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robhurt

Tracking for idiots

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Hi All, 

I'm slowly getting to grips with the FLX and think it's a great desk. Unfortunately I'm a bit dim and I'm getting confused by tracking (stop laughing!). The last desk I used didn't have tracking (if a light was selected when "program" was pressed it was stored, if it wasn't selected it wasn't stored), so whilst I understand the principal, I'm not really used to it. 

When I'm programming, I'll go back into a scene I have saved (for example let's say in cue 4) and add a light and update the cue. Now in cue 5, which is a blackout, this one light that I added in cue 4 is still lit and I have to edit cue 5 to remove it. 

The same thing happens in reverse, so if I go to cue 6 and take a light out, in cue 7 it's also missing and I have to add it back in again. 

I'm sure there's a simple button I need to press to avoid this, but as I'm not very intelligent I haven't dared to play with the tracking settings for fear of breaking it beyond my limited intellect. 

Any advise would be appreciated! 

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Rob,

Don't be daft, denigrating yourself. It's new to me too. Fortunately usually tracking "just works", certainly with SmartTag on

8 minutes ago, robhurt said:

When I'm programming, I'll go back into a scene I have saved (for example let's say in cue 4) and add a light and update the cue. Now in cue 5, which is a blackout, this one light that I added in cue 4 is still lit and I have to edit cue 5 to remove it. 

The same thing happens in reverse, so if I go to cue 6 and take a light out, in cue 7 it's also missing and I have to add it back in again. 

With your edits, what you needed to do was select "Cue Only" in the Record/Update window. Otherwise the change "tracks" into the later cues - that's what tracking does - the "Record" operation with SmartTag only captures the changes from one cue to the next rather than everything. This means that is a light isn't set to change, it's not recorded. If you want to store "everything" - and I usually do this for blackouts, then use Shift+Record, which comes up as "Record All", and does just that, so all intensities get recorded in the blackout cue, and this "blocks" any lights that are tracking from "bleeding through".

Stand by for a much better explanation from Edward or Jon!

Kevin

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2 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Rob,

Don't be daft, denigrating yourself. It's new to me too. Fortunately usually tracking "just works", certainly with SmartTag on.

With your edits, what you needed to do was select "Cue Only" in the Record/Update window. Otherwise the change "tracks" into the later cues - that's what tracking does - the "Record" operation with SmartTag only captures the changes from one cue to the next rather than everything. If you want to store "everything" - and I usually do this for blackouts, then use Shift+Record, which comes up as "Record All", and does just that.

Stand by for a much better explanation from Edward or Jon!

Kevin

Thanks Kevin! I'm sure it's easy when you know what you're doing. I'll give the "cue only" option a go for my edits thanks! I've never had a problem with tracking before expect for the edits.

If I do press shift+record and then choose "record all" will that take effect for that cue only I assume? 

Thanks again!

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12 minutes ago, robhurt said:

If I do press shift+record and then choose "record all" will that take effect for that cue only I assume? 

Yes it just makes that record/update operation record everything. The following cue you record will just record the changes again.

If you set the desk into the Non-Tracking mode, (I believe) it will always record everything (intensity, colour, position etc). However if you have anything other than dimmers patched, you'll probably want to use the Tracking mode (I just use "Tracking Basic") because that takes most of the worry out of LTP attributes like colour and movement.

Not sure if it will help, but there are a few external documents linked here that talk about tracking. The ETC one is ok.

 

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Hi both,

Kevin's descriptions pretty much sum it up, sounds like leaving SmartTag enabled, and being in cue only mode (tapping "Cue Only" in the Record Options screen so that it has a red stripe next to it) will be your ideal programming method.

3 hours ago, kgallen said:

If you set the desk into the Non-Tracking mode, (I believe) it will always record everything (intensity, colour, position etc). However if you have anything other than dimmers patched, you'll probably want to use the Tracking mode (I just use "Tracking Basic") because that takes most of the worry out of LTP attributes like colour and movement.

I'll let you into a secret here, SmartTag with Cue Only enabled is exactly the same as being in "Non-Tracking" mode. However when in Non-Tracking mode, we just hide the buttons to make it less confusing.

