DMX control from LivePro

Discussion in 'LivePRO' started by luminavp, May 11, 2004.

  1. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    Whilst I've already discussed the following topic with Glenn (whom I will add has been a great help, always happy to answer questions, even when they come at 11pm at night from a nightclub :p ), I think it would be a great idea to put my quetsions/ideas down here.

    Basically, I was advised by Glenn that full DMX control (as in showtime) may or may not be added in the future to Live pro.

    The idea that i had regarding this was that, it would be great to be able to have a DMX only cue, with the DMX sequenced much like a key effect, say for arguments sake called a 'DMX effect'. It would also be rather pro (mind the pun), if this 'DMX' effect could be layered ontop of an image, key effet, etc in a cue.

    Not sure how transitions, or multitracking woudl work with DMX, maybe a standalone DMX track would be rquired, or perhaps treat it as LTP or HTP.... or selectable...

    It's probably overkill for just controlling beam tables, but all of a sudden, what was an insanely powerful laser 'controller' is now an insanely powerful laser and lighting controller.

    any thoughts ?

    btw in my virgin post here i'll add pangolin was worth every penny I spent. now all i need is multicolour... :D :D
  2. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi Luminavp,

    Glenn was right -- greater DMX control may or may not be coming to LivePRO. But the chances are greater that it may be coming if we have users who contribute some great ideas!

    I have said many times before, and will continue to say that, the main way that our product improves is through user feedback. No user feedback = very little improvement. That having been said, what we need to figure out is, exactly how "greater DMX" would fit into LivePRO, exactly how this works with lights, etc.

    Yes, it is true that DMX is incorporated into LD and Showtime. I am the person who came up with all of its ideas and implementations. And while it accomplishes the rather large goal of controlling everything DMX under the sun, I think it is cumbersome for use as a true lighting controller. Controlling more than around eight separate lighting fixtures with Showtime would be ambitious. Possible yes, but ambitious...

    What I would love to see is an implementation that is as easy to use, and has the tremendous utility of modern lighting desks, and yet does this in somewhat of a laser-compatible way. That is, the philosophy of controlling lights and lasers can somehow be seamless. Right now, I can not conceive of such a system, but it could be that given some great user feedback, such a system can be devised.

    Actually LivePRO itself is the result of user feedback. We started with LASLive and added about another year of development, the vast majority of which was fostered through cooperation with Glenn Turner. So sure, fire away with those great ideas. If there are some truly great ideas out there, we will implement them and turn them into the software of your dreams!!

    Best regards,

    William Benner
    Pangolin Laser Systems
  3. GlennT

    GlennT Well-Known Member

    Hi Luminavp,

    BTW, what does Luminavp mean? :)

    thanks for the feedback.

    Bill has answered your question and your suggestions are greatly appreciated, as Bill said this is how Pangolin grows better for you, me and everyone else, through feedback.

    Lets look at DMX. Now that we have DMX flashbacks, DMX from LivePRO is something that will definately be needed. I have said that it "may or may not", but Im sure it will. BUT, these things take time, Pangolin is very busy on many up and coming new products and concepts for us, so large orders dont come quick.

    The best thing we can do in the meantime is put together a list of suggestions of how users see this option working best for them. I have already put together a way of how I think DMX can be used in Livepro BUT mainly for the flashback systems rather than lighting.

    Im not sure that contorlling lighting from LivePRO is the right way to go. Only because anyone who knows LivePRO sees how interactive you need to be just to control lasers. If this included lighting the operator would be overcome with so many options and therefore the show would lack quality.

    DMX for flashbacks is a totally different thing. Flashback has opened new doors for laserists as the cost to get a laser projector running indipendantly has greatly been reduced compared to purchasing an intro card. Flashbacks are somthing that should be installed into all (at least) DPSS/YAG lasers and simply controlled by DMX. For example, you could purchase one intro card to control many lasers all through DMX, say a full colour laser from the ILDA output, then 4 DPSSs from the DMX. The cost of this compared to 5 intro cards plus PCs to hold them is much greater than 1 intro and 4 flashbacks. The way this is done is, you create a quantity of standard effects created from LivePRO itself using the record export function to ILDA file. These animations, frames etc are loaded onto the flashback cards installed into all your projectors that you want to use the flashbacks for. Then LivePRO would allow you to create flashback cues (DMX), just like a normal cue. You could even have the cue display the actual DMX animation preview. This would have to be done with some interaction between the flashback card loader and Livepro cue icons, posibly?

