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Few questions before purchasing FLX S24


TomJosephSmith
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Hi everyone

This is my first post so thanks for having me¬†ūüėÄ

I'm looking at purchasing an FLX S24 in the new year and I have a few questions before I do. 

For the past few years I've been running a Martin M-PC setup with an M-Play faderwing. It's great kit but I want to swap back to a dedicated console for a few reasons. I'm tired of laptops with separate bits and bobs and cables everywhere etc, I just want a nice clean / simple console to plug in and go without worrying about Windows updates and all of that mundane stuff. I also can't stand the way the touch faders take the 'feel' out of the show. For instance, on a proper desk I can spend the majority of my time looking at the stage and simply 'feeling' the faders. This is impossible with the touch surface so that's been a huge gripe of mine. Lastly, it's simply too much for me - it's good software and all but I'm not a full time lighting guy and don't need 90% of the features, so I find the whole thing a bit cluttered. I run probably between 8 and 12 shows a year at my venue and then around 5 or 6 events out and about, mainly bands and very small festivals, so I need a desk that can adapt very quickly and easily without too much fussing and ducking.

Prior to the M-PC stuff, I had a Leap Frog 48. The main reason I moved on was the general size and weight of the console. At the time I needed to be able to carry my desk around with me on foot and public transport. The Leap Frog was a no go for this so that's why I ended up switching to a setup I could fit in my backpack.

While looking for a new console, I was delighted to find the FLX S, specifically the S24 as it's nice and small. I've looked at all of the shows I've done over the last 3 years and to my delight I've never used more than 48 fixtures simultaneously (43 at my largest show including hazer), so that's that worry out of the way. I do however have some questions so hopefully some of you guys will be able to help me out. 

1. Colour behaviour with HEX LEDs etc
When I had my Leap Frog, I seem to remember that the colour picker and auto created colour palettes only took advantage of RGB. I have a stock of RGBWAUV fixtures and I'm curious.... does the FLX S take advantage of all colour parameters when using the colour picker / auto palettes / mood boards? More importantly, does the effects section take advantage of White and Amber from a HEX fixture when creating effects such as rainbows? My last ZerOS update was probably around early 2015 so I expect a lot has come on since then.

2. Effects section
Since switching to M-PC, I've learnt to rely on the effects section much more heavily. In the Leap Frog days I manually created chases for the vast majority of my needs and only really used the effects section for movement. I've read up as much as I can about FLX S and of course watched the training videos but I'm still after a little more info about the effects section. I'm nervous that I'm going to back myself into a corner with effects if I can't create my own or heavily manipulate what's included. Can someone give me a rundown of what I can and can't do? For instance, if I load a rainbow effect and it's not using the Amber parameter of my fixture, can I tell the console to incorporate that parameter into the effect or am I restricted to the effect controlling only the channels defined by the console? As you can probably tell, I'm a little worried about the colour side as this ties into my first question. I'm not worried about movement as the basic shapes with offsets will be fine for my needs.

3. Grand master / tap tempo / effect speed
This may be a silly question but I'm just trying to imagine how I'm going to adapt my operating style. I've sussed that I need to sacrifice a playback to be my grand master, another playback for tap tempo / chase speed and another for effect speed. How does the desk behave when the page is switched and these functions are being used? I'm struggling to imagine a grand master on a fader that's pageable for some reason... my head can't work it out. Is it possible to set the master playback as the grand master, and if so, what does the Go button then do? This is specific to my festival shows where I need on the fly control of these things to busk smoothly. 

4. Inhibitives
Something I do a lot on M-PC is set up inhibitive faders for groups of lights, using them as intensity masters for certain types of fixtures. It basically allows me to kill all LEDs and movers intensity without affecting front light or blinders at all, then when I bring it back up all of the effects are still running and it's very easy to make big impactful bumps, trading blows between LEDs and movers, dropping to black on the offbeat, bringing it back up at the start of the next bar.. you know the score. What would be the best practice to achieve this sort of operation in ZerOS on the FLX S24?

