Programing Color Scrollers

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
For my upcoming musical I am planing on getting 3 or 4 or 6 color scrollers. My question was the best way to program them. I know they take up 1 channel each (single scrollers) and it will index the color, so if I have 10 colors, the first will be at 10, second would be 20, and so on.

My question is, on an ETC Express 125, what would be the best way of doing this? Will the board be smart enough to look and see that in 3 cue's it needs to be a different color, or will I have to program a color change while the instrument is off? I assume the second.

Should I attempt to make the board recognize the scroller as a Intel, or would it be easier to just to do it as "channel 56 at 10 for red".

I am planing on taking the DMX signal out of my second DMX port (513-1024) so is there a way of not needing to add 1024 dimmers and soft patch them to no channel?

Thanks guys!
 

asb002

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Rochester, NY USA
I used some Forerunner color scrollers for my last musical. I also used an ETC Express board, albiet a 48/96 one. You would want to "pre-scroll" while the fixture is off, in order to avoid nasty scrolling effects while scene transitioning. I found it easier to simply address the scollers as simple dimmers, rather than setting them up as a intelligent light. I simply bound the on stage scrollers to one channel, and the cover scrollers to another channel, so I could control the colors easily.
 

agave

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Location
Beloit, WI
color scrollers

My advice on scrollers is this: Don't try to set them up as intelligent lights, it's gonna just be a hassle. Address them to DMX addresses that aren't used by any of your dimmers. You'll have to get them set to position in cues prior to the one where the instruments come on. I like to get my levels all set first and then use the track sheet to adjust the scrollers so they're not scrolling while lit. It can be a little tedious the first few times, but you'll get the hang of it. What it will mean is a bunch of extra cues that are set up with follow times.

Example: Cue 10 blacks out, cue 10.1 follows (and repositions the scrollers), then cue 11 is called to bring up the light (with its new color).

On the other hand, if you're transitioning to the next color in your string and it's a slow fade time you can achieve some interesting looks sometimes too by scrolling while the lamp is lit.

A final thought: I love to set up my scroller control on a submaster so I can easily run the levels up and down to find my desired position. Sometimes the midway (split) position is nice. Also, my experience of scrollers tells me that unless you get them calibrated just right, don't count on the indexing being right at 10,20,30 etc. More likely it'll be like 11, 21, 32, 42, 53, etc. Unless you've got really precise color strings (we made our own and there's a little discrepancy).

What kind of scrollers are you getting? I really like the coloramII because it can take a 32 color gel string and is self calibrating.

Geoff...
 

DJErik07

Active Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2004
Location
MA/ NC
I like the Wybon CXI scollers. They have 2 gel strings that you can use for almost infinate color changes. I love them, but for a high school on a budget they do not work out well.
 

propmonkey

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Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Location
Milwaukee, WI
i know on a strand you can set it to "auto move while dark" but i think thats if there are patched as intels. id assume etc would have something like that.
 

wolf825

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2003
Location
Eastcoast USA
zac850 said:
For my upcoming musical I am planing on getting 3 or 4 or 6 color scrollers. My question was the best way to program them. I know they take up 1 channel each (single scrollers) and it will index the color, so if I have 10 colors, the first will be at 10, second would be 20, and so on.

My question is, on an ETC Express 125, what would be the best way of doing this? Will the board be smart enough to look and see that in 3 cue's it needs to be a different color, or will I have to program a color change while the instrument is off? I assume the second.

Should I attempt to make the board recognize the scroller as a Intel, or would it be easier to just to do it as "channel 56 at 10 for red".

I am planing on taking the DMX signal out of my second DMX port (513-1024) so is there a way of not needing to add 1024 dimmers and soft patch them to no channel?

Thanks guys!

IMO what agave said is best--don't treat them like an intel...its overcomplicating a simple situation. When using a scroller its pretty straightforward..and the programming and cue advice so far given you is good. Program and then track your scroller change into the previous cue while dark. But scrollers are fun and simple to use...the light fixture itself is patched as normal or into one channel--the dimmer to raise and lower the intensity...and another channel is the scroller control. Don't count on it being 10%, 20% 30% etc for strings either--I have had 10 color strings that still run each color at anywhere from 7 or 8%...so it will vary on the length of the string and the length of the color and calibration of the scroller. Running your scrollers out of the second universe is usually not a problem provided you have the second universe card in your console (if there is a DMX pluig there you have the card)--but then again neither is using the loop thru on most dimmer racks. Scrollers are not usually like intels..but occasionally there are some interference probs if you do loop thru the dimmer rack and that is where a second universe OR a DMX opti-iso splitter comes in to play.

Another tip---aside from programming your scroller coltrol into a submaster, is to use the GROUP function on your ETC.. It allows you to group all your scrollers into one control command so you can scroll the entire lot at once by simply grabbing the "group". You can in fact group whatever you want into a group too--entire washes or positions etc. Its just like patching all your scrollers into one channel to operate them..but if you want to patch each scroller for individual control, then you can later use the GROUP record function to grab all those channels and run them together... GROUP is a helpful function for grouping all your down lights or all your lights of a single color or wash.. Its just a shortcut..some folks like the group fuinction and others hardly touch it..but IMO to be a good and FAST programmer you should know all the cool shortcuts and functions of your console..makes programming a lot faster.

