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Jon Hole

How do you (usually) use your Solution?

How do you (usually) use your Solution?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you (usually) use your Solution?

    • Stand alone (no monitor, and no mouse)
      0
    • With an external monitor (not touch, no mouse)
      1
    • With an external monitor (not touch) and a mouse
      6
    • With a touchscreen external monitor (no mouse)
      5
    • With a touchscreen external monitor and a mouse
      2


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We're interested in how you use your Solution. Specifically, wether you use a mouse and/or touchscreen. Our aim has always been to allow Solution to work "stand alone" (ie, no monitor or mouse required). As ZerOS evolves, and we place more significance on graphical elements and multi-touch user interfaces, keeping Solution "stand alone" is becoming more and more difficult to achieve. Understanding how you use Solution will help us best develop for your needs.

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Hi Jon, it’s possible the answers are less ‘black and white’ than the poll allows. I use my FLX in several different configurations depending on the complexity of the show. It’s likely Solution users are similar. Maybe you need more detail like ‘always use a mouse’ or ‘happy to always require a mouse ‘?

Kevin

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Fair point - I've updated the question to "How do you (usually) use your Solution?" - realistically we'll only get a handful of responses, and so more descriptive answers in the comments is more helpful than the closed answers from the poll

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On 01/12/2017 at 12:38 AM, Jon Hole said:

....Our aim has always been to allow Solution to work "stand alone" (ie, no monitor or mouse required).... keeping Solution "stand alone" is becoming more and more difficult to achieve....

hello
I am(-was) just a professional (-Solution) user, not an R&D engineer , neither a software developer....

and to respond quickly to the question : ""How do you (usually) use your Solution?"; my answer is : I don't use it anymore...!!
the very big problem with those Solution Consoles is (as I said several times before on other topics) : that the effect engine causes very serious issues on the LCDs refreshin-rate

LCD refreshing latency is already very high in normal use (without using the FX-engine) it takes 1 to 3 seconds to refresh the LCDs - which is (already) the longest refreshing-rate I've ever seen on similar consoles !

but when some Effects are loaded and running (chases, rainbows and/or moving-effects) things go worse and worse and that latency can achieve up to 5, 6 or even 7 seconds....
for example when changing from groups to colors, or from position to fixtures and so on..... (even copy/paste of playbacks is seriously affected !!)
and in that laps of time it is impossible to work with the MFKs because you don't know what the given MFK is really doing.... (LCD don't show up the right function !)

arguments like : this is not a software issue, the software is working fine, are pure nonsense because while waiting that the LCD show up the right thing, the live-workflow stops for the operator.... he is waiting to get the right thing on the LCDs, while she show is going on and 7 seconds or even "only" 5 seconds are far too long in live-show-operating ; its like freezing for some very long seconds !!!

and this issue is going worse and worse with every new firmware release
arguments (as I was told by Zero88) like :
-- you can always go back to V7.7 ... (users love that kind of arguments !!! :( )
-- don't care the LCDs, all the rest is fine... :(
-- your show is too fulfilled (=> that said : same issue with only 12 fixtures patched and running !! is that already too full-filled for Solution ??) :(
-- or : the Solution is not the right console for Live events with FX-engine-use (sorry I thought that a 5000 euros console should do the job !! :(  )
a.s.o., a.s.o.... are not very helpful for a user struggling withs that kind of issues !

to come to the point and answer to the question of this topic : so for me Solution in Stand-Alone mode is possible only when using the Solution strictly as a Fader-Wing because 80% of its functionalitys (editing, manual changes on the fly, fixture-selections,  even copy-paste etc etc etc...) simply don't work (or work faaaaar too slow) in live-workflow as soon as there are some effects running !! (even in a small show with a small patch)

so what we can do (in stand-alone mode and live) is pressing GO or pushing faders (again : do I need a 5000 euros console for that ?)
so my personal thought is that Zero88 is pushing hard the development on the new products (FLX and FLX-S) which is the most normal and comprehensive/logical thing to do for a Company !! :)
but as the problems getting bigger and bigger with these new softwares on the older products (and specially Solution with its LCDs), these older products seem to be abandoned in some very close future... (and as FLX and FLXS dont have LCDs => : no LCDs = no LCD-issues !)

or maybe you'll find one day the real issue -> which seems to be somewhere in the FX-Engine or CPU-Load (but as I said I am not an informatics-engineer, neither a software developer...)

