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Feature request: Absolute timing


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I do quite a lot of music videos and find my S24 a great desk for quickly setting up and running basic lighting.

Occasionally for certain tracks, I want a pretty detailed lighting setup that runs from the start of the track. I do this by putting three beeps at the start a second apart, then the music plays one second later. I release the go button on the third beep and it runs the first cue which is just black for 1 second. The second cue is then the start of the lighting. I therefore have to go through the song, get the times of each cue change and work out how long it is between the previous cue and the next cue.

I would term this setup as relative timing. Each cue reacts relative to the previous cue.

My feature request would be an option to select "absolute timing". This would operate such that when I release the go button the timer starts from zero. I could then add in cues based on their start time in the song (plus one second in my case) and they would order according to the start time. Fades in this mode could perhaps be set to work as internal to the cue timing at the start but run half way between on other cues (fading from -half a fade time to + half a fade time across the absolute time of the cue start).

I can't imagine I'm the only person who uses a board in this way. Perhaps even productions operating to a fixed schedule (think New Year's countdown, starting at 11pm) could find this quite useful. Start dead on 11pm and 60 mins later your board will have a cue dead on midnight, no matter what cues have come in between, with no calculation. It would also make it a lot easier to add in cues after the fact without messing up timings of anything after.

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Hi Neil,

For the ultimate method of synchronising lighting cues to an audio track, Timecode triggers can be used. Unfortunately this is only available on the FLX console, not FLX S consoles. FLX consoles also have real-time triggers, so in your New Year example you could have a cue running at 11pm or midnight on the dot. See David’s link above he has helpfully posted for more information.

Something you may wish to try, is programming your cues on the console, but then load the show file into Phantom ZerOS on PC, running as an OrbXF desk type. OrbXF consoles have a “Learn” function. This allows you to tell ZerOS to start learning the times of a cue stack, and as you press the Go button in real time, the console will calculate and add in the Auto timings. You could then save the show, and then load it back into your console.

Hope this helps,

Edward

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On 12/17/2020 at 2:08 PM, Davidmk said:

Check out Cue Triggers in the manual here

Thanks for pointing this out. It is a good explanation on the differences. I normally use the Auto (with previous cue) and put in the difference in time between the previous point in the music and the next.

On 12/17/2020 at 3:24 PM, Edward- Z88 said:

Hi Neil,

For the ultimate method of synchronising lighting cues to an audio track, Timecode triggers can be used. Unfortunately this is only available on the FLX console, not FLX S consoles. FLX consoles also have real-time triggers, so in your New Year example you could have a cue running at 11pm or midnight on the dot. See David’s link above he has helpfully posted for more information.

Something you may wish to try, is programming your cues on the console, but then load the show file into Phantom ZerOS on PC, running as an OrbXF desk type. OrbXF consoles have a “Learn” function. This allows you to tell ZerOS to start learning the times of a cue stack, and as you press the Go button in real time, the console will calculate and add in the Auto timings. You could then save the show, and then load it back into your console.

Hope this helps,

Edward

The learn option is an interesting possibility but would also rely on me getting my timing absolutely right, or I'd have to go back and change things manually. By scrubbing through a music file I can quickly note a list of times and the ideal would be to be able to drop in the right number of cues and add the appropriate "wait from go" times into each in order.

I guess my feature request, Edward, would be something along the lines of "Auto (with first cue)", but I appreciate it may be a systematic change in the cue playing. I'm not sure whether that raises programming problems that I wouldn't foresee from the outside. It would likely require an ordering system that reorders the cues based on the wait time entered.

The idea that I press go and things happen exact numbers of seconds or tenths of seconds after that go button is released, without having to have a midi file or be against specific real times, is something I think even the FLX is missing. The other interesting advantage is that it doesn't require additional hardware, unless processing power is an issue, so could be an option for all of the FLX range.

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Another possibility is that "Auto (with first cue)" can only be selected if "Auto (with previous cue)" or "Auto (after previous cue)" haven't been used in any other cues, and selecting "Auto (with first cue)" disables the use of the other two for any other cues in that playback.

Creating a cue with "Auto (with first cue)" would automatically place that playback into a setup which reorders the cues based on the wait time.

This would minimise disturbance to current coding.

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Hi Neil,

57 minutes ago, Neil Macmillan said:

Another possibility is that "Auto (with first cue)" can only be selected if "Auto (with previous cue)" or "Auto (after previous cue)" haven't been used in any other cues, and selecting "Auto (with first cue)" disables the use of the other two for any other cues in that playback.

