Fixture Profile

Questions on Palette and Light Palette operation and features
GeoffGooch
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by GeoffGooch » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:23 pm

Brian
I am not trying to pick a fight, but this statement is just wrong.

BEGIN QUOTE
Sorry Straker.
Running Media servers on ANY console sucks.
I am a GrandMA user, And a Hog 3 User, and an ETC user,..............
At mouse world, we use a wide variety of desks.

Media servers suck on ANY lighting desk.
Thumbnails are pointless decorations,
and don't solve any problems.
Leave the video programming to the videoits on a switcher that is designed to handle media,
and just send the server cues.

END QUOTE

We haven't invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in media servers and related equipment just to be told to give it to the video guys. Yes media servers have a ways to go on many consoles that doesn't mean it can't get better and we should encourage the manufacturers to make it better. The exact same argument could have been made for moving lights. In the early days many people tried running them on very simple consoles and it was hard and it sucked. Should we have stopped using that tool as well? I'm sorry but I bought this console and expect that someone with the signature of Systems Specialist, Horizon Controls should react a little better to user requests. Suggesting that we stop using the tools available to us is ridiculous. Thanks, my rant is now over.

Geoff Gooch

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BrianEvans
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by BrianEvans » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:15 pm

My comment was in response to a competitor console doing things in a better way.
From experience, this is just not the case.
Controlling media servers with ANY lighting consoles just is not any easy task,
because media servers aren't what lighting controllers are designed around.

Can we make things better? Of course we can.
I hope it happens sooner or later,
but unfortunately I think it is pretty low on the priority list at this time.

When someone compares us to a product as inferior,
as if the other product handles things SOOO much better,
sorry, since I have a lot of experience with products other than ours, I am going to set down the facts.

I am a lighting programmer, and a master electrician.
Not a salesman.
Brian Evans - System Specialist - Horizon Control Inc.

Straker
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by Straker » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:31 pm

BrianEvans wrote: When someone compares us to a product as inferior,
as if the other product handles things SOOO much better,
sorry, since I have a lot of experience with products other than ours, I am going to set down the facts.
I'm afraid that I'm going to have to disagree.

Certainly Compulite and Chamsys handle media in a much better way, at least for me.

I do not intend this as a criticism of the Palette. I certainly prefer Palette for straight theatre work but if you were going to exclusively buy a lighting desk for media server use (people do use them that way at least in this part of the world) would you honestly recommend a Palette?

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AlanMartello
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by AlanMartello » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:39 pm

Lighting consoles are primarily designed to control lights. Even in the arena of lighting control, there are a number of sub-categories.

1) lighting control for a DJ in a club (sometimes referred to as "flash and trash")
2) theatrical control (tends to historically be heavy on dimmers)
3) rock & roll (tends to historically be heavy on moving lights)

The current Strand consoles were designed to be a theatrical console with strong moving light features (abstract control).

Moving forward, there are 2 significant areas that I believe will be improved.

a) control of arrays of 2D LED's (on a wall, cyc, etc.)
b) control of media servers

The first item is "easy" since they are devices directly controlled by the console. The second item is harder because media servers are designed as controllers in their own rite and adding external control (for example via DMX channels) was truly an afterthought. Also, DMX, by design, is one direction communication and when a console is talking to a sophisticated controller (like a media server), bi-directional communication is very desirable (to show status information, thumbnails of the next video clip or image, etc.).

Horizon Control (along with other console manufacturers like ETC) is involved in creating and setting worldwide standards for lighting control (such as DMX, RDM and ACN). Unfortunately, the media server companies have, to date, not standardized on a common protocol or interface mechanism. This is unfortunate and limits console manufacturer's ability to interface with media servers in a consistent generic way.

It is true that some consoles may interface with some media servers in a more optimal fashion (I'd hope the Hog 3 and Axon Media Server both from High End would interface seamlessly). However, a generic, full-functioned media server interface to a variety of media servers requires support from the media server manufacturers which to date is lacking.

If anyone has any pull with media server companies, they are encouraged to put them in touch with Mike Lay or Tracy Underhill, the co-chairs of the ESTA Control Protocols Working Group (the people who brought us DMX, RDM, ACN, etc.). Console manufacturers are eager to work with media server companies to develop an industry standard, but to date, they have decided not to come to the table.
Alan Martello, Ph.D. - System Architect - Horizon Control Inc.