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Hello,

i totally  agree with Ziglight...

i only have 4 Robe Robin600E, 16 LinearLed , 10 PLCYC2  (as fixtures), and classics PAR64, PC...  

it's supposed to be easy to manage but it's not, according to what Ziglight said..., and because the console itself is not very intuitive 

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Thanks for the replies so far.

The MFKs are not a particularly intuitive way of navigating menus (especially SETUP etc). Therefor, if we concentrated our development on using a mouse & monitor, and removed the limitation of using MFKs this could (a) make the user interface more intuitive, and (b) potentially help speed up the refresh of the LCDs as we wouldn't be using them (and hence changing them) so regularly.

Would you be happy if you HAD to use a mouse and monitor (or touchscreen) for areas like SETUP, Playback Settings etc?

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1 hour ago, Jon Hole said:

Would you be happy if you HAD to use a mouse and monitor (or touchscreen) for areas like SETUP, Playback Settings etc?

Hello Jon

maybe you did not read or you did not understand what I said above

you are asking if we (the users) would be happy to HAVE to use an external monitor...
as I described above ; we (the professional users) HAVE already to use an external touch-screen (and avoid MFK-use in live-situation) because without that the Solution  is actually impossible to use in Live-Concert-modus !!!
the Solution-Control-Surface (stand-alone-mode) is practically not usable because faaaar tooo slooow

the control-surface (except GOs and faders-only) is going sooooooo slow that we can consider it just stop working... (when any FX engine is running in the back)
so the external Touchscreen is already obligatory !!

even its very hard in rehearsel and preparing.... it turns just impossible in real live-situation !!  I remember one show this summer ( -> my ever last live-show with Solution !!!!!!) when we had to reboot the console twice during the live-concert running... because the operator wanted to copy-paste a playback while running another playback with effects on it... this kind of exercise just freezes the whole thing... not one single button is responding any-more; even the touch-screen was frozen - because copy-paste pop-up window open !! (no Cancel no nothing worked) => no more CPU power and only playback faders still continued to output  DMX (fortunately) - so we could reboot between two songs...

or : when you run 2 or 3 playbacks (with FX-engine running) and want to change MFK from color to fixture and back again :
LCD  starts refreshing with the first one after some 3 or 4 seconds.... until refreshing comes to the end (last LCD down at right) there are maybe 3 or 4 other seconds... than to go back, its the same "long trip" again !!!!
its just a real mess and a disaster....

this console is probably doing a good job in a church or in a theater with no effets running....
but for concerts : no thanks

concerning this CPU and FX-Engine issue : it was not so bad with V7.7 (but stone-age firmware compared to other brands); it went worse with V7.8; it is catastrophic with 7.9

I am not a specialist but it seems  obvious to me that there is not enough CPU power to do what Zero88 wants the Solution should do by the Firmware...!!! (maybe my analysing is wrong ?!!! so tell me better !! :) )

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This is one downside with "one" codebase, "ZerOS", needing to support many hardware platforms that have quite diverse control surfaces - Frog2, LeapFrog 48/96, SCD Server Pro, Orb, Orb XF, then FLX, now FLX S 24 and 48, and that's not including any internal hardware variations within these platforms. Checking against all of these platforms for input then conditioning the output accordingly must be quite a burden on the CPU and a real headache for the software team! And that's before we start running any lighting related tasks like cue stacks and FX engines. It seems, and frustratingly but quite rightly, the CPU effort is prioritised to generating the DMX stream. The usability though sounds just disastrous for your (ziglights) typical use cases.

The tricky choice for the Zero88 team is like what just happened with Frog2 - do they continue to try to support the "older" probably "slower" hardware platforms or do they start to drop off the supported list. This is clearly tricky if the products are still current range like Solution! At some point in the future, the FLX processing power will be the "slow one" - although I'm hopeful that there is a little more headroom there with the quad-core implementation - and no LCDs (note to those users who want LCD scribble strips!).

The other option is to diverge the software to be more specific to the hardware platform. But that then becomes an engineering headache supporting all of the branched streams of code development.

I sympathise with both the users and the developers!

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There are multiple physical processors in all our consoles. For Solution, if we can reduce the load on the Co-Processor which powers the LCDs (by moving functionality away from MFKs, and onto the main processor which has plenty of head room) then this would hopefully help. We ship triple figure Solution consoles every year, and have only received a very small handful of complaints about performance from high-end users who really push the console's functionality... every release we're simplifying and optimising the software to improve the performance.

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Hi,

We are using our Solution in a differnt way so I'll give a brief Overview on it.