As the weeks go on and I think more about this I'll probably have more questions but these are the main ones that stand out right now.

Huge thanks for your help in advance. 
 

All the best
Tom

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Hi Tom,

Welcome to the Zero 88 Forum. Thanks for the detailed post - really glad to hear you’re looking at FLX S. 

Firstly regarding the LeapFrog 48, it does actually run the same core software as the LeapFrog - ZerOS, so you’ll pick the FLX S up very quickly. 

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

1. Colour behaviour with HEX LEDs etc

FLX S consoles make use of RGB and White (if present) LEDs for colour mixing. These chips are therefore used for Auto Palettes, Colour Picking, Mood Boards and Effects. All other chips can be accessed via the encoders, and recorded/updated into colour palettes. Therefore if you want to create a colour using the colour picker for example, choose the colour you want, and then add in Amber or UV with the encoders. Now there is a reason for this. Red, Green and Blue have pretty defined points on the colour spectrum. This is because of the frequency responses of the cones in our eyes. White is then the saturation of these colours. Amber on the other hand, is a little harder to place - Amber LEDs vary in colour across manufacturers, and so including it in the colour mixing would be pretty inaccurate, and make quite a few assumptions. As for UV, technically speaking this would be invisible. So in reality we would actually be talking about deep purple/violet, again, where this sits on the spectrum is not set in stone. If you have any questions on the colour mixing, please let me know. 

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

2. Effects section

FLX S can automatically generate 45 auto effects for your fixtures. The first is No Effect, to stop any effects from running. Effects 2-10 are intensity effects, such as different chases. 11-20 are position effects, such as circles and different movements. 21 through 40 are colour effects, with different rainbows and more complex colour effects - again, using RGBW colours. 41 through 45 are beam effects, available for fixtures with Zoom, Focus and Iris. All effects can be applied, and then the speed and size of the effect can be adjusted on the wheels. The effects can also be offset across the fixtures, so that each fixture can lag behind the previous fixture to allow for chasing. The offsetting can be done individually, or across pre-defined groups of fixtures. When you’re happy, you can then store the modified effect as your own palette. 

If you want to create your own effect, applying different waveforms to specific parameters, such as amber, this is something the full-size FLX console can do. 

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

3. Grand master / tap tempo / effect speed

If you aren’t using a main cue stack on the master playback, many people turn this into the Grand Master. The playback button then becomes your blackout button. If you are using Tap Tempo, Grand Master, or Speed Override (ZerOS’s name for effect speed), you can page lock it, so if you’re on either playback page this fader is still your chosen function.

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

4. Inhibitives

Any playback can be set up top be an Inhibitive playback. Just record your group of lights to a playback, and then configure the playback to be an inhibitor for those fixtures. 

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

As the weeks go on and I think more about this I'll probably have more questions but these are the main ones that stand out right now.

No problem at all - hope this gives you some things to think about, if you have any more questions do let me know. 

I noticed from your location you’re just over an hour a way from our HQ in Cwmbran. If you were interested, you’d be welcome to pop in to have a play with a FLX S, or get yourself booked onto a training course in the new year to try it out.

Hope this helps, if you have any questions let me know.

Edward

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Edward, thanks so much for such a speedy response and answering all of my questions!

I really appreciate the explanation regarding colour. that all makes total sense.

 

16 minutes ago, Edward- Z88 said:

you can page lock it, so if you’re on either playback page this fader is still your chosen function.

Ahh excellent! If I was to page lock a fader, am I right in thinking this essentially then occupies 2 playbacks, one on each page? 

 

23 minutes ago, Edward- Z88 said:

When you’re happy, you can then store the modified effect as your own palette. 

How many effects palettes are available for effects I modify on top of the 45 included? 