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BrianEvans
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by BrianEvans » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:11 pm

Straker wrote:Certainly Compulite and Chamsys handle media in a much better way, at least for me.

I do not intend this as a criticism of the Palette. I certainly prefer Palette for straight theatre work but if you were going to exclusively buy a lighting desk for media server use (people do use them that way at least in this part of the world) would you honestly recommend a Palette?
If you are sitting in front of a LightPaletteVL, there is no difference in the tools you are given to run the media server,
except for maybe pretty pictures of the media on 1 or 2 channels of the 170 I am dealing with. ;)
Brian Evans - System Specialist - Horizon Control Inc.

Straker
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by Straker » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:11 pm

BrianEvans wrote: If you are sitting in front of a LightPaletteVL, there is no difference in the tools you are given to run the media server,
except for maybe pretty pictures of the media on 1 or 2 channels of the 170 I am dealing with. ;)
Having been sitting in front of a Light Palette VL within the last 10 minutes...

Is having all 140 + Visual effects and 100 + colour effects in Catalyst correctly labelled (not just 0-255 as a value) with functions along with the control parameters (ie the 8 other dmx attributes that make the effects do things) for them dynamically changing name depending on the effect selected is a minor thing?

Or the ability to view on the console the output from each mix layer without extra hardware? (Ie dynamically changing videos of the output not just thumbnails.)

The VL might be able to control a server just as easily but some things make life much easier when programming media content. I don't think the Palette should necessarily even have them to be honest even those desks that do only support three makes of server with different protocols for each.

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BrianEvans
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by BrianEvans » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:01 pm

If I get my wish on changes to the library structure,
labeling attributes will be possible.
Essentually what it boils down to is the ability to write profiles (same as dimmer profiles),
within the library, and assign them to attributes.
(A hybrid of the ACM, and our old Horizon libraries.)
Timeframe is unclear, will media server support go beyond that?
It doesn't look that way.
Last time I heard, PRG was going after anyone using thumbnails anyway.
Some obscure patent they own.
Brian Evans - System Specialist - Horizon Control Inc.

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JohnGrimshaw
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by JohnGrimshaw » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:36 pm

Wonder what the patent is.

Surley if the software "allowed" for users to put their own pictures in, then it would be up to the user exactly what is displayed - bypassing any copyright on designs and images.
...and for more entertainment industry trivia and useless facts, just ask:
John Grimshaw
Managing Director
Stage Fast Pty Ltd

AmP
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by AmP » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:05 pm

Well, I certainly didn't ask the question about the media server thinking that it would turn into this kind of discussion......but I'd love to add my thoughts here.

I agree, that maybe it isn't the "ideal" console if I was looking to buy a desk to run a media server. For us though, it is ideal. On our palette we run a mostly conventional rig, with a few VLs, and the media server. Out of the 10 or so boards we have available, the Palette should be the most appropriate for this kind of use. We could, theoretically, rent a desk every time we need to run the media server but, quite frankly we don't want to. Personally I love this desk, faults, quirks and all, and we're determined to make it our go-to desk for any major shows.

The bottom line is, that I work at a university, and in theory we're training the next generation of lighting board users. The interesting thing is that this generation of students doesn't see a moving light differently than a conventional, or a media server differently from a moving light. They know the differences, they just don't see how it should be any more complicated. They just make it go.

I completely disagree with having a separate video op, or a desk just for the media server. For now we'll program the media server the best way we can, and we'll hope that the technology can catch up with us, at least in terms of the media server labeling, later.

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BrianEvans
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Re: Fixture Profile

Post by BrianEvans » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:32 pm

Good points Amber.

It will deffinetly get better as time progresses.

I have outlined changes to the library structure to the development team,
that I need to write better fixtures.
Slowly but surely it'll all come together.

Hopefully it won't be the too distant future.

And the seperate op thing,
boy that can open up a big 'ol can of worms. :)

I can control a digital audio console with Midi or RS232 commands.............. ;)
Brian Evans - System Specialist - Horizon Control Inc.

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