    So, theres my view on DMX from LivePRO, this DMX output should be looked upon as just another scanner card (QM) rather than controlling lights. There are already great lighting controllers available such as LightJockey. LightJockey is controllable by MIDI, therefore for lighting I think MIDI output would be the best solution for controlling lights. LightJockey can be pre setup with chases that a MIDI note can trigger.

    Let me know your views

  4. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    Thanks for the reply. I 100% totally agree with you, as without user feedback you have no real indication what the end market are drooling for.....

    My main requirement at this stage for some form of DMX control from live pro is to control some flashback equipped laser heads.

    So in this regard, really all that may be required for this would be the ability, perhaps, to add the list of effects in the keyeffect menu a 'list of dmx channels and values', so a particular row could have a series of dmx 'events'....

    What happens when the key effect finishes running could be the dmx buffer stays the same as the last 'dmx event' to be triggered from that effect, or maybe it gets cleared out...

    Whilst it wouldn't be too tricky for the control of simple devices, moving lights will as you say, be cumbersome to control like this.... however a simple implimentation like this would be enough to keep me happy.

    One possible way in which moving lights or intelligent fixtures could be controlled easily is to implement a dmx fixture patching/setup page by which you tell the system what types of fixtures are connected, and how their addresses are configured. (similar to the one in showtime).. or maybe the info from showtime could be read into livepro...

    This idea is synonomous with what already exists in lighting consoles....

    Then perhaps, each fixture that exists could be added to the key effect list...and when you add a row for that fixture, each channel comes up as a parameter on the right hand side.

    Similar to say, rotation, you have control over 'x y and z', well say you had a moving haed light, the parameters could be 'pan tilt colour gobo'. This way, editing the moving lights behaviour over time would be, as per the australian slang, "a piece of piss", just like it is currently "a piece of piss" to create very pro looking key effects.... :N
  5. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    Hey Glenn,

    LVP = Lumina Visual Productions :)

    I guess 'native' control of flashbacks via live pro would be great.. a lot easier to control than just spitting out bytes and numbers.....

    What would be good in addition is the abliity to send other dmx bytes with this, just in case you have a dmx accessory to control....

    for instance, if a particualr laser projector has been configured with dmx inputs for switching certain features in and out, (ie x flip, y flip, grating effects) and these could be controlled via a livepro dmx 'cue' or effect, stacked ontop of a normal graphics cue, it would allow for a lot of flexibility...


    EDIT: in terms of the icons showing the dmx animation, i guess if the exporting capabilites in livepro were extended such that they couold directly download to a flashback card via serial, this would be a lot easier than having to keep track of two different applications....

    [ May 11, 2004, 01:39 AM: Message edited by: luminavp ]
  6. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    Hey guys, any updates on whether anythign is happening with dmx and livepro ?

    SEeing as we are close to building a new projector, which will have dmx input to control actuators/dichros plus a few other things, it would be great to be able to sequence this somehow inside a key effect, rather than just have it run blindly as a ttl sequence on top of a key effect.....
  7. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    I can tell you for sure that you will not see anything new DMX-related in LivePRO for months. We tend to do development planning one year in advance and, although we do find time to wedge in little jobs here and there, something like this is bigger, not easy (to do right) and therefore, must be worked into the schedule.

    As Glenn said, we are busy working on next generation concepts which you will all love and greatly benefit from. When we do make our DMX changes to LivePRO, they will take into account all that you want to do, plus a whole lot more...

    In the mean time, I invite you to explore other ways of accomplishing your end goals. There are always other ways... maybe not as clean or straightforward, but at least, ways of accomplishing an end goal.

  8. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    Excellent. I can wait. In the meantime, we have been doing just that.... we could just use TTL to do essentially what we wanted to do with DMX fro the moment. It would be quite painful, but it will work.

  9. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member


    I have one more question - In the meantime - would it be possible to make livepro at least play back the dmx512 portion of a .lds ld2000 frame ?