Creating a cue with "Auto (with first cue)" would automatically place that playback into a setup which reorders the cues based on the wait time.

This would minimise disturbance to current coding.

The ability to auto trigger any cue in a stack x seconds after the very first in that stack is an interesting idea, thanks for the feedback.

1 hour ago, Neil Macmillan said:

The idea that I press go and things happen exact numbers of seconds or tenths of seconds after that go button is released, without having to have a midi file or be against specific real times, is something I think even the FLX is missing.

I guess the assumption here, is that if you are synchronising lighting to an audio track, you are likely to have MIDI connecting the two systems. Starting a time code clock at the same time as the audio source, then means you don’t even need to press GO on the FLX at the right time, and you don’t even have to program cues in the correct order - they will just run at the specified hour, min, second and frame when FLX receives it.

Edward

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/19/2020 at 2:03 PM, Edward- Z88 said:

Hi Neil,

The ability to auto trigger any cue in a stack x seconds after the very first in that stack is an interesting idea, thanks for the feedback.

I guess the assumption here, is that if you are synchronising lighting to an audio track, you are likely to have MIDI connecting the two systems. Starting a time code clock at the same time as the audio source, then means you don’t even need to press GO on the FLX at the right time, and you don’t even have to program cues in the correct order - they will just run at the specified hour, min, second and frame when FLX receives it.

Edward

Hi Edward

Thanks for the brilliant zoom session earlier this afternoon and in particular for quickly going into the auto triggering on cues. I was interested to hear if you dropped any bombshells on my knowledge of the subject in the way you did for the record functions. So many little details I had missed!

It got me thinking further about this last discussion on the forums here. An "auto trigger any cue in a stack x seconds after cue n" would be an even more flexible and useful option. Having the option for cue 1 but also any cue to reference from for triggering. Just thought I'd add this in in case it gets to a stage of becoming an addition!

Thanks

Neil

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Hi Neil,

1 hour ago, Neil Macmillan said:

Thanks for the brilliant zoom session earlier this afternoon and in particular for quickly going into the auto triggering on cues.

No problem at all! 

1 hour ago, Neil Macmillan said:

An "auto trigger any cue in a stack x seconds after cue n" would be an even more flexible and useful option.

You could do this, by triggering a cue using a macro, and then have a delay time on the cue you are triggering.

See the Advanced section below...

https://zero88.com/manuals/zeros/cues-playbacks/cue-settings/cue-macros
 

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

Edward

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19 hours ago, Edward- Z88 said:

Hi Neil,

No problem at all! 

You could do this, by triggering a cue using a macro, and then have a delay time on the cue you are triggering.

See the Advanced section below...

https://zero88.com/manuals/zeros/cues-playbacks/cue-settings/cue-macros
 

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

Edward

Hi Edward

Thanks for the suggestion.

I currently run a "master" playback where each cue releases and triggers other playbacks (which have only one cue for the lighting I want). So the first cue triggers playback 1, the second cue starts so many seconds later releasing playback 1 and triggering playback 2. The time consuming bit is making up these cues with different delay times and updating the different trigger and release for every cue.

It sounds like the macro option isn't a huge improvement on this but may streamline the process slightly by being able to use a macro of "Rx:Gx" on each of these cues, if I have read this correctly? The cues will still have to be calculated for the delay as per what I am currently doing. So, 3s, 2.8s, 4s between each other rather than 3s, 5.8s, 9.8s from the start (which has the advantage of being easily read from the song file). I currently use an excel file and put in all the times of each change and get it to calculate the difference between each. Just something that makes the whole thing a little more time consuming. I appreciate that midi is the route, but the FLX is a little beyond what I can justify for this type of work at the moment, and also means the setup isn't self contained for travel. The little S24 is awesome for the size.

Thanks

Neil

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Hi Neil,

On 2/20/2021 at 3:43 PM, Neil Macmillan said:

Just having a play and that Rx:Gx is a big time saver, so that alone is a huge help!

No problem! Yes definitely helps typing in commands rather than using the UI when it comes to needing lots of macros in a cue.

The Auto (with first cue) idea is logged on our software tracking system, as reference number ZOS-10724.

If you have any questions let us know.

Edward

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11 hours ago, Edward- Z88 said:

Hi Neil,

No problem! Yes definitely helps typing in commands rather than using the UI when it comes to needing lots of macros in a cue.

The Auto (with first cue) idea is logged on our software tracking system, as reference number ZOS-10724.

If you have any questions let us know.

Edward

Brilliant, great to know it has been added!

Thanks

Neil

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