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In This forum you can discuss tips, tricks, and troubleshooting for Elation's Next Generation Compu Live software, "Compu Show".

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Wow, and I thought I was taking a big step up going from MyDMX to Compu Show.

I upgraded to MyDMX from a DMX Operator.

Let me give you some warnings about Compu Show:

The MyDMX is a great starter product, and for me it required very little learning curve, and I'm not a lighting guy, I'm an audio professional. But, it helped for when I jumped into Compu Show.

Even so, jumping into Compu Show,it's tough. VERY tough. It's very complex, but once you understand it, it becomes easier and easier. I started using it in January, and right now I'm progamming for a big show. I'm recreating a show I did using MyDMX for use with Compu Show. I'm effectively starting from zilch again.

So, here's what I'm going to say: It's going to be a pain in the butt at first, and maybe for a bit. BUT, if you don't give up, it's gonna reward you, so it's worth the effort.
It will go a long way for you sound guys to study lighting design a little more before you try to get out there and run a show.

Lighting is not complicated, it is just drastically different from audio.

Forget everything you know about Channels and what they do, then start from scratch by learning how DMX works.

You need to understand the we are taking a protocol designed to run intensity on single fixtures and applying that to fixtures that have a variety of features with varying properties.

I can program GrandMA, Hog, Avolites, LightJockey, and a list of lesser programs and, for a beginner, CompuLive is the best solution for learning intelligent lighting.

The only hard part is realizing that lighting is a completely different world from any other system.
Why forget anything?

As a sound guy, I come from a data communications and IT background.

There's nothing to forget about anything. Lighting has its rules, sound has it's rules. It's just a data protocol. It's just moving bits down a cable.

Just like in sound, a channel is designed to do ONE THING. In the case of lighting, a channel also does one thing, it just may not be a consistent thing as different channels do different things. That's the key is knowing that at least in regards to intel lighting, fixtures work of little groups of dedicated concurrent channels that must interact as a whole to get results. You can almost think of it as a "subgroup mix" or even a monitor mix, where you may need to assemble multiple elements together to get the desired results.

It's no different than a modem bank that gets it's input via analog lines, or a T1 or PRI circuit and being channel banked off by the CSU portion of the DSU/CSU hardware. Telco hands off to a channel of available channels in a hunt group, which is then handed off to the model via various methods of signalling(back r mid-plan, or sometimes POTS to stacks of modems), then onto the serial port and/or midplane or backplane and onto some sort of method of loading it onto a LAN, typically via some sort of terminal bank-type device via hard cabling or via the mid-plane or back plane. It's all simple stuff, well for me anyways.

Lighting, at a BASIC level, is NOT complicated at all. I definately agree on that. I see to many people over-complicate this process by jumping in too far, too fast and confusing themselves. If they'd real the Elation DMX 101 PDF, they'd get pointed inthe right direction right from the beginning.

That's not to say lighting can't BECOME complicated. Getting the protocol and topology fundamentals first is key. Then after that you can add complexities, such as splitters/distros, multiple universes and other goodies if needed. However, adding the knowledge in little bits and pieces helps prevent this from being complicated. The only thing really that should become complicated is your light show design! And in that, that's where I'm rather weak, because I'm not going to go to school again to learn colors and stuff like that.

Lighting isn't really different than anything else. Input goes in, results come out. How is that different than audio? In audio, I have source pushing channels through my mixer, which may or may not be processed much on their way from the input through the signal chain and out through the various buses on my desk. With lighting, it's not as interactive as stage source driving the whole show, but still, there's INPUT happening somewhere(via programming and/or or moving faders and buttons and switches) and then running down a wire to interact with various fixtures.

It's all signal flow. That's what DMX is. It's a data protocol, nothing more and nothing less. Just as MIDI is a protocol.

While lighting design is no doubt tied to understanding DMX, knowing and understanding how DMX works won't help to to learn lighting design. It will help you to be able to actually DO lighting design, because knowing how to move the bits lets things happen. If you can move DMX to the stage from the control point, you ain't got a show!

I think there's two things that will help sound guys the best, SHORT of trial and error, which can work too(works OK for me), but takes too much time to learn from. The best "passive method" is to watch and learn from other shows, and broadcast and pre-recorded concerts. Watch and see what you like, but focus on certain aspects and learn. Better would be to learn under a veteran lighting designer, who can show you what works and why it works. Actually, what would be better is to just bring on that lighting designer. Let the light guy focus on lights and let the sound guy focus on sound, which is as it should be.

It's tough enough for me to do FOH and monitor mix from one desk while monitoring up to 16 channels of monitor, 8 matrixes and a main mix, also while monitoring a board mix and multi-track, AND video switching and the DVD recording. Adding lights just makes for already too much on an overloaded invididual.

My objective in time is to at some point not have to deal with lighting directly. Yes, I'll own it, know it, and CAN use it, but have someone else run it and even design it. But business has been slow and until things pick up, I'm just having to do it all.

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