Production Properties - Lighting Devices - DMX

DMX Lighting Devices are only available with SCS Professional and higher license levels. For full DMX support you will need an SCS Professional Plus or higher license. With SCS Professional you are limited to using DMX Channels 1-16 only.

Overview

Note: SCS supports Control Send DMX only via the following ENTTEC and FTDI devices (www.enttec.com and www.ftdichip.com):

ENTTEC DMX USB PRO MK2

ENTTEC DMX USB PRO

ENTTEC OPEN DMX USB

FTDI USB-RS485 cable

The FTDI USB-RS485 cable device is compatible with the ENTTEC OPEN DMX USB.

Installing the D2XX driver for any of the above devices should install ftd2xx.dll. If SCS cannot find ftd2xx.dll as a loadable library then DMX will not be enabled.

In SCS you may set up Lighting Cues to control any DMX device. Here's an example of the Production Properties for Lighting Devices (as used in a production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler):

Properties and Controls

Devices Required in Cues 

Here you need to identify each device you want to use in Lighting cues. You select the Device Type and give the Device a Name that will be used in your Lighting cues.

Mapping to Physical Devices on this Computer

All your Device mappings are held in a Device Map. This is the same Device Map used for Audio Output Devices, so the name of that Device Map is displayed but is not editable here.

The Physical Devices chosen are for this Device Map on this computer.

Device Number (LT1, LT2, etc): If this number is displayed with a colored background (eg see LT1 in the above screenshot) this indicates this device is the 'current' device for the Sidebar Controls to the left, and for the 'Settings' panel displayed below the device list. To make a different device the 'current' device, click on any field in the line for the required device, or on the Device Number itself.

Sidebar Controls: Controls are available to enable you to easily change the order of the devices as explained for Audio Output Devices.

Device Type: This drop-down list contains the Lighting device types supported by your license level. This Help page describes the properties etc for DMX Out' devices.

Name Used in Cues: Enter the name you want to use for the device in your Lighting cues. Note that SCS provides a default name based on the Device Type but you can change this if you wish.

Device Map Fields

Physical Device (below Mapping...): The physical device assigned to this Name Used in Cues. This Physical Device item is a display-only field based on the 'Settings' provided in the lower part of the screen.

Active?: This display-only checkbox will be checked if SCS has successfully initialized this device, or will be blank if the initialization failed. If you have devices that have not been initialized successfully, click Retry Activating Devices at the bottom of this tab.

Physical Device (below DMX Settings): Select the required DMX Device from the drop-down list. The entries available in the list will depend on the installed devices and possibly whether or not they are connected and switched on. At the end of the drop-down list you will see 'Dummy DMX Port'. Selecting the Dummy entry enables you to set up Lighting cues for this DMX device even if you have no real DMX device available.

DMX Port: This field is only displayed for devices that have more than one DMX Output Port, which currently is just the ENTTEC DMX USB PRO MK2. Also, it is only displayed if you have an SCS Professional Plus or higher license. Select the required Port to be used for this Lighting Device in Lighting Cues.

DMX Refresh Rate: This field is only displayed for ENTTEC OPEN DMX USB or equivalent devices. If an OPEN DMX USB or equivalent device is used for Lighting Cues then SCS needs to constantly refresh DMX channel values sent to the device. This is not necessary with the DMX USB PRO or DMX USB PRO MK2 as these devices handle DMX refreshing internally. The DMX Refresh Rate field indicates the frequency required for the refresh. The default is 40 fps (frames per second), but you can select a lower rate, down to 25 fps. ENTTEC support have provided the following advice: "40 fps is ideal, but I would leave an option between 25 to 40 fps - just in case some fixtures don't like 40 fps."

Note: If more than one DMX Port is available (see above) and you wish to use more than one DMX Port in your production then you need to set up a Lighting Device for each port. Each Lighting Cue (or Sub-Cue) can only send DMX to one Lighting Device, but you can have separate cues or sub-cues to send DMX to all required Lighting Devices.

Fixtures

In this section you can enter details of all the fixtures you are using. Although a 'fixture library' is not implemented in SCS, specifying your fixtures here does make programming your lighting cues much easier and more portable between venues. However, fixtures are linked to a 'Lighting Device', so if (for example) you are using both ports of an ENTTEC DMX PRO USB MK2 then you must assign each fixture to the correct 'device'. There is no practical limit to the number of fixtures you can register - the displayed list will grow as you add more fixtures.

Fixture Code: Enter a code to uniquely identify this fixture. You will be using Fixture Codes when you build your Lighting Cues, so we recommend you keep the codes short. This is because you may wish to send certain DMX values to the same channels on multiple fixtures, and keeping the Fixture Codes short makes this easier to enter and review. For example, to set the intensity of all the 'movers' in the above screenshot you may enter "L1-L6:2@75" which means "set relative channel 2 to 75% on fixtures L1 to L6", or "set DMX channels 2, 19, 36, 53, 70 and 87 to 75%". Fixture Codes are forced to upper case by SCS. They must start with a letter and contain only letters and digits.

Description: Enter a description for this fixture.

Dimmable Channels: If this fixture is to be faded up or down then SCS needs to know which relative channels are 'dimmable'. If a Lighting Cue is set to fade out other active fixtures then you do not want SCS to 'fade' channels assigned to pan and tilt, etc - just channels that directly affect the intensity of the fixture's light. The Dimmable Channel numbers may be entered individually, separated by commas (eg 1,7,8) or as a range (eg 1-3), or a combination of the two forms (eg 1,3-6,12-14). In practice, you will probably only need to enter a single channel or a simple range. Example: In the venue for the above production, the 'mover' lights are MAC 350 Entours, each configured to use 17 DMX channels. Channel 2 is the intensity channel, so only channel 2 has been nominated as dimmable. However, the LED par cans are simple 3-channel RGB fixtures, so all 3 channels are nominated as dimmable.

If the fixture has no dimmable channels (eg a DMX-controlled smoke machine) then leave the field blank.

Device Map Fields

DMX Start Channel: Enter here the DMX Start Channel for this fixture. As this is a Device Map field you can have different DMX Start Channels for different device maps, eg for different venues.

Copy From: If you are setting up a Lighting Device for a new Device Map then you may want to copy the DMX Start Channels from a Lighting Device in another Device Map. For example, if you have one Device Map for home use (eg using the inbuilt sound card) and a different Device Map for theatre use (eg using a professional multi-channel audio interface), then if you are using the same DMX interface unit in both locations then you only want to have to set up the DMX Start Channels once. Copy From enables you to do this and to then copy those DMX Start Channels to the other Device Map.

Note that Copy From does not enable you to copy DMX Start Channels from another Production's cue file or device map file. If you want to do this then consider using Import Devices. Make sure you include relevant Device Maps in the import, because it's the Device Maps that contain the DMX Start Channels.

Device Map Buttons

The buttons at the foot of the tab apply to all device types as explained for Audio Output Devices.

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