  10. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi Luminapv,

    LivePRO only supports DMX insomuch as Virtual TTL outputs and DMX "Moving Head". LivePRO does not support the concept of a DMX Frame. It may at some point in the future, but this will not happen for at least a half year, based on our current development schedule for that feature.

  11. ET01

    ET01 New Member

    Maybe this will be of some use to you in the meantime:
    use Live for dmx output. Don't use dmx in Livepro(ie disable moving head).
    I have been able to use Live and Livepro "simultaneously" this way.
    That is: select some preprogrammed cues for dmx out in Live and Livepro for laseroutput.
  12. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    interesting. I never thought of this ....

    thanks very much!
  13. ET01

    ET01 New Member

    No problem. Just in case you might want to select your dmx cues in "sync" with your livepro cues:
    Use a midicontroller with multiclient drivers. Press one button and let 2 apps respond ;)
  14. ET01

    ET01 New Member

    Ofcourse i meant your midi-in device on your pc :eek:
  15. luminavp

    luminavp Active Member

    thanks again .

    I wonder however if you can use the dmx ttl outs from live pro at the same time as dmx out (of course using differnet channels) from live...

    this would be ultimate solution for the moment until better dmx is incorporated into live pro...
  16. ET01

    ET01 New Member

    Oops. Probaly not. Maybe partial but not the way you want it to be, i think. But you don't know until you try it do you? Maybe it's an option to forget the ttl via dmx in livepro for the time being and program those cues in showtime.
    Example: 1 pc + 1 midi-in device with multiclient drivers + 1 midi controller.
    Lasercues programmed in Livepro. All dmx cues programmed in showtime(live).
    Let Livepro and Showtime both listen to midi data. I have done this succesfully with Livepro and an application written by me.
  17. Spectre

    Spectre New Member

    Hi all,

    Well I thought I would add my comments on DMX

    I dont currently use LivePro, but was going to get it this week until I realized it did not handle DMX frames like showtime..

    Whilst I do realize that having LivePro able to control lighting with the ease it controls lasers would mean much more tracks, much more clutter, much more hands :) etc yet I have some possible suggestions. They all make an assumption that the application for use is a general live show.

    1. In my opinion, a weakness of Showtime is in not having the possibilty to have a "group" a DMX frame which will output the same data to grouped channels. For example set Moving head(MH) 1 to channel 10, MH 2 to channel 40, MH 3 to channel 80 and then have one DMX frame which will output the same data for channels 10,40,80 anf 11,41,81 etc. Having all the moving heads addressed to channel 10 will not achieve the same as they are then bound to ALWAYS do the same things. The groups may control intelligent fixtures, PAR banks, etc. LivePro would (could?) benefit from this because a single track might control 4,8,12..whatever..ammount of fixtures...less clutter

    2. Would it be possible to have pre-programmed movements as effects? Eg. Instead of having the possibilty to program x,y postions etc as in showtime..would it be possible to g have a selection of circle movements, figure of eights, pans..etc? If so..then we would already be at a stage where one can select 1,2,4 or several heads (by a DMX group frame) as the track and select movements as an effect. Color and Gobo could follow the same idea..pre-programmed values which can be called as required.

    3. Sequences such as iris chases ,ight be a bit more difficult unless the "group" DMX frame concept is expanded and pre-programmed chases would be standard and would only be dependent on which group frame is selected. LivePro would cycle the effect across the channels.

    Again, maybe its asking too much...or maybe its not perfect in that it allows any programming possibilty. But I think it would do well in a live show environment where the lasers just need some lighting complement which is well synchronized.

    Greetings from Malta

    Spectre Showlasers-Malta
  18. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for your comments. Suffice it to say that we will have a complete solution for you next year, or possibly late this year.

    Best regards,

    William Benner
  19. LaserJ

    LaserJ Member

    Hello Glenn - Bill

    As you both are aware I have been asking for enhanced DMX functionality in both Showtime and now Live Pro for YEARS. As about 70% of our projectors use beam tables with multiple dmx, I am forced to use a lighting desk for control. Or find a way to make the current DMX control work for me, which is quite limiting.

    I would be more than willing to share my experience, ideas, thoughts implementing greater dmx control when Pangolin is prepared to actually take this on.

    32 TTL's is just not enought control for Live Pro.

    Tnks, Jason M