, and in-fact if you've found your way before the SM they could still be mucking with the script and force everyone off even more.

    Additionally, I often times find myself a page or two ahead of the action while mixing -- if I'm in a monologue or dialogue that I've memorized, I'll flip ahead to the next section that has a ton of action just to get the moves in my head ahead of time, I remember the last line that triggers the next bit of action, and as soon as I hit that I'm pre-set to the page that would otherwise be too busy to flip during. I don't want anyone else potentially keeping me back from getting what I need out of the script.

    Finally, I often times make every new person on a mix re-write out the script notation. I've worked on shows that are on their 10th mixer (long-running). Every mixer has their own mix-script next to the console, because we all write down the same data in different ways. There is no single way to notate a script, and we all have our own way of doing things.

    A single master-script may sound ideal, but it could end up hindering the show by not providing data in a place someone wants it. I am very particular about how my mix script is set up, but I came to that through years of trial and error. If there is a certain cue or vocal pickup I miss a few times, chances are I'm going to call that out in the script in a very particular way that a master script controlled by the SM wouldn't provide me -- and I certainly can't rip a few pages out that have a page flip in an unhelpful place and re-write them to make it more manageable for me without ruining everyone else formatting.

    Long story short, we all want different things out of our scripts, there is no one-size-fits-all way to make it work, but constant communication can keep everyone on the same page and make a show run smoothly.
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I can't really picture who this system would benefit?

    Aside from sound, what operators are actually following a script? If the SM is calling cues, the last thing I want is one of my ops with their head in the script, it is just a recipe for missed cues or misplaced cues.

    In the tech process, most designers are never actually working on the same page as the SM, they are either working ahead or trying to catch up. So, a combined script view would likely be more infuriating than anything else.

    ASMs or other on-book deck hands probably can't be tied to a screen, not to mention that you really don't want more screens than needed back stage due to light leaks and such.

    Also, it is typically a lot faster to write a note in a script with a scribble stick than to click/tap/type.
     
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  11. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    I agree with icewolf and others.... I don't really see this as a benefit.

    Most techs do NOT follow in a script as-is. The STAGE MANAGER is responsible for calling most cues. I don't want techs doing things when they THINK they should happen based on their script, the SM knows the show FAR better and is told EXACTLY what the idea is with the cue.

    Yes when mixing a musical I follow in a script most of the time (really depends), however my notation does NOT fit on the script page. I photocopy or print a script so the script page is on the left and the blank reverse side of the next is on the right and this is where much of my information is recorded in "script" sections, and I use the score for sections where I'd prefer to follow the score.
    Most everyone else (save the SM and MD are NOT going to want to look at the score in these situations).

    I know that Jeans N Classics uses some sort of iPad app to follow though score when they preform, not sure if it is synced or not (never bothered to ask; I know their sound people well).
     

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