Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Questions on Palette and Light Palette operation and features
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AlanMartello
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by AlanMartello » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:34 pm

hollipe wrote:I was working in the car and paper industry where everything had to run very perfect and we had a big time pressure always.
On this engines and computers there were tens of thousands of parameters to adjust and it was always very complicated to handle it.
Therefore I cant really not understand, that you can´t bring up this simple 512DMX standard to a good desk and make it run uncomplicated and easy!!!!!
Peter: you raise a number of valid questions. I will try to provide some insight and not sound too defensive because (frankly) I don't feel defensive about the console software development process.

I've worked on software for many types of systems over the years including building HVAC control, high speed manufacturing inspection (where decisions have to be made in milliseconds) and train locomotive interfaces. In my experience, lighting consoles are by far the most sophisticated systems I have worked on. Why?
  • The systems have "expected" functionality that must be followed ... unfortunately this "expected" functionality varies by geographical market and application. Therefore, the console needs multiple different operational sets to cover all these variants.
  • The expected functionality is complex, in fact so complex that the user (even a sophisticated one) can't tell you how it is "supposed" to work, they can only tell you when it "doesn't work right".
  • The interface users demand (screens, buttons, command line, etc.) are (again) complicated with no clear definition and no standard.
If I had to make one statement why the lighting console is so much more complicated than other systems, I'd have to say that the user interface for a lighting console is far more complicated than any other system I've worked on.

Having specialized in user interface design for over 15 years, I find your statement "Therefore I cant really not understand, that you can´t bring up this simple 512DMX standard to a good desk and make it run uncomplicated and easy!!!!!" all too accurate. However, I don't feel we have failed in our efforts, rather I recognize that the problems we are trying to solve are difficult.

If you think a lighting console is straight-forward to operate, then a cell phone should be trivial. They have been around for 20 years or so, why isn't the software easy to use and totally bug-free? Even more amazing (until the iPhone, in my opinion), why was the software so terrible? Why can't Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson (and others) get it right?

These are complicated systems and the software design and feature set is non-trivial and constantly expanding. That doesn't mean we can't do better, or you shouldn't ask us for more, it just means we can't always deliver everything when we would like.

Regarding your sound desk comparison ... it frustrates those of us in the lighting industry that worldwide, approximately ten times the number of sound consoles are sold a year as lighting consoles. The sound console companies are able to spread their R & D costs over many more consoles than we can in the lighting industry and therefore have many many times the R & D budget as Strand, ETC, MA Lighting, etc.

... Now, a brief comment on the timing of this release ...
Horizon Control has released 10.6.2 to Strand who are working on putting it into production, updating web sites, documentation, etc. I would hope that process would complete this week (but not working for Strand / Philips, I can't say for certain).

Thank you for your input. We strive to provide a quality and feature-rich product to the marketplace and the feedback you and many others provide helps us move toward that goal.
Alan Martello, Ph.D. - System Architect - Horizon Control Inc.

hollipe
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by hollipe » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:21 am

Hi gooze,

friendly or not, that doesnt help me in our problem.

But maybe you can teach me to handle a lookmaster ( or submaster?? )

How to you record them, that with a ML only the intensity is going down and all other atts. are holding their values?? This is very important in the theater.

For your understanding, this problem we have since we got our consol. ( over 1 year now )

Thanks for helping. The other points you said earlier I checked. ( dongle etc... )

Greetings,

Peter

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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by hollipe » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:48 am

Hi John Grimshaw, hi Bobby Harrell and hi Alan Martello!

First of all thanks for helping and calming down.

I dont like to hurt someone or rant anyone herein. For both sides it is not easy, not for the manufactorer, not for the distributor and not for the customer.

But that must not be, and I think this forum is there to finish problems with the desk. I didnt post comments in other forums, just here.

And when I search this forum, I can find many others with problems. Not only me.

But ours is already over one year old. We always talked to our dealer and he reported it to Strand.

Since this didnt show any reaction, I went in this forum to report.

I hope nobody takes anything personal , what I write in my posts.

What we want is a good running ,stabil desk, where everything works as it should.

We have many lighting operators over the year, and some prefer to wok with cues and other to work with submasters or lookmasters, however.

But on the subs we cant hold the values of the atts. With the 500 series no probs.

This is the biggest problem that we have. Or do we understand something wrong??

Just tell us how to handle the subs that the will work as I said.

Ok , so I hope to here from you soon.