 

One question I forgot to add to my original post. I remember on my Leap Frog there were various options to change the window layout on the external monitor. If I was to use an iPad as a secondary monitor with FLX S24, how configurable are the displays? Could I put for instance all of my palettes on the iPad for handy live use and use the internal screen for output view or fader view? 

Yes deffo I'd love to have a play in the new year. I'll keep that in mind for sure. 

Many thanks!
Tom

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Hi Tom,

5 minutes ago, TomJosephSmith said:

If I was to page lock a fader, am I right in thinking this essentially then occupies 2 playbacks, one on each page? 

Yes that’s correct. If you page locked playback 1 for example, this would be on top of playback 25 on page 2. 

7 minutes ago, TomJosephSmith said:

How many effects palettes are available for effects I modify on top of the 45 included? 

The total number of each palette is 48, and the same goes for effects. You therefore have 3 empty effects you can record on top of the 45 auto effects. However, unless you have fixtures with iris, focus or zoom, you could delete the beam effects freeing up another 5 effects. If you need more you can then delete any other effects you don’t think you’ll use, and then program onto the free effect palette. 

9 minutes ago, TomJosephSmith said:

I remember on my Leap Frog there were various options to change the window layout on the external monitor. If I was to use an iPad as a secondary monitor with FLX S24, how configurable are the displays? Could I put for instance all of my palettes on the iPad for handy live use and use the internal screen for output view or fader view? 

There is no external monitor output on FLX S24, however you can remotely connect to the console using the apps for iOS/Android, to give you an external desktop. You can also run the ZerOS Remote Monitor software on a PC and connect to the console, to give yourself an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. 

When remotely connecting a desktop, you have 4 preset desktops to view. The first is your cues, which has the Output window on the top half, and your currently viewed cue list on the bottom half. The next desktop is faders, again with the output on the top half, and then your faders window on the bottom half - this window shows you exactly what your faders are currently doing. The next desktop is your palettes in quarters - Colour, Beam, Position and Effect. The last desktop is your Groups on the top half, and then 2 colour windows on the bottom. This allows you to view both palettes and the picker simultaneously.

Hope this helps,

Edward

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Hi Tom,

8 minutes ago, TomJosephSmith said:

That's fantastic, Edward. Thank you for that. 

Do you know of any FLX S users using iPad stands that give a nice working height behind the desk? Something that clips on to the console would be even better

I’m not sure of any cases in particular. A quick search on Amazon brings up a few aluminium iPad stands that look like they would be a good height. 

If you have any questions let me know. 

Edward

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22 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

That's fantastic, Edward. Thank you for that. 

Do you know of any FLX S users using iPad stands that give a nice working height behind the desk? Something that clips on to the console would be even better, like the mount included with the Chamsys QuickQ. 

Tom

 

Tom, I am able to add the picture of my iPad solution in my flight case here.

You already have the list of items used and I hope this picture makes it more clear.

Please let me know if you need more info.

iPad mount FLX S24.jpeg

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Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

So I'm hoping to order my console 1st week of Jan. In the meantime I've been playing around with Phantom ZerOS and it's given me a great feel for the OS, which by the way has improved in so many ways since I last used it.

Quick question regarding fixture profiles for movers and how they work with macros. I patched my venue rig and noticed that one type of mover we have did not display the macro tab when selected. I downloaded the fixture type editor software to inspect the fixture profile and indeed there are no macros set up for this particular fixture. Based on the values in the fixture manual, I've created a reset macro setting channel 13 (function) to 201 (the reset range of the fixture is between 200-209). The Edit Macro window looks like this:- 
Command: Set Channel Level  /  Data: Funct to level 201
Command: Wait  /  Data: 10000 ms
Is this all I need for an effective fixture reset macro or have I left something out? I won't be able to test it until I get the console and patch in but I'd like to get everything ready in advance if poss as time at the venue for fiddling around with things like this is minimal. This fixture doesn't include remote lamp on/off so it's only the reset macro I'm after.