We are hardly using the FX engine, so we did not have problems as described yet. We are a theater so usually we have a cue list and only use the Go button and the navigation in the cue List during a show.
So in a show we only have a (non touch) Monitor connected to the console.

When programming the show I usually also attach keyboard and mouse (primary for the keyboard). Entering names and Numbers(for programming) is much more comfortable with a keyboard than with the MFKs. I only use the MFKs for this if I make small changes later and don't want to attach the keyboard.
In dialogs I don't use the MFKs at all but the arrow buttons.

MFKs are primary used to pick fixtures and colous.

So for me the change you suggested to remove functions of the MFKs would not be a cutback.

 

Veit

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my intention is not at all to criticize the Brand, the products or the team, really not at all
BUT :
since three years now we are discussing these "slow-down" issues on Solution consoles and it took me nearly two years to understand and identify clearly the bug and how to recreate it !!! (for a long time I never understood what was going on...but as I am/was not the only one with these same problems I knew it could not be my own personal mistake or fault).)
we went through all : bad using of the console, bad show-files, too many fixtures patched, too many Cues, eventual hardware issues; BIOS updates etc etc etc we had it all !!

I think its now the right time to say clearly that these Solution Consoles simply don't have enough power to manage the new Firmware and very very especially not enough power to manage the actual FX-Engine together with the Firmware and together with the LCDs !

I don't blame the brand Zero88; the only real fault is my own, having chosen the Solution Console for my needs, believing that it will do the job but it DOES NOT
and : I am not the only user in this case ! I know some other users in the exact same case (which helped me to identify the reasons of whats happening here)
and I think it would be just honest to talk clearly to future potential users and customers and say :
we have a real big problem here; thats a fact !!! and if you are looking for a live concert console and you might use the FX-Engines, this console is not for you !!!

I did the wrong choice okey; but with this kind of issue, which is going worse and worse with every single Firmware-release, you should prevent people of doing the same kind of wrong choice !! and once you paid 5000 euros for a tool, you try to believe as hard as you can that you did the right choice.... that's just human...hihi! (meanwhile, I own other gear and other consoles; so it is easier for me to let one product down and use the "right one"...

the Solution is an excellent console for Theater-Productions, for  a Church or for community events;  for a lot of jobs that the Solution will do absolutely perfectly !! => but don't use the FX-Engine ! or use it at the absolute minimal level !!
and the Solution its definitely not good for modern-live-shows and concerts, definitely NOT !!! (or say : if you do so, don't use the control-surface !!! MFKs a.s.o......)
that said : even without any FX running the refreshing rate of the LCDs is already between 1 and 3 seconds depending of whats going on at a given moment !!

you can create this issue (and/or even freeze the console) with only a few fixtures patched => it is definitely not a question of a huge number of patched fixtures; its just as simple as to say and to notice that CPU power is running out very quickly when using complex effects

Kevin brought it already to the point.... and I agree with his point of view
here are some decisions that have to be taken (before others get caught by the same error of choice) !!! arguing and justifying works fine a while but is never a solution (ouppss sorry for that bad joke....) :):)

 

Ps I just read the comment above so doing a Post-Script :

Quote

We are hardly using the FX engine, so we did not have problems as described yet. We are a theater so usually we have a cue list and only use the Go button and the navigation in the cue List during a show.

as I said already : Solution is always outputting DMX perfectly, no worry about that; and Solution is a perfect faderwing when using only GOs and Faders for any programmed show .... !!

no worry neither when the FX-Engine just has to output one effect after the other , one Cue after another; but you really go very quick in serious trouble when stacking effect => launching one Cue for Rainbow effect on the Par-Cans, together with strip chases on sun-strips and Led-Bars; then you want your mover move.. and all that kind of stuff....

so, while the FX-Engine is running with complex Effects (chases, rainbows, moving-effects and all that stuff we use in "modern" concert shows) and you want to edit something "on the fly" and in live, the control-surface most of the time just collapses ; sometimes its close to freeze, sometimes it really freezes ! (but still outputting DMX).... in fact buttons (except GOs and Faders) just don't respond anymore or take ages to respond

thanks for reading me; I hope that I am not annoying you with my "complaints".... sorry for all that ! :)
I don't want to create polemics or bad publicity; so after having said what needed to be said I am not going to bother you further....
friendly greeting from cold South France..... :)

 

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Hello everybody,

I think that Ziglight said it all...

In my case  i work in a small place with a small configuration, most of the time conferences (static show) and once or twice a month something "bigger" (dynamic show). And everytime it's the same, no problem with the first ones (cues in playbacks with different colours, nothing moving), and stress with the other ones (moving heads...flash everywhere...). Using too much things on the SolutionXL can create an issue (not always but often).