Hope that helps,

Edward

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Hi Edward,

4 minutes ago, Edward- Z88 said:

I'll let you into a secret here, SmartTag with Cue Only enabled is exactly the same as being in "Non-Tracking" mode. However when in Non-Tracking mode, we just hide the buttons to make it less confusing.

Really? If you update a cue and use Cue Only, surely internally in the desk database it has to then go and change the following cue to reinstate the fixture value that was updated Cue Only in order to remove the tracking behaviour. i.e in updated cue n, the fixture takes the update value then in cue n+1 the fixture has to be set back to the values from cue n-1. This wouldn't be necessary in Non-Tracking.

Sorry - an academic comment really, we'll not get into exactly how the software is architected, I'm just surprised it's "the same".

Kevin

 

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On 1/18/2018 at 4:55 PM, Edward- Z88 said:

I'll let you into a secret here

 

On 1/18/2018 at 5:04 PM, kgallen said:

Really?

One secret now means we need to let you into a second one...

(For future eavesdroppers - this is purely academic, this knowledge is NO use to how you program the console at all, and can be completely ignored if you're not familiar with Non-tracking mode).

ZerOS showfiles are always stored as "tracked" values, even if you're in Non-tracking mode. This allows the showfile to be smaller, and for users to switch between Tracking and Non-Tracking mode whenever they want without things breaking. We just change how we read and interact with the data depending on the mode they're currently in.

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2 minutes ago, Jon Hole said:

and for users to switch between Tracking and Non-Tracking mode whenever they want without things breaking

That's useful to know, although SmartTag works so well I haven't needed to run scared back to a non-tracked mode. I often ended up back in full mode on the Fat Frog when partial scared the bejeezus out of me! :(

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Hi all, 

Me again. It's a few years on and I'm still no tracking expert, although my limited knowledge improves with each show! 

I'm just about to start programming a new show, and a new scenario has cropped up that I have not had before. We have two Martin MAC Quantums coming to us on Monday, but there's a big rehearsal on Sunday, so I was hoping to programme (or is it program?!) the main bulk of the show in advance of Sunday's rehearsal and then add the Quantums in on Monday afternoon. They will mainly be used for spots of various shapes, sizes and colours + some more "jazzy" stuff in the bug numbers. 

That's the background, the question is thus...

When I add them into the cue stack, I'm not exactly sure what sort of tracking I need to use, or indeed smart tagging. If I update a cue to include a spotlight for example, do I need to save this as cue only, or add some sort of tracking? I have had issues with adding things in later before, as they have either tracked through to the next cue (which I may not want), or the "cue only" option has messed with the move in dark, where the next time the light is used it hasn't moved in dark and starts doing it's position, beamshape and colour etc when I press "go" rather than having done all that in dark in between cues! 

Any advise would be most welcome. I don't want to spend a few hours programming the whole show, only to become unstuck by two lights! 

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Hi Rob,

54 minutes ago, robhurt said:

programme (or is it program?!)

Good question. When it comes to computing, "program" is preferred!...

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/program-programme/

56 minutes ago, robhurt said:

When I add them into the cue stack, I'm not exactly sure what sort of tracking I need to use, or indeed smart tagging. If I update a cue to include a spotlight for example, do I need to save this as cue only, or add some sort of tracking? I have had issues with adding things in later before, as they have either tracked through to the next cue (which I may not want), or the "cue only" option has messed with the move in dark, where the next time the light is used it hasn't moved in dark and starts doing it's position, beamshape and colour etc when I press "go" rather than having done all that in dark in between cues!

If you have programmed all your cues, and then want to add in movers, this is where tracking may come in very useful. If you want to add a fixture in, and only add it into the current cue, you will need to update cue only. If you would like to add your movers into multiple cues, for example, a gobo wash over the top of several other lighting states for the duration of the scene, do a track forwards update, to add the new light in. This update will then track through subsequent cues, until that light has new information from a cue further down the stack. Therefore if you recorded a blackout which didn't have information for the light, you will need to go into the blackout, and update this cue too, to take the light back out. Obviously updating 2 cues is much easier than updating 10 that all needed your mover added in, when you could have simply done a tracking update. 