Second question and I really hope it doesn't sound stupid....... I've now saved this modified fixture as it's own file, so I have a .ift file with my new profile sitting on my desktop. I've fiddled for ages in Phantom ZerOS but I still can't figure out how on earth to import a custom fixture type that isn't part of the standard library to the S24. I feel like I'm missing an obvious button.  When I tap 'Add Fixtures', it sends me directly to the list of manufacturers. If I tap 'Load' in the sidebar, it seems to only be looking for showfiles. 

Your help is greatly appreciated. 

Tom
 

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Hi Tom,

Afraid I can't help with your macro question directly however I might try the following approach.

Within the parameter of CH13, go to the 'Details' tab. In here create two positions. One to take you to your 'reset' position (values 200-209), and one back to 'default' (I assume 0). Once created these can be accessed by pressing the 'middle button' on the relevant encoder wheel. I have attached a screenshot for a similar set up for a prism, however you should be able to apply this to your situation.

image.thumb.png.4b757e37ca0014404a773d60aea72566.png

I should also be able to help with load fixtures into Phantom.

2 hours ago, TomJosephSmith said:

Second question and I really hope it doesn't sound stupid....... I've now saved this modified fixture as it's own file, so I have a .ift file with my new profile sitting on my desktop. I've fiddled for ages in Phantom ZerOS but I still can't figure out how on earth to import a custom fixture type that isn't part of the standard library to the S24. I feel like I'm missing an obvious button.  When I tap 'Add Fixtures', it sends me directly to the list of manufacturers. If I tap 'Load' in the sidebar, it seems to only be looking for showfiles. 
 

Simply copy the fixture file into your 'My Documents' folder (this is where Phantom ZerOS is looking for files - or at least on my PC!) and go to the 'Load' page in setup. You should then be able to select your new fixture file and press load.

Merry Christmas!

Alex

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Hi Tom,

Yes, that’s how you setup a fixture macro. From your description it sounds like you have done this correctly. 

When you save the fixture, make sure you save the fixture with a different name, so that when it is loaded into the console you know which fixture in the library is your edited one. To load into Phantom, save your .ift file into your Phantom Directory. In Phantom, this can be configured on the launcher screen by tapping Settings, and then choosing a directory. Now when you launch FLX S in Phantom, go into Setup (shortcut SHIFT + F10), press Load, you should see the fixture file. Choose it and load it in, and you can then go to Add Fixtures, to find and patch it in the usual way.

As Alex describes above, you don’t have to configure Macros if you don’t wish to access functions such as reset. Instead you can go to Beam, find the control/special/reset parameter for the fixture, press the middle encoder button, and then press the function you’re after.

 Hope this helps, if you have any questions let us know. 

Edward

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alex / Edward - thank you very much for your help. I now have a new profile for my fixture including a reset macro which I will test with the fixtures themselves next week.

I took delivery of my console yesterday and I've been playing with it for hours. Even though I haven't connected a single light yet, I couldn't be happier. The hardware is very solid and the software is so snappy. My first show of the year isn't until February 15th so I've got loads of time to get used to my new desk. I'll be taking it into my venue beginning of next week to have a proper play with a full rig. 

I'll probably be back in the very near future with questions. So far I've been able to find my way around very easily thanks to my previous Leap Frog experience, and the fact that the S24 is extremely intuitive. 

Thanks again for all your help guys. 

Tom

IMG_2216.thumb.jpg.269fcc62125932e6919acff3d717e571.jpg

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Hi Tom,

Really glad to hear your console has arrived!

If you want to have a play with your console and don’t have any fixtures connected, instead you can connect to Capture on a PC. Capture is a visualisation software, which means you can control a virtual rig of lights on a PC. There is a free version that you can use with your FLX S. For more information, see below...

http://support.zero88.com/1004254221

If you have any questions let me know.

Edward

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