An other thing : because of the strange behaviour of the console, when i make some experimentations,  it's sometimes not easy to know if i've make something wrong or if it is the console itself which is in "bug". 

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2 hours ago, thierry said:

An other thing : because of the strange behaviour of the console, when i make some experimentations,  it's sometimes not easy to know if i've make something wrong or if it is the console itself which is in "bug". 

yeppp... it took me a very long time to really "isolate and identify" the problems and the reasons for.... (often thought its just my fault or bad using...till I saw that many other users are struggling with exactly the same problems !!) ...but never had those problems with other consoles (Avolite, ETC, Congo etc)
for a very long time I never understood why most of the time while  testing and preparing "at home" all went fine and in the show itself it often ran into a big big stress and disaster.... (especially when other operators came on the desk...)
I really see much clearer now why those strange things happen and decided to simply never again get this console out for concert use (especially when there are other operators !!) nor for rental either !!

there is one more potential reason that slows down the control-surface : it is very handy to use the DMX-IN, just by linking one Universe-Out to the DMX-IN and use unoccupied preset-faders to trigger playbacks or to use theme as some sort of a Submasters, triggering intensity for groups... very handy , very useful.... but very dangerous, because this also will enhance even further the "slow-down issue" and proc-power-lack.... so  don't use these "kind of triggering" for Cues and Playback with effects running !!! you will regret ! :(

the really sad thing about all this is, that the Firmware itself is getting better and better...but unfortunately the Solution seems to be "too old" hardware (or not sufficient power !?! ) to support this kind of Firmware => so sadly, the Solutions physical performance gets worse and worse at the same time !

Quote

Therefor, if we concentrated our development on using a mouse & monitor, and removed the limitation of using MFKs this could (a) make the user interface more intuitive, and (b) potentially help speed up the refresh of the LCDs as we wouldn't be using them (and hence changing them) so regularly.

Jon if you believe that you can fix this issue, just do-it !! :) many users would be grateful and happy !
as I said, external Monitor is already obligatory at this time.... so, switching all (or most of) the "Setup-Stuff" etc to the external monitor should be okey I guess; if that can resolve the "Processor-Power-Issue" (I don't know if my definition is correct....?? ... should we say :  "Co-Processor-Power-Issue" ?? )

 

 

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Without jumping on the bandwagon I'd like to share with you how I mostly use the solution and what works/doesn't work for me.

I use my solution mostly in a live environment, and as such I use a nontouch monitor with a mouse because it has a much better pallet layout, both visually and practically by having more displayed on the screen rather than having to flick through pages on the MFKs. As ziglight has mentioned, the LCD screens are painfully slow to load for live shows and that you have to use your gut instincts that you're on the right page to select the next pallet for fast paced visuals. 

I very occasionally use the desk as stand alone, usually when the programming has been done or it's a simple show with few changes.

My personal views, although I have created some great designs with the solution in live environments (and to the astonishment of some punters that I'm not using Avo!), I believe the desk is much better suited for theatre applications rather than live, high energy music events.

We've had an issue with our fader wheels (that I have mentioned to Z88) that when the PA is wound up and the bass is booming, it's really hard to control any of the fixture attributes with the wheels as they spin round by themselves adjusting whatever is selected. I've been told that this is a known issue and that it should be included in the latest update, which I'm still yet to download and install so it would be interesting to see if the issues persist.

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7 minutes ago, JamesBH said:

it's really hard to control any of the fixture attributes with the wheels as they spin round by themselves adjusting whatever is selected. I've been told that this is a known issue and that it should be included in the latest update.

:huh: How can physically loose wheels be fixed by a software update?

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2 hours ago, kgallen said:

:huh: How can physically loose wheels be fixed by a software update?

Point granted, I didn't make it clear that the Position attribute comes across as far more sensitive than the colour/beamshape. I'm aware that you can adjust the wheel sensitivity but not for each attribute.

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22 minutes ago, JamesBH said:

Point granted, I didn't make it clear that the Position attribute comes across as far more sensitive than the colour/beamshape.

Sorry James, I wasn't having a pop - I was just confused how a software change could help if the "wheels spin by themselves when the bass is booming". No software algorithm could filter that out, more that the wheels needed to be "rotationally stiffer" and hence a "hardware" issue.

Kevin

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41 minutes ago, JamesBH said:

Point granted, I didn't make it clear that the Position attribute comes across as far more sensitive than the colour/beamshape. I'm aware that you can adjust the wheel sensitivity but not for each attribute.