The Cue Only option shouldn't affect move on dark behaviour. This is where SmartTag comes in. With SmartTag enabled, it will not store information for fixtures at 0%. This therefore allows their parameters to be prepped, ready for a future cue when they're next used.

1 hour ago, robhurt said:

It's a few years on and I'm still no tracking expert, although my limited knowledge improves with each show! 

I'd recommend taking a look at our "Simplifying Jargon" series of videos i you haven't already. One of these is on tracking, and another is on cue only, which hopefully will clear things up...

https://zero88.com/jargon

If you have any questions as always let us know.

Edward

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(Edward posted about a half second before me - hope I don't contradict him!)

If you're in Tracking and mostly using SmartTag, then I think you should be fine adding in the movers later: playing back the cue, using syntax/palettes to set up your movers and then using Update.

Use of Cue Only will depend if you want the mover as set to only be in the current cue, or if you will put it in at an early cue (then allow it to track through some cues) then take it out at a later cue. In your Monday rehearsal, being able to step back and play over a sequence of cues would be a real benefit here. Not being able to would indeed worry me too. Depends on the type of rehearsal. Sometime at our techs, if they are faffing about on stage with some prop or costume, I'll go back a few cues and quickly step though any "thorny patch" to make sure the recording plays back as I expect.

Also it depends if you have snapshot blocking cues. I used to always record a blackout as a blocking cue, but since using more movers I've stopped doing this now as it breaks move-on-dark. Of course there is always the hazard that you edit a cue before the DBO and find the light is still on in the DBO. With tracking though this is generally easy to see, as you only have to run the cue before the DBO then step into the DBO to check you really are dark - and do an Update to the DBO cue if you did indeed have something on due to tracking.

If you're using Effects then you have to watch out that SmartTag will not record a "No Effect" if the light went dark. There are plenty of posts on this Forum with people saying "my lights are still dancing even though they are off". So if you add a mover in to a cue to do some dancing, then in the (next) cue where you want the dancing to stop, remember to: select your light, select No Effect, select @0, then when you do the Update, turn off Smart Tag (and remember SmartTag will stay off until you enable it again!!!) to ensure the No Effect gets recorded.

Also with movers - and may be tricky in your timescale - is it's essential to have your Position Palettes set up, because messing about with Pan and Tilt during a rehearsal is just impractical as it takes so long. Get yourself ready by having your movers patched into the desk with the correct mode setting. Then record and name some placeholder palettes for DSL, DSC, DSR etc, so when you rig your movers, you can step through each position palette, set the mover there (yes this takes [me] ages), then Update your palette. Actually even at your first rehersal without the movers hung, you could programme your cues with the movers at non-zero intensity and having triggered the required position palette. Of course at this stage it will be a  junk position. but when you have the mover rigged, it will at least come on and you can move the position and Update the Position Palette there and then which of course will be then correct for the subsequent mover cues required at that position (Palettes are referenced not copied into the cue). When you have the movers there, you can of couse then tweak the intensity in the cue and set colour/gobo etc and Update the cue - but at least you have a starter-for-10 in place. Of course if you happen to forget at the initial programming, then just add it in at the second rehearsal, you're no worse off.

I'm assuming at your first plotting rehearsal, you will have "more" time and be under less pressure so can take your time and set some groundwork in place. Then at the second rehearsal when you're getting evil stares, you minimise how many changes you need to do to integrate your movers into your show.

Adding an Effect (movement etc) will always be more of a challenge, and probably will be a time consumer on the second rehearsal, but the more general use of the movers as specials or highlights can probably be done to a reasonable extent before you actually rig them. Get those Palettes drafted in would be a wise move.

On Fat Frog I was a disaster in Partial mode, however on FLX I just use the tracking mode. and with Update and SmartTag (care as above) I have few problems these days. One thing to learn beforehand (and I've posted lots on this and Edward has explained), is how to properly remove from a cue a fixture you accidentally recorded in. I think this is better in later ZerOS (late 7.9.x) as I used to have real problems with this, but these days I can (generally!) get it to work! However don't ask me to explain now, I'd need to look it up again!!!

Hope that helps. Sorry I've waffled on a bit, but hopefully some of those ideas will help out!

Good Luck!

Kevin

 

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38 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Also it depends if you have snapshot blocking cues. I used to always record a blackout as a blocking cue, but since using more movers I've stopped doing this now as it breaks move-on-dark.

Rather than snapshotting blackouts, use the syntax 1 THRU @ . RECORD ENTER. To store a block blackout, allowing move on dark to still work. This is one of those syntax strings you could record as a macro if you wish, so you simply press your macro and it records the cue. 

Edward

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6 minutes ago, Edward- Z88 said:

Rather than snapshotting blackouts, use the syntax 1 THRU @ . RECORD ENTER. To store a block blackout, allowing move on dark to still work. This is one of those syntax strings you could record as a macro if you wish, so you simply press your macro and it records the cue. 

Edward

Interesting...

I've been using ENTER ENTER @. which of course "only" turns off lights that are on (but is very quick and easy to type). Edward - with your syntax I guess this records every fixture at intensity 0 so you don't get the issue I potentially have with a tracked updating causing the DBO not to be dark? Hmmm like, that. Needs a macro though as you say as that is more a mouthful of keystrokes.

I really must look up how to record and use Macros for keystrokes...

Thanks!

Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

1 hour ago, kgallen said:

Edward - with your syntax I guess this records every fixture at intensity 0 so you don't get the issue I potentially have with a tracked updating causing the DBO not to be dark? Hmmm like, that.

Yes, 1 THRU, and not defining an end value, will select fixture 1 through to the last. So rather than "ENTER ENTER @ .", "1 THRU @ . ", giving all fixtures a 0 value that cannot be tracked into. Don't forget we say SmartTag ignores fixtures at 0% intensity, but if there is a 0% value in the programmer, this does get stored, just nothing else about the fixture will.

1 hour ago, kgallen said:

I really must look up how to record and use Macros for keystrokes...

For this example, type:

RECORD MACRO x ENTER -> Commands -> 1 THRU @ . RECORD ENTER MACRO. You can then either type MACRO x ENTER, or simply tap it on screen to program your blackout. Taking this a step further, you could type MACRO x RECORD, and tap a UDK. A single tap of this UDK records your blackout cue.

Hope this helps,

Edward

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20 minutes ago, Edward- Z88 said:

RECORD MACRO x ENTER -> Commands -> 1 THRU @ . RECORD ENTER MACRO. You can then either type MACRO x ENTER, or simply tap it on screen to program your blackout. Taking this a step further, you could type MACRO x RECORD, and tap a UDK. A single tap of this UDK records your blackout cue.

Sorry Rob...!

Edward - Can I get the MACRO to NAME the new cue at the same time with something like:

RECORD MACRO x ENTER -> Commands -> 1 THRU @ . RECORD NAME "DBO" ENTER MACRO

Hold on - that will probably name the MACRO rather than the RECORDed cue???

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Hi Kevin,

1 minute ago, kgallen said:

Can I get the MACRO to NAME the new cue at the same time with something like:

RECORD MACRO x ENTER -> Commands -> 1 THRU @ . RECORD NAME "DBO" ENTER MACRO

Yes you can, however to do this you would need to choose "Keys" rather than "Commands", and you would need to use an external keyboard. So:

RECORD MACRO x ENTER -> Keys -> 1 THRU @ . RECORD NAME DBO ENTER MACRO

Edward

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Thanks everyone! Based on your kind advise I have decied to press ahead and program (thanks Edward!) with what I have in the rig currently! 

@Howartp - we really ought to attend the training session at Plasa Leeds?! 

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On 2/7/2020 at 9:28 AM, kgallen said:

I'm assuming at your first plotting rehearsal, you will have "more" time and be under less pressure so can take your time and set some groundwork in place. Then at the second rehearsal when you're getting evil stares, you minimise how many changes you need to do to integrate your movers into your show.

What are these terms of which you speak...?

On 2/8/2020 at 5:47 PM, robhurt said:

Thanks everyone! Based on your kind advise I have decied to press ahead and program (thanks Edward!) with what I have in the rig currently! 

@Howartp - we really ought to attend the training session at Plasa Leeds?! 

Let's get diaries together.

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