Lighting Cues

Lighting Cues are only available with SCS Professional and higher license levels. DMX is used for lighting control, and with SCS Professional you are limited to DMX Channels 1-16 only, and only a single universe. To use DMX Channel numbers greater than 16 you need an SCS Professional Plus or higher license.

Prerequisites

Before you can create a Lighting Cue, you must:

1.Set up required Fixture Types under Fixture Types in Production Properties.

2.Set up a Lighting Device and Fixtures under Lighting - DMX Devices and Fixtures in Production Properties.

Note: SCS supports DMX Devices 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.

Overview

Lighting Cues use DMX to control lighting fixtures or dimmers but can, of course, be used to control any other equipment that accepts DMX. SCS generally implements the "tracking" method, whereby once a channel is at a value, it remains at that value until another cue sets the channel to a new value. However, this can be overridden by selecting a different option under Fade out time for other active channels. This will effectively enforce the "preset" method, whereby the cue represents a snapshot of how all DMX values are to be set.

SCS implements "LTP (Latest Takes Precedence)". This means that if you set a channel to a value and then set the same channel to a new value, then the new value takes precedence. This is useful, for example, if you have lights on DMX channels 31-39 that you want to set to 50% but within that range you want to set 34 and 35 to 80%. You can set up a cue to set 31-39 at 50%, followed by an item in the same Lighting Cue to set channels 34-35 to 80%. Because of LTP, channels 34-35 will be set directly to 80% - not to 50%. (Fades will be applied if specified.)

Here's an example of a Lighting Cue:

Properties and Controls

General

Sub-Cue Description: Enter a description for this sub-cue.

Relative Start: These fields are available for every type of sub-cue. For details see Relative Start under Audio File Cues. Then click the Back button in the Help Viewer to return to this page.

Lighting

Lighting Device: Select a Lighting Device from the drop-down list. See Production Properties - Lighting - DMX Devices and Fixtures for more info.

Chase: Leave this checkbox clear if the Lighting Cue is not a chase. If you do want this cue to implement a chase then select the Chase checkbox. Some additional fields will be displayed. For the revised screenshot and further information see Chase Lighting Cues.

Entry Type: For a Lighting Cue where you want to set specific values for selected Fixtures, select Fixture Items. For a blackout, select DBO (Dead Blackout).

If you have Lighting Cues set up using an older version of SCS, then these will be displayed with an Entry Type of DMX Items as described under Lighting Cues - Pre SCS 11.8.

The following properties and controls are display for Entry Type Fixture Items. They are not required for DBO.

Fixtures

Fixtures: Select the Fixture(s) you require for this Lighting Cue. The Fixtures controls are populated from the fixtures you have set up under Production Properties - Lighting - DMX Devices and Fixtures.

Link Group: This is optional, and if set then causes all the fixtures in the same Link Group to have the same channel values set. For example, in this example all the CPAR fixtures are in link group 2. If the you move the slider for channel 3 (Blue) for any CPAR fixture then that same new value change will also be applied to the other CPAR fixtures. All Fixtures associated with a specific Link Group must all have the same Fixture Type. This is to ensure that the relative channel numbers of all Fixtures in the Link Group have the same purpose.

Side-Bar Buttons: The buttons to the left of Fixtures can be used to move individual Fixtures up or down, or to add or remove a Fixture from the cue. Clicking the Copy button will copy all the Fixtures, DMX values, etc for this sub-cue to a clipboard. Clicking the Paste button will replace any Fixtures, DMX values, etc with those currently saved in the clipboard. The Copy and Paste facility is not available for Chase cues, so those buttons will be disabled if Chase has been selected. Note that SCS will display a meaningful tooltip if the mouse hovers over any of the side-bar buttons.

Channels and DMX Values

The items listed here are for the Fixture currently selected on the left. You can select a Fixture by clicking on the selector button, where      indicates the currently-selected Fixture (CPAR1 in the above example).

Channel Numbers and Descriptions; When you select a Fixture on the left, the details for that Fixture are displayed on the right, with one entry for each channel as determined by the Fixture Type of that Fixture. The channel number and description are shown for each channel. Note that if you cannot see the entire description then just hover the mouse pointer over the field to see a 'tooltip' that contains the channel number and the full description.

Include: The Include checkbox to the left of the Channel Number and Description should be set if the specified DMX value for this channel is to be included when the cue is played. Clear the checkbox if setting the DMX value for this channel is not required in this cue. If the checkbox is clear then the DMX Value and Slider for this channel will be disabled, as shown for channels 5-8 in the above example.

DMX Value: You may enter the DMX value you require using the text field or you may use the slider. The value in the text field may be a percentage entered just as a number between 0 and 100, or a DMX value entered as dmx followed by a number in the range 0-255, eg dmx230. dmx may be abbreviated to d, eg d230. When using the slider, if the value displayed in the text field starts with d or dmx then the slider will recognize the value as a 0-255 DMX value. If the value displayed is just an integer then the slider will recognize the value as a 0-100 percentage. The slider is useful when used in conjunction with Live DMX Test as it enables you to easily view changes. Note that when the slider has focus then you can make small changes using the left- and right-arrow keys.