Hi James, 

In ZerOS 7.9.3 you are able to adjust wheel sensitivity per attribute by holding SETUP + tapping the attribute you wish to setup.

Edward

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58 minutes ago, kgallen said:

more that the wheels needed to be "rotationally stiffer" and hence a "hardware" issue.

This would certainly help. I like how the dials on the FLX are much more rigid, anybody want to swap? :lol:

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28 minutes ago, JamesBH said:

I like how the dials on the FLX are much more rigid, anybody want to swap? :lol:

Oh we FLXers have our own encoder sensitivity issues :blink: - although at least they don't spin on their own! Strange that one, the (same?) wheels on my Fat Frog have always been quite stiff...! There seems to be a lot of variability in them as other users reported theirs as quite free-running as you have on your Solution.

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23 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Oh we FLXers have our own encoder sensitivity issues :blink:

What issues are you finding with the encoders? We spent quite a bit of time for ZerOS 7.9.3 getting the sensitivity right for all consoles, are you finding they aren't as you'd expect?

Edward

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Just now, Edward- Z88 said:

What issues are you finding with the encoders? We spent quite a bit of time for ZerOS 7.9.3 getting the sensitivity right for all consoles

Sorry Edward, I was being a bit flippant with the historical behaviour. Actually since installing 7.9.3 the other day I haven't done much "encoder bashing" so I'll have to give it a go and see what you chaps have been up to. Previously my observations were that the "acceleration curve" wasn't very good (i.e. there wasn't one) - at the slow end there would be jumps of 3/4/5 counts per "click" (particularly noticeable on effect speed which changes a lot with a count at the low end) and then when you wanted to get a shift on, you'd be frantically winding the thing round and round. Anyway we digress onto FLX, this is a Solution thread I've seemingly hijacked! :ph34r:

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On 12/4/2017 at 6:06 PM, ziglight said:

I don't blame the brand Zero88; the only real fault is my own, having chosen the Solution Console for my needs, believing that it will do the job but it DOES NOT
and : I am not the only user in this case ! I know some other users in the exact same case (which helped me to identify the reasons of whats happening here)
and I think it would be just honest to talk clearly to future potential users and customers and say :
we have a real big problem here; thats a fact !!! and if you are looking for a live concert console and you might use the FX-Engines, this console is not for you !!!

I did the wrong choice okey; but with this kind of issue, which is going worse and worse with every single Firmware-release, you should prevent people of doing the same kind of wrong choice !! and once you paid 5000 euros for a tool, you try to believe as hard as you can that you did the right choice.... that's just human...hihi! (meanwhile, I own other gear and other consoles; so it is easier for me to let one product down and use the "right one"...

the Solution is an excellent console for Theater-Productions, for  a Church or for community events;  for a lot of jobs that the Solution will do absolutely perfectly !! => but don't use the FX-Engine ! or use it at the absolute minimal level !!
and the Solution its definitely not good for modern-live-shows and concerts, definitely NOT !!! (or say : if you do so, don't use the control-surface !!! MFKs a.s.o......)
that said : even without any FX running the refreshing rate of the LCDs is already between 1 and 3 seconds depending of whats going on at a given moment !!

Ziglight - I don't think you should feel so bad about having chosen the Solution and then finding it didn't in fact improve in your situation with software updates. If anything, your experience has contributed to efforts to make the software sleeker and more efficient - wanting a lighting desk that unleashes your creativity on a budget is not a bad thing - not everyone can afford GrandMA et al.

You're correct - it is still a lot of money and the slow down issue has been flagged up by users and the software team for many years - I remember many discussions when I worked for a dealer with my Zero88 Rep, Peter Kirkup, Ken and indeed Jon about the issue and how they were trying to resolve it.  It certainly concerned me enough personally that when talking to potential buyers, I always tried to steer customers who wanted a live desk with lots of FX toward the larger consoles like Frog 2 - and then Orb and latterly FLX  and thankfully my advice was always taken. 

For it's overall age - the Solution/Leapfrog series of desks slots in nicely where folks want a modern version of Sirius and hopefully it will be that for a while yet (there are still customers out there with Solution that don't even use half of it's software features and look at Orb because it has the ability to use two screens!) as a lot of people still want a "fader per light" desk.

It would be nice to dream of the Solution chassis with the FLX processor board inside - who knows what is sitting in Jon's product development folder and certainly don't stop feeding back about the software - FLX & Orb wouldn't be what they are without it :)

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