There’s very little info around about the Eurolite Bigfoot DMX controller, so I thought I’d post a few first impressions as an owner!
I wanted a simple DMX set up I could use in bars etc, so that I didn’t have to lug a laptop and DMXIS around with me (much as I love that programme). I decided on the Eurolite Bigfoot, which is a DMX controller that you can operate with your feet.
I haven’t gigged with it yet, but here are my first impressions…
The thing’s built like a tank! It’s in a solid metal casing with sturdy foot switches and knobs. The small fixture, chase and programming buttons are plastic, but good enough. I kind of wish they were water proof, given the presence of beer on our stage.
There are two screens: a blue upper and an orange lower. These work together as you go through the systems settings and patching. It’s highly intuitive and works well. In playback mode, the orange screen clearly displays your next scene selection.
There’s no battery back up, which I would have liked, especially as the one thing that is a bit weedy is the power supply. This is definitely not in
You can patch up to 12 fixtures with up to 16 channels each. The unit has 16 control knobs so you patch your individual fixture control channels to these, to give you universal controls for RGB, strobe etc.
Knobs 2,3 4 are labelled for RGB, while 15,16 are labelled for pan / tilt. This is because, by patching your control channels this way, you can access preprogrammed effects on board for colour and movement. TBH, the colour effects are disappointing.
I have a couple of Chauvet 4bars, which have separate RGB controls for each of its 4 lights. Given that I was unimpressed by the onboard I effects, I simply patched the 15 DMX channels to the knobs anyway I liked. There is a workaround – see the Eurolite You Tube tutorial – but I couldn’t get it to work.
Setting the start addresses for each fixture was simple enough, but there seems to be a problem around repatching start addresses. You can’t delete a fixture as such and it doesn’t seem to let go if previously used DMX channels.
This is really simple and especially if you harmonise your fixture control channels to the control knobs as above. You simply grab one or more fixtures in programme mode, set up your scene and save it to one of the 15 memories, by pushing the relevant button.
Under each memory you can save a number of scenes if you wish and these then play back as chases. It’s possible to set fade times for the chase, but I’m not convinced these are saved in memory. It’s clunky.
When you set up scenes the upper screen displays the control knob you’re using, along with the control value, which makes it easy to mix the colours you want. It’s also possible to copy and paste scenes, but editing scenes is fiddly. You have to insert a new scene, set that up with changes, and then delete the old scene. You can’t overwrite.
One nice touch is you can save / load 15 shows via a USB drive. Each show includes all your fixture patches and scenes.
Not gigged with the machine yet, but have been practising at home.
You select your scene / chase using up and down footswitches and then press the ‘go’ footswitch when you want to execute.
There are also: a fast / slow switch. Press this to speed up or slow down your chases; A normal switch – to cancel fast/slow. A blackout switch, which you can configure to kill some or all of your lights. A music switch – which with the latest firmware allows you either to activate sound to light or a smoke machine.
Lastly, there is a tap tempo footswitch, with which you can manually sync your lights with the music if running chases. If you leave a verse worth of time between tap one and tap two, the scene will hold for the whole length of the verse before changing to the next, but you have to set it up during verse one and it won’t save to memory as far as I can see.
There are also pedals to control master brightness and fade. They’re sturdy and they work, although the fade time pedal seems a bit random.
I’ve come from DMXIS, so it’s necessary to resist unfair comparisons, but there are some shortcomings to know about…
The instructions: these are a bit hazy, as is the one online tutorial I’ve found. Eurolite doesn’t seem to have any user forums either. I did mail their tech support people and got some short answers back, but it’s not great.
No banks and scenes mode: unlike DMXIS, you can’t select a bank and then step through the scenes manually via a footswitch. I double checked this with Eurolite tech support, who said the pedal couldn’t do it ‘at present’, so I live in hope.
I’ve found a workaround though. By plugging a dummy phono plug into the external mic socket you disable the onboard mic. If you then activate the ‘music’ sound to light mode, the chase will hold, as the unit listens for the next beat / prompt. You can then advance scene by scene by double clicking the music footswitch.
Fades are clunky and you can’t fade from one memory / chase to the next; only between scenes in the same chase. This is no different to other cheap controllers, but it does mean you need to work around it creatively.
It also seems impossible to save chase tempos for your chases in memory. You have to control everything in play mode, so it might be a bit brain melting the first time I try it with a bass guitar around my neck.
After a couple of weeks with it, I think the Bigfoot’s a great piece of kit for the price of £159. Fairly sure I can work around the shortcomings for small bar shows and I’ll stick with DMXIS for the more ambitious things we do. Beyond that a professional lighting engineer can light us!
I suspect these units would be great for DJ use, where you want the lights to pulse quite quickly. We’ll just have to see what I can get out of it for the band. We play psychedelic rock, which makes it easier.
David tells me these aren’t widely available in the USA, but I believe there may be one distributor now, according to a forum I came across. We’ll update this post if we find more information 🙂