Control/Dimming Truly "additive" subs/faders on an ETC Ion


New Member
Oct 8, 2017
Cambridge, MA
I want to use an ion to control a bunch of moving lights (among other things) for a dance show, and I have 80% of an idea of how I want to do it, but there are a few missing pieces.

I'd like to have one fader control the horizontal position of the focus of all the lights on the stage, and one fader control the vertical position. If I could specify 4 corners and fade evenly between them, this would be easy, but the best I can do right now is have "home" be DSL, and a fader for SR/SL (really for a DSR focus pallate / sub) and another fader for US/DS (really USL / home), but they wouldn't add in the way I want unless the lights were all in FoH DSL positions. Is there a way to make a sub that is "additive" in the way that I want, i.e. if both subs are at 50% then their values are averaged, but if both are at 100% their values are added together?

Alternately, what are some suggestions for controlling moving lights live on Ion? I imagine I could set "home" to be MSC and have a fader for each corner of the stage, which is 8 faders devoted to this. Or I could always have 9 different focus pallates for DSR, DSL, DSC, MSR, MSC, etc., but that would take up more space on my magic sheet, be less precise, and be (IMO) less elegant.


Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2013
Magic sheets and direct selects would be a whole lot easier and faster. Break your stage into a grid and make some intuitive numbering scheme and make a focus palette. Your 3x3 matrix is a start but if your stage is not square a 4x3 or even 5x3 matrix is more accurate. Make a color palette of those colors you use a lot, i like to number to gel numbers, R38 at 38, Lee 181 at 181 for example, since they are easy to remember and Roscoe and Lee don't overlap that much. Same thing with gobos, effects and anything else you use all the time. Make a icon for each mover, make groups as you need them and make a whole bunch of buttons for all your group and palettes.

In my spaces all the boards are run mostly off of magic sheets. They run five pages for the concert hall to 15 for my main space. Once you use a well prepped and planned magic sheet system you will find your self using faders less and less. To speak to the fader, the one thing for concerts I like to do is have an inhibitive sub on the tilt so I can slam all the movers into the house for that one song that needs it.


CB Mods
Jan 11, 2007
Lititz, PA
First of all, what you want is not really additive at all. Seems more like dynamic averaging, which, in short, you can't do. There are a handful of reasons why what you want doesn't really exist. First of all, for almost any point on stage that you can focus a moving head, there are two ways to get there (as most units have greater than 360 degrees of pan). As such, you have to be quite meticulous when programming your focus points so that you don't end up having to flip a fixture to make a move. If you were trying to average positions and you had a flipped fixture, you math would be all kinds of messed up.

That said, if you are very meticulous in setting up the physical orientation of your fixtures, the patch, and your focus points, you can easily send all your fixtures to a focus point and use the encoders to move them from that point in a group. As long as you don't try to make a move that causes a flip, they should generally all move together. You can even assign this motion to a trackball if you wanted.
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