Fade: In the lower part of the screen is the field Fade time for the above fixtures. If a time is selected in that field then this will be applied against each channel that has the Fade checkbox selected. By default, when adding a Fixture to the cue this checkbox will be selected for each channel identified in the associated Fixture Type as a Dimmer Channel, and will be clear for non-dimmer channels. However, the Fade checkbox is included here so you can override this setting on a channel-by-channel basis. For example, you may want to 'fade' the pan and tilt channels to move the head from it's existing position to a new position. Pan and tilt are not dimmable channels. Although 'fade' is not actually the correct term for this activity, the term has been selected to refer to any DMX value change over time.

Fade time for the above fixtures: This drop-down list determines what fade time, if any, is to be applied to included Channels that have the Fade checkbox selected. The choices are:

None: No fade will be applied by default, eg if channel 2 is included and has been assigned a value of 59 then when the cue is played SCS will instantly set channel 2 to 59%.

Use production default: This will use the Default Run Time DMX Fade Time for Lighting Cues set in Production Properties - Run Time Settings.

Use this fade time: This will enable the associated Fade Time field, allowing you to enter the required default fade time in seconds and decimals of a second (eg 1.5).

Fade out time for other active channels: If you want any other active and dimmable channels to be faded out (or immediately blacked out) when this cue is run, then select the required option from this list:

Do not fade out others: As the description implies, any other active DMX channels (ie DMX channels currently with values greater than 0) will be left at their current values. This is in keeping with the 'tracking' method of lighting consoles and is therefore the SCS default.

Use above fade time: Any other active dimmable channels will be faded out over the time selected against Fade time for the above fixtures, even if that is None or 0. This can be used to provide an even cross-fade.

Use this fade out time: This will enable the associated Fade Time field, allowing you to enter the required fade out time in seconds and decimals of a second (eg 1.5).

Note 1: Fades on other active channels is designed for genuine lighting fades - not for movements etc. So fades on other active channels only affects channels identified in the associated Fixture Types as dimmable channels. Fades on other active channels does not refer to the 'Fade' checkbox described above.

Note 2: 'Fade out time for other active channels' is not displayed for Entry Type DBO.

Live DMX Test: Note: this is not a 'property' so is not saved. If you select this checkbox then the DMX Values are sent immediately to the DMX interface. This enables you to check, for example, a real lighting effect while you drag DMX Value sliders until you get the effect and intensity you desire. Live DMX Test does not apply the Fade Time, although SCS may implement a short fade time to protect the fixture. The purpose of Live DMX Test is to enable you to view the end result of the Lighting Cue.

Reset Items: If you make any changes to the DMX Items, including the use of the DMX Values slider, then you can use the Reset DMX Items button to reinstate the original items and values. Note that this will not reset the Fade time setting or the Fade out time for other active channels setting.

Warning: We recommend you do not set up lighting cues as hotkey trigger cues or external trigger cues unless this is a DBO cue or all your lighting cues have a Fade out time for other active channels. The reason for this is that if you reposition the cue list for any reason then when the next lighting cue is run SCS will set the pre-cue lighting state as it would have been had the cues been run in a normal linear mode, ie starting from the top of the cue list. If the last lighting cue you actually ran was a hotkey cue that was positioned elsewhere in the cue list (typically near the end) then SCS would not include that cue when determining the pre-cue state. This calculation of the pre-cue lighting state is bypassed if the cue to be played includes a Fade out time for other active channels. It is also not performed during a normal linear progression through the cue list.

Hotkey/External 'note' and 'toggle' cues

Although 'trigger' hotkey or external activation is not recommended for the reason stated above, apart from DBO cues, using 'note' hotkey or external activation can be useful. With hotkey 'note' activation, when the hotkey is pressed and held down SCS plays the lighting cue as normal, but when the hotkey is released SCS resets the designated DMX channels to their values prior to the hotkey being pressed. This can be useful for audience blinders, lightning effects, flashes from explosions, etc. With 'toggle' activation, if the current toggle state = 1 (as shown in the hotkey list in the main window) then SCS saves the current DMX channel values for channels used by this cue, and then plays the lighting cue as normal. If the current toggle state = 0 the SCS resets the DMX channel values from the previously-saved values. These actions also apply to the corresponding external activation methods.

Note: SCS sets all DMX channel values to 0 on startup and closedown.

DMX Master Fader

Note that SCS provides a DMX Master Fader to enable you to globally adjust the intensity of lighting - see Meter Display and Master Faders for details.

Credit

Special thanks to Bruce Gray, Dieter Edinger and Davide Bellucci for advice on the design of SCS Lighting Cues.