-w
 

soundman1024

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Denver
Idea..put the colors in your cues then put the bulbs on sub faders so the cue puts it on the right color then you bring the brightness up. It would work if you can somehow make the scroller channel snap rather than fade with the cue fade time. Also you could have cue 1 scroller in place, then 1.1 is lights up, 2 is scroller in place for second cue, then 2.2 is lights up etc. Just some thoughts without reading the whole thread.
 

LDSFX

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Fullerton, CA
Well if you happen to upgrade to Emphasis, its new version of 10.8 has MBB (Move Before Bright) built in, along with Dynamic Effects (pre-programmed sub-routines).
 

zac850

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Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Hum, OK, well, I'll ask the school if they'll shell out the 10 grand for Emphasis, but a gut feeling says they will say no :(

I guess I'll just program the scrollers and then using track make the scrollers move while there dark. That is the main idea, right?

I don't want to use subs at all for this show if I can help it, so I want all the moves to be built into the cue's.
 

zac850

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2003
Location
New York
Well, oh shucks, we're not going to be able to get color scrollers. However, we were offered these instead. So, I guess I will be forced to use CMY mixing.

My question is, on the Express 125, should I tell the board that these are intels, or should I just use a basic channel/dimmer output to control them?

I have used these once before at a gala my school had, and ran them off a Fatfrog board. When I did that I ran the show off subs I created, and the output was just as a basic dimmer output.

What would be easiest on the Express?
 

wolf825

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Apr 7, 2003
Location
Eastcoast USA
zac850 said:
Well, oh shucks, we're not going to be able to get color scrollers. However, we were offered these instead. So, I guess I will be forced to use CMY mixing.

My question is, on the Express 125, should I tell the board that these are intels, or should I just use a basic channel/dimmer output to control them?

I have used these once before at a gala my school had, and ran them off a Fatfrog board. When I did that I ran the show off subs I created, and the output was just as a basic dimmer output.

What would be easiest on the Express?

The Express has a moving light patch feature--just use that for the ColorCommands-its easiest. However the problem you may run into is if there is a "profile" already in your console for the HES Color Commands. (These Color Commands IMO are just "smart scrollers"...a simple color changer similar to a VL5..but they are actually better because you will get more color choices from a CMY mixing then you would a scroller--so don't sound so glum about using a CMY mixer over a scroller ;) ) The Color Command fixtures may not have been around when your console had its last upgrade or software installation--so it may not have a profile for them. ETC consoles use "profiles" for various movers--most profiles are updates you can download in software upgrades from ETC specifically for your console(check their website). The Express I believe uses Expression 3 software--so the profile may already exist--or youmay need to update the software or the moving light profiles.

http://www.etcconnect.com/service/service_xprn_pers.asp

Now if there is no existing profile for the Color Command for your console or on the ETC website that you can upload to your console--you will have to write your own profile to use them with your ETC. It sounds difficult...however its mostly a BASIC programming language... I imagine for a Color Command--which is dimmer, Cyan,Magenta,Yellow, and BEAM shaper for parameters, that it wouldn't be difrficult or more then 60-100 or so lines of command codes. There are instructions in your ETC manual on how to write your own profiles and load them too...it sounds more difficult then it is.. You can write it in Notepad on any PC and then load it into your console...

Here's a tip worth trying---tho which I do not know if it will work or not--if you cannot find a Profile for the HES Color Commands, check your Profile list for a fixture called an Iridium. It actually may work in some degree in place for a Color Command profile. Its a fixture made by ETC long ago and I think they still include it out of spite with all their profiles. :) Its a CMY color mixer par that is almost the exact same thing as the Color Commands are today. A stationary CMY fixture whichuses radial color changing. They never got popular or had much of a lifespan in the market--they were almost an exact copy of the VL5 Vari-Lite fixture only it did not move--just changed color the exact same way the VL5 did..and since the design was a copyright infringement against VL and they sued ETC to quit making them...

At the very least--you may be able to take the existing profiles for the Iridium or a similar CMY fixture that is like a Color Command, and just modify the profile as you need, so you do not have to write all the code from scratch.. All that info--just in case you do not find a Color Command profile for your console.... ;)

Good luck...and post back if you have problems and we'll see what we can do to help further....

-w
 

squigish

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
If you have to end up making your own profile, don't bother with writing the actual code, use ETC's expression personality editor, which you can download from their website. It's a graphics based interface, and quite easy to use.
 

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Nov 24, 2005
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you have an expression.... any show that was written on an express will work on an expression 3 and vice versa as long as they both have the same software version... download the personaltity, slap it on a disk, and throw it in your board... do an auto setup on your encoders and you should be set... i would advice making a sub page of the 3 chanels that control the CMY for programing ease.... programing movers on an express sucks but is totally do-able
 

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