Greetings,

Peter

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gooze
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by gooze » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:59 am

Maybe my last post said more about me getting the Palette a couple of years ago, then your situation. My biggest frustration was that the desk didn't work as expected. I had to learn a whole new desk, and I was reluctant to do so, because I was told it was going to be the same as a 500. So I am convinced that training is an overlooked aspect of buying this desk.
There where a lot of good things though that replaced this first frustrations. One of the biggest advantages now turns out to be the fact that it is a 'young' desk and that you have the opportunity to grow with it's feature set.

That being said. A bug is a bug and that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. My experience is that from the moment you make it known (on the forum), it doesn't take more then a couple of months until it is solved in an official release. This could be much earlier, but that's only if you actually want to beta test!
Floriaan Ganzevoort - Lighting designer
THEATERMACHINE design. production. operations.

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TerryHynes
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by TerryHynes » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:59 pm

hollipe wrote:H
How to you record them, that with a ML only the intensity is going down and all other atts. are holding their values?? This is very important in the theater.
Peter
Hi Peter. Have you tried just making the submaster inhibitive? If I understand your question correctly you just want to be able to control the intensity by pulling the submaster handle down. This should accomplish that since it will only inhibit the intensity. Unfortunately you cannot record this inhibited level. Alternatively you could select the fixtures in the Look by entering Look # enter then roll the levels down on the wheel and then record. I hope this helps.
Terry Hynes
Head of Lighting
Centre In The Square
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

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JohnGrimshaw
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by JohnGrimshaw » Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:51 pm

...or [View] [Submaster Bump Button]

That should bring up the properties, and you can tell the sub to snap attributes on leaving zero.
...and for more entertainment industry trivia and useless facts, just ask:
John Grimshaw
Managing Director
Stage Fast Pty Ltd

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PhilFoleen
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by PhilFoleen » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:25 am

TerryHynes wrote:
hollipe wrote:H
How to you record them, that with a ML only the intensity is going down and all other atts. are holding their values?? This is very important in the theater.
Peter
To me it sounds like Peter is trying to have the submaster ONLY control the intensity and leave the other attributes where they are, regardless of the position of the submaster, including a zero level.

John, while your suggestion get's closer, i would imagine from his comments that while running the intensity up and down with the rest of the attributes snapping at zero, gets about 75% there, I think that all of the attributes going to 0% when the submaster goes down is where Peter is running into a functionality hurdle.

This brings up an interesting idea to me: When you select [View][Submaster Button] and you get the 6 drop down menus to select the behavior of the attributes being controlled, what if we put check boxes next to the drop down menu so you can select/unselect the attributes you want controlled by the sub, and then use the drop down menu for those attributes "checked" to select the behavior. That way Peter could "turn off" the attribute controls for everything BUT Intensity by unchecking them, leaving him with a submaster that controlled the intensity level of his movers, but when brought to 0%, the position, color, etc. stay where they were in the cue.

It could be an intensely useful tool for Looks-on-subs.
If you want to paint with light, you're going to need a Palette

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TerryHynes
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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by TerryHynes » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:31 am

Wouldn't recording Intensity only to a submaster accomplish the same thing? I often set up my wash fixtures on several subs for quick access to different colours but I record these subs without intensity then record another sub with intensity only. This allows optimum control ie. you can have full colour saturation with any intensity. You can also preset colours.
Terry Hynes
Head of Lighting
Centre In The Square
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by PhilFoleen » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:56 am

a great point, Terry. I think it's still a good idea to put in the check boxes though, kind of the "three ways to the same result" theory that alot of the other functionality of the console displays. for example, If i set a look and record it to the sub, but then decide that i don't want intensity controlled so i hit [View][Submaster] and the attribute controls are there, but it's a bit clunky to make the user return to the command line and re-record the sub without intensity there. I think it's a work flow issue, would rather be able to both record the submaster the way i want initially on the command line, as we do know, and also be able to intelligently add or subtract controlled attributes while i have that window open anyway.
If you want to paint with light, you're going to need a Palette

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Re: Why is it so hard, to make a good lighting desk???

Post by RobertBell » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:31 pm

The Artisan was good at Filtering on Playback. I like the idea.
This may be a REC LIVE vs. REC DELTA issue (lots of stuff getting sucked in and NOT even filtered out). Ghad I hate Rec Live. Espcially for Looks/Sub/Palettes :evil:
Robert Bell - Product Manager - Horizon Control Inc.

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