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.

Note: SCS supports DMX Send only via the following ENTTEC and FTDI devices ( and




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.


You must set up a Lighting Device and preferably also Fixtures under Production Properties - Lighting Devices before you can can create a Lighting Cue.

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.)

The screenshot below shows how you can set up DMX Items in a Lighting Cue to achieve a desired lighting (or other) effect.

This next image is from the same cue but partially scrolled down.

The table below explains the fields available for DMX messages in Lighting cues.

Lighting Device: Select a Lighting Device from the drop-down list. See Production Properties - Lighting Devices 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.

DMX Items: You can enter each DMX Item in the form {fixture list}:{channel list}@{value}[fade{time}] or DBO[![fade{time}]]

Format {fixture list}:{channel list}@{value}[fade{time}], example: L1-L6:1@10

The fixture list is a single fixture code (eg L1), a series of fixture codes separated by commas (eg L1,L3,M7), a range of fixture codes separated by a dash (eg L1-L6), or any combination (eg L1-L4,L8). If you enter a range of fixture codes then SCS treats numbers correctly, so something like L8-L12 will correctly select L8, L9, L10, L11 and L12. Any non-existent fixture codes in that range will be ignored.

A colon (:) is required following the fixture list.

The channel list is a single number, a series of numbers separated by commas (eg 1,3,5), a range of channels denoted by first and last number separated by a dash (eg 1-17), or any combination (eg 1,4-8,12). These channel numbers are fixture channel numbers. For the above example the fixtures L1-L6 were MAC 350 Entour moving head fixtures, configured to use 17 DMX channels, so the channel list for these fixtures must use channels in the range 1-17. Warning: SCS does not currently check that the channel numbers are in range for the specified device(s).

An @ sign is required following the channel list.

The value 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.

If a fade is required it should be entered as fade followed by the required time in seconds and (optionally) decimals of a second, eg fade2.5. fade may be abbreviated to f, eg f2.5. Note: fade was originally implemented for fading the intensity of a light, but fade or f may be used on any type of channel. For example, if the fixture's channel function is 'focus' then the fade setting may be used to change the focus to a new focus value over a designated time.

If you wish to add a comment, enter // followed by your comment.

Note: For backwards-compatibility SCS supports DMX Items that do not have a fixture code. For such items the channel numbers are absolute channel numbers (within the DMX universe of the Lighting Device). For example, 495-500@60f2 will fade DMX channels 495-500 to 60% over 2 seconds. However, any dimming of intensity that's controlled by other cues or by the DMX Master Fader will only operate on dimmable channels identified in Lighting Device Fixtures. So intensity dimming like this is not backwards-compatible. If you have Lighting Cues that do not use fixtures then please change them to use fixtures to gain the full functionality of this cue type.

Format DBO[![fade{time}]], example DBO!f2

DBO implements Dead Blackout, or Fade to Dead Blackout if a fade time is given.

If snap to Dead Blackout is required then enter DBO and ensure the 'default fade time' is 0, or (safer) enter DBO!f0.

If fade to Dead Blackout is required then enter DBO followed by exclamation mark (!) followed by fade followed by the required time in seconds and (optionally) decimals of a second, eg DBO!fade2.5. fade may be abbreviated to f, eg DBO!f2.5.

As with other DMX Items, if you wish to add a comment, enter // followed by your comment.

Notes regarding DBO

DBO (Dead Blackout) will set to 0 (or fade to 0) the dimmable channels identified in all Lighting Device Fixtures. Other channels are left unchanged.

Because DBO is designed for implementing a Dead Blackout, this command ignores the Lighting Device selected for this Lighting Cue. So if you have two Lighting Devices (eg for ports 1 and 2 of an Enttec DMX USB PRO MK2) then a single DBO will act on both ports.

For a scene change or similar you may want a DBO followed by some blue lighting on stage. Since SCS implements LTP (latest takes precedence) you can enter DBO in the first item line and then whatever DMX settings you need for the blue light in subsequent item lines of the cue. The Lighting Device is obviously relevant for the additional item lines.

Playing a Lighting Sub-Cue that contains DBO will stop any chase Lighting Cue currently running.

Note: The highest DMX Channel number you can use may be limited by your SCS license level - the maximum is 16 for SCS Professional, but 512 for SCS Professional Plus and higher.

DMX Value: This slider provides a way of adjusting the value specified within the corresponding DMX Item. 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. The DMX Value slider is disabled for DBO items.

Side-Bar Buttons: The buttons to the left of DMX Items can be used to move individual items up or down, or to add or remove an item. The Copy and Paste buttons are different in that they operate on the complete displayed set of DMX Items (including the DMX Values). Clicking the Copy button will copy all the currently-displayed DMX Items to a clipboard. Clicking the Paste button will replace any existing (displayed) DMX Items with those currently saved in the clipboard. Note that SCS will display a meaningful tooltip if the mouse hovers over any of the side-bar buttons.

Default fade time for the above items: This drop-down list determines what fade time, if any, is to be applied to DMX Items that do not have a specific fade time entered. The choices are:

None: No fade will be applied by default, eg 2@59 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. For an example see the above screenshot and notes.

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 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 default fade time: Any other active channels will be faded out over the time selected against Default fade time for the above items, 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).

DMX Values: This display-only field summarizes the channel and value settings requested in this Lighting Cue.

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 DMX 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 Default fade time properties or the Fade out time for other active channels properties.

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.


Special thanks to Bruce Gray and Dieter Edinger for advice on the design of these Lighting Cues.