How SCS Works

SCS reads a list of cues and sub-cues from a selected Cue File (saved with a .scs11 extension), and displays a list of the cues in the upper part of the main screen. Where a cue contains multiple sub-cues, only the first sub-cue is displayed in this list.

Facilities are available to create a new Cue File or to edit an existing Cue File.

Each cue is made up of one or more of the following sub-cue types:

  

Audio File

An audio file, such as a WAV, MP3 or WMA file, with required level, pan, fade-in and fade-out times, looping start and end points, speaker assignments, etc.

or

Video/Image

Video files, such as AVI, WMV and MPEG can be played to a secondary screen if available. This secondary screen may be a video projector. A smaller 'monitor' window is also displayed over the main SCS window on the primary screen. This is useful if you cannot see the video projection screen from where you are running SCS. If SCS finds only one display connected (eg during cue design) then only the 'monitor' window is displayed.

You can use up to 4 secondary screens, but an individual video/image cue can currently only be played to one of those screens.

The audio track for a video file may be played through any selected DirectSound/WASAPI device. You can set the audio level as required, and for many productions you may wish to mute the audio completely.

Still image files, such as PNG, JPG and BMP, can be displayed in a similar manner to videos.

Video/Image cues are set up like a 'slideshow' so you can include multiple images and videos within a single cue. Cross-fades between images are possible, but cross-fades between videos is not yet implemented. We hope to be able to implement video cross-fades soon.

(Available in SCS Standard and higher license levels.)

Playlist

For pre-show and intermission music you may want to assemble a list of audio file tracks to play, and then when the show is about to start or resume you want to fade out and stop the music, regardless of how far thru the list you have played. The Playlist is designed for this. You can include as many audio files as you want and play them either sequentially or randomly. You can set up cross-fades if required, and nominate the duration of the overall fade-out time.

(Available in SCS Standard and higher license levels.)

Level Change

New level and/or pan required for a nominated audio file cue, designed to enable you to change these settings sometime after the audio file has started playing. For example this could be used at the start of scene when an actor comes on stage and the audio level of the scene change music is to be lowered but not faded out completely.

(Available in SCS Standard and higher license levels.)

Stop / Fade-Out / Loop Release

This enables you to set up a cue to stop or fade out an earlier cue. If you have specified looping start and end points for an audio file, you can also release the audio file from the loop using the Loop Release cue type. Releasing a loop causes the audio file to continue as normal but when it next gets to its 'end of loop' position it will continue to the end of the file (or to the cue's end point) instead of looping back. These cues are generally referred to as SFR cues (Stop/Fade/Release cues).

Lighting

Can be used to control lighting or other equipment via DMX.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels, but note that with SCS Professional you can only control DMX channels 1-16. There are no channel restrictions with higher license levels.)

Note

Notes are basically cues without sub-cues. They can be used to remind you of non-cue events, such as 'End of Act 1', 'House Lights', etc.

(Available in SCS Standard and higher license levels.)

'Go To' cues

Jump to a new position within a currently-playing cue.
(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

'Set Position' cues

Jump to a nominated cue in the cue list, enabling you to set up loops of cues.
(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

Call Cue

Call a 'callable cue', and then resume from the next cue in the cue list. This is useful if you have a particular cue, possibly with multiple sub-cues, that has to be called several times in the show. It is similar to a Hot Key (Trigger) cue except that the called cue is activated by this 'Call Cue' rather than by a keyboard action.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

Enable/Disable Cues

This cue type allows you to dynamically enable or disable other cues.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

Control Send

Control Send cues enable you to control other devices directly from SCS where a compatible interface is available. For example, you could send a Recall Snapshot MIDI message to a digital mixer, or a scene change MIDI message to a lighting board. You can also use a Control Send cue to play a MIDI file. This is intended for multiple MIDI commands such as for controlling lights during the playback of a song track. SCS will not play a MIDI file to an audio output or use sound fonts.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

MTC (MIDI Time Code)

Send MTC messages (full-frame and quarter-frame). Many lighting boards can have lighting cues controlled by MTC and you can use the MTC cue type to start and run MTC, thereby syncing your lighting cues to SCS audio cues.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

Live Input

Accept live input from mics, instruments, etc to include in the mix. As with Audio File cues, Live Input cues may have level and pan settings, be adjusted by Level Change cues, and be 'turned off' or faded out by SFR cues.

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels, and requires SoundMan-Server.)

'Run External Program' cues

Enables you to start an external program such as PowerPoint (© Microsoft).

(Available in SCS Professional and higher license levels.)

A cue may contain just one of the above, or any combination of the above including multiple instances of any sub-cue type. Typically, a cue will be just an audio file cue, or just a stop cue, etc. But you can set up a cue containing, for example, an audio file, a stop for an earlier cue, a control send to change a lighting scene, and a control send to activate a pyrotechnics event.

Where a cue contains more than one of these sub-cue types, the cue is regarded as having sub-cues. Internally, SCS treats every cue as having one or more sub-cues (except Note cues), but to simplify the interface the sub-cues are normally only significant where there are two or more.

The attributes of each cue and sub-cue are known as properties.

Production-level properties can also be set. This is where you can define what speaker assignments you want for the show as well as other production-specific information.

When the cue file has been read, the audio files for the first few sound cues are immediately loaded. This is the way SCS always operates - it ensures the audio files for the next few sound cues are always loaded so there should be no delay in playing cues. This also assumes you have removed any silence from the beginning of the audio file itself. Information on doing this for wave files is discussed under Preparing Sound Files.

Cues are manually activated by clicking the button at the top of the screen labeled Qn - Go! where Qn is the label given to the sound cue (it doesn’t have to start with Q - you can label your cues as you wish, eg FX 1, S/C 1, etc). Cues can also be activated automatically a specified time after the start or end of another nominated cue, or even at a specified time before the expected end of another cue. Some cues may also be set up as hot key cues, which means they are started by pressing a keyboard key. SCS also has the ability to activate cues from MIDI, RS232, DMX and Network (Telnet or UDP) input messages (provided you have the appropriate license level).

Tip: When SCS is started, the most recently used Show Cue File is automatically loaded, although you can skip that feature by holding down a Shift Key when starting the program to open the Special Start screen, and then select Do NOT open most recent file.