In this week’s episode, we dive into the Mailbag for the Free Q & A Tuesday! This is where I take questions from listeners and walk them through my through my thought process.
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John (1:48) I’m in a band and am trying to upgrade from auto mode. I have 5 Chauvet color strips 3 led pars, 2 UV Flat panels. You suggested ENTTEC DMXIS as the next step. OK, so I haven’t taken your advice, yet. What I did do was after talking with our sound guy, he uses ShowXpress, I downloaded the Chauvet ShowXpress since it was free to play with. Here’s where my questions come up.
1. The fixtures that are cheap Chinese stuff. Stage Ape Pars cans (3) and Flat panel UV (2) are not on the list to add to the page. How do you handle addressing lights that are not listed? I figure I might have the same issue with DMXIS.
2. After adding the color strip Mimi’s (3) color strip mini FX (2) to the show I couldn’t get the 3D view to open. An icon would show up in the bottom bar but wouldn’t open.
When working with ShowXpress it tends to be glitchy which is why I do recommend DMXIS. For the issues with Chauvet, I am not sure why the 3D View won’t open so you may want to contact them directly. If you’re working with cheaply made fixtures they may not work with ShowXpress. ShowXpress mostly works well with Chauvet brand fixtures a few other models.
You have to get a Fixture Light Library Request to try to add to the Library. Unfortunately, I do not know how long it will take for them to respond. With DMXIS you can create your own fixtures at fixtures.dmxis.com and add the fixtures there to your DMXIS.
Asaf (6:20) I work with M-Touch. What are the 10 sliders are the most important to record on the M-Touch sliders?
It’s hard to provide a basic description on what you should record for your 10 Faders. So the question you need to ask when you’re getting ready to set up is “Do you really need a Fader Control for this option?”
Colors may be better for the button control. But Intensity controls would be more ideal for your Faders. I would suggest checking out Learn Stage Lighting Labs to help you get started with setting up.
Yuri (10:10) I have a small gear rental company (some light, sound equipment, and truss)
We set up our light equipment in different venues, most of it is 6 clones of Robe Pointe, 8 RGBW led pars (18×15 watt) and 2 led COB Blinders. The software are we using is Sunlite suite 2 with Akai MPC 20 controller. So my question is should I move to onyx software using the same Akai controller and Artnet box, or stay on my current setup? What benefit can I get if I move to ONYX solution? Can you also provide some tricks (alternative gear placing)?
ONYX is a great platform but you need to find the software that is right for you. ONYX is a more complex system than Sunlite but if you’re happy with it and it works, there’s no need to change the software.
If you’re ready to move up to a professional level then ONYX is a great step up. If you have Faders or Knobs you do want to download a program called Show Cockpit for variable control.
Carl (15:00) One thing I’ve been trying to find out is how to use the speed function of moving heads. I really can’t figure out what it is good for.
On moving heads you sometimes have a channel that is dedicated to the speed. This is only really useful if you happen to be using really basic fader control. If that’s what you’re working with you would have to set the speed.
If you’re working with a system that is that old you may want to consider purchasing a newer console. Mostly I will recommend investing in a newer console instead of lights because having control of your lights is everything.
Martin (17:34) How do you automate moving heads on a normal DMX controller when you are a soloist?
For your set up you need ENTTEC DMXIS. I know I mention this one a lot but for people who are getting started. One of my favorites is being able to control your lights from on stage and with a foot pedal.
Be sure to check out my ENTTEC DMXIS Training videos for more information.
Show Sponsorship (19:32)
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William (23:33) What are the best lights use when doing theatre/pantomime lighting?
At the end of the day, Light is Light. It really depends on how you use the lights and using them to the best of their ability. If you’re starting from scratch and working with a budget I would recommend checking with some experts to find out the best options for you.
Dave (27:17) Do you have any recommendations for a light controller using an iPad?
I’ve read about and watched several overviews on the Luminair 3 and several other software packages. However, I have DMXIS and a Chauvet wireless hub as well an Obey 40 wireless controller but it seems all the iPad software packages want something like the ENTTEC ODE or other hardware that uses ethernet conversion as the hardware to connect to the universe. Is there anything that will work with what I have?
The short answer to this is No because how do you get the DMX to connect because there are no Ports. Unfortunately, we are in a small industry and it’s just not where we are at the moment.
You really need to go with a Network-based DMX with any iPad Lighting Software. The ENTTEC ODE is a great system. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative I would also recommend the Chauvet DMX-AN and you can read my review of it here Review: Chauvet DMX-AN.
Mike (30:37) You’ve mentioned in previous episodes the limitations of wireless DMX, and how that can limit using a tablet or smartphone without having a lighting console and the tablet or smartphone. Are there options that allow you to use wired DMX with a tablet or smartphone?
There is only one company that is able to do this with Android and other specifications. You can read more about it here: https://www.lightriderapp.com/
I do have another option that would be LightShark LS Core that I have more training inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs. With iOS they have not reached that level yet.
The City Theatrical DMXCat is a product that I reviewed and a great tool for Android users.
Mike (34:30) I’m interested in using DMX to control not only lights but also some movement of the lights themselves – raising and lowering a light. Is there a DMX-controllable motor or other systems that you know of? Specifically, I’d like to map it to a single fader on my console, raising the motor when the fader is up, and lowering it when the fader is down. The lights are small – less than a pound each – and so I don’t need a full chain hoist or anything huge. Is this possible? If so, do you have an approach or brand you recommend?
I actually have seen this before and you can check out the videos on YouTube Red Hot Chili Peppers Kinetic Lighting. With these lights, you can control the movement via DMX.
I do want to share something very important about this. Anytime that you are moving something physical with DMX like a wench or a hoist you need to have a dedicated person that is always watching this when it moves. That person also needs to be able to stop it, especially when it’s moving above the audience. Safety is a number one priority.
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Be sure to tune in Next Week to dive into Computers. I want to talk about using computers in Lighting and at some point you will have to use a PC. Don’t miss